News From Terre Haute, Indiana


January 11, 2014

Readers’ Forum: Jan. 12, 2014

Jim Jackson was a giant in education

On Dec. 15 , Jim Jackson, the former principal and educator of several schools in West Terre Haute, passed away in Florida. Mr. Jackson was an absolute giant in the world of education and served the community of West Terre Haute for 49 and a half years with passion, determination, pride, grit and good old common sense. Mr. Jackson was a true professional in every sense of the word and always carried himself with dignity and confidence.

Mr. Jackson spent his career building a reputation as a caring principal that always attempted to do the right thing for his students. He was fiercely loyal to the students and staff and had a deep appreciation for the West Terre Haute community. There was not a student that Mr. Jackson would not help and not a problem that he could not solve.

Although he had a rough exterior, Mr. Jackson had a heart of gold when it came to his students and to the West Terre Haute community. He was without a doubt a compassionate man. Mr. Jackson once told me “The true mark of a person is the amount that they care about the people they serve.”

The love and passion for Viking athletics was a hallmark of Mr. Jackson’s throughout his life. He started coaching athletics as a young teacher and developed a philosophy that winning, although important, was not the goal. The goal was to make his players into good fathers and active citizens within their community and remind them to always give something back. Loyalty and commitment were more important to him than a victory on the court. Without a doubt Mr. Jackson will be missed by all he encountered.

On Saturday, Jan. 18, at 3:30 p.m., West Vigo High School will have a tribute to Jim Jackson in the Jim Mann Green Dome to celebrate his life and accomplishments. The tribute is open to the public.

— Tom Balitewicz, Principal, West Vigo High School

No reason for celebration

Froma Harrop’s Jan. 3 column is noteworthy only for demonstrating the very simple-mindedness of the author and her apparent lack of understanding of the basic division between the stock market (as gauged by the NYSE, NASDAC, etc.) and the real economy. She takes at face value the scribbling of a one Bob Deitrick, whose book “Bulls, Bears and the Ballot Box” attempts to correlate economic performance by presidential term.

Per Harrop’s commentary, she appears to accept, on the face, Deitrick’s premise that stock market performance is a proxy for overall economic health. That is only true if you are part of that small minority who derives most of their income from capital gains. She gushes that “not only do Democrats produce superior economic results; they blow the Republicans out of the water”!

My criticism is this: Mr. Deitrick is a broker, a salesman. He has to interest the public both in his “products” as well as himself; otherwise, he would have to find an honest line of work. Ms. Harrop uncritically falls for his, at best, biased analysis.

Now, it may be true the stock market has performed better, generally, under Democrats’ administrations. Could it be that Democrats have been more committed, and longer committed, to Keynesian notions than Republicans? Harrop is conspicuously critical of Reagan, ranking him sixth out of eight, adding that Reagan “tripled the national debt” but neglecting to say that he also created 20 million jobs. How many jobs has Obama created? Not very many. But he has, so far, doubled the national debt. Labor force participation is at an all-time low and there are fewer full-time jobs today than there were in 2000.

The simple, brutal fact is the Great Recession never ended for 90-plus percent of Americans. For that lucky minority that benefits first from newly created money, courtesy of the Federal Reserve temple, life is good. This minority must sleep very well at night knowing that ersatz leftist critics, such as Harrop, are as much owned by them as are the banks, their would-be regulators, and Congress. Pour another glass of Dom Perignon, Froma.

— Matthew Alig, Terre Haute

Must we tolerate this intolerance?

Hoosiers of good conscience must surely count themselves less proud to be citizens in a state suggestive of retardation as a result of legislators bent on amending the Indiana Constitution via HJR-3 (formerly HJR-6). This proposal spits in the face of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that guarantees to all citizens “equal protection of the laws.” Prior to its passage (1868), there was no legal protection for blacks and women, despite Jefferson’s statement that “all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.”

Comes now our legislators, cloaked in the presumptive morality of righteousness, determined to abrogate the 14th Amendment and strip a significant segment of our population of their right to express their love in a same-sex marriage. Blacklisting love! It takes a politician to come up with a doosie like that. Especially one who thinks he is a conduit for God’s will.

Make no mistake about it. This decision is not driven by reason, humanity nor the advances of modern science. Rather it is captive to a fundamentalist fanaticism of faith in Old and New Testament invective against same-sex love. The punishment for this abomination: Death by stoning, if not hellfire.

Hardly the kind of Christianity we have come to associate with Jesus.

What I question is the contention that we must respect the religious extremism of diehard believers like Phil Robertson and give them equal gravitas in this debate. For 300 years in our country apologists for slavery stuck to their guns under a similar kind of perversity that allowed slavery because the Bible did not ban it.

Respect and tolerance for intolerance and for the promotion of ignorance, bigotry and injustice may be protected by the First Amendment.

Freedom for one and all to express themselves, by all means. But also the freedom of speech, if not the necessity, to expose, to condemn and to marginalize opprobrious and injurious speech. We do not welcome or elect KKK kooks to a seat at the table when legislators convene for rational discourse. Some of us Hoosiers may also wonder why Fundamentalist Fanatics of Faith should be welcomed or elected? Except that they have already been welcomed and elected. And, sadly, these diehards would turn back the clock of history.

So let us not pretend that these wannabe apostles of sexual godliness are the equivalent of rational human beings whose minds are sensitive to the biological and psychological sciences and attuned to the crying need for justice long denied.

Rationalists refuse to respect the outdated passages of the Old and New Testaments, books written over four centuries by mere mortals who are fallible and fall short of the glory of God they presume to speak for.

Google or otherwise research “What Jesus said about homosexuality.”

The answer: “He does not mention it.”

About the poor, see Luke 6:20-21:

“20 — Looking at his disciples, he said: ’Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.’

“21 — ‘Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.’”

Finally, for the sake of balance, a passage from Wikipedia:

“Throughout the majority of Christian history most theologians and Christian denominations have viewed homosexual behavior as immoral or sinful. However, in the past century some prominent theologians and Christian religious groups have espoused a wide variety of beliefs and practices towards homosexuals, including the establishment of some ‘open and accepting’ congregations that actively support LGBT members.”

— Saul Rosenthal, Terre Haute

Gay activity bad legal precedent

In the coming weeks Indiana lawmakers are expected to vote on the homosexual “marriage” issue. In a way, weren’t we here a couple thousand years ago? The ancient and primitive Greeks and Romans crassly valued homosexual relations. But eventually the people wised up and realized that was a mistake, and homosexual activity was again deemed unethical and was basically driven underground.

Now, misguided “progressives” are trying to take us back thousands of years to more primitive and decadent times, despite the fact that thinking people have known for centuries that homosexual activity is immoral and a bad legal precedent. (It’s easy to show that all the arguments homosexuals use to try to rationalize homosexual activity are seriously flawed. But the fact that thinking people have known for centuries that homosexual activity is immoral means little to people whose heads are filled with liberal prejudices.)

He who has eyes to see, let them see. The “logic” of heterophobic homosexuals is rapidly leading this society down a slippery slope to a more and more aberrant, disordered and irrational society. Polygamy is coming soon. Maybe down the line we’ll see “marriage” between straight and homosexual consenting-adult incestuous people. Whoopee! Anyone who thinks this is progress is deluding himself/herself. Rome didn’t fall in a day. But it did fall. Hopefully Indiana legislators won’t join this trend.

— Wayne Lela, Downers Grove, Ill.

U.S. stand not just meddling

In his comments printed on Jan. 3, Earl Beal implies that he “can’t see the forest for the trees.” Mr. Beal, your “either/or, black/white” thinking is very limiting. Yes, the leaders of Russia do not encourage societal beliefs outside of what they, the leaders, dictate. To allow this would be to open the door to 21st century thinking and possible social revolution (heaven forbid). If we re-visit the administrations of Reagan and Bush, G.H.W., we are reminded of the power of American and free-nation influence when concentrated. Remember, they pulled-open the “Iron Curtain” as we knew it.

I am an avid supporter of “when in Rome do as the Romans do” — but only in regard to local laws and cultural norms. When there exists a very limiting domestic human rights concern diametrically opposed to that of a majority of American society (remember the Soviet Union’s occupation of Afghanistan in 1980, and the U.S. boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics?), then “taking a stand” is necessary and ennobling of the cause. We are not “poking into the affairs of Russia,” as we likely could not care less.

However, human rights and freedoms are universal in the eyes of the greatest free nation on Earth. To ignore the opportunity to stand with integrity and reaffirmation of our national belief would be tantamount to rejecting our philosophic foundation: All humankind is created with equal opportunity and permitted to pursue and enjoy “life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.”

The U.S. stand against persecution and occupation by the former Soviet Union was so important and impactful, the Soviets returned the boycott decision in 1984 by staying home from the Los Angeles Olympics. Six years later, that “heavy curtain” came tumbling down, enlarging the free world by several nations.

For more than two decades since, the non-military power and impact of America’s national culture and conscience has been a beacon of hope for individuals, special interest groups and nations.

Allay your moral indignation, Mr. Beal, by understanding that the Russian leaders have spoken “blatantly” to America and the free world by their support of Syrian genocide, Iranian recalcitrance and providing an “oasis” to Edward Snowden.

— Jim Camp, Terre Haute

Donated fencing much appreciated

Now that the holidays have come and gone, I have had time to reflect on how thankful I am for living in such a giving community.

I help manage the Giving Garden at the Vigo County Fairgrounds and during the growing season, vandals broke into the garden, stole produce and damaged plants that were being grown for members of the Vigo County 4-H.

The Giving Garden provides more than 22,000 pounds of fresh local produce to the less fortunate. Many local food pantries depend on this food, as well as the people they serve. Purdue master gardeners donate their time to help grow, maintain, pick and deliver all the food.

The local media did a wonderful job bringing light to what happened and immediately the community stood up and asked how they could help. I would personally like to acknowledge Quality Fence of Terre Haute, who stepped up and not only offered to install a fence for us around the perimeter of the garden at no charge, but they also provided all of the material at no charge as well.

This is not something the master gardeners could have afforded to do otherwise. The fence is a wonderful addition to the Giving Garden and will hopefully deter vandals during the 2014 growing season and beyond.

— Greg Fields, Terre Haute

USDA puts child health at risk

The USDA announced last Friday that it would permanently weaken the restrictions on the amount of meat that can be served in the National School Lunch Program. As a registered dietitian, I see this as a devastating move for the health of our nation’s children.

This decision weakens crucial provisions in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 that were designed to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and combat the epidemics of childhood obesity and diabetes. Loosening the standards in this law allows schools to serve more saturated fat- and cholesterol-laden meat to children, increasing their risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and a host of other chronic diseases.

The USDA’s choice to prioritize meat industry profits over children’s health will come at an enormous price. It will only intensify the epidemic of chronic disease in America, which now accounts for 75 percent of the $2 trillion in U.S. annual health care spending. For the sake of our nation’s children — and our economic future — I urge the USDA to reconsider this decision.

— Susan Levin, Director of Nutrition Education, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

Is Islam a legitimate religion?

The Dec. 15, 2013, letter by Hal Strahm, and the Dec. 29, 2013, letter by Isaac Graham Miller show the problems caused by the Islamic doctrines of Jihad and Sharia. The question arises: Is Islam a Religion?

Many scholars believe Islam’s religion status should be demoted. For  example, there is the book by Rebecca Bynum, entitled: “Allah is Dead: Why Islam is not a Religion”, and then there is the piece by Martel Sobieskey: “Demoting Islam’s Religion Status.”

These scholars believe that de-recognizing Islam’s religion status is the only way to effectively deal with the problems caused for non-Muslims by the Islamic doctrines of Jihad and Sharia.

— Marilyn Dudley, Terre Haute

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  • Editorial: The Bennett ‘settlement’

    It takes a special kind of arrogance to flout ethics laws in the manner which former state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett has violated them. Even when he finally admitted his transgressions, he claimed he could have avoided the matter altogether had he just changed the department’s ethics policy before engaging in the troublesome conduct.
    In essence, this was the old “mistakes were made” acknowledgment of wrongdoing. And the real mistake to which Bennett admits was apparently not changing the rules before he violated them. This is a truly Nixonian moment.

    July 10, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 11, 2014

    July 10, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: That Old Man River

    I was surprised to learn the people in Cairo are now taking water taxis to avoid the traffic, the confusion and the dangers that are appearing on Cairo, Egypt’s, streets. I mean, I was surprised the people in Cairo, these native Egyptians, were surprised they could take a water taxi and get to where they wanted to go using the Nile River as a highway. So, for the Egyptians living in Cairo, everything old is brand new again.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • EDITORIAL: A green idea worth pursuing

    It sounds like a blue-ribbon idea.

    July 9, 2014

  • READERS' FORUM: July 10, 2014

    • Herb Faire a great success

    • Appreciation for a ‘lovely angel’

    • Thanks for stirring fireworks show

    July 9, 2014

  • tstribunestar EDITORIAL: Be safe, be responsible

    The Independence Day weekend brought a brief respite in construction work on area roadways. In particular, it provided needed relief to the congested segment of Interstate 70 in Clay County that is undergoing resurfacing this summer.

    July 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Readers’ Forum: July 9, 2014

    • Don’t eliminate our six-day mail

    • Zamperini death stirs memories

    July 8, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Black Dog

    We had some excitement around our house the other day and it was not the good kind.
    There was a small dog, black in color with a spiked collar on his neck, and he was the spitting image of a small Doberman. I don’t know if they have miniature Dobermans but this dog could have been a mixed breed that came out looking like a Doberman although smaller.

    July 8, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 8, 2014

    • T-S ignores common decency

    • Lighten up on Donald Sterling

    • Time to reject Dems in Congress

    Fueling the EPA

    July 7, 2014

  • MS. TAKES: Great music is made during all generations

    Number Two son tells us that his 20-year-old son has been listening to “Big Band” music with apparent enjoyment. As if that wasn’t enough of a surprise, I was talking with a young girl, barely out of her teens and she told us that she really wasn’t into rap. She said, “It isn’t really music, it’s just talk.”

    July 7, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 7, 2014

    • The moral issue is major issue

    July 6, 2014

  • tstribunestar Editorial: City financial health demands an open, honest discussion

    Obscured by the recent rift over use of departmental funds in the city of Terre Haute’s budget are serious issues related to our city government’s overall financial health. The answers may be mired in the complexity of municipal finance, but coming to grips with the situation is important to the city’s future.

    July 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Readers’ Forum: July 6, 2014

    • Coats ignoring climate science

    • Do those mustache posters exist?

    • Utility rate freeze took determination

    • What perversion is next in line?

    • Opinions vary, but voters will decide

    • This preaching must stop — now

    • Golf fundraiser a huge success

    July 6, 2014

  • Flashpoint: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal

    Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo. As the attorney who represents state government and defends its laws, I know this difficult case stirs many people’s deeply held beliefs that touch their lives in very personal ways. Not since my office had to represent the state in lawsuits arising from the State Fair disaster has a dispute been so seemingly impossible to address in a way that the public would accept as being fair to all concerned.

    July 6, 2014

  • Flashpoint: The Supreme Court decision and ‘closely held’ corporations

    The much awaited Supreme Court decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby came down this week. The court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the 1993 Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) does cover “closely held” corporations, even if those corporations are for profit.

    July 6, 2014

  • RONN MOTT: Learning more about Jefferson

    During this Fourth of July weekend, I’ll be reading John Meacham’s biography of Thomas Jefferson.

    July 4, 2014

  • EDITORIAL: Celebrate your independence

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
    As eloquent and declaratory as that statement is, implementing its principles has been a decades-long pursuit for these United States of America. Our nation, it seems, is the quintessential work in progress, even though what this country has created in terms of a stable, collective society is, let’s face it, pretty darn good.

    July 3, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 4, 2014

    July 3, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: The Men Who Made the Country

    The Fourth of July is the day we celebrate our independence from Great Britain. It reminds me of something David Ben-Gurion would say, at a much later date, about British rule: “If you have to have a master, the British are about as good at it as anybody.” Of course, we really don’t need a master.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • MET 033114 GREG ZOELLER MUG.jpg GREG ZOELLER: State’s lawyer has duty to represent state in marriage lawsuit appeal

    Recent federal court actions that first struck down Indiana’s statute limiting marriage to the traditional definition, and then stayed that order pending appeal, have left many in our state in legal limbo.

    July 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Readers’ Forum: July 3, 2014

    • Over the top on immigration

    July 2, 2014

  • FLASHPOINT: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices

    On Wednesday, the State of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    July 2, 2014

  • Gov. Mike Pence (R, Ind.) MIKE PENCE: HIP 2.0 gives consumers better choices

    Today, the state of Indiana submitted its proposal for the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
    If approved, the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 would replace traditional Medicaid for low-income, able-bodied Hoosier adults. Unlike traditional Medicaid, which is government-driven, HIP 2.0 is consumer-driven.

    July 2, 2014 1 Photo

  • Editorial: Texting law serves safety

    July 1 each year marks the day in Indiana when new laws take effect. But rather than focus on new laws today, let’s observe the anniversary of a law that went on the books three years ago this month — the law that barred texting while driving.

    July 1, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 2, 2014

    July 1, 2014

  • Ronn Mott.jpg RONN MOTT: Cats

    Looking at the situation as a whole, the adopted cats, plus one, seem to be doing OK. The boys, Magic and Mellow, like to roam occasionally, which causes some consternation when they are gone for a long time.

    July 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • LIZ CIANCONE: Oldtime fans will never give up on the Cubbies

    My Best Friend claims to be the world’s oldest living Cubs fan. I am willing to take him at his word, but surely there is some long-lived fan out there in the right field bleachers who would dispute his claim.

    June 30, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: July 1, 2014

    • Defying the laws of God
    • Correcting the written record
    • Hands of $$ from Redevelopment
    • Celebrity visit for celebration

    June 30, 2014

  • Flashpoint: New Healthy Indiana Plan our best option

    Some state-run health care exchanges — the brainchild of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) — have gotten off to a rocky start, to the point that they are turning to the federal government to pick up the pieces. Indiana’s decision to try to expand the already-existing Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP) in lieu of an exchange seems a more prudent choice every day.

    June 30, 2014

  • Readers’ Forum: June 30, 2014

    • Don’t be victim of home repair scam
    • Ending unfair tax practices

    June 29, 2014

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