News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 4, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 4, 2012


---- — Toast to staff at Country Club

On behalf of the Baesler family, Brian Reece and myself, I would like to extend a “well done!” to the stellar staff at The Country Club of Terre Haute for its masterful job in making our annual wine tasting event a rousing success. Hat tip to Shelby for her culinary expertise; the food was delicious.

Every autumn, Baesler’s Market partners with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation to raise money for cancer research. In the past we have utilized other fine venues for our fundraiser, but the Country Club dovetails perfectly with our needs. My only question for Bob was: Why didn’t we think of this venue years ago?

Becky Woods and Randy Hutts (the general manager) are a class act. I should think it a daunting task to coordinate an event involving 300 people; especially one in which food and wine are the main focus. I know, for me, it would pose a logistical nightmare. But they make it appear effortless. I suppose that speaks volumes about their marvelous managerial skills. At Baesler’s we know a thing or two about providing quality customer service, and we appreciate it when we find ourselves on the receiving end.

Great food, great wine and a great venue all contributing to a very worthy cause; it doesn’t get much better than that. (Special thanks to Gwen Hicks and Patty Wiely of the local Komen affiliate for the sensational way in which they decorated the place.)

In fairness, I can’t credit the Country Club staff for the gorgeous autumn trees or deer grazing on the golf course that greeted us as we drove up to the building, but I suspect that’s about all that did not bear their professional stamp that evening.

Next year, I will sleep easier the week before the event knowing that things are being left in their (very) capable hands. Lastly, thanks for finding us a terrific piano player on such short notice. Steve McCullough can tickle the ivories with the best of them.

— Reggie McConnell

Wine Consultant,

Baesler’s Market

What are Republicans thinking?

I’ve had a tough time trying to put forth some pre-election thoughts. With such an abundance of subject matter, it tends to overwhelm, making brevity difficult. But I do want to try to get a point or two across.

As usual my appeal here is not targeted to that 40 percent right wing/tea party base. If any of you are inadvertently reading this, you’ll likely find something more tailor-made to your preconceived notion of reality elsewhere.

To my other fellow citizens …

Regardless of where one lies on the political spectrum, and if you’re remotely paying attention, you have to admit that something has gone woefully wrong with the Republican Party.

I know this is not what many of you want to hear or acknowledge, but it’s undeniably true. This is not your grandad’s or dad’s, or Dick Lugar’s GOP. The fringe elements have taken over and the “party” has become unhinged. Reality no longer holds sway, as extreme ideology has supplanted all other considerations, spreading like a virus through the ranks.

For example, here is just one, out of dozens of corroborative instances I could cite, each of which would be equally revealing.

A recent Public Policy Poll posed this question to likely Ohio voters: “Who do you think deserves more credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden: Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?”

Not too tough a question, one would presume.

But of the Republican respondents, 15 percent answered “Mitt Romney” and 47 percent were “not sure.”

Think about that for just a minute.

What in the world could be transpiring inside the minds of 62 percent of randomly selected Republican voters that they could not bring themselves to admit something so blatantly obvious?

So what’s going on? Where do these folks get such notions, and why are they now seemingly in charge?

They’re in charge (or so they think) because they’ve been put in charge by the people who manage and manipulate them through a multi-billion dollar propaganda system — Fox News, Limbaugh, Hannity, WorldNetDaily, etc, etc  — which is where they get such notions.

The top 1/10th of 1 percent — hence the “emperor” — truly is stark naked. This realization is becoming painfully obvious to more and more people, who now recognize that the new set of clothes the “emperor” has been parading around in, made from his magical “trickle-down economics” fabric, is all just a ruse designed to transfer wealth from the lower and middle classes to the very top. This growing awareness is why the “emperor” has been forced to turn up the heat on his sycophantic dupes and fawners, getting them even more worked up into a racist, misogynist, homophobic and/or xenophobic rage, so they’ll be even more fervent in defending the “emperor” and his fabulous new clothes.

The result is what we are now seeing in the Republican Party.

There’s an Old West saying I am fond of and have found beneficial to adhere to: “You’re only as good as the people you ride with.”

So my question to those who might still be on the fence is this: Do you really relate to these folks? Does that 62 percent in the bin Laden poll represent your intellectual perspective? Or maybe the 33 percent of Republicans polled who believe the president of the United States is an illegal alien, or the 64 percent who suspect he’s a Muslim?

And with the myriad of complex challenges our modern world is facing, do you truly want to be represented by congressmen and senators whose scientific and biological understanding is equivalent to that of a 14th century monk?

Do you really want to ride with this outfit?

If you do, fine. Hope it all works out for you.

But if you don’t, then don’t go along just because you always have, or your family has. Don’t be a “Jake Spoon” … just walk away.

And if, for whatever reason, you can’t bring yourself to vote for the Democrats, then don’t do that either. There are plenty of good options in the Libertarian and Green and other third-party groups.

I myself am going to support the Dems, in hope that they in the near future begin to truly fight for the middle class once again. Yes, they’ve gotten a bit off track and they have their flaws, but their overall focus has always been on helping ordinary people, not giant corporations and the extremely rich.

JFK made what I consider to be an excellent point in 1960 that is even more apropos today:

“We have all made mistakes. But Dante tells us that divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted on different scales. Better the occasional faults of a party living in the spirit of charity, than the consistent omissions of a party frozen in the ice of its own indifference.”

— Kerry Tomasi


We all can make a big difference

We can always count on attack ads and debates to be part of the election process. People are passionate about who they support, I get that. Campaign signs are also apart of this process. Signs represent who we support, that’s a good thing, right? Obviously, some people in the community have a different opinion.

There has been a lot of hours spent on putting out candidate signs and delivering them to residents who have requested them. However, there are some people in the community that believe that removing signs and vandalzing them is a way to shut down the other side. Really? What is accomplished by this? For me, it just motivates me to do more.

This year is an extremely important election for all people. Do not allow the sound bites and words taken out of context to be the only thing you base your vote on.

Before Nov. 6, read and educate yourself so you can be an well-informed voter. Also, be sure to check and make sure you know the name of your polling place.

Every one of us, each in our own way, can make a difference.

— Joy and Michael McCrisaken

Terre Haute

Big business will not save schools

I believe in evaluation and the use of data to improve success in schools. I do not believe that current reforms at the state level can or will make positive changes in our schools.

These tactics are punitive and undermine our schools, teachers and students. I do not believe that big business and for-profit agencies can save schools. Introducing for-profit agencies and businesses to education encourages corruption and favoritism.

Elections are right around the corner. Your vote this year is so very important for our public schools, children and our future. A vote for Glenda Ritz, Jeff Sparks, Peggy Welch, Mark Stoops and Jim Mann would be a vote to help minimize corporate profit in schools and support the efforts of educators working hard with daunting challenges. Vote for reform that matters.

— Leslie Lipman Gooldy


Don’t be swayed by Pence’s money

Shame on the Tribune-Star for giving Pence the nod. You have succumbed to Mike’s New York slick ads. These were started on all Indiana TV stations many times since July 4.

How did Mike get that much money? Answer: if you will get an October issue of Forbes magazine, look on page 45 and you will see many billionaires intent on buying America on every level. They wish to make more money and enjoy more pleasures. You can’t blame Mike for taking the money. But, when Mike makes the decision to pay back these billionaires all that money, it will not be in Indiana’s best interest. Especially for we little people.

No to Mike Pence.

John Gregg, a college president, speaker of the house for six years and a representative for 16 years representing all the people, knows Indiana. John knows how to work with others and get things done.

Let us all vote for John Gregg on Nov. 6 for governor.

— Nathan and Helen Bridwell


Get to know Glenda Ritz

Glenda Ritz, candidate for Superintendent of Public Schools is an ardent advocate for public education and the instructional needs of children. She understands the original purpose of the ISTEP test was to measure student performance, not as a mechanism to grade schools or measure teacher performance.

Ironically, the ISTEP tests are pass/fail instruments and do little to enhance a teacher’s knowledge of an individual student’s abilities and skills. Additionally, there is a significant time lag between testing and when the state releases the scores, making the results less valuable in terms of instruction planning. Glenda Ritz plans to collaborate with schools in developing assessments and programs that better address student progress and instructional needs. She advocates for local control and envisions the Department of Education as a partner of support for individual school development.

I heartily recommend you learn more about this excellent candidate for superintendent of schools by visiting her website Ritz4Education.  

— Jenny Stevens

Bloomington, Ind.

Reasons why Mourdock should win

Richard Mourdock defeated Senator Richard Lugar in the May Republican primary for the U.S. Senate and is now the Republican candidate for Indiana in the U.S. Senate race to take place on Nov. 6, 2012.

This turn of events was devastating to longtime Lugar supporters and many have vowed not to cast their vote for Richard Mourdock. The following is a list of reasons why every Republican, Libertarian, Democrat, and undecided voter should vote for Mourdock.

1. Our country is on the precipice of a financial crisis. The profligate borrowing and spending in Washington, D.C. must stop. Treasurer Mourdock, along with Republican leaders in the State of Indiana, has helped bring fiscal responsibility to our state, erasing a $700 million deficit and replacing it with a $1.3 billion surplus. The U.S. now faces a $16 trillion-plus national debt with $99 trillion-plus in unfunded mandates. The President has expanded our national debt by over $5 trillion in under four years. Mr. Donnelly voted with the President 76 percent of the time. National debt as a cause of national destruction could be our future. We could be experiencing the same kind of riots that have wracked Greece and Spain in recent months.

2. Richard Mourdock will uphold the Constitution of the U.S. when elected Senator. He has a proven track record in Indiana. He believes in term limits. Mr. Mourdock has proven he will compromise on issues where possible, but will not vote to compromise our freedom or our fiscal security.

3. There has never been a more important time for Republicans to have a majority in the Senate. A Democrat-controlled Senate and a re-elected Barack Obama will insure a leftist majority sitting on the Supreme Court and other federal courts for decades to come. The left-leaning judiciary is employed by Democrats to thwart the will of the people and their elected representatives.

4. Richard Mourdock will vote to repeal the unaffordable Affordable Health Care Act when elected to the Senate. His opponent, Joe Donnelly, voted for the Affordable Health Care Act and he voted for Nancy Pelosi to head the House of Representatives on two separate occasions.

5. If you are a Republican or a Libertarian and you do not vote for Mourdock, you are assuring that a candidate who is the antithesis of what you say you believe in, is elected to the Senate of the United States.

Some people say they detest Richard Mourdock because he had the nerve to run against Sen. Lugar. To detest Richard Mourdock is to not know him. Richard Mourdock is a modest, soft-spoken man who showed great courage by taking on the Obama Administration when he brought a court suit against them to stop the takeover of Chrysler Corporation in order to assure payment on the investments Indiana had made for the teacher/firemen retirement funds.

The fiscal crisis our country is facing must be addressed immediately by a fiscally conservative President and Congress. Please do your part to assure that our future is bright and the legacy we leave our children and grandchildren is one of freedom and opportunity. If the ship named The United States of America goes down, we all go down together.

—Rosalie A. Lavelle


Campaign finance shouldn’t be a secret

I saw an interview with James Bopp on Frontline which ran on PBS this week. Mr. Bopp was described as “The Father” of the Supreme Court case “Citizens United v. FEC” — which wrongly gave corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections.

In the program I learned there are ways corporations can give unlimited amounts of money to candidates. The first is through a Super PAC which has to disclose its donors; and those that are classified as being “not for profit,” which do not have to disclose their givers. In other words, if you donate to a so-called “nonprofit” PAC it is a secret that only the owners of the nonprofit know.

Mr. Bopp said secrecy is good for democracy and furthermore it is OK to do because the average citizen has no interest in knowing who donated the money. He said he began his mission to overturn laws that limited and required transparency because conservative Republicans couldn’t win under the old rules of open disclosure. He thinks the secrecy part is great because most people don’t like to reveal their political preferences. This tells me it does matter to voters where the money is coming from.

Malarkey I say. The whole point of having a democracy is that we the citizens can know what our politicians and public servants are doing and what they support and lastly who is funding their campaign.

— Cathy McGuire

Terre Haute

SuperPACs work

for Dems too

As I perused the Sunday edition (Oct. 21) of the Tribune-Star, I was disappointed to read your headline “SuperPACS aim to purchase Senate seat.” As I read the article I concluded very quickly that Brian Howey had written a campaign piece for Joe Donnelly. The fact that you pasted a picture of Jim Bopp and Richard Mourdock prominently instead of Joe Donnelly and Harry Reid displays your bias in the printing of the article.

It is clear that Super PACs are contributing their support for the candidates that they deem best support their views. Mr. Howey is well known for his political view but he is stretching the point beyond reason with his article. As a person reads the article it is presented as if the only PACs of consequence are conservative. It seems that the union PACs, the various Democratic PACs and others of a liberal persuasion are not influencing the vote.

You have to get to the fourth paragraph from the end of the piece to read where the headline came from – as a quote from none other than Mr. Donnelly. He states, “I think that there are people out there trying to buy Indiana’s Senate seat.” Well thanks for that conclusion Mr. Donnelly! If Mr. Howey had mentioned the other Democrat PACs just in passing I would not be as offended and if you would use just a bit more discretion in setting up headlines I would have a bit more respect for your publication.

— Raymond E. Broshar

Terre Haute