Life no philosophical case, but a reality

On Dec. 1, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on a Mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks gestation. One of the solicitors included a statement like "... aside from the philosophical argument of when life begins ..."

I beg to differ. When life begins is more a scientific and medical reality than a philosophical argument.

A woman's body creates an egg that has her DNA but is not life. A man's body creates sperm that has his DNA but is not life. When one sperm fertilizes an egg, the resulting cell has DNA that is unique. Growth begins. By the end of three days, that one cell has divided four times to become 16. Since non-life does not grow and self-replicate, is this not the very definition of life? And clearly it is human.

At this point, human life is microscopic and has no form that resembles a human body but is growing and has its own unique DNA. This is not just a part of the woman's body — this is a separate human life that a woman has the privilege of hosting and the responsibility of protecting for nine months.

Dennis Urbaniak

Signal Mountain


Do the right thing for fellow humans

I am baffled over the current ideology in this country in which people are putting politics over the health of one's fellow human being. We have lost 787,695 of our friends and loved ones, 795 per day average over the last five days, which has left over 100,000 children without at least one of their primary caregivers. Gov. Lee is doing everything he can do to keep us at risk to flame his political agenda to stay in office. We have the best medical and scientific community in the world, and yet as a country we have totally blown the handling of this pandemic because of, you guessed it, politics.

Come on people, getting a poke in the arm and wearing a mask are not fascism; they are doing the right thing for your fellow human beings.

Charles Mitchell


The wrong question about Build Back Better

Of all the reasons to express hesitancy in support of the Build Back Better legislation currently before the Senate, the Nov. 29 report headlined "Local news outlets could reap $1.7B in aid" suggests a simple one. Beyond even the question "Why would the federal government subsidize newspapers?" there is the basic question "Why is this legislative proposal contained in a massive, thousands-pages-long bill which also addresses child care, universal pre-K, expanded child tax credits, climate change proposals, and amnesty for millions of undocumented immigrants, among numerous other things?"

Of all the things which point to a dysfunctional Congress, nothing speaks more clearly than catch-all legislation: bills so lengthy, convoluted and expensive that no one can read or comprehend them in all their detail (and unintended consequences), to say nothing of the impossibility of actually debating in any meaningful way the impact of these provisions. Other than a desire to legislate sweeping changes in the American cultural landscape, why wouldn't a responsible, competent Congress insist that each of these unrelated provisions (newspaper subsidies, climate change, amnesty, etc.) be debated and voted on separately?

If truth is up for grabs, so is its cousin "common sense."

Gary Lindley

Lookout Mountain, Ga.


Rolling out the barrels, not gallons

In a Dec. 5 letter to the editor, the writer took issue with President Biden's release of "50 million gallons of oil" from the Strategic Oil Reserves in an attempt to lower gas prices, and called the president a "moron."

I too have questions about the appropriateness of this decision. However, if you are going to publicly question someone's intelligence, you could at least have the common decency to use the correct numbers in your argument! The release is for 50 million "barrels" of oil, not gallons. There are 42 gallons of oil in a barrel.

Ken Barker



Parking ticket offers shopper lump of coal

Thank Republic Parking for the lump of coal. Went to town on a recent Saturday to support small businesses. Meters on streets were turned off. I guess the parking lot wasn't. Got a $31 ticket. I'll be returning most of my purchases to offset the ticket. Thanks for supporting small business day, Republic Parking.

John "JJ" Jerman



Worried about armed militias

I am very worried in what I see taking place in our great country. We have armed individuals and groups (militias) walking the streets during tense times. Local police departments could easily be overwhelmed. State governments need to set up a quick reactionary force (QRF, as the military calls it) that could be deployed to assist any local police department. If this isn't done, the federal government might be tempted to initiate martial law. Hopefully, the armed individuals and groups will come to their senses. Germany in the 1930s is an example of what could happen.

Joel Blake


Invest in effective political results

In the business community, a 21% approval rating would be a reason for termination of employment. Yet a whopping 79% of citizens disapprove of the job our elected Washington officials are doing. Squabbling, in-fighting and grandstanding infused with unhealthy political divergence continue to cause political dysfunction and create government paralysis.

Furthermore, all the legal wrangling usually delays or kills legislation. The challenge should be to re-evaluate these low-performing elected officials with an eye directed toward new leaders who will abandon the political wrangling and work toward effectiveness in government. Let's consider the following:

* Stop unrestrained campaign length; shorten campaigns to four months.

* Eliminate political assaults; stop all the theater and grandstanding.

* Stop time spent on raising money; this distracts from serving constituents.

As we insist on both parties lowering the political temperature, it is time to re-evaluate each elected official. When termination for low performance happens in the business community, it is usually regarded as a positive. Should it not be considered likewise in the political arena? How long will we continue allowing ineffective, dysfunctional hired hands in Washington? We have a choice — immediate political pressure and termination via the ballot box!

Johnny Jones


Trains blocking busy road should move

There is a situation that is frequently occurring at the Hickory Valley railroad crossing south of Bonny Oaks. The last four or five times I have driven north on Hickory Valley Road, I have encountered a freight train parked across the road and completely blocking both the north and southbound lanes of the road.

This is not only an inconvenience to motorists but creates a possible life or death situation for emergency vehicles such as fire, police or ambulances.

The train engineers have parked their trains in the area before with the last car in the the train well clear of the crossing. I have no idea to whom this situation should be addressed.

James Collis


Tim Boyd's speech 'insulting,' unforgettable

When the state General Assembly called itself into a special session earlier this year, the GOP supermajority's work included a bill allowing partisan school board elections.

Those who voted for the bill should monitor its potentially unforeseen consequences, such as school board meetings in various communities that have descended into chaos over politics-driven issues.

By failing to elicit advice about the proposal from educators, the legislators' work suggests an apt paraphrase of the advice about marriage: "Legislate in haste, repent in leisure."

Teachers, principals and administrators have the ability to recognize actual or potential problems with how school policies affect students. Of course, too often they get the Rodney Dangerfield treatment: "no respect."

That came to mind in reading a report on Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd's speech to the Chattanooga Pachyderm Club, whose members will likely not forget it.

Boyd claimed the education department's "stance" was: "We don't care if they know anything, we just want to graduate them."

It's not easy to insult nearly 60,000 students, teachers and administrators simultaneously. But Boyd managed.

Michael Loftin