News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Letters

October 27, 2013

READERS’ FORUM: Oct. 27, 2013

Money comes first, truth comes later

If documentation is key to defend oneself, shouldn’t attorneys be required to only take a case where the plaintiff has documentation to substantiate his claim?

Anyone who watches TV has been exposed to the onslaught of attorney advertisements touting, “Have you or a loved one taken the drug OFFENDIX and now have the ailment SUE-ITIS? Have you or a loved one been exposed to asbestos, a wrongful death, been injured, or looked at cross-eyed?” Whatever the question, the resounding message is, “You may be entitled to a huge payoff.”

I was told, “You have to understand, an attorney has to take the word of his client.” Do I? Does the attorney have to understand, by taking the case on the word of another alone, he is imposing a huge cost upon a third party, and the case may not be proportionally proven?  

But who cares, right? He’s not out anything. He will get paid; whether that cost is covered by his client or the defendant. It goes without saying; his goal is to win. What incentive does the attorney have to reasonably uphold the law? What is he at risk of losing?

Isn’t the law why an attorney has a job? When did law stop being about right and wrong and become about money? We’ve heard the question, which came first, the chicken or the egg? I propose this question. Which came first, the money-monger lawyer or a sue society teeming with entitled idiots who’s resounding mantra is minimum effort/maximum return?  

Who came first is a moot point. The point is, one perpetuates the other and if lawyers were legally liable to require proof of a claim prior to taking a case, it would curb the enthusiasm of “Entitlement America.” If the burden of proof were first the obligation of the plaintiff, there would be substantially fewer frivolous cases and proportionately less taxpayers’ monies spent.

— Carmen Ramsey

Terre Haute

Zoeller, Pence should reverse course on ACA

With the blessing of Gov. Pence, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller has elected to sue the IRS challenging the Affordable Care Act.

While it took Mr. Zoeller six months to draft the language of his lawsuit, he seems not to have read it.

Hidden away in its pages is language that seeks to eliminate subsidies for low-income purchasers of health insurance. The suit also seeks to undercut the requirement that large employers provide health care insurance.

Mr. Zoeller has now written an op-ed piece showing that he is troubled by the reaction to his efforts to end health insurance for Hoosiers. He doesn’t want to be criticized for his own carefully timed lawsuit or his own choice of claims to make.

He has made it clear in his own words that he is not acting for our people or our employers in pursuing this action. Rather, he wants to assert some variety of states’ rights: “My office does not represent individuals or private-sector employers but rather the sovereign authority of Indiana.”

Our attorney general and our governor are exhibiting an utter indifference to the health care of millions of Hoosiers. They  should dismiss this lawsuit now.

Mr. Zoeller filed this lawsuit, but wants to put the blame for any harm on the judiciary. He suggests that he has no particular remedy in mind, but just wants the judge to decide. If he doesn’t know what he wants, he should not be in court.

He suggests that the state faces ruinous taxes at some unknown future date. Thousands of people across Indiana face illness and bankruptcy now if they go uninsured. But of course our attorney general tells us in his letter that he “does not represent individuals.”

Messrs. Zoeller and Pence grudgingly concede that for now we can  go to the federal marketplace for needed coverage. But they do not want Hoosiers  to get the subsidies the law provides. Hoosiers can hardly be grateful for that grudging concession.

We have no love for the IRS. Still, we doubt that it is lying in wait to seize “millions” from our state because one state employee is put into a wrong category.

It is clear who is trying to hurt Hoosiers: it is the self-appointed proponents of a twisted idea of “sovereignty.”

If the AG won’t dismiss this ill-advised political lawsuit, the governor and he should explain why.

The time for legal and political games is over. It is time to get people insured. Indiana should be here to help its people.

As legislators, we can live with the idea that ideology leads some to deny science or the laws of economics. However, we cannot sit by while elected leaders try to deny us the insurance we need to protect our health.

The State of Indiana should be signing up people for health care, not seeking to end it.

— State Rep. Charlie Brown

(D-Gary)

— State Rep. Ed DeLaney

(D-Indianapolis)

Blaming the poor a false perception

In reply to Mr. Kmetz’s letter of Sunday, Oct. 13, I don’t know where he gets his ideas that the feeding of our children is a waste of taxpayers’ money. I was astonished at his view of children whose parents have assistance with the free or reduced-price lunch program in our schools.

First and foremost, many of the children come from one-parent families. As a single mother, I raised my son with the help of those programs that provided reduced-price lunches for children. You see, I worked two jobs and still couldn’t get above the poverty line. I had things to spend my money on like rent, utilities, clothing, an old car that needed constant repair and child care. I didn’t take vacations nor did I buy anything extravagant.

I don’t know what world Mr. Kmetz is living in, but it certainly isn’t the world as it is today. I looked forward to my tax return each year so I could pay up delinquent bills, take my son out to eat at McDonald’s, buy myself something besides yard-sale clothes and finally be able to stock up on necessities such as laundry detergent, dish soap and personal hygiene articles.

We ate so much hamburger helper that my son won’t touch it now. A batch of this calorie-loaded main meal would last the two of us for about three days when you add veggies and a roll. At one time when things were really bad, I had to sell my mother’s dishes to a secondhand dealer so I could buy food. That was something that I swore I would never do, but the need to feed my child was more important, so they went.

The examples Mr. Kmetz gave sound more like something he heard from Glenn Beck or Rush Windbag. If he wants to know how poor people spend their money, perhaps he should take the time to get to know someone who needs the free-lunch program for their children. I have never read such a judgmental or hateful sounding letter in my life. Mr. Kmetz, you don’t know how many nights I went to bed hungry and cried myself to sleep wondering how I would get through the next few weeks. The very idea that I received some huge tax return is ridiculous since my wages were at poverty level anyway.

There will always be a few people who scam the system, but to make such sweeping assumptions about poor people is simply not true. To this day, I am thankful for the programs that made my life a little easier. I had really good health insurance that cost me $1.25 a week through my employer. My employer also went out on a limb for me many times. Being poor shouldn’t allow others to pass judgment if they don’t know what they are talking about.

In the last few years it has become socially acceptable to blame poor people for all sorts of misuse of the welfare system. I especially love the folklore of poor parents spending their money on beer and vacations while the state supports their children. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As the old saying goes, “if you haven’t walked a mile in my shoes” then you have no right to judge me. Things are much better for me now as my son is grown and I am no longer single, but the memories of what it is like to be really poor have not dimmed with the passage of time. I am often astounded by the politicians’ (tea party and GOP) view of poor people and blaming them for all the ills of our country. We are supposed to be a Christian nation, but you sure wouldn’t know it by the tone of the propaganda coming out of Washington, D.C. Apparently Mr. Kmetz has swallowed this thinking hook, line and sinker.

— Shirley A. Thomas

Brazil

A great start at Meadows School

Meadows Elementary School kicked off the school year at the VCSC Back to School Rally. The rally was energizing and inspirational, with wonderful speeches by Mr. Tanoos, Mayor Bennett, Commissioner Judy Anderson and Anthony Thompson, among others. We would like to thank Garmong Construction and Personalized Promotions for their donation of the staff T-shirts for the rally and for this school year. This helps to unify our staff and presents us as a team. Other thanks are also owed to Jane Nelson of Sam’s Club for a $35 gift card that she donated for our use for Grandparents’ Day.

Many exciting things are occurring at Meadows. Each week we recognize a student publicly that has “filled a bucket” with kindness. A student is given a “Bucket Buck” when he/she is observed doing a kind act for someone else. These bucket bucks may be distributed by any Meadows staff member. Weekly a winner is selected and he/she receives a bracelet, pencil and a sticker with the logo, “I am a bucket-filler.” Our students love this positive reinforcement.

In addition to individual recognition, our third- through fifth-grade students are selected to be in the No Bullies Club. This requires that students demonstrate acts of kindness toward others. This group meets during lunch/recess and changes every four to five weeks. The students work hard to promote peace around our school and we are proud of them. All of the students and staff at Meadows have been trained to tell the difference between bullying and normal peer conflict. Our students know to report bullying immediately. This can also be done anonymously by using the “Bully Box.”

On Oct. 9, our school participated in a “Unity Day.” All students and staff were invited to wear orange to show our commitment to standing up against bullying. Furthermore, we held a schoolwide drawing/writing contest with the prompt, “It’s cool to be kind; kindness starts with me.” There was one primary and one intermediate winner. Each winner received a $25 Walmart gift card that was donated by the Walmart on Indiana 46. We thank Walmart for believing in our cause.  

Through Second Steps, our students are learning how to get along with peers. This program provides our students with strategies that help them manage both their emotions and behaviors. It assists them in learning how to assertively communicate with others and have effective social skills. This all helps prevent bullying, as well, by providing them with talents that will prepare them for life.  

Other exciting happenings at Meadows involve The Women’s Department Club, who dedicated its brand new Shoe Bus here in September. The club furnishes shoes and socks to students in need. The shoes are purchased through donations and through funds raised by the group’s annual fundraiser, “An Evening of Art and Wine.” Additionally the VCSC donated $25,000 this past year, and for that we give a multitude of thanks. We would also like to thank Baesler’s Market for the cheese and veggie trays they donated for this event, and Aramark for the tablecloths. Both helped to make the event successful, in addition to the wonderful ladies at the club.

Lastly, Meadows is pleased to be able to offer free pre-kindergarten sessions for the 2013-2014 school year. If you have or know of a child who turned 4 years old on or before Aug. 1, 2013, he/she could benefit from this opportunity. The morning session meets from 8:15–10:55, and the afternoon session meets from noon–2:40. Breakfast is served in the morning session and lunch is served in the afternoon session. Please call Meadows to enroll your child.

— Cassandra J. Cook

Meadows Principal

Republicans have lost it

Perhaps the most disgusting thing about the recent budget/default impasse was the asinine Republican attitude of “… we’re in a free fall but the Democrats are not far behind.”

This reasoning has all of the contriteness of a Kamikaze pilot who is trying to blame the average American citizen for Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima and Nagasaki when all of the blame rests on his own fanatical, greedy and insane leadership.

Theirs is the insane denial of Adolf Hitler looking for a super weapon to save his Germany when there is no such thing. As a political party the Republicans have lost it, convinced that their ideology will prove superior even in the face of overwhelming unpopularity and political and economic catastrophe.

The fact is that the leadership of the whole Republican Party has collapsed into the hands of anarchist extortionists who think that they have a chance of doing well in the next election even if they trash the American economy, ruin the lives of Americans and collapse the American government.

This is mostly because they are legends in their own minds. Their insanity is not unlike that of a terrorist who has no inkling that he is in his last hour of life, that he is not going to get out alive and that the end of his story is going to be as insane and as bloody and as ugly as he is.

— John Garner

Terre Haute

Big words for doltish message

In response to Mr. Camp’s letter on Oct. 25, 2013: Your letter in which you vituperated Ms. Elder I am sure imbue that lady to the point that she probably thought it was doltish.

In the future, sir, may I recommend words that most common folk know and understand such as a good ol’ boy (redneck) like me.

If you are using these big words to impress, in my case it did not work. In my opinion it makes you look like a doltish person.

Oh, by the way, thank you for making me look up those three words that I have not used nor probably never will use in my lifetime. I guess now I am a little bit smarter, thanks to you, but you, sir, made yourself look like a smart a--.

— Gerry A. Gann

Terre Haute

Help Ritz stand up to bullies

If you voted for Glenda Ritz to be Indiana’s educational leader, it is time to be outraged and speak out against the chicanery among our state board, legislators and Gov. Pence. They have continually attempted to usurp her power since taking office and she has been bullied openly in state board meetings.

The state board vindictively took action against Ritz while she was out of the country stating concerns about the delays in releasing A-F grading results. As you may recall, there were some significant problems with this system that deserved thorough investigation. Honestly, we should be questioning whether relying on this tainted accountability system is even responsible. Do we believe it accurately represents our schools? Three major school systems in the state sensibly decided to reject this flawed system. Ask your schools what they believe.

Predictably, the plan will be to paint Ritz with the familiar “you failed” brush splattered on our public schools to justify “take over” of her power. We voted for an educator to represent us, not politicians whose opinions have been compromised by money and hegemony. These “reforms” and “takeovers” have not proven effective and will continue to contribute to poverty by institutionalizing classism.

Children with the greatest poverty and the most severe disabilities cannot “choose” these schools without transportation or programs to support them. Glenda has consistently promoted responsible assessment and equity of resources to better serve all children. Don’t let them squeeze her out. Let them know your vote mattered.

— Wendy Marencik

Bloomington

Divisions make progress difficult

Although God is being removed from many places, our creator is still in the Declaration of Independence and many people pledge allegiance even if they do not go to church.

As long as individuals like their own habits (sins) the judgment is on them except when they break man’s laws by forcing others to participate, be it sexual, robbery, theft, lying or other of a long list.

However, when governments give their stamp of approval to ungodly acts, that makes the judgment on that whole body. Thus the mess our world is in today.

The great divide that hampers the developing of good becoming better was recently displayed in the debate of the free lunches for the needy children.

A writer was very explicit and direct with a major problem in the free handout.

The response was that an apology was owed to half of the people in Vigo county.

So instead of requesting an apology she could have taken the opportunity to acknowledge there were those taking advantage and then perhaps the two forces could have taken steps to make some changes.

This is typical of the political standoffs in government. Worldwide the Democrats have always stood for helping the poor and the Republicans for helping the rich.

For instance the Obama bailouts to the banks to help the foreclosures did not go to help the needy but rather went into rich CEO pockets.

The free lunches are for the needy, but the greedy take advantage of it. This is not the child’s fault. Some more strict guidelines could be put in place but there is no cooperation.

The new health care program is a prime example. We stand in our corners and come out fighting, which is a waste of time and money. Fix the bad and keep the good.

Marriage between same-sex couples is such a situation. While some are demanding equal rights, others do not want to make a mockery of traditional marriage.

Since marriage is a biblical institution created by God, and man cannot give God’s blessing, that leaves only the financial benefits to be gained from the name. Therefore government can change man’s laws and let financial equal rights be granted without offending God’s people — civil Unions or whatever else.

Of course, once you start appeasing some, that will make others who share a home for monetary reasons come looking for their equal rights.

Thank you for opportunity to speak out.

— Ruby K. Cook

Marshall, Ill.

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