Joe Carr, who is challenging Sen. Lamar Alexander's re-election next year, totally missed the mark with his recent campaign ad regarding Sen. Alexander and the construction of the Olmsted Lock and Dam project in Kentucky. I want to set the record straight. Congress pays for this vital piece of America's infrastructure every year through the normal appropriations process. The debt ceiling legislation passed last week did not appropriate any funding for the Olmsted project. The legislation merely increased the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' authorization level for the project, so that existing funds can be spent and the project does not have to shut down. Carr's ad is entirely inaccurate. If we followed his approach, nearly 500 workers would have received pink slips at Christmas, and the federal government would have wasted $160 million on shutting down the project. Did Sen. Alexander make the right decision? You bet. This was a responsible vote by Sen. Alexander and his colleagues in the U.S. Senate. Doing anything else would have cost the government millions and delayed completion of this key piece of river infrastructure. Sen. Alexander stood up for taxpayers and American jobs when he voted to keep the Olmsted project moving forward. We need clear-headed leaders like Sen. Alexander, not misinformed critics like Mr. Carr.
DAN MECKLENBORG, Ingram Barge Company
I feel a rebuttal is necessary to a writer whose letter was published Oct. 24. Although I did not read Pam Sohn's editorial to which he referred about a prototype Volkswagen that gets the equivalency of 261 mpg, I must defend the concepts of reducing our fossil fuel emissions and of changing an entire society's behavior through individual choice. It is worth noting that there are now many low-emission vehicles in all price ranges from which to choose. I have driven a Honda Civic Hybrid since I bought it new in December 2002 and am extremely pleased with its performance (especially 44.6 mpg up and down Signal Mountain.) Let's hear it for freedom of speech and freedom of choice!
CORNELIA D. JANEY Signal Mountain
Once again Tennessee is in the news for ranking high in prescription drug abuse and now it's taking a toll on the unborn babies who do not have a choice or a voice in the situation! Could someone either in the hospital or the police department explain to our society why these slugs are not arrested when the hospital becomes aware that these babies are withdrawing from drugs! Why is this not considered child abuse?
JAMES PLUMLEE Hixson
The commentary, "Huey Long had it right, the parties deserve each other," from the Oct. 8 is spot on. It is maddening to think what our government can accomplish if the opposing parties actually work toward finding solutions instead of having Washington's version of a bad sibling rivalry. Through all of the whining and finger pointing, who gets to play big brother and actually make progress? Maya MacGuineas, president of the committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and head of the campaign to Fix the Debt, offered some solutions. MacGuineas suggested reforms to federal retirement and health benefit programs, privatizing the Tennessee Valley Authority, and charging more to cover costs of the national parks would provide short term savings, along with eliminating unnecessary overlaps in spending among departments. Our nation would still be left with long- term issues because of narrow budget cuts, so public debt is expected to reach 100 percent of the economy by 2035. MacGuineas suggested considering all facets of the budget, including tax and entitlement reform to allow true economic growth. However, no progress can occur without productive discussions among parties that allow our government to function.
IDRIS GARCIA Editor-in-chief, University Echo
Its strange how so-called government leaders of this great and powerful U.S.A. chose October, the Halloween month, to play trick-or-treat with the U.S. citizens. By doing so, and if they do not stop blaming each other for this country's problems, they will be doing the job of this nation's enemies -- tearing the country apart. May I recommend you read Luke 11:17. Also remember the motto: United we stand, divided we fall.
I read your article, "Same-sex couples challenge Tennessee marriage laws,"(Oct. 21). I think the couple is brave to fight for what they believe is right, however what is right and wrong is not always going to be black and white. There are always going to be gray areas in the Constitution and our rights. I'm curious to see how this court case will turn out. I do not support gay marriage, but I think homosexual couples have endured a lot of criticism. They have the freedom to challenge court cases, and speak what they believe is right. We don't have to listen, or agree with them, but I wish we would respect them as individual people.
TIARA HOY Collegedale, Tenn.