I read in a rant (Jan. 6) someone blaming the president for raising Congress' pay.
The fact is that years ago, Congress members became so embarrassed with granting themselves pay raises that they tied their raises into the inflation factors used to raise federal employee pay rates.
Don't blame the president for the sins of Congress and lack of courage (to take the heat when they raise their own pay).
You can always find real reasons to blame the president for his acts. But at least get your facts straight and put blame where blame belongs.
ROGER THOMPSON, Tullahoma, Tenn.
Among the types of pollution mankind creates is that of balloons that are given in memory of a deceased loved one or in celebration of a new baby, a special birthday and more. These balloons, once they have drifted away from their release site, are often found harming wildlife, birds and waterways.
The photograph recently published in the newspaper ("Saying it with balloons," Jan. 6) encourages people to do the very thing that is done for a generous purpose but ends in destruction for someone or something far removed.
Perhaps you could encourage readers to spread the word about such pollutants or make a donation instead to an environmental organization instead the next time they want to celebrate!
CARREN LOUISE BERSCH
A letter (Jan. 5) goes too far. True, the end of Hosni Mubarak's long-standing, tyrannical dictatorship has not led to "liberty and justice for all." But to use this to support an assertion that "Islamic cultural and religious values are dictatorial and repressive" is unfair and prejudiced. Tyranny is tyranny, and great religions of the world are often misused by tyrants to rule and oppress. The vast majority of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world are seeking exactly what Mr. Taj values -- peace, freedom, justice. And when tyrants oppress in the name of Islam, we Muslims suffer a double grief.
MOHSIN ALI, M.D.
The fiscal cliff was a scam. It was used by both sides to distract we the people from the real fiscal cliff. We have been climbing higher and higher toward the real fiscal cliff for years now, but no one seems to want to be a statesman and do something about it. Our president got what he wanted in taxing the wealthy. But after all of the haggling, this tax increase will only fund the government for 11 days. We have a spending problem, but no one has the fortitude to stop the spending binge. We have too many able-bodied people on disability and too many who will not work on welfare.
We are encouraging laziness, lying and moral turpitude. This reckless spending of our children's inheritance needs to stop. If the president and the Democratic Senate won't hold the line on spending, the Republican House must stand tough at the upcoming debt ceiling discussions.
GERALD WHITELY, Ringgold Ga.
With the new year comes new (or not-so-new) resolutions: lose weight, learn a language, spend more time with the kids, get more involved in our local communities. Instead of becoming overwhelmed, why not make a realistic resolution that can make a real difference in the lives of homeless pets?
By volunteering at your local animal shelter you open up a whole world of opportunities that can benefit both you and the animals. If you've vowed to get in shape this year, sign up to take shelter dogs for walks or runs -- 30 minutes of walking a day can result in 15 pounds of weight loss in a year.
Want to spend more time with the kids? Work with your child's youth group to gather supplies to donate to a local pet organization. (Many people think donations to national groups like the Humane Society of the U.S. go locally, but they largely don't.) Or, teach your action-minded son or daughter about how laws are made by following an animal-related bill through the legislative process.
No matter how you choose to get involved -- by volunteering, adopting or even just donating locally -- you can make 2013 better and brighter for yourself and your local shelter pets.
DIANA CULP, director, Humane Society for Shelter Pets
The article about the battle of the budget was myopic and biased. I believe that the Times Free Press should be more responsible in reviewing material before publishing such irresponsible opinions.
Only the ignorant would be in favor of raising the debt ceiling at this time. It is time that responsible people start to demand a balanced budget, and it is time to hold a hard line on the debt ceiling and the federal deficit.
I am a middle-class citizen who pays a myriad of taxes; federal, county, city and sales. I have no issue with paying taxes when I see that the funds are properly used.
What is upsetting is the waste of these tax dollars to reward the lobbyists and special interest groups that support the campaigns. Since federal taxes have been increased for everyone, it now is appropriate to demand a reduction in wasteful spending and a balanced budget. There must not be an increase in the debt ceiling, as an increase will adversely impact everyone in this country.
Further erosion of the dollar and potentially high inflation would impact every U.S. citizen greater than the tax increases.
Following the 2010 census, all local governments were required by the state to adopt new district plans. Most Hixson residents have enjoyed solid leadership from Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd. Pam is a Hixson High graduate, longtime Hixson resident and former business owner located in Hixson. I always have found Pam to be accessible and open-minded and will miss her representation. I wish her continued success.
After being consumed by District 1, my neighborhood and a few other longtime District 3 residents are in some unfamiliar territory. District 1 represents the westernmost border of Chattanooga or the general areas of Red Bank and Lookout Valley to the Georgia border nearly 30 miles away.
With the next citywide election just a few weeks away, we are fortunate to have the opportunity to vote for a man who is no stranger to District 1 and the Hixson community. Dr. Tom McCullough has been a leader in local education for over 40 years. I have been fortunate to know him as my principal, my boss and friend. Please join me by voting for Dr. Tom McCullough City Council, District 1, on March 5. Don't forget, early voting begins Feb. 13.
MICHAEL S. KIRK, Hixson
I am pleased to see Mr. Bennett taking a break from his attacks on the Second Amendment. He is an excellent cartoonist, and on some subjects he hits the bull's-eye and helps me think about my own views or hope that someone else will see the cartoon and think about theirs.
Since I'm not a cartoonist, I would like to reply to Mr. Bennett by saying it is unfortunate that he wastes so many of his cartoons by sniping at innocent people using cartoon bullets that often appear to be composed of incorrect information, hate and intolerance.
Let's try to stop using fighting words and their cartoon equivalents against each other. Let's keep trying to work together to improve the country and world we all say we love. It's always too soon to give up and hate each other.
TOM HUGHES, East Ridge
It all happened so quickly. Our own Randy Wilkes, athletic trainer at Ooltewah High School, was talking with Denise Ray, the school nurse, in the gymnasium. It was toward the end of gym class and several boys were shooting hoops on the basketball court. George Wade went for a layup and subsequently fell to the floor.
Within seconds, he was surrounded by several coaches, Denise and Randy. George had no pulse and was not breathing. Randy and Denise began CPR, and 911 was called. One of the coaches ran to retrieve the AED, which was located in another building. Following the second shock, George's pulse returned and after a short stint of rescue breathing, he began to breathe on his own.
George recovered and has returned to be with his classmates at OHS.
We are proud of our fellow employee, Randy Wilkes, and how bravely and skillfully he assisted in saving George's life.
The staff at Center for Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics