Mizpah thanks area for generosity
On behalf of Mizpah Congregation, thanks to Chattanooga area residents who assisted us in helping airport workers during the recent partial federal shutdown. Many made donations or brought gift cards for us to distribute. Other organizations and individuals adopted the idea to multiply many times what was given.
The emotional support was just as important. As I gave gift cards at the airport, I was repeatedly told how much the outpouring of caring meant.
In addition to the TSA officers and FAA workers at the airport, we were able to assist National Park Service workers and members of our local Coast Guard.
I would like to thank Rabbi Craig Lewis, whose sermon based on Leviticus about how wrong it was to withhold a worker's wages stimulated me to undertake this project, and TSA officials, who guided me through the logistics of developing it.
Thanks also to Sonia Young, the Purple Lady, who assisted in obtaining media coverage, and to the local media. The effort also was mentioned on NPR Weekend Edition, and groups in other cities were moved to do the same thing.
I am proud of our Chattanooga community. We are truly "Nooga Strong."
Frank J. Miller, MD
Maroon Five saluted; respect the flag
Maroon Five was very brave to perform at the Super Bowl (in light of complaints bands should be in sync with NFL protesters). Almost no one supports brutality against black or white by the police or anyone else.
NFL players made their choice when they took the knee. Their cause is good, but they chose the wrong way.
Our American flag flies for everyone, so all should stand and respect our thousands of veterans who defended our country from dictatorship and death. Thousands of our vets didn't come home from World War I, World War II and all wars.
Please find another way to honor your people. Please don't ask us to respect the cause over our beautiful flag and our very brave vets.
Don't ask everyone to join the NFL in protesting. We all respect our flag and vets and our democratic country.
Carbon Act and how weather ought to be
I've read your paper more often lately. The latest thing to catch my eye was Dave Flessner's recent article, "Cold Weather and Heavy Rain Boosts TVA Income." It's nice TVA gets to use its most economical power source, and a renewable one, too.
I'm old enough to remember when people blamed crazy weather on atomic bombs. Now I listen to other old people talk about how we're having an "old-fashioned winter" and realize it's tacit acknowledgement those are getting scarce.
On they next page, Alex Verge's natural gas prices article says this winter, having gone from warm to old-fashioned, will swing back to warm again. It's like something has destabilized it. We were just wrong about it being bombs.
Aren't any other old people paying attention? Or do we just expect not to be around when the sleet hits the fan?
There is a bill in the works, H.R. 763 Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019, that could do something about the problem. U.S. Rep. Fleischmann could support it.
Let's all us old people, who remember how weather used to be, ought to be, talk to him about it.
Presidents picked by God? Get serious
Along with Franklin Graham ("God allowed Trump to win the election to protect this nation") to Robert Jeffress (Trump's election was God "giving us another chance"), we can now add Sarah Sanders to the list of various Americans who believe that God wanted Donald Trump to be the next president.
This issue presents certain difficulties. One, if a supreme being picks presidents, how do we explain James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson and Warren Harding? Second, do we assume that God was a strong New Dealer because FDR won four terms in office (1932, 1936, 1940 and 1944)?
Lastly, if God continues to decide presidential elections, I hope he or she gives the winner both the electoral and the popular vote. Such a move would no doubt have helped both Al Gore (who had 500,000 more votes than Bush in 2000) and Hillary Clinton (who had 2.9 million more votes than Trump in 2016) recover from their electoral defeats.
Michael V. Woodward, Hixson
'Emergency' wall unconstitutional
The government shutdown has ended and hundreds of thousands of federal workers can at last be paid; however, it is important to be aware what may happen after Feb. 15, when another shutdown is possible if negotiations between the administration and House Democrats fail to produce a compromise.
Donald Trump and Sarah Huckabee Sanders have both made it clear Trump intends to build the wall Democrats refuse to fund by declaring a state of emergency.
Let's be clear about what is at stake: If Trump does this, it will be blatantly unconstitutional and authoritarian. The executive branch will have refused to be restrained by the powers vested in the Congress by Article One of the Constitution. That will be an impeachable offense, and the Congress will be bound to act by the oaths its members took.
It is hoped someone with constitutional and historical knowledge will speak to Trump and explain his peril before Feb. 15.
In the meantime, concerned Americans need to contact their congressional representatives, especially members of the Republican Party, and call on them to make it clear they will uphold their oaths in the face of Trump's blatant assault on the Constitution.
David Cofield, LaFayette, Ga.
Reader appreciates TFP hand-delivery
This letter is to express my thanks for the carrier who delivers my paper.
Due to the weather conditions I didn't expect my paper until late on Jan. 24.
I was pleasantly surprised by a knock on my door before noon. The carrier hand-delivered my paper! This has never happened to me before.
I just wanted you to know it made my day. Thank you.
Judith Deal, Soddy-Daisy
Income inequality a chronic problem
In 1964-65, I taught fifth grade at Avondale Elementary School. I heard my students talk about living in two-bedroom apartments with 12 to 15 other people. White people had refused to sell their homes to black families, and those families had nowhere to move.
As this trend continues, the privacy of single-unit homes reduces the social interaction with others who might have negative influences on maturing children. Yes, it would be great to think that everyone could buy a new house, but I would bet the new location is better than the old one.
Societal integration was the goal of the pioneers of racial equality, and this should remain a major goal in the future.
Until we no longer have special identification of certain schools and students are taught the value of an education at home, the discrepancies between income will allow people at the ends of income levels to become further and further apart.
Former resident mourns Sandy
When I saw him a few weeks ago, I was surprised by how thin he looked. The last time I had seen him nearly a year ago, he did not appear so frail. Since being struck with colon cancer a few years ago, Sandy's once sculpted muscles had been in decline. But his smile had not changed.
I ran into Sandy outside a restaurant downtown, and like so many countless times before, I slipped him a couple dollars, and he handed me a single flower. It was a scene that was repeated many times in the 12 years I lived in Chattanooga. Following the exchange, I offered him a hug, which he accepted graciously. As usual, he had little to say — just a flower and a smile.
For all the times Sandy and I spoke over the years, I suspect he never remembered my name, or ever knew the names of so many others who never missed a chance to slip him a dollar for a bloom, but everyone knew his name. He was Sandy the Flower Man.
Sandy was what you might call a "fixture" in Chattanooga. For me, he defined downtown as much as the Choo-Choo, or The Aquarium.
I was at my desk in Juneau, Alaska, when I heard the news on Facebook. Photos and memories flooded my feed.
I was not there to place a flower on the heap and remember Sandy with the rest of his admirers, but I was glad to have had one last opportunity to share a smile with him near the end of his life.
This week, I will buy a flower and give it to a stranger. If they ask me why, I will tell them I am doing it to spread a smile, and because that is what a very special man called Sandy taught me to do.
Jim Pfitzer, Juneau, Alaska