SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

October 27, 2013

Good folks speak up

(My Comment:  Not everybody takes the time to read newspapers anymore, but I still enjoy them.  I do have my favorite talking heads on TV and favorite channels  — but it can get to be too much, can’t it?  Often an issue is used to beat us to death, over and over,  you see what I mean.     On this day, I had noticed all the “letters to the editor”  which I used to participate in before I became a blogger  but now have less time to indulge this pastime.   I was struck with the complete normalcy and casual intelligence of ordinary people just doing their thing and taking the time to express themselves.                           .This is America speaking!   

These people are expressing common sense, sanely and calmly and rather intelligently in my opinion.   It  makes my day, for it is easy to forget that others feel what we do and yet maintain their balance and keep their cool.  Friends and neighbors, thank you.      Jan)

Letters to the Editor

Put health care on ballot next year   

The solution to eliminating the Affordable Care Act (I refuse to call it Obamacare) really is quite simple: Medicare for everyone.   

Yes, there are those who will disagree. Then let’s start by putting it on the ballot in 2014.   

How would we pay for it?     Bring back all U.S. troops from Afghanistan, for starters.   

Will there be those in the health-care fields who disagree?   Yes, but then, that will be a new ballgame and they will have to learn to adjust to smaller incomes.   

And what about politicians who say no?   Vote them out of office.    Congress must wake up.   It has had it easy and now it is time to suffer with the rest of us lowly Americans.

.DENNIS AGIN,  Columbus

Most in GOP oppose tea party’s tactics

I respond to the Friday letter “Only socialists think tea party is radical” from Allen T. Shepard.   I must acquaint him with a dose of reality:  ordinary folk smarter thanA majority of Republicans are in diametric opposition to the tactics of the tea party.

They are not taking a more-aggressive stand against the tea-party positions only because they are in fear of losing their seats as a result of the bizarre gerrymandering of their districts after the last census. This, in fact, enabled the minority to hold sway despite the fact that the Democrats won a sizable majority of the vote in the last election.

Socialism has absolutely no place at the negotiating table. Ideological intransigence does, as demonstrated by the recent shutdown of our government , resulting in approximately $24 billion in losses in wages, productivity and world confidence in our “democracy.” Dispatch Senior Editor Joe Hallett is not a “socialist,” as Shepard claimed; rather, he is a reasoned reporter who is calling it as he sees it.

The tea party is the true hostage-taker, and by not standing up to it, House Speaker John Boehner has lost a substantial amount of credibility, which he most likely will never be able to recoup.

Reasoned discourse, as in the past, needs to be reintroduced into the halls of Congress if we are ever going to solve our problems. The Ted Cruzes of the world are not the solution; they are the problem.

   .HERRICK F. LAYLIN,    Dublin

Bring troops home, focus on our nation

In view of our country’s dire financial shape, why don’t we give Guantanamo Bay back to Cuba? It is their land. Why don’t we get out of Japan and Germany? World War II ended in 1945.

Why don’t we get out of Korea? The Korean people don’t want us there.

Why don’t we close the 750 to 800 bases around the world and stop building embassies such as the one in Iraq, the largest in the world?

Why don’t we get out of Afghanistan after 13 years? The Russians cut their losses and got out.

Vietnam apparently taught our leaders nothing.

All of the above helped put us where we are today.

  .PAUL B. DIERKSEN Columbus

Issue 17 deserves OK in Gahanna

I have lived in nine Ohio counties and 13 different communities across the state. Those 13 communities range from rural townships to big cities to suburbs. I sometimes look back on them as comfortable places to live, and Gahanna tops the list.

There are many reasons I call Gahanna home. First, it is a well-run city, with an administration and council that are responsive to the needs of the residents.

Second, the Gahanna Division of Police is a superb organization that comes quickly when needed.

Third, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department has something for everyone — from sports leagues and playgrounds for kids to trails for hikers and bicyclists to a senior center for old folks like me.

All residents would suffer if the current lack of city income forced cuts in any of those operations.

Other cities have been in this situation and suffered a gradual decline because of diminishing revenue, and I’m afraid that Gahanna is teetering on the edge of such a situation.

I hope and pray that doesn’t happen here, and that is why I will vote yes on Issue 17, the income-tax-reform proposal, on Nov. 5.

.LEE BAILEY,   Gahanna

Shutdown over, D.C. is back to its old tricks

Now I get it:   We have to raise the national debt ceiling so we can lend countries like Pakistan $1.6 billion (“With relations improved, U.S. to hand Pakistan $1.6B,” Associated Press article, Saturday Dispatch). The article says it’s for “military and economic aid.”

I would like to know who in Washington can honestly say that they track the money to see what it’s spent on.

.BILL SEKULICH,   Delaware

Earmarks work their way into bill

I am irate at the items attached to the bill that was passed to reopen the government (“Earmarks still made it into bill,” Reuters article, Thursday Dispatch). I especially resent the $174,000 payment to Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg, the widow of New Jersey Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg.

Why is she worth more than our men and women fighting this useless war? They get a mere pittance when they come home in caskets and even less when wounded. We should devote all our extra energies to see that these heroes and their families are taken care of.

Most of the senators are well-heeled. Mrs. Lautenberg would do well to donate this money to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Also, does Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., think that a dam in Kentucky will assure him of a win next year? The only worthwhile attachment was the one to expedite military veterans’ claims so that our vets will get what they have all earned.

It’s apparent the members of Congress are interested only in their own careers. Why can’t they ever pass a bill on its merits?

I urge everyone to write their senators about these concerns and to remember this when they go to the polls.

  .PATRICIA L. DeWITT,   Canal Winchester

Kids need responsible dad in the picture

The Dispatch series “Kids shooting kids” (Oct. 13-14) was very sad.

We surely feel the pain that those mothers must feel when they have to deal with those terrible situations on a regular basis.

The one thing I found lacking in the article is information on the fathers. They have fathered these children and abandoned them and their mothers. Without a good father figure to guide the children, all these programs will continue to have mimimal impact.

Without good, strong, positive fathers in the picture, these young people get guidance from the wrong groups. Mothers do the best they can, but it is a team effort, no doubt. The role of a father in raising a son cannot be diminished.

We will have poverty forever, no matter how many trillions of dollars we spend, but a good father as a role model will give a son a much better chance to break that cycle than the irresponsible ones who father the kids and then abandon them

.ROBERT BROWN,   Worthington

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