In the Free Press editorial on Jan. 23, Patrick Michaels was referenced as a climate expert. It's popular for climate change deniers to cite Michaels though very few in the scientific community share his views. Many climate scientists agree that global warming is occurring and is primarily caused by the burning of fossil fuels.
This consensus, however, has not carried over to public opinion. Only about half of the public believe climate change is caused by man, and most believe there is significant disagreement within the scientific community. The fossil fuel industry in the United States has spent a lot of money and has created a successful campaign modeled after the tobacco industry to create doubt about climate change. Michaels himself has admitted that about 40 percent of his funding has come from the petroleum industry.
Furthermore, the American media's desire to be balanced has given this vocal minority too large of a voice and has perpetuated confusion among its audience. The science is clear. We must act. A carbon tax is the first step.
DAN COOPER, Ringgold, Ga.
For those of you who may have missed it, Lamar Alexander's introductory address at the inauguration was well spoken and was a high point of the day's events.
It doesn't surprise me that the Hamilton County Republican Party organization didn't warm up to it, yet those same people couldn't praise him enough when he was governor in the '80s.
He is a true statesman and a real patriot, and both of these qualities are in short supply these days.
CHARLES M. HYDER, Dalton, Ga.
Lately, I have been talking to my tea party friends. They rail against the evils of ObamaCare and big government. They preach to me about reducing the deficit. Most of them are Christian evangelical, and they are older, middle-income, retired and on Social Security. They only have compassion -- they say -- for the "deserving poor." They praise the Iraq war, which is unpaid for as a "just war." Both are cop-outs.
Selfishly, my friends say cut benefits for the poor, but don't cut my benefits! The Bible says "It is better to give than to receive."
MIKE C. BODINE
Today, Martin Luther King is regarded in an almost saintly aura by conservatives and liberals alike. But when he was alive he was vilified by practically every conservative as a card-carrying communist and a liberal rabble rouser.
Those on the right who speak of him with such deference would do well to ponder a little more deeply the extent of his progressivism. If he were alive today and as outspoken as he was then, those same conservatives would be cursing him, not praising him.
He was more than just a non-violent activist for civil rights; he was a fiery rebel who spoke out unabashedly for social justice -- two words that today's rabid right wingers don't even like to hear. Today, he would likely be railing against corporate greed and our crony capitalist system that favors only the rich, against our proliferation of guns and violence and our squandering of obscene amounts of money on our military-industrial complex, against our shameful neglect of our schools and social services; and he would be calling for strengthening our unions, not dismantling them.
Dr. King deserves respect, indeed -- but not the misplaced respect of those who have so grossly distorted and white-washed his message.
RICK ARMSTRONG, Monteagle, Tenn.
The re-creation of production jobs in the U.S.A. is the key to recovery. Why do the Republicans only have plans for decreasing the workers' wages, thereby widening the workers' wage gap and are without plans for re-creating jobs here? The loss of U.S. workers' jobs has been caused from the effects of the global economy, with a trade deficit of more than $48 billion per month.
Now they are against helping the private sectors in re-creating the needed manufacturing/production jobs here? The Republicans' objectives/policies would continue to force more people into poverty and then their principles are against using our government for helping with these people's existence.
Forget about the workers having any representation on the job or there being any help for the people who cannot find a job when there is only one job available for every four people looking for work?
The Republicans have made it clear that they would not help and would leave these people in poverty to fend for themselves.
CARL BRACKIN, Georgetown, Tenn.
Over 28 million people recently tuned in to see Oprah interview Lance Armstrong, who admitted that he used banned drugs to further his cycling career. Contrary to recent criticism, I believe that this long-awaited confession was truly sincere. He never actually committed any physical harm to anyone other than himself, and there is no doubt that he has worked very hard to receive such an honorable level of success that very few have managed to surpass. Many of his teammates were using the same drugs. Almost every cyclist has been caught.
While forgiveness may be challenging after hearing him deny these claims for many years and lie straight to our faces, we ought to accept his gutsy apology for the sake of him and his family's future. I think that past sponsors should not sue but instead be grateful for the years of exposure that he has given toward their brand.
Armstrong should be able to make a comeback and compete in future cycling races, as long as he is consistently tested for drugs.
On Wednesday, Jan. 23, the sign in front of her read "Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton." Not true; anything but honorable. Her husband -- and I use the term loosely -- lied to a federal grand jury and never served time in prison, as you and I would have.
Though he was impeached, he wasn't even removed from office, and is now earning millions with many speaking engagements. So Mrs. Bill Clinton has learned from Bubba and Barack that lying has little or no consequences, as long as you're a liberal Democrat.
That will be a monumental asset now that her 2016 election campaign was officially begun, with the open fawning by her Democrat friends on the Senate and House Foreign Relations committees during the congressional hearing sham. But kudos to Senators Paul, McCain, Johnson, and several House members for at least calling her out publicly. More will unravel soon. Count on it.
JOHN BERGEN, Ringgold, Ga.
Kudos to Col. William W. Fraker, U.S. Army (Ret.), for his eloquent reminder on the spirit and intent of the Second Amendment. In the context of our rights guaranteed under the Constitution, we are entitled to protect ourselves against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
We can only exercise that right when we have equal access to the resources available to any military or terrorist group that threatens us. That some chose to use these weapons for less noble means is not sufficient cause to vacate this amendment, nor for the president or others in political office to circumvent this basic right. We are grief stricken and overwhelmed when there are senseless acts of terror and innocent lives are lost.
In the context of the newest gun control measures signed by the president, he should take great care with the office that has been entrusted to him. He has been elected to lead this great nation but has not been given the authority to run it. There is a great difference. Executive powers, skillfully manipulated from our current laws, are an affront to our Constitution.
CLIFTON J. ST. PIERRE, Birchwood, Tenn.