News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 22, 2014

Readers’ Forum: March 23, 2014


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---- — The economy favors Dems

Conservative observers of the political landscape are predicting that the economy will be the dominant issue when voters go to polls this November. Liberals may be hoping these conservatives are correct this time, or at least that they will remain way right.

Much conservative fervor has long been devoted to espousing the importance of wealth creation as a driving force within capitalism’s economic engine. Conservatives also decry the supposedly negative impact of any and all federal debt.

Consider this. Under Obama, the value of all wealth held by Americans now stands at more than $80 trillion, an increase since 2009 of over $17 trillion. That is an increase which is roughly equivalent to the entire amount of the national debt, a tally that has been piled up by conservative and liberal administrations alike since the very beginning of time. (That’s some 51⁄2 billion years of God’s time, not Mitch-time.)

Once people start spending their $17 trillion in profits, logic would indicate that potential exists for what modesty presumes could be modest upticks in sales, production, hiring and, yes, perhaps even more glorious profitability.

This economic turn-around has been all the more improbable considering that the chief contribution made to its progression by conservative politicians in Washington has been to create daunting headwinds and to throw up roadblocks to every initiative whenever possible.

We could have been, (and still can be), even further along the road to recovery with just a few more notes of contrapuntal, cooperative spirit, (not to be dismissive of the promise inherent in the lovely, haunting, impatient, majestic dissonance of an “Appalachian Spring”).

Things are looking up. Come November, don’t forget to vote your pocketbook.

— Clay Wilkinson, Terre Haute

Looking for an answer on gas prices

Having just spent two days driving back from south Florida, I had the opportunity to buy gasoline in several states. Starting in Florida, we paid $3.45 per gal, Georgia $3.25, Tennessee $3.19. We arrived in Terre Haute on an empty tank, and we were greeted with $3.79 per gallon. I couldn’t help but wonder why such a difference. I also, noticed Evansville has gas prices lower than ours by 25 cents per gallon. Why?

I looked at the gas taxes per state. All states have an 18.4 cents per gallon federal tax, then Florida adds 35.4 cents, Georgia 28.5 cents, Tennessee 21.4 cents and Indiana 38.9 cents. So, if we take the difference between Indiana and Tennessee taxes, we see 17.5 cents per gallon in taxes, but at the retail pump we see 60 cents difference. Why?

I have noticed in the past that when we see a price increase at the pump, it usually happens just prior to a weekend or holiday, and they all move in concert. Is there some secret cartel that sets prices? Is there price fixing in the area? There seems to be a connection somewhere. Who decides this pricing move? Who decides the price. It certainly does not seem to be market driven.

I and many others would welcome someone from the industry who knows the answers to the above to please explain. There must be some logical reason for us having higher gas prices than the rest of the state and neighboring states. Maybe a good investigative reporter from the Tribune-Star could find the answers or even the Indiana Attorney General’s office. It could be a good investigation even for the U.S. Attorney’s office. Someone should find out the real reason for this outrageous pricing and concerted movement.

— Don Phillips, West Terre Haute

Dissatisfied with assessment appeal

I was pleased to read Donn Yarbrough’s letter concerning our Vigo County assessor’s office. I also had an appeal process dealing with this group. I had the exact same results that he encountered. I was also told it was my responsibility to prove to the appeals committee they were wrong with the assessment I was given for 2014.

I have no idea how you could do that, as we have no way of knowing how assessments are derived. I was told all assessments in our area were raised 1 percent by the state in 2014 due to the sales of homes across the board in our area being higher. We have not had one of the seven homes in our subdivision that sold within $50,000 of the asking price.

After surveying the homeowners in our subdivision, pertaining to their assessment for 2014, I found some assessments stayed the same, some raised a couple of hundred and mine went up way more. If, as we were told, all of the homes in our area went up 1 percent for 2014, and almost all of the homes were built within a 10-year period, and the homes’ values are all comparable, how do we have this great disparity?

I guess, as Donn stated in his letter, assessments are thrown against the wall to see if they stick. In his words, a dart board is used to see who gets jabbed and who doesn’t. I believe as Donn does, our assessor group should have the burden of proof on them, to give us the real reasons our assessments went up this year.

I was also told, as Donn was, that we would still have to pay what we were assessed this year, due to appeals running two years behind, due to the large numbers of appeals filed. I was also told that if we actually won our appeal we would eventually get a refund in 2016. If there are that many appeals being filed each year, that says we have a real problem with our assessor’s homes/property assessment procedure. These appeals should be handled by the assessor group when the appeals paperwork is being filed immediately, not two years later costing taxpayers costs they shouldn’t have to pay.

I have done my research and due diligence and feel I have proved my case for my appeal, but I received no help from the assessor group doing it. I also don’t suppose this letter will help my or your appeal case, but it needed to be said.

— Gary L. Isle, Terre Haute

Amusement from liberals

I read with amusement Shirley Thomas’ reply to a letter written by Mr. Thiel. I say amusement because it is ridiculous that someone who is so naive and ill-informed would claim that she is “not uneducated.” Let’s start with a little education: The governor does not “tow the line”, Shirley, the correct saying is to “toe the line” (as in stepping up to the line). I know all those words that sound the same are confusing to those drinking the Obama Kool-Aid, but one who claims she is not uneducated should know that.

Why does Shirley always feel the need to “explain things” to the rest of us and “walk us through it,” sadly in the usual liberal condescending tone? The nice thing about video is that politicians are captured actually telling lies, and when they deny it, these can be played back. In one, President Obama stated, “I prefer a single-payer health care system but we can’t get there all at once.” Hmmm. That statement tells me that Obamacare is designed to fail, so they get what they really want.

So far, he has delayed parts of the law 30 times so they won’t take effect until after the November elections. This is critical to keep the liberals in power. All of Obama’s amendments are illegal — Congress was created as 1/3 of equal/shared government, and the pen and phone were not.

Quit drinking the blue juice and go to the library. Read real history and current events books. Read Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” which is/has always been Obama’s “how-to manual”. Hillary also praised Alinsky and wrote her college thesis on his “model.” Alinsky’s  ideology is to destroy existing systems, create chaos and disorder, and then take over in order to “fix” things.

Read the teachings of “Cloward & Piven,” same idealogy, and pay special attention to the part where they say “in order to affect change, first destroy the existing system.” Obamacare is designed to fail so the liberal radicals can get the single-payer system of socialized medicine they so desperately want, among other things. They want to control every aspect of your life. Why else is there a provision in Obamacare that forbids people from paying for their health care with their own money if the Obamacare bureaucrats deny care. Why will the IRS control health care?

If Ms. Thomas would take time to learn the facts she would find that the government budget office has determined that after Obamacare is fully enacted, there will still be millions upon millions of uninsured Americans, while the rest of the system is a shambles. It’s all about controls.

It’s not surprising she told Mr. Thiel, “I would want you watched closely and often.” During Germany’s Third Reich and in Soviet Russia, people watched each other and reported their neighbors, and political officers were assigned to every ship and unit to spy on and report people. Is Comrade Thomas the political officer for Brazil? It looks like she is going to be busy, because now she will be watching Mr. Thiel, Mr. DeLorme, all the other conservatives who disagree with her, and now me. Let’s all watch Shirley.

Her letter does show what the effects of long-term exposure to drinking the Obama Kool-Aid will do to you. She completely ignores facts and does the only thing she can do — attack the messenger. This is pure liberal logic, don’t confuse them with the facts. When challenged with facts, they go into the “D” mode, that of deny, deflect, discredit and destroy the messenger.

To Mr. Thiel, I say “keep up the good work.” Keep pointing out the ignorance of these liberal thinkers.

Obama said, “If you like your health care plan you can keep it — period. If you like your doctor you can keep your doctor — period.” So ask those (so far) 6.5 million people who lost their insurance if they believe him.

Keep those letters coming Shirley — we can always use a good laugh.

— Frank Grochowski, Brazil

A fine police unit at ISU

The Tribune-Star printed a letter from me concerning a traffic issue with the Indiana State University police department, and their practice of patrolling U.S. 41 (Third Street).

After the letter appeared, I contacted a good family friend who is a detective within the ISU department. He recognized my voice, and preceded to tell me that my article was the main topic of discussion that morning. The officer involved had clocked the car traveling south at 53 mph. He defended the department’s actions because of the quantity of students who cross the highway to get to parking lots on the west side of Third Street.

I personally want to apologize for any misunderstanding about the intent of my letter: The ISU police department has a staff of men and women who do their jobs with integrity, pride and professionalism. It is not easy dealing with the number of students on campus, traffic and outside groups coming onto the campus with other intentions than a quality education.

When I asked my lifelong friend if he wanted to thank me or slap me, he laughed and chose the later of the two. He agreed with my 82-year-old mother, and said I was just stirring up trouble. Hats off to a fine university police department; it was an opinion, and everyone has one. That doesn’t mean they are always correct.

— Robert Burke, Terre Haute

Amazing work on remodeled kitchen

We recently had the pleasure of doing business with Steve at Kostyo Woodworking in Terre Haute. We have been updating our kitchen and we needed to replace our worn-out counter tops. After getting several estimates from different companies, a friend highly recommended Mr. Kostyo. We consulted with Steve, chose and ordered our new counter tops.

Once the exact measurements were taken, it was only a week and my counter tops were ready to be installed. I cannot tell you how pleased we are with his work. Installation took less than an hour and his crew worked with precision and extreme care.

Steve was present through the whole ordeal, even picking up a drill and helping out when needed.

Thanks again, Steve. Our kitchen looks amazing.

— Carol Whitecotten & Jerry Monts, Terre Haute

Exciting year for ISU women

The Missouri Valley Women’s basketball tournament did not end as we had wished with the ISU women winning a championship. The team has had its ups and downs this year, but it was an exciting season with more ups than downs.

At Marshall they came from 20 points down at the 8-minute mark and with 1.7 seconds left, Lashonda LIttleton hit two free throws to win 68-67. At the Tulane tournament they beat Big Ten Northwestern 70-67 when Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir (Qisi) hit a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left. They started the conference season 6-0 and ended the conference season 6-0. They lost only two road conference games; swept road games at Evansville, Southern Illinois, Missouri State, Wichita State, Drake and Northern Iowa. The team split with four other conference teams, not losing to any team twice during the regular season.  

They held Missouri State to 20 percent field goal percentage in the first half while giving up only two field goals, a record low for MSU at JQH arena, and had the largest margin of victory on the road since 2004-05 with that 73-37 win. They beat the No. 1 team, Wichita State, in their arena with Jasmine Grier lighting up to hit five of seven 3-pointers. They had games where everyone who played rebounded and games with four scoring in double figures.

Unfortunately, some of the team’s most exciting wins were on the road where only a few of us got to experience that excitement. I have gotten to know the women’s basketball players and they are a great group of young women on and off the court. They played a great, close game in a losing effort in the WNIT at home. Hopefully many fans came out and enjoyed post-season excitement.

— Sheila Mitchell, Terre Haute

Heartless about health care

Byron York, Cecil Bohanon and other creepy columnists need to stop writing about health care and health care consumers.

York now claims to want to “fix” the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare”. Now, finally, why does this political faction want to “fix” it? I question their newfound charity toward the health care consumer. They simply cannot be trusted. They have protected the greedy that are profiting from health care for far too long.

Speaking of the greedy, Cecil Bohanon completely misunderstands the subject of health care by his interjection of cost into the issue of cancer treatment. His question, “Is health care a right?” is simply a misapplication of the meaning of the word “right”. If Mr. Bohanon should be unfortunate enough to get cancer from previously being a smoker, it would be a statistical judgment at best. True, statistics would make the supposition that his case of cancer is self-inflicted, but we simply don’t know enough about the cause of the disease to state unequivocally that this is indeed the case for any one specific case of cancer with the exception of Mesothelioma (and nobody “forced” all of those people to work with asbestos, did they?)

All that we can do legally is use groups and statistics to win class-action legal points of law. An individual attempting such a maneuver is on legal quicksand from a scientific perspective. So, the justification for his whole article is entirely illogical and unscientific.

Putting a price on health care is something that makes us think that only those of means are “entitled” to it. Entitlement of the rich at the expense of the poor has long been the one-sided argument of the cold-hearted profiteer. In other words, these columnists both hope to justify greed by pinning the word “liberal” on the concept of health care for the poor and less fortunate. What they fail to mention is that every medical breakthrough costs money and that the expensive treatments of today become the economical, life-saving treatments of tomorrow. Conservatives hate to spend money unless it is for a selfish reason.

Once they get their illogical arguments across regarding “entitlements”, what they are actually proposing is eliminating medical research and “mercy”, in the words of Mr. Bohanon. Mercy is justice. Charity is justice. They are the justice of God and the faithful.

However, if they believe mercy, charity and justice are secondary to so-called “private property rights” (or rights of profit) then perhaps both of these gentlemen should have the middle name of Ichabod. It is a good thing that Mr. Bohanon used the cancer argument. You see, the argument would have fallen flat if he had used an illness pertaining to the heart as his “entitlement” expense. Both of these men simply have no heart.

— John Garner, Terre Haute

Don’t be confused about fat

Confused about fat? You’re not alone. A new study claims saturated fat may have a neutral effect on heart disease. Before we rejoice with a bacon cheeseburger, let’s look at the bigger picture. Consumption of cheese, the number one source of saturated fat in the American diet, has tripled over the past 30 years.

Americans now consume more than 30 pounds of cheese, 200 pounds of meat, and nearly 60 pounds of added fats and oils each year. Heart disease remains the biggest killer nationwide.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. By filling up with plant-based foods — fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — we consume healthful doses of fiber, phytochemicals and phytonutrients that lower blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar, satiate cravings and improve cholesterol.

Former president Bill Clinton and superstar Beyoncé are great examples of this approach: By swapping black bean burgers for Big Macs, they embody heart health and continue to feel great.

— Susan Levin, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, Director of Nutrition Education, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington, D.C.