I enjoyed reading Pam Sohn's front-page article ("Bill to add wilderness areas mired in politics") on Oct. 15. Thank you for covering this important issue.
Although Congress has many other issues to consider, I remain hopeful that Sen. Alexander can help move the Tennessee Wilderness Act of 2011 before Congress adjourns. We are fortunate to have Sen. Alexander as our senior U.S. senator; he is a passionate defender of our public lands including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
There are many reasons to support this bill. Some include protecting the majestic views, trails, access for hunters and fishermen, air quality, and our east Tennessee economy, which is dependent on public lands. Perhaps most important is protecting water quality. I recently learned that all 19,556 acres protected in this bill are part of the Tennessee River watershed. This is our public drinking water supply.
Last week marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act. The time to act to protect the Cherokee National Forest is now. Congress, please pass this bill!
It is very evident that the Times Free Press is a liberal paper. It's hard to call it a "news" paper because the most important events are left off the front page and usually relegated to a two-to-three-inch article buried in the paper.
For instance, the issues surrounding the death of four Americans in Libya has not appeared on our front page. People in Burundi have. Immigrants have. Volkswagen has. I guess no one cares.
Until recently our new conservative editor has been anything but conservative. He recommended that we just let this administration have another four years and then run a "better" Republican candidate. For his information, our present candidate is better than anything we've had for the last 31/2 years even with his "brain tied behind his back."
The stimulus program was nothing more than a giant payoff for campaign constituents, and ObamaCare is nothing more than a method of eliminating the weak and disabled among us.
MARY LOU VAUGHT
I was flabbergasted by your paper's latest in a series of leftward movements (perhaps due to the arrival of your new editor). Sunday's Free Press editorial supporting Eric Stewart for the 4th Congressional District knocked me off my chair.
You clearly stated that the voting record of Scott DesJarlais was consistently conservative while the record of Stewart was anything but conservative. We elect people because of their ability and previous voting records -- not some distant issue that is considered egregious. Otherwise, there would be no acceptable candidate for any office.
Much like our current president, Stewart demonizes his opponent when he can't run on his record. It's too bad that your paper has chosen to aid and abet this approach.
It's also too bad that angels do not run and are not running for elected office.
Americans are bad, foreigners are good. White people are all bad, all others good. Christians are bad, used to be good. Cowboys are bad, all Native Americans are noble.
Rich people are evil, poor people are saints. Success must be punished, failure rewarded. Straight people are heartless, gays all sugar and spice. Citizens are cold and unfriendly, illegals are everything you want in a neighbor.
Once we learn these simple truths we will no longer need movies, television, Obama or your newspaper.
SANDRA AND ELLIOTT MOREN
On Oct. 27, we will celebrate Navy Day! This will give us an opportunity to praise and thank our brave young people who are serving in the military and remember all the veterans of foreign wars who have served honorably in the defense of this great nation.
We owe so much to these people. We must demand that Congress provide for their needs in battle, and the best medical attention. It is extremely important that we elect a president who will strengthen our military and will take care of their families. Remember, it has always been the soldier, sailor, Marine, Air Force and the Coast Guard who have made the sacrifice that we might enjoy all the freedoms of this great nation!
So, proudly fly the flag and display the yellow ribbon until the wars end and all have returned home. Also please, whenever you meet a member of our Armed Forces always let them know how much you appreciate them.
GENE O. WAGNER SR.
This is the most crucial election we've ever had in my lifetime. I ask you to consider John Defenbaugh for House seat, District 1. John is a dedicated family man who knows the needs of families in his district, which includes all of Dade and part of Walker counties. John is a Christian, and we need more of them in office. He has plans when he goes to Atlanta that will benefit all of us in both counties. Thank you for your consideration.
I also ask you to consider all the things that BeBe Heiskell has done for Walker County. She has run the county just as she would her home. She has worked many hours and always has an answer to any question you have. She can explain all her decisions. I'm ashamed of all the heckling going on in our county. Look at what we already have with an experienced commissioner. I personally do not want a five-person board that will argue over most subjects. No one that I heard mentioned changing the form of government until Mr. Shaw decided to run. I have to wonder if he had ideas that he did not want to share.
It is a shame that Mitt Romney and his Republican friends try to make a political football out of the Benghazi terrorist act. I have been to four embassies, in Egypt, Zambia, El Salvador and Ethiopia. Some are guarded by U.S. Marines and others by contract security guards. There are 275 U.S. embassies and smaller consulates around the world. There is no way we can have enough security to stop all terrorist attacks.
Check the record on embassy attacks over the last 50 years. Our courageous embassy workers and their families are in dangerous situations every day. In the past, when these types of attacks occurred, Americans of all parties band together and not try to make political hay of these tragedies. Shame on those who do.
CHARLES M. "ROCKY" RENNEISEN
Come on, ladies! We have a chance to send a superbly qualified woman to the U.S. House of Representatives this election. Dr. Mary Headrick started her career as a teacher, decided to go to medical school and has been a practicing physician for nearly 20 years. That is determination and dedication.
Mary is knowledgeable on all issues from education to taxation and everything in between. Mary is not taking PAC money. She will not be beholden to anyone but the citizens of the 3rd District when she goes to Washington.
Mary wants you to know where she stands on issues. If you have not seen Mary in person, there are many clips of Mary talking about her positions on youtube. She wants you to be informed so you can make the best decision for yourself.
For many years Mary has been working through her practice and by volunteering to improve the lives of those around her. Now, with your help, she wants to help all Tennesseans.
If you want a representative who will work for you, not toll the party line, vote Mary Headrick.
Regarding a recent diatribe of Democrats' intelligence: I graduated college, Army Officer's Candidate School and received a law degree. While I'm no genius, I consider myself reasonably intelligent. Nonetheless, I supported President Obama in 2008 and am doing so again.
What befuddles me is the right wing's selective memory. Prior to 1982, no annual deficit had exceeded $100 billion. In the 12 years that followed, no annual deficit was less than $182 billion; the high was $290 billion in 1992. After years of reversing the Reagan/Bush tax cuts, a surplus began coming in 1998 through 2001. But Bush II pushed the deficit up every year, to over $1 trillion when he left office. You might call these Republicans "credit card conservatives"; they passed huge debts to the next generation.
On Sept. 12, 2001, this country was warmly viewed perhaps by more people than at any time in its history. That changed with the bogus invasion of Iraq. The following wars were unfunded, adding massively to the national debt.
By the time Bush II left office the mortgage crisis had exploded, Detroit was on the verge of liquidation, and America faced the worst financial crisis since the Depression. All this was accomplished during the eight-year reign of the Republican parties in both Congress and the White House.
The fourth grade at Aviston Elementary, located in southern Illinois, is learning about the United States and the different environments, climates, resources and highlights found in each region. The kids in the class think it would be fun to receive postcards, souvenirs, resources, or any information about our great country from each of the 50 states.
We hope that people who read this letter will be interested in mailing our class items pertaining to their state.
Our address: Fourth Grade at Aviston Elementary, 350 South Hull St., Aviston, IL 62216.
A sincere thank-you to anyone who is able to contribute! We appreciate the excitement you will add to our learning experience.
Fourth Grade Class
Red Bank needs experienced and knowledgeable commissioners. Monty Millard is educated, experienced, and comes from a family dedicated to serving Red Bank through five generations of Millards. He grew up here and has served as commissioner for 10 years.
Monty Millard is familiar with our city's interlocal agreements, various contracts, grants and processes that are currently moving Red Bank forward. He understands our current and future projects involving repaving, codes enforcement, and other infrastructure developments.
Monty Millard's experience in retail and commercial banking is a valuable asset, and his knowledge of Red Bank's fiscal budget is important in understanding all a municipality demands.
Mayor Millard's civic activities span three decades and are not just a new suit and tie. He's actively involved in numerous functions in and around Red Bank and spends hours in studies of diverse concerns for our citizens. He often meets with other mayors and has a personal relationship with various Hamilton County and city executives and other leaders that help the city of Red Bank.
Decades of experience, education, civic duties and dedication to public service are a long-established quality of this commissioner, and the city of Red Bank will be well-served by his re-election.