News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 16, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Sept. 16, 2012


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Remember the president’s war on coal?

During the past three years, the Obama administration has unleashed a record number of major new regulations negatively affecting the productivity of American businesses with none more adversely affected than the business of mining coal.

Indiana and other coal-producing states are reeling from the affect of plant closures with the most recent being the Peabody Coal mine located in Vincennes. This closure will affect 230 workers. As a geologist and having worked in the coal industry as an expert in the field of clean coal, Richard Mourdock, Indiana candidate for the U.S. Senate, would be an outspoken advocate for saving this endangered industry.

Barack Obama’s attack against coal was evidenced by his January, 2008 statement, “So, if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted. That will also generate billions of dollars we can invest in solar, wind, bio-diesel and other alternative energy approaches.” These sentiments were later parroted by Joe Biden during the 2008 campaign when he said “No coal plants in America,” and again by Energy Secretary Steven Chu when he was quoted as saying “Coal is my worst nightmare.”

To comply with Obama’s agenda, the EPA began instituting an onslaught of new regulations on the coal industry while exhibiting total indifference for the thousands of hard-working American families dependent on its continued existence. The decision to sacrifice an estimated 1.4 million jobs between 2011 and 2020 is based on Obama’s ideological pursuits of unrealistic energy goals.

The EPA estimates the costs to the industry at $10 billion a year to comply with mercury and air toxins standards. In contrast to these figures, the National Economic Research Associates believe compliance costs may be more than twice the EPA estimates, projecting costs of $21 billion annually and resulting in 183,000 job losses each year. Over 90 percent of Indiana’s electricity is generated from coal. As a consequence of converting to other energy sources, the cost of electricity will skyrocket.  

It is hard to comprehend a U.S. president intentionally destroying the very industry that fueled the economic development of this great nation and then to further compound his attack on the coal industry by providing billions of taxpayer dollars to his liberal buddies to build factories for producing experimental energy devices that have resulted in only one failed debacle after another.

As a proponent for the coal industry, Richard Mourdock believes it would have been far more productive to have allocated those billions of dollars toward developing and implementing technologically advanced systems for producing cleaner coal and saving a viable and established industry.

There are approximately 6,800 Hoosiers employed in mining mainly in Indiana’s southwest 8th district who live in small Hoosier communities dependent on this industry for their very livelihood. This coming election can well be the turning point for our country. Please get informed, then “Remember in November.”

— Courtney Schmidt

Terre Haute

Why repeal law which contains things we like?

Columnist Brian Howey reports that over 50 percent of people in Indiana want Obamacare repealed. Maybe. If Hoosiers are anything like our neighbors in the rest of the country, most of them actually support the main provisions of the law.

Do you think it’s good to require health insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of their premiums on actual health care, rather than marketing, management or trying to deny claims? Do you think it’s good to let dependents stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26? Do you think it’s good to make insurance cover pre-existing conditions, so people can change jobs or insurance companies without losing coverage? That’s Obamacare.

Do you think it’s good to encourage regular preventive care, so fewer people get really sick and need really expensive care? Do you think it’s good to insure as many people as possible, so that people can see regular doctors when they get sick, instead of clogging up emergency rooms at great expense to hospitals and governments? Do you think insurance should not have lifetime limits, so that people unlucky enough to get very serious conditions can still be cared for? That’s Obamacare.

Do you think it’s good to give tax credits to small businesses that pay for health insurance? Do you think it’s good to let anyone who needs to buy insurance join with others through an insurance exchange, so they get lower premiums than they would on their own? That’s Obamacare.

Do you think it makes sense for Medicare to stop paying private insurance companies more money to cover seniors than it would cost for Medicare to cover those people itself? The so-called “cut” to Medicare just stops that extra payment to private insurers. Plus, Obamacare will get more people insurance and care in the years before they’re eligible for Medicare, so fewer new Medicare recipients will start off with serious conditions and big bills.

Whatever the Republican campaign ads say, this law does not stop you and your doctor from deciding on good care for you. It’s about how we pay for care, and whether we’re running our health care system for the patient or for the insurance companies. Is it perfect? No. But it will give us a healthier America for a lower cost in the long run.

— Samuel J. Martland

Terre Haute

Romney-Ryan a solid ticket

From my conservative view, I originally felt that the Republican candidates were not the best. However, the last three weeks have convinced me that the Romney/Ryan ticket not only has solid ideas, but the ability to place them in motion.

There is no question we must change the direction we are moving. With the best efforts of the current administration, their actions have not only failed to improve the problems, but have created a monetary crisis which may be the demise of our entire system. Though this is obvious, the really scary thing I see is the conduct of the various appointed department heads, with White House approval, beginning with the Justice Department, which applies the law as they wish with total disregard of the Constitution they vowed to uphold, and as well, all the other departments who cast the law and tradition to the wind.

I admittedly missed most of both convention speeches, but purposely the latest by Obama since he has averaged just under three speeches per week for 31⁄2 years. What is left to say about a constantly declining nation? He had his shot and failed badly, and we cannot afford to continue on the path he has planned.

I have noted from reports that most of the impact speeches were presented by women. I am sure that was planned to secure their votes. The one speech stands out in my mind was from a single law student at the prestigious Georgetown Law School concerning her and her sister students’ need for us to provide contraception supplies which will allow them to pursue their sexual desires. Having Sandra Fluke as a major spokesperson for your party must make you very proud.

— Bill Jaeger

Terre Haute

NFL wrong-doers deserve justice

I’m writing to express my disgust about the decision to reinstate all the New Orleans Saints players who were recently allowed to play on Sunday, Sept. 9. These guys clearly did something really unthinkable by trying to take guys out of the game of football by delivering cheap shots to them as well as former defensive coordinator for the Saints, Gregg Williams, being caught on tape talking about taking out San Francisco 49ers players Alex Smith, Frank Gore and Michael Crabtree among others at last year’s NFC Divisional Playoff Game.

Johnathan Vilma recently went on Twitter and made a very arrogant quote. “Victory is Mine.” What an idiot!

Congratulations to all the Saints players, coaches and other personnel for sending the wrong message to the NFL and its fans by saying, “You can try to take out guys and end their careers and even if you get caught, as long as you have a high-priced lawyer and a little bit of cash and pull around the league, etc., you can get away with anything.” Wow, that’s something to be really proud of. That even sounds like a lot of local politics around here in good ol’ Terre Haute.

Anyways, even if there is clearly no justice in the so-called system out there, eventually, these headhunters in New Orleans and other alleged criminals out there who commit heinous crimes, real justice will always be served to all wrong-doers out there in this country and elsewhere, always.

At the end of the day, there’s a right way and a wrong way to play the game of football and the same goes for everyday life in general. You can go about your business and do things the right and respectful way in life or you can commit alleged crimes like this bounty program in New Orleans and get everything you deserve, and I do mean everything.

Hopefully, this will be a really great NFL Football season and hopefully there will be true justice sent to all wrong-doers out there not only in the NFL, but in every day life as well.

— Craig Banta

Terre Haute

Is communism still illegal here?

In “Today in History” on Friday, Aug. 24, 2012, in 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act, outlawing the Communist Party in the United States. Is this act/law still enforced?

— Edna Bolinger


Thanks for column on old ballplayer

This is directed to history columnist Mike McCormick:

Thanks for your article about Wally Jakowczyk. Many Terre Haute residents were saddened to hear about the passing of Wally.

He was a true gentleman. I attended all the home games of the Terre Haute Phillies, along with the rest of my family. Wally was always our favorite on or off the field. There was not a better centerfielder in the old Three-Eye League. He could hit, run, and oh how he could play centerfield. My sister, Luna Hunter, called me to make sure that I saw your article.

I ran into Wally at Alcan many years ago when we both worked there. We had a nice long talk about the old Phillies. He couldn’t believe that I remembered seeing him play. At the same time, I was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to talk to him after so many years. Just the chance to sit and talk to him meant a lot to me. Thanks again, Mike, for your article.

Wally put today’s athletes to shame in several ways. He was not only an excellent athlete, but a true gentleman. Terre Haute is much richer to have called him a “true friend.”

— Joe DeLorme

Clay City

Bucshon needs lesson in truth

It amuses me to see the Republicans proclaim, “Mr. President, we did build it.”

It amuses me because I have heard about the steel mill that Bain Capital built in Indiana. In fact, according to Associated Press, “Steel Dynamics quickly became a leader in the production of flat-rolled steel, expanding to other locations in the U.S. and Mexico, reaping $8 billion in sales in 2011. Bain’s five-year investment paid off, and when Bain cashed out in 1999, it left with an 82 percent rate of return on its $18 million investment.”

But the steel mill received $37 million in state and local tax incentives to build in Indiana, and nearby residents were subject to a special income tax levy to support the project. That part of the story does not fit well with the Republican convention’s “We built it” mantra that business, not government, grows jobs. Romney acknowledged in the speech that not all Bain investments were successful.

Apparently, our U.S. Representative Larry Bucshon knows nothing of the truth. Will somebody please tell him before he writes another exaggerated letter?

— John Garner

Terre Haute

Is Estrich lying or ignorant?

In the Sept. 3 Tribune-Star, Susan Estrich finds fault with Paul Ryan’s convention speech in which he said, “My home state voted for President Obama. When he talked about change, many people liked the sound of it, especially in Janesville, where we were about to lose a major factory.

“A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.’ That’s what he said in 2008.

“Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day. And that’s how it is in so many towns today, where the recovery that was promised is nowhere in sight.”

Estrich writes, “But for the life of me, I can’t remember a single meaningful (and truthful) thing Paul Ryan said … Obama never made that promise. The plant closed in December 2008. George W. Bush was president then.”

Poor Susie, is she lying or merely ignorant? Either way, it’s unbecoming of a syndicated columnist to make such an egregious mistake. The Janesville auto plant continued producing vehicles through April 2009, as a contemporaneous article from the Janesville Gazette confirms: “General Motors will end medium-duty truck production in Janesville on April 23, four months to the day after the plant stopped building full-size sport utility vehicles.”

Perhaps Susie’s mistake was the result of her consulting one of the mainstream media’s ubiquitous “fact checkers.” You know how it works. One obscure and heavily biased blogger announces that “Ryan got it wrong!” and the rest of the herd quote him, without anyone bothering to confirm the date of the plant’s closing. One can overlook the myriad inaccuracies parroted by the various kooks and cranks who frequent this page, but one expects better from professional journalists.

Obama did promise the plant would not close down if he were elected. Here’s the pertinent portion of the transcript from Obama’s speech at the plant in Janesville on Feb. 13, 2008, in which Obama says precisely what Ryan quoted him as saying:

“I know that General Motors received some bad news yesterday, and I know how hard your Governor has fought to keep jobs in this plant. But I also know how much progress you’ve made — how many hybrids and fuel-efficient vehicles you’re churning out. And I believe that if our government is there to support you, and give you the assistance you need to re-tool and make this transition, that this plant will be here for another hundred years. I want it to thrive right here in the United States of America; right here in Wisconsin; and that’s the future I’ll fight for as your President.”

I should think it obvious to all but the most obtuse among us that Ryan’s passage is factually accurate (save for one minor detail, which I will address below). Admittedly, the Janesville plant was experiencing severe problems when Obama spoke there.

But he knew that, and explicitly promised to keep it open anyway, just as Ryan said.  

Ryan’s chief criticism of Obama in this matter isn’t that he failed to keep the plant open, but that he “promised” to keep it open. Obama made what he knew was an unrealistic promise to people who were desperate and hurting. That’s more than mere pandering — it’s cruel.

Ryan’s two salient points are indisputable: Obama promised the plant would remain open if he were placed in charge of the government, but it didn’t last a year beyond the beginning of his Administration.

For those parsing prostitutes on the Left who are reading this, a rigid analysis of Ryan’s remarks reveals that he was slightly off regarding the elapsed time between Obama “making” the promise to keep the Janesville plant open, and the precise day upon which it closed. Ryan said it “didn’t last another year.” Actually, it lasted 14 months and 10 days.  But if you annoy others by citing this as an example of Paul Ryan “lying,” normal people will correctly conclude that you are crazy.

Others on the left have attempted to frame Ryan’s remarks as “false” by noting that Obama said he only “believed” the plant could be kept open by a government run under his direction, so it really wasn’t a promise. (You can’t make this stuff up.)

However, Obama said this in June, 2008, after the notice went out that the plant would shut down over the next several months: “As president, I will lead an effort to retool plants like the GM facility in Janesville so we can build the fuel-efficient cars of tomorrow and create good-paying jobs in Wisconsin and all across America.”

That reads like a promise to me.

— Reggie McConnell

Terre Haute

Bucshon repeats GOP lies, deceit

I received a mailing from Rep. Larry Bucshon containing the usual GOP lies and deceit. The record needs to be set straight on all of the GOP lies and deceit.

Bucshon’s mailing says it’s the Dems that want to gut Medicare. As I recall, it’s the Paul Ryan Budget Plan, as explained by Paul Ryan to his GOP base, that not only guts Medicare, it does the same to Medicaid, and would reduce benefits and privatize Social Security.

One of the many lies Romney and Ryan tell on the campaign trail is that Obama stole $716 million out of Medicare. Verified reports show that the $716 million Obama took out of Medicare was in the area of waste, fraud, and abuse. That $716 million was given back to senior citizens in the form of lower drug costs.

At the GOP convention, Romney promised that if you elect him and the GOP, they’ll create jobs. Isn’t that what Obama and the Dems have tried to do for the last three years? The GOP has not allowed it to happen. The GOP Congress has voted “no” or filibustered all of Obama’s job bills. The latest was passed in the Senate and sent to the House over two years ago. The GOP/Tea Party House has never even brought that bill to a vote.

So the GOP Extortion Plan is, elect Romney/Ryan and the GOP and they’ll create jobs. But if you re-elect Obama, they’ll keep filibustering and voting no. You either play ball with the GOP or they’ll take the gall and go home.

Mr. Caleb Fleschner may have a legitimate complaint about being excluded from the Labor Day Parade. I find it strange that Mr. Fleschner is complaining about having his chances of getting elected suppressed by the Labor Council. The GOP in 30 Red States are suppressing and denying former voters the right to vote in November, and just by chance, those being denied usually vote Democratic.

— Pam Rogers


Sifting the bad from the good

In a British sketch comedy by David Mitchell and Robert Webb, the comedy duo parodies two Nazi SS soldiers during World War II.

While on the Russian front, one soldier notices that their new SS uniforms have arrived decorated with skulls. Alarmed, he asks the other, “Are we the baddies?”

When I look back in various moments of history, “the baddies” are not always obvious. However, sometimes there are clear signs, like lampshades made of human skin, that show people were definitely on the wrong side of an issue. I wonder how they could have missed the signs.

I wonder whether I will ever be in a similar situation and if so, will I be able to see the signs to warn me that I’m with “the baddies”?

This week I witnessed a surreal moment that reminded me of the Mitchell and Webb sketch. Three times, delegates at the Democratic National Convention strongly voiced their opposition to including “God” in their party’s platform. I wonder if any of them, upon hearing God booed, were startled and asked, “Are we the baddies?”

— Paul L. Butler

Marshall, Ill.