This is in regard to Erlanger setting the rule that you can't smoke within three blocks of the hospital. What is considered a block? Why not cut to the chase and stop hiring people with that unacceptable addiction? It is a statistic that one in three Americans is obese, and $117 billion is the cost for diagnostic and treatment services related to weight loss. This now exceeds the health care cost associated with smoking and alcohol abuse. Americans are addicted to sugar, salt and saturated fat. Those are the acceptable addictions. The fork has become a weapon of mass destruction. Maybe it should be no french fries, honeybuns, or soda within three blocks?
PATTY COLLIER, Chattanooga
Say one thing for most new members of Congress: They soon master the well-known Congressional Straddle. If you're unfamiliar with the Straddle, check Congressman Chuck Fleischmann's website statement, posted after Congress voted last month to end the government shutdown and raise the debt limit. He claimed that "while I strongly believe that government has an obligation to pay its debts, we also have an obligation to address the true fiscal crisis facing our great nation," thus showing that he has what it takes to be a master straddler, or an ability to be on both sides of an issue. Of course the government must pay its debts and effectively manage the government's fiscal crises. So why did Fleischmann vote against ending the shutdown and raising the debt ceiling? Neither his statement nor his YouTube-like video explanation provide credible answers. Worse, neither takes into account the consequences of the House Republicans' foolhardiness in prolonging the shutdown. Moody's Analytics estimated the shutdown cost the government about $55 billion. Missing the debt ceiling deadline likely would have led to economic chaos. And experts are still calculating the immense impact on our economy. Fleischmann's Congressional Straddle talking point that the government must pay its debts and handle its fiscal crises, his vote against ending the shutdown rendered those concerns irrelevant. So will House Republicans, or the 80 or so (including Fleischmann) obsessed with ending Obamacare, try for another shutdown in January? They might. Several millennia ago, King Solomon had a prescient comment about such a possibility in Proverbs 26:11: "As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly."
Dr. Ben Carson (a physician who told a Washington, D.C., Values Voter Summit that Obamacare "is slavery") is the most impressive individual to have been introduced to the American public in a long, long time. To have him criticized in your paper Oct. 20 by (Miami Herald columnist) Leonard Pitts is regrettable. Dr. Carson is a brilliant neurosurgeon with an admirable life story which should excite and impress every American. He feels that the health plan being put into effect in our country is a grave mistake. One can only assume that Mr. Pitts is fearful that Dr. Carson's views just might make a great deal of sense to America.
ELIZABETH C. ROBERTSON, Signal Mountain