News From Terre Haute, Indiana


November 18, 2012

READERS’ FORUM: Nov. 18, 2012

Veterans honored

at North program

On Friday, Nov. 9, the student body at Terre Haute North Vigo High School held a Veterans Day program in the school’s gymnasium. The program, organized by Junior ROTC North teacher Col. Steven Jenkins, was an impressive tribute to our armed services.

One highlight of the program was the recognition of three Terre Haute North Vigo Junior ROTC students who received the Silver Valor Award, which is the second-highest award that can be bestowed on a Junior ROTC cadet.

Students William Adkins, Austin Cook and Troy Horutz were presented with the Silver Valor Award for their act of valor for their efforts on May 17, 2012. On this particular night, Garfield Towers, a building which houses 152 residents, caught fire. The cadets were in the area when they heard sirens and saw firetrucks. In response, these students went to the Garfield Towers and selflessly began assisting. These brave North students helped a badly burned resident and treated another resident with first aid who had been cut. Also, these same students helped carry a person out of the burning building as this person was unable to walk.

Another highlight of the program was the table which was placed at midcourt. Surrounding the table were five empty chairs, each chair representing soldiers who have perished or who are missing from each of the five services — Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy. On the table was a white tablecloth symbolizing the purity of motives when answering the call of duty. A single red rose was in a vase representing the life of each soldier who is missing and their loved ones who await their return. A slice of lemon was on a bread plate reminding us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land. Also, on the bread plate was salt, signifying the tears endured by those missing.  

Through the careful planning and preparation of Col. Jenkins, the musical talents of our Counterpoints and band students, Terre Haute North Vigo’s student body respectfully listened and honored those men and women who have served, and continue to serve our great nation.

— Scott Moore

Assistant Principal

North Vigo High School

Did Romney teach

the GOP a lesson?

I have been a registered Democrat all my adult life. But I voted for Reagan in 1980. Also, to my shame, I voted for Bush in 2000. But I voted for Obama this time and last time. Why? Because Romney seemed a little too eager for another “Arab” war this time with Iran.

I really do believe Romney could have run the economy better than Obama. (At least Romney had a job once in the private sector). War trumps everything else, however. If Joe Biden said one thing that was true in the veep debate, it is that America cannot afford another war. Ryan (and Romney) must think it is still 1950-something, when America’s military, diplomatic and economic power were pre-eminent. Not to mention that Romney is a tool of Wall Street. No regulation is too sensible not to be repealed.

The election showed a few things. One is the “culture war” is over. Diversity won. Maybe a woman’s body really is her own business. Maybe if two people, regardless of gender, want to get married, they should be able to without state interference. A second is the public wants an end to the “war on drugs.” Like Iraq and Afghanistan, the public knows a loser when they see one. Maybe people should be allowed a joint and not be threatened with a felony bust.

Maybe Israel should make peace and quit stealing Palestinian land. Maybe we as a nation should take care of our own problems and not try to tell the rest of the world how to live. Maybe we should bring the troops home from the 140 countries we have troops in, while we still have the means to do so.

The Republicans have demagogued on these issues all my adult life. They are now proved losers. The Democrats can only hope the Republicans continue to demagogue on them. Doing so will ensure the Republicans go “the way of the Whigs.”

But what if the Republicans had run Ron Paul? I would have voted for him in a heartbeat. Ron Paul’s call for peace and freedom, a return to true American respect for the integrity of the individual, a government circumscribed by a constitution that is more than just “honored in its breach,” just might have resonated. He, or someone like him, would inspire the young, under 25-year-olds who provided the “boots on the ground” that propelled Obama to victory.

Napoleon’s premise that the 10-to-1 relative importance of the moral to the material in war applies to elections as well. The big dollar donors, the Koch brothers, the Sheldon Adelsons, the Super PACs, et cetera, all came up empty-handed. But the Republican Party as it is now constituted will have to lose several more presidential elections before they realize their ideology of bailouts for the rich and connected (not to mention their pandering to the religious right) will put them on the rubbish heap of history.

Certainly, if Obama had had to defend his shredding of the Bill of Rights by a credible opposition candidate, doing so would have revealed Obama’s weaknesses. (Note: Romney never raised that issue.) I suggest that a return to true conservatism, not just lip service to some mythical past, would prove a powerful counter argument to the Democrats’ “tax the rich” and “give me’s for everybody.”

America is at a crossroads. We can keep either the big military or the welfare state, but not both. No one raises the question, why either? Both are increasingly expensive forms of tyranny. In Obama, the country chose a leader who will preserve the welfare state, which in my mind is the least worst (but not best) option. Sooner or later the implications of that will become self-evident. Elections have consequences.

— Matthew Alig

Terre Haute

Get over election

and let’s move on

As I read the letter to the editor Thursday, one thing became crystal clear. The residual anger from the Tea Party crowd is unreasonable to the extreme. They believe their own rhetoric with a faith similar to that of a cult. Never would I have thought that electing a black man to a second term as president would lead to residents of all 50 states signing a secession petition that would result in a second Civil War in America.

These folks now realize that while they sat in their home and watched and listened to the media frenzy created by Karl Rove’s GPS Crossroads and the Citizens United group and their $400 million that yielded no results, Obama’s campaign was calmly reviewing data, raising over a billion dollars and hitting the streets for votes in a strategic, data-driven campaign that resulted in him winning eight of the nine so-called battleground or swing states that won a second term for him. Some are still angry that their “scientific” polls lied to them as they sat on their do-nothings and hated.

Closer to home the super-majority in Indiana does not understand what happened to Tony Bennett. Glenda Ritz, a relatively unknown Republican school teacher turned Democrat, capitalized on the bullying tactics against the Indiana public schools and turned Tony Bennett out of office by gaining more votes than successful Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence did in winning the office of governor of Indiana. Ms. Ritz did this according to campaign finance records on a budget that was roughly only 25 percent of the funding that Tony Bennett had available to him by running a smart and strategic campaign by word of mouth, networking and social media.

Meanwhile, the faithful still believe that America is on the road to economic ruin because of the election putting Democrats in office. If it sounds phony to you, I am sure that you are not alone.

Is Obama really less qualified economically to head the United States? He raised a billion dollars to use in his campaign. Mitt Romney wanted to eliminate capital gains, dividends and interest taxes so that he and the rich would pay no taxes at all. Who can you trust now?

I suppose that while we cannot afford “Obamacare” that we can afford CEOs of health insurance companies making $42.5 million a year in dividends while not paying taxes, claims to medical doctors, taking medical insurance from citizens and making whole health care organizations out of network so that their assets may be acquired for pennies on the dollar.  

Some people need to quit being stupid by clinging to the lies they believed and to get over the election that they just lost so that we can move on as a country.

— John Garner

Terre Haute

Another view

of public media

In his defense of federal funding for public broadcasting (Oct. 21 letter to editor), Phil Meyer makes much of the fact that only a tiny portion of the federal budget goes to public media. “The cost is about $1.35 per person per year,” says Meyer. But isn’t that the point? If PBS and NPR are that close to getting off the federal dole, it should not require much effort to become completely self-sufficient. Phil, good buddy, sooner or later one must lose the training wheels and learn to ride his bike like a big boy.

It’s instructive to note public broadcasting’s robust listener demographics. Perusing one of NPR’s websites reveals that its taxpayer funding amounts to a federal subsidy for the upper middle class. (The same holds true for PBS.)

From the NPR website:

“Public radio attracts an audience most notably distinguished by its education excellence and professional success. Listeners are affluent, active consumers, business leaders, and involved in their communities.” When compared to the general population, NPR listeners are:

• 17 percent more likely to have a household income of $150,000 or more.

• 52 percent more likely to have a home valued at $500,000 or more;

• 90 percent more likely to carry an American Express credit card;

• 67 percent more likely to have an IRA retirement savings plan;

• 125 percent more likely to have city/municipal or state bonds;

• 56 percent more likely to have annuities;

• 94 percent more likely to own $10,000-$24,999 in stocks;

• 133 percent more likely to use a Fidelity Brokerage Firm;

• 52 percent more likely to have their house cleaned by a professional.

That public broadcasting is a beneficiary of federal largesse is especially troubling given the fact that 23 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed. Since many public broadcasting patrons are much wealthier than the general population, the question arises: Why can’t these elites pony up a bit more to cover the shortfall that lower income taxpayers are forced to fund? After all, President Obama never tires of reminding us that “the 1 percent” have loads of discretionary income.

Perhaps David Boaz said it best: “One dirty little secret that NPR and PBS don’t like to acknowledge in public debate is the (wealth) of their listeners and viewers. But they’re happy to tell advertisers — oops, I mean sponsors — about the affluent audience they’re reaching … Tax-funded broadcasting, like tax-funded arts, is a giant income transfer upward: the middle class is taxed to pay for news and entertainment for the upper middle class. It’s no accident that you hear ads for Remy Martin cognac and private banking services on NPR, not for Budweiser and free checking accounts … it’s an uncomfortable fact of life for NPR that their average listener is old, rich, highly-educated, and mostly white.

“We wouldn’t want the federal government to publish a national newspaper. Neither should we have a government television network and a government radio network. If anything should be kept separate from government and politics, it’s the news and public-affairs programming that inform Americans about government and its policies. When government brings us the news — with all the inevitable bias and spin — the government is putting its thumb on the scales of democracy. Journalists should not work for the government. Taxpayers should not be forced to subsidize news and public-affairs programming.”

— Reggie McConnell

Terre Haute

Thanks to doctor

I would like to thank Dr. Thomas F. Orman and his staff for saving my life about three weeks ago by operating on a blocked vein in my heart.

May God bless you and your loved ones.

— William M. Marchino

Terre Haute

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