Albert Einstein purportedly defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This perfectly describes our country's drug policy. In his column of Feb. 12, David Cook is of two minds about legalizing drugs, saying correctly that legally selling drugs does not qualify the U.S. to be that shining beacon on the hill we all wish it to be, but his conclusion that we therefore should not legalize them is incorrect. Under present laws, extensive tax funds are used to pursue, capture, prosecute and incarcerate nonviolent drug users. This foolish program of proven failure should be scrapped, and all drugs should be legalized, taxed and rigidly controlled, and the funds diverted to education and other positive state needs, such as rehab for those who want it, cleaning our neighborhoods, promoting business and fighting poverty. Many adults can safely use drugs, and do (alcohol and tobacco are legal). The problem isn't drugs, it's addiction, and its cost to society. If you want to pay fewer taxes, drop the war on drugs. We know what doesn't work; it's time to try something else.
LISA J. SCOTT, Dayton, Tenn.
Sen. Bob Corker last week shared his opinion that a VW vote for the union represented by UAW could be damaging to our community. The Times in its editorial Feb. 12 criticized Corker and other community leaders for weighing in on this subject. This is both hypocritical and disingenuous. Of course political and community leaders should give their opinion about a matter that could affect this community for years to come. The writer of the editorial knows that Corker loves this community; that he was influential in convincing VW to locate its plant in Chattanooga; that he as mayor energized this community with the waterfront development that boosted both our civic pride and reputation as a dynamic and progressive city; and that he as senator was intimately involved in the GM bailout that underscored the role of the UAW in the collapse of the auto industry. Furthermore, your newspaper obviously doesn't eschew the opinions of politicians from outside the state: sharing the page with your editorial were two op-ed pieces, endorsing the UAW, written by a congressman from Kentucky and a former secretary of labor, currently at the University of California Berkeley. We should be grateful we have leaders in Tennessee willing to take a stand in doing what they feel is in the best interest of all of us.
PAT AND NINA BROCK, Lookout Mountain, Tenn.
During my tenure as sheriff of Dade County, Ga., my office started the D.A.R.E. program in an effort to educate and inform students on the dangers of illegal drug use. It was during this time Perry Perkins called my office offering to help. Two hurdles we faced were funding and activities for the students. Through Perry's strong leadership and work with several local police agencies, we were able to provide activities for our students while at the same time raise funds for the program. These activities included rollerskating parties, swimming and other events at the YMCA. These events became the largest source of revenue for our program. It wasn't just Dade County students who benefited, but several Hamilton County schools were also involved. Perry worked for many years with me and my staff in the program. He consistently showed superior leadership and a deep concern for the students and their future. Obviously I don't live in District 7, but for those who do and want a commissioner with integrity, dedication and proven leadership, Perry is the candidate to choose. He will make a difference.
PHIL STREET, retired Dade County Sheriff
Several weeks ago, I wrote a letter stating my displeasure with some Alabama fans. This time, in all fairness, I am stating my displeasure with my favorite -- Auburn. According to ESPN, a young man from Auburn High School who chose Alabama over Auburn is being harassed by some Auburn fans. This is unacceptable to those of us who would like for all fans to show respect to everyone.
MARGIE MERRITT, Ringgold, Ga.
The editorial "Obamacare Frees Up Jobs" was a tortured spin of word hash. The author surmises from the CBO report that people who are working now to help pay for insurance will be able to cut their hours because the government is helping them pay for it. They have to work just to keep insurance ... so supplement them and they do not have to work as many hours. Get help buying food, and be able to work less hours. Get home heating assistance and be able to work less hours. Get a free cellphone and be able to work less hours. Is all of this a good thing? Where does it stop? And remember, none of this assistance is counted as income ... so the "poor" stay poor. I would like a new vehicle, can the government help me so I can spend more time with my family? I was raised to understand that you worked to get the items you needed, and care for your family. Give me the necessities, and why work? And to Paul Krugman, CBO says in 10 years there will still be 30 million uninsured. So you sign up for Obamacare and help the numbers.
JACK N. CALLAHAN, Cleveland, Tenn.
It bothers me that Gov. Haslam is advertising on television for WGU -- a private online university. Tennessee has an online university that is administered by the Tennessee Board of Regents. Regents Online Campus Collaborative is supported by Tennessee tax dollars and is available through the Regents' universities, community colleges, and Tennessee colleges for Applied Technology. Further, the governor has authorized WGU to accept Tennessee lottery scholarships. When the lottery was being passed, it was proposed as a means to provide funding for scholarships to state-supported, post-secondary institutions. Why would the governor see the need to advertise for WGU? Would it be that Tom Ingram is the CEO of WGU? Follow the money.
THOMAS SMITH, Oak Ridge, Tenn.