News From Terre Haute, Indiana


March 8, 2014

Readers’ Forum: March 9, 2014

Mardi Gras great event for Swope

The Swope Art Museum celebrated Mardi Gras on Saturday, March 1, with a fun-filled evening that included dancing, fortune-telling, food and drink, special masks and beads, a new “style-off” hair competition and the election of the Mardi Gras king and queen. It was a highly successful fundraiser, offering guests a wonderful time that night, with proceeds supporting the Swope’s educational programs, American art collection and special exhibitions, which are free to Wabash Valley residents and visitors.

Indiana American Water continued its generous sponsorship of Mardi Gras for the fourth year, for which we are grateful.

Mardi Gras would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the Art Hoppers, a volunteer group of dynamic young professionals who organize this great party each year. The Swope was fortunate to receive many in-kind contributions that made the evening a success, including donations from Lamar Advertising, Williams Randall Marketing and J. Gumbo’s.

This year, four hair salons — Elements Salon and Spa, Shear Glamour Hair Designs, Shez Amee and TruColour Studio — participated in the style-off competition and enthusiastically raised money for the Museum. The competition added a wonderful new element to the party. Congratulations to Shear Glamour Hair Designs, winners of the inaugural style-off competition.

Much of the success of Mardi Gras is due to the candidates for king and queen, who raise money on behalf of the Swope and win votes at the event. The efforts of these extraordinary individuals have made Mardi Gras the Swope’s most successful fundraiser, and we are very grateful to 2014 candidates Melissa and Eric Brown, Tammy Schaffer, Patrick Sims, Leslie Garcia and Matt Wayt. Their enthusiasm and creativity in raising funds and spreading the word both about the Swope and Mardi Gras was incredible.

We thank the many generous individuals and businesses that supported their respective campaigns. Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to Patrick Sims and Tammy Schaffer, the Swope’s 2014 Mardi Gras king and queen, and to all the candidates who made this event so terrific.

— Rick Shagley, president Board of Managers

— Murray Pate, president Board of Overseers

— Marianne Richter, Executive director Swope Art Museum

EPA regs will cause energy bills to soar

Energy bills are likely to be on the rise soon. You can send your “thank you” card to President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Since Congress failed to follow his request, the President turned to the EPA to perpetuate his administration’s attack on coal.

The EPA’s proposed regulations are excessive and unrealistically limit greenhouse gas emissions for new power plants. What’s more, they would require use of a technology that is simply not commercially viable today; this is a fact the EPA’s own science advisory board pointed out to the agency months ago.

Facts like this should give the EPA pause. But no.

The kicker is that, by its own admission, EPA says the new power plant regulations will have “negligible” benefits (on lowering carbon dioxide emissions).

Again, another fact conveniently discarded.

To make matters worse, the EPA doesn’t stop there. It has announced plans to release another regulation for existing coal-fueled power plants in June of this year that will drastically affect Indiana and our nation. Complying with these regulations will be expensive and impact all consumers. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the resulting cost increase could be as much as a whopping 80% in electric power rates. What Hoosier business or family can afford that?

Indiana will be hit far harder than most states because it’s the number one per capita manufacturing state in the nation. We make and grow things – and that takes a lot of energy. Over 80% of Indiana’s electric power comes from coal (compared to nearly 45% for the country). In fact, we have an over 300-year reservoir of coal in the ground. To put it mildly, coal is Indiana’s primary energy source.

Many companies have located here because we have an adequate, reliable and affordable supply of electricity and water. But now that coal has come under attack by the Obama administration, affordability is going to go out the window. How long will it be before jobs go with it?

Repeatedly, President Obama has called for an “all-of-the-above energy strategy” yet has excluded coal, which is the most plentiful energy source in the U.S. Not only is this short-sighted but seriously challenges our economic competitiveness and threatens our national security.

Smart, necessary regulation by the EPA makes sense, but these are ill-advised maneuvers for everyone.

There may still be something Hoosiers can do. The comment period for the proposed new regulations runs until March 10. Let the EPA know what you think about the prospect of your energy bills soaring (by visiting Also, let your members of Congress know too; they need to assert themselves before the EPA does irreparable damage to Indiana’s economy.

— Vince Griffin, Vice president Environmental and energy policy  Indiana Chamber of Commerce

Please pray for Ukraine innocents

I read Ronn Mott’s column of Feb. 27 about the situation in Ukraine. I realize it’s hard to understand a country that is literally on the other side of the world, and appreciate what he has written.

Yes, there is a language division in Ukraine. The western half predominantly speaks the Ukrainian language, and the eastern speaks mostly Russian. Many in the east are of Russian heritage or are native Russians, but some still speak Ukrainian and other languages.

My wife and I adopted our daughter a year ago from Ukraine, and she is from the eastern half. Her birth city literally sits on the Russian/Ukrainian border, and her first language is Russian (her biological mother was from Saint Petersburg, Russia). She also speaks Ukrainian and English, and wants to learn Spanish.

The culture in western Ukraine is more pro-capitalism — more know English in Kiev/Kyiv, there are more McDonald’s (we also saw Shell stations, Domino’s Pizza, and there is a TGI Friday’s in Kiev) and other signs of Western culture there. There is less of that in east Ukraine, and we saw more Russian products in the markets and on television.

However, we found Coke and Pepsi in both regions, but we saw people in the east who were more pro-Russia. We saw a teacher at our daughter’s school wearing a “CCCP” T-shirt, too.

We also saw factories, but there were pro-capitalist people in the east also, but not as many. We saw more statues of Lenin in the Luhansk region, for example, but the markets were very pro-money. Banks were everywhere, and many places to eat and shop.

The saddest thing about the possible war in Ukraine and Russia (which could possibly also ensnare the U.S.), is the plight of the orphans. Should Russia take Crimea, and other oblasts (regions — similar to our states), kids awaiting adoption to other countries will be out of luck due to the current Russian ban on U.S. citizens adopting their orphans. Their chances for a better life will be dashed.

I was told by a family who are in Crimea right now that the kids have been told to put their belongings in a bag and leave them there at all times so they can flee quickly should matters get worse. Kids are sending emails and messages to their potential adoptive families in the USA, and they are scared to death of the Russian invasion. They may well be the “collateral damage” inflicted by the pride of a little ex-Soviet KGB man who wants to reinvent the Soviet Union. Freedom is not free, but will we help these kids?

I hope and pray that war does not happen in Ukraine, but it may be already started. I did not vote for President Obama, nor do I like Vladimir Putin, but I am hoping that both men will do what is right for the world and their nations. Losing Ukraine will likely be another step to the subjection of more countries to a new “evil empire.”

Please pray for Ukraine, for the innocents over there, and for all parties concerned. If we ignore this, we could be, one day, also under subjection to the same or similar forms of evil.

— Rich Hardcastle, Westfield

Sinful thinking on road to hell

This is a rebuttal to “Keeping religion out of government,” published in the Readers’ Forum on Feb. 14 and submitted by Sue Ellen Keaton.

The writer starts making good sense about God, earth, the beginning, organized religion, the Crusades, the Church of England and the idea of freedom and limited government, and the point where a group of God fearing people set sail for the New World. (Which was founded on Christian principles, by the way.)

This writer does well until she gets down to gay marriage and abortion, which in her opinion, is the Individual’s personal choice. Then she goes off the deep end by stating that if the child survives birth, do all you can to save it. What I hear or read her saying is that up until that moment, choosing to abort (murder) is and should be acceptable. If it’s living inside the womb, it’s alive.

She goes off the deep end again when she states that God came to this world to free us from religious law. (Is she saying religious law by the government or God?) Why does she think God took the time to give us the Ten Commandments and how does she interpret the Fifth Commandment, “thou shall not kill”?

This writer’s last sentence completely throws me for a loop. She states, “He wants us and needs us to live to complete His will.” I say His will is for us to follow all of His Commandments, especially number five. A precious human life inside the womb began at the moment of conception and only God should determine when it should end.

On the same-sex marriage issue, all of the above applies. It certainly seems that a small, organized group of devil’s advocates are striving to curtail any morals we might have left.

Even without religion or government laws, our moral compass, our basic values and respect for each other’s life, dignity and our conscience should be enough to carry us through.

If I’ve read this writer’s letter correctly, and I hope I did not, then this is just another example of wayward thinking and why our country is going straight toward Sodom and Gomorrah followed by hell.

— William P. Thiel, Terre Haute

Liberty — or licentiousness

We live in a society that uses the word “liberty” like a cheap throw rug upon which those of reprobate minds might trod upon with every evil.

Liberty and licentiousness used to be polar opposites and now a liberal America has put licentiousness under the definition and the law of liberty.

Licentiousness is where we draw our word license from. People take license to do whatever they please — right or wrong, vice or virtue — under the cloak of liberty. America’s liberties were constitutionally designed and protected to place upon this earth a nation that would draw all liberty from the law of God found in God’s word.

The quotes from the heart of America’s founders could fill a newspaper for years on this subject. Allow me just one: “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” — President John Adams.

Real liberty has limitations. That is why we have a judicial system containing judges, courts, police officers and jails. If everything were legal — licentious — we would have absolutely no need of a judicial system. Today, the homosexuals (and many others for that matter) are pressing upon all three branches of our government to give them a license to sin and call it liberty. On one hand they want to get a license for what God calls abomination. On the other hand they desire a separation of church and state that allows the state to ruin the church through over legislation.

The Bible warns us very clearly … not using  your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness but as servants of God. Liberty is not the right to live anyway we want. It is  the right to live in obedience to the law of God to be servants of God. Good citizens of our state and nation must stand up and cry out against the raging storm of licentiousness that is beating against our courts, statehouse and Congress. Let us plead for liberty, but never licentiousness.  

— Dr. Doug Cassel, pastor Bethel Baptist Church, Linton

People will not always agree

In response to letter writer Shirley Thomas:

Shirley, I really feel sorry for you. You must be a very unhappy person. Yes you have a right to your political policies, but so does Mr. Thiel and also everyone else who disagrees with you.

There are at least two very distinct political ideologies in this country. Conservatives and liberals are not going to agree. That does not mean that all conservatives are raving lunatics and nitwits, as you state.

Mr. Thiel, keep up the good work. There are many conservatives who agree with you. It sure would be nice to have “our country of the people, by the people, and for the people back.”

Shirley, I guess that means you will send someone to keep an eye on me also. Have a wonderful day and may God bless you.

— Joe DeLorme, Clay City

Botched chance at leadership

We have the scientific and technological potential to make this blessed biosphere into a paradise. Why not? The reasons are legion. You know them. Let us focus on one: Abysmal leadership in an anarchic, nationalistic, violent world driven by selfish interests.

Let us consider a recent example: Mohamed Morsi, Ph.D., ex-president of Egypt, a nation with a great history going back not just centuries but millennia.

What have we learned about the man who, it appears, is largely responsible for wreaking havoc upon his country on top of the havoc Egypt suffered in ousting longtime dictatorial ruler Hosni Mubarak. And, oddly, Morsi’s blundering started hard upon his election on June 30, 2012, as president when he had a unique chance to transform his country into a real democracy. Instead, he was ousted on July 3, 2013, by a military coup, arrested, imprisoned, and faces a death sentence.

No sooner in power than Morsi’s irascible tactic — wrenching Egypt towards an Islamist state — aroused a groundswell of wrath by his opponents. The military brass, responding to a massive uprising, deposed Morsi.

How came the man to such an inglorious end?

After his education in Egypt, he won a scholarship to the U.S., spent long years in this country, got his Ph.D. in engineering, taught at several universities in America, and then opted to return to Egypt, only to betray the values of a democratic country that educated him toward a successful career. Instead of the visionary idealism that we saw in Nelson Mandela when elected the first black president of South Africa, Morsi’s arcane strategy left his country in chaos, bloody conflicts, and on the brink of civil war.

Was it the religion or politics, or a toxic blend of both, that drove the man to turn history back to a regressive past instead of a progressive future?

From 2000 to 2006 he was a member of Egypt’s parliament, the People’s Assembly, and was also the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. After the 2011 revolution against Mubarak, he became chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party when it was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood.

As president, he promptly gave himself unlimited power on the pretext that he would protect the country from Mubarak’s power structure. He also gave himself the power to legislate without judicial review of his actions. In November, 2012, he issued an Islamist-backed draft constitution that called for a referendum. His opponents called it an “Islamist coup.” Prosecution of journalists and attacks on nonviolent demonstrators followed.

On June 30, 2013, mass protests broke out across Egypt. Millions demanded Morsi’s resignation after he refused the people’s demand to solve political differences. A military council declared Morsi unseated July 3, 2013, insisting it “should not be characterized as a coup.”

The military suspended the constitution, installed the chief justice to head a new administration, and started a brutal crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, tagging it a terrorist organization. Under charges of incitement to murder and violence, as well as espionage, Morsi was arrested, imprisoned, and is to be put on trial. In the crossfire of Muslim Brotherhood protests and counter-protests by opponents, the military dropped the hammer on both. Whereupon the anti-Muslim Brotherhood faction that prompted the military to seize power, turned against that dictatorial power, which had just replaced the Morsi dictatorial power, which had replaced the Mubarak dictatorial power.

Yet again we see the iteration of history’s time-worn scenario, the lurching of one tyranny to another under the guise of protecting the people and establishing justice and virtue in place of injustice and villainy.

Egypt seemed to end up with everybody hating everybody.

Morsi clearly flunked the challenge of leadership.

How to explain a well-educated Morsi morphing into a ruthless ideologue if not by an early education in radicalized Islam?

His legacy: A warning about the dangers of the Muslim Brotherhood, including Sharia law and Islamist dogma, not only in Egypt but in other countries worldwide.

— Saul Rosenthal, Terre Haute

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    March 12, 2010