Ooltewah band's Rose Bowl Parade show a 'pleasure'
What a pleasure it was to watch the Ooltewah Marching Band in the Rose Bowl Parade last week. The students were wonderful.The clever uniforms and accessories they used were so very entertaining.
Everyone involved with this band should be very proud of these students. They are a positive, upbeat credit to their community. Thank you.
Newt is callous on food stamps
Recently Newt Gingrich made a speech in which he mockingly referred to President Obama as the "food stamps president." He used the phrase repeatedly almost as an indictment and insisted that more food stamps had been issued under the current administration than any other.
While we all realize that there is some abuse of the system, for the most part food stamps provide food for people who are hungry and would not eat otherwise. Where's the problem, Newt? You certainly don't look as if you have missed too many meals lately.
Rev. Hunter Huckabay Jr.
DeVos all wrong for education
RE: The Dec. 27 Free Press commentary about Donald Trump's nominee for U S. Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.
DeVos is another wealthy individual in Donald Trump's cabinet of billionaire business people. She has no practical knowledge of education, pedagogy or curricula.
In fact, she has no applicable credentials or experience in the field of educational standards or budget planning that would qualify her for anything over our public schools. The extent of her educational experiences have been with the legislative and charter systems in the Detroit area. It seems as though the newly nominated secretary of education wants the nation's public schools to head in the direction of charter schools, vouchers and schools run for profit.
It seems as though the last frontier of "free" education is now going to be challenged by big business and government by means of easy access through charter schools.
We have a profession to protect, educators. We are in the trenches, and we know how this works on a daily basis. Our children still have to learn to read, write and do arithmetic regardless of politics. Let us protect what we know best: Education!
Abuse of power threat to U.S.
The main reason to fear a Trump presidency has little to do with politics or Trump's well-documented shortcomings. The primary intention of the founders was to ensure against the abuse of power. We are about to award the most power our Constitution gives to any single individual to a man whose entire life has been an exercise in the abuse of power at every opportunity, from practicing discrimination in housing to his current habit of attacking ordinary citizens who simply disagree with him.
If a Trump presidency reveals him to be the monster our founders feared, those who voted for him can't claim ignorance: We all know exactly what we're getting.
David C. Redheffer
Separate districts unjustified
As a student of education policy and government, I recently read about a pervasive textbook problem coming to life — in my own hometown. The Times Free Press article "Signal Mountain to consider forming own school district" confirms, in my mind, that education remains the greatest civil rights issue we face today.
Building great public education is everyone's challenge, everyone's opportunity, everyone's responsibility. The detrimental consideration of Signal Mountain — joined by Red Bank and potentially others — to leave Hamilton County Schools creates a local school funding incentive and ability to segregate along socioeconomic lines.
Forming separate school districts will cement district boundaries between the haves and the have-nots, holding resources and broader opportunities exclusive to affluent communities. An over-reliance on property tax will bolster school district borders excluding our neediest communities.
How is this justifiable? Is not the success of every Hamilton County student and by extension, the well-being of Chattanooga, also of utmost interest to you?
Trump threatens a free, open press
Trump won't be president for two more weeks, however, he acts as though he is. He refuses daily intelligence briefings saying he is "a smart man and doesn't need them." Not smart!
He doesn't understand we live in a dangerous world. Something can happen any minute. The president needs to be ready; not his subordinates. He can't run the country as a CEO. Government is not a business. He has no understanding how it works, and that's clear to those who do.
He criticizes our representatives at the U.N; that's ignorant! Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he should be careful talking about nuclear weapons; that's scary. He has no concept of the damage he's doing. He is clueless about geo-political consequences. He's had no news conferences since July; he is afraid of facing the press. He would rather hold rallies for his ego and tweet like a sophomore in high school.
Thomas Jefferson said a free press was essential to a free people. Trump is trying to destroy ours since it will expose his ignorance.
City: Don't ignore paving needs
The section of Old Dayton Pike between Highway 27 to Falling Water has been a complete mess for nine years. Residents are fed up. Bent wheels, worn-out ball joints and tie rods are getting to be the norm for us.
The city's answer is to shovel some asphalt patch into the holes. One month later, we're back to the same old, same old. I was shocked to see that a center line on our Wagon Trail was actually painted on two years ago. Yeah, we really needed that on our torn-up road.
Browntown Road, a block from here, has been paved twice. Wonder who lives on that road? With no street lights, paved sidewalks or bike lanes, spend some money on paving our street, please. I really don't want to hear that it's not in the budget. It's not in my budget to fix my cars either. We are paying city and county taxes for this.
Let's seek peace, freedom for all
At my church's English as a Second Language ministry I realized our gracious students and their children — often from the Sudan, often Muslim, were some Trump would persecute, force to register and deport to very dangerous places.
They have suffered in ways most Americans cannot comprehend: homelands scarred by wars and children threatened with starvation, disease, incredible violence.
Immigrants to a land of immigrants might be singled out for persecution in the "land of the free!" These gentle folk — no more terrorists than I — are seen by "the Donald" as "other terrorists."
I fear for those here legally or illegally, political, religious, ethnic refugees who came here to find freedom for their children — freedom we take for granted. My friends, the human face of such persecution for casting their lots with ours, could be punished simply for being who God created them to be, possibly soon gone without reason.
Who could be so capricious with the lives of our most vulnerable inhabitants and dare do so in the name of God? God never chooses any person over another. God doesn't hate. We need peace and freedom; sadly, the time is not at hand.