News From Terre Haute, Indiana

August 5, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Aug. 5, 2012


---- — A tribute to

Charlie Fouty

I have always admired a man who told it like it was, a man who could read a person’s pedigree.

I have known Charlie Fouty forever. I have such fond memories over coffee at Boo’s Restaurant and then I-Hop to the NCAA Tournament this year. I was watching a West Virginia game on ESPN with Brett Musburger and Coach Knight doing the color, there was a questionable call on the floor and Musburger made the remark, “Well, Coach, if you would have had Charlie Fouty refereeing your game, you would have got that call.”

There was a long pause … Coach Knight replied in his stern voice. “Let me tell you, Musburger. … Charlie Fouty is the best referee to ever set foot on the hardwood.” Quite a tribute from Coach Knight. I happened to be in Florida at the time and called Charlie long distance and told him of that incident and there was a long pause, Charlie replied, “It’s all in the eyes of the beholder.” This was typical Charlie.

Back in 2000, I got into it with John Walsh, then a Democratic councilman who had made an accusation against Keith Ruble, head of the Vigo County Park & Recreation Department. I told Walsh that I would have to teach Keith how to steal. At the time, I was president of the Park Board. Being a council appointment, Walsh proceeded to have me kicked off the board.

Charlie came to my rescue. He contacted Judge Dexter Bolin and the judge reappointed me as his appointment the next day for a four-year term. I served 22 years as Park Board president thanks to Charlie and Judge Bolin.

Charlie, we will miss you and thank you for your contributions as a councilman, referee, husband to the lovely wife, Pat, father and best of all being a friend.

— Jack Ennis

West Terre Haute

Objections to law

are a smokescreen

Regarding the letter from Clarence Leatherbury, IU law student, titled “Smoking Ban a Hypocritical Law.”

Mr. Leatherbury goes all around the subject of our Indiana anti-smoking law without addressing the real issue of the bill – to reduce or prevent health problems due to smoking.

“The truth will set you free” is in fact true. The truth is that this law was not sheepishly accepted by the majority of Indiana citizens. This law is the product of many years of work led by Indiana House Representative Charlie Brown, backed by the American Cancer Society and many other health care groups. Every year the bill was introduced, debated, fought and voted down until this year. This law does not violate the private property rights of citizens. The law does apply to all citizens, smokers or not. It is fair to all.

The health consequences of smoking and secondhand smoke are well-documented. The surgeon general of the United States announced in the 1960s that there were clearly harmful health conditions caused by smoking. Mr. Leatherbury failed to mention health problems in his letter!

There are no “favored classes.” The only reason fraternal clubs and casinos are currently exempt is that it was the only way to get the bill to pass. So many people have forgotten that politics is not a “my way or no way” system, but a “let’s reach an agreement that most of us can live with” system. That’s what this bill does. It is a good law, and it will be strengthened in future legislative years if possible. At last Indiana is into the 1990s on this issue. Indianapolis, Bloomington and even Terre Haute have a more restrictive law on the books. I applaud our city!

The legislature is not imposing its ideals of morality. It is trying to protect people from the obvious adverse health effects of tobacco and its pollution of the air. Veterans organizations state, “They went to war to provide freedom for things like smoking.” Sorry, folks, that was not what the wars were about. No one has the right under any conditions to pollute my air with secondhand smoke.

This is really not a revenue-generating scheme for the state. Yes, there are fines that can be imposed, and I for one will readily report violations. However, this law is so easy to comply with, that I really do not see this being a significant source of revenue for the state. Very few business owners will ever be cited for violations of this law. Once again, the point is to reduce the health hazard.

This law was not written to increase the power of the state over individual liberty. This law was written to protect all citizens.

Smokers are mostly too inconsiderate to keep pollution from secondhand smoke to themselves. This is not a “nanny state” law. It is a law that is supported by a majority of Indiana citizens. Only about 20 percent of Indiana citizens smoke. Smoking is a legal – but stupid and addictive – activity. Smokers still have the freedom to ruin their own health with tobacco use.

Mr. Leatherbury also did not address the cash costs of tobacco products and the increased health care costs to both individuals and governments. Anyone who tests positive for nicotine should not receive any government assistance of any kind, because they obviously do not make good decisions regarding their own health.

I hope that our next legislative session further restricts smoking, banning it in all public places including bars, casinos, horse tracks and public parks. It should also implement a state tax of $10 per pack to convince people that they cannot afford to smoke. Oh, but would that stop the addiction of this filthy habit? Do you ever take a look at free lunch benefits offered by churches and other charitable organizations? The people lined up often have spent their cash on cigarettes, a fancy cell phone and multiple tattoos, but do not have money for food. This is another example of poor self-control and lack of good decision making. As far as I am concerned, anyone who chooses to smoke is an absolute fool regarding health and money.

The Indiana legislature should keep up the good work!

— Joseph Lugar Jr.

Terre Haute

Children’s Theatre

celebrating its 75th

Children’s Theatre of Terre Haute (CTTH) is celebrating its 75th anniversary on Aug, 11. CTTH produces plays for and by children.

Its first play in 1936 was the “Wizard of Oz,” and the fall 2012 play will be “King Midas and the Golden Touch.” Since CTTH’s beginnings, thousands of local children have been in the spotlight and felt the thrill of heartfelt applause.

The celebration’s planning committee has been trying to contact all former cast members of plays and CTTH members to invite them to the celebration.

Invitations began going out last week. We know we have not been able to identify everyone, so if you were or know someone who was a cast member in a CTTH play or member of CTTH, please alert them to the celebration.

The 75th anniversary celebration is from 3 to 5 p.m. Aug. 11 in the Atrium at the ISU Bayh College of Education.

All former cast members and CTTH members are asked to RSVP to (812) 236-3193 (if no answer, please leave a message) or find us on Facebook and “join” the event.

See you on the 11th.

— Kendy Steiger

President, CTTH

Don’t let ’em

speak for you

I received an announcement in the mail that the Americans for Prosperity Foundation is coming to Terre Haute in early August. This is an out-of-state-funded secret organization of billionaires (e.g., the Koch Brothers from Kansas) and organized by Karl Rove.

The Supreme Court decision, Citizens United, has allowed such secret organizations to develop and be funded by their ultra-conservative organizations with the goal of unseating all political candidates in every state who are moderates, conservatives, bi-partisans and replacing them with candidates who espouse the extremist views of this small group of very wealthy (maybe the 1 percent of the 1 percent?) individuals and corporations.

They have already made a difference with their huge donations in elections in Wisconsin and in Indiana just to name two states affected by these anonymous donors.

Even Republican Sen. John McCain says of the Supreme Court’s decision (Citizens United) that these groups are “a threat to Democracy.” They have already spent over $3 million of out-of-state money to defeat Sen. Richard Lugar in the recent primary.

No matter what your politics might be, one has to agree that Senator Lugar was a fair, honest, visionary and ethical leader with enormous respect and with seniority on very significant committees. He was, and is, a true statesman in every sense of the word. Even Gov. Mitch Daniels called him a “national treasure!”

And yet, because of this out-of-state interference, Senator Lugar lost in the primary to someone who has already demonstrated that he is a “my way or the highway” person! What a loss to this state! The Republican Senate candidate is already receiving millions of dollars to fund attack ads on Joe Donnelly. Similar funding is being made in the Pence/Gregg campaign for governor.

Over and over again we are seeing significant outcomes in Indiana elections being made because of non-Indiana contributions to ultra-conservative campaigns.

Surely Hoosiers are perfectly capable of making their own political decisions!

Are they going to continue to let non-Hoosiers make local decisions just by pouring money into the negative media ads for those who support their extremist views?

Don’t be fooled into thinking that these groups are Hoosiers or represent Hoosier common sense points of view.

These groups do not care one bit about our good Hoosier citizens. Do not let them speak for you!

— William C. Hine

Terre Haute

Pence, GOP using

Daniels’ themes

The Tribune-Star is devoting a lot of time and print to hype the “warm and fuzzy, positive” campaign ads of Mike Pence. But as Brian Howey pointed out in the Tribune-Star opinion section on July 29, 2012, the “warm and fuzzy, good ole Indiana Boy” campaign ads present only one side of Mike Pence’s two faces.

Using the standard GOP/Tea Party tactics, Mike is using Mitch’s plan and wants to deceive you into believing that Mike is going to represent “All Hoosiers,” and do “what’s best for Indiana.” But Mike Pence will pick up where Mitch Daniels left off, waging war on unions and the middle class, while passing laws that benefit only the upper class and corporate America.

Mitch Daniels’ first official act as governor was to take away all of the unions’ right to enforce existing contracts. Then, although he vowed on national TV that he wouldn’t support a right-to-work-for-less law, he went right to work laying the groundwork to get that law passed. He also joined several Red State/GOP-controlled states, to pass the voters suppression law. I guess Mitch and the Indiana Legislature (controlled by GOP/Tea Party) based their voter fraud scam law on the fact that one of their own, Charlie White, committed voter fraud!

I know all of the GOP faithful are screaming that Mitch is not running for governor, and they’re right. Mitch is not running, but his policies, his agenda and his war on unions and the middle class are running for re-election. The faces may change, but the goal, the mission, of the GOP/Tea Party has not changed!

Mitch and the rest of the Red State Governors got their “orders” from lobbyist groups, including the Tea Party, from the mega-wealthy such as the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson. The mega-bucks being poured into the GOP campaign coffers are coming from 17 elderly white billionaires, and also from foreign countries.

All of the GOP/Tea Party candidates that are elected will be taking “orders” from those 17 elderly white billionaires. And that includes Mike Pence, because if he had not vowed to carry out those orders, he would have been replaced with some one who would. Richard Lugar found that out when he ran against Richard Mourdock in the GOP May primary. Mourdock has openly vowed to continue the no-compromise, our-way-or-no-way the GOP/Tea Party has adopted.

The Tribune-Star has pointed out that in the November election the GOP/Tea Party is going all out to have a “super majority” in the Indiana Legislature. If the voting public allows this to happen, it will not only be a super majority, it will be a GOP/Tea Party Dictatorship!

The GOP/Tea Party will completely control every aspect of what laws are passed and the “two-party” system will be extinct here in Indiana.

Those 17 elderly white billionaires will not be giving orders to protect Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, public education, veterans benefits, unions or the middle class. They’ll spend whatever it takes to buy the right to give those orders. They’ll give billions to buy the election in November. But the fact is money can’t vote, but you can. Don’t be deceived by “bait and switch” ads, and don’t be fooled into voting against your best interests.

— Ron Hastings