Times page editor Pam Sohn said Thursday in "Pam's Points" that Gov. Bill Haslam's latest initiative, Healthier Tennessee, is big government that we don't need. And yet Tennessee continues to have one of the least-healthy populations of the 50 states. That means more diabetes, more obesity, more smokers, less healthy eating and less exercising in our state than in most of the other 50 states. I think that is just fine if most Tennesseans want to make poor choices that hurt themselves in the long run as they age. Just don't make me pay for their choices through higher insurance costs to pay for needless diseases, higher taxes for all the disability payments for people getting too unhealthy to work, higher costs for making everything bigger to fit our growing waistlines, etc. It's too bad that we need to have such programs to teach us (and no, it is not policing us, as Pam says) to do sensible and smart choices that help us to lead better, more fun and more productive lives. If I have to pay for big government, let it be for smart programs like this one.
If all those loading their social media pro-and-con comments concerning Drew Johnson's firing would read the paper rather than each other's postings, they would know why Johnson was fired. Read the front-page article in the Aug. 3 issue titled, "Newspaper responds to editor firing coverage." If they still have gripes after reading that article, one may conclude that they either do not subscribe to the paper, cannot read or have no appreciation or respect for legal requirements concerning privacy of personnel records, truth or morality. It is time for this matter to go away. Keeping it alive serves no good purpose. Apparently the national news media has learned that Mr. Johnson took them on a one-day ride to nowhere.
There will be detractors. I, for one, am thankful for the three crosses. It will be a daily reminder to repoint my compass to the cross. In this world of so much junk coming at us, we can get lost in trying to fix it ourselves, trying to direct our own path, to figure out our problems on our own. Imagine one trucker who has a divorce looming, one dad on his way to work with a child with cancer at home, one teen contemplating suicide. They can see those crosses and pull something out of their memory bank and think. "Oh yeah, Jesus. I'm going to check Him out, rely on Him." The three crosses are a bright spot in an increasingly dark world, and that's priceless!
SANDY RICKMAN, Ooltewah
Regarding Drew Johnson's recent firing, let me offer an alternative reaction to what several of my fellow conservatives have advanced. Johnson's views do not match those of most of his readership. Most of the readers of the editorial page would call themselves Republicans. Johnson did not. He is libertarian. Most readers would consider themselves Christian or religious, in general. Mr. Johnson was obviously neither Christian nor religious. The only thing Johnson had in common with his readers was his economic conservatism. My biggest problem with Johnson is what later got him fired: a careless disrespect for decency in public discourse. He defended rapper Cee-Lo Green's vulgar language at the family-oriented Riverbend Festival. It was later reported that the only article from Mr. Johnson that was refused publication was one touting the benefits of pornography. Would conservative readers have found it proper for him to tell the president to "shove it" had it been Ronald Reagan? I think not. It is not decent language and should not be used in public. Especially referring to any president of the United States. I, for one, am glad he's gone. Maybe we can get a more mainstream conservative whose views closely reflect those of his readers.
KEVIN H. ROBERTS
What I find most puzzling about the coverage of Drew Johnson's dismissal is how the remaining editors seem to find it acceptable to print verbatim the very line for which Drew was dismissed. By doing so, they take ownership of the same indiscretion and ought to fire themselves. Maybe it's time to start with a clean slate after all! Of course this phenomenon is not unique to the current situation but shows up in most coverage of inappropriate comments by anyone in the public eye. Instead of easing an offense by critiquing the offender and putting it behind, journalists seem to think they have a free pass to repeat a slur over and again as if it had lost its potency. How foolish!