News and Tribune

November 2, 2012

News and Tribune letters: Nov. 2, 2012


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> SOUTHERN INDIANA — Marine: Please exercise your right to vote



While on active duty many of us were in awe of the all too often poor voter turnout during elections here in America. Many of us viewed firsthand that in several countries their general public hungered for opportunities that we enjoy because of our rights as Americans, but they were also puzzled that the most basic of those rights — our right to vote — was not exercised by many citizens for various reasons.

We service members highly valued our right to vote, with many units assigned overseas achieving a 100 percent participation rate through absentee voting. Some will undoubtedly claim that we were ordered to do so, but we were not, nor did I ever hear of such a despicable order being placed. Why then, did we vote? Simply stated, while our bodies were in one place, our souls were in another, namely, The United States of America, and we believed in all that she stands for.

This letter is humbly submitted to encourage you to exercise one of your rights, if for no other reason than to display your value of our service men and women, by placing in office those who will reflect our concerns and beliefs. I suppose I could state the well worn cliche “if you don’t vote you have no right to gripe,” but I don’t believe that is necessary. I will point out, however, that those in harm’s way want to believe that they are placed there by the MAJORITY of America’s citizenry, through our elected leaders. May our God continue to bless America, and all Americans...

— Terry Walker, Chief Warrant Officer 4, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired), New Albany



Reader says paper, Mourdock out of touch



  Out of touch. There just isn’t any other way to describe the [News And] Tribune and its inexplicable coverage of the Tuesday evening debate between Richard Mourdock and Joe Donnelly. Given the reaction to Senator Aiken’s comments about women and rape, you would think that if Daniel Suddeath didn’t recognize that the inflammatory remarks about rape were worthy of a headline or the first line of the article, that at least the editor would know that this was major news. Instead we find the comment buried at the very end of the coverage while CNN, BBC, and other major news organizations immediately picked up the story.

This morning my inbox had notes from friends outside the state asking me about the out of touch, run amok tea party candidate we have for the Senate. Mourdock’s comments about pregnancy and rape were the sort of political gaff that we increasingly see in campaigns. A politician is open and candid about their true positions, then immediately want to retract what they say when they realize it doesn’t play well with the electorate.

If women in this county had any doubts about the “war on women,” Mourdock removed all doubt last night. We have too many candidates that would gladly remove the rights that women have spent decades fighting to get. How ironic that we have a politician willing to take away our rights as women while his party is willing to lecture other countries on democracy. This march to deprive women of protection and choice is too often cloaked in religious certainties.  I find this doubly offensive. How dare Mourdock think that he can speak for God? To imply that God would plan a pregnancy in a case of rape is the sort of thinking that accompanied mass rape of women in Bosnia so that they would carry Serbian babies. These sorts of comments are about men having power over women, plain and simple. It’s time for American women to have equal representation in the Congress. Protecting our rights begins when we start voting for female candidates ready to stand with women.

It is time for women to wake up before it is too late. And it is time for the [News And] Tribune to start being a serious newspaper.

— Susan Ryan, of Floyds Knobs



Resident supports Stephenson for  Clark commissioner



  Yes I’m supporting Rick Stephenson for County Commissioner. To me it’s a no brainer and here’s just one more reason.

Vince Lombardi arguably is the best pro football coach ever. As an example he took a 1-10-1 team in 1958 and with much the same personnel went to 7-5 in 1959 and only got immeasurably better after that.

In 1999 David Maraniss wrote a book on Vince Lombardi called “When Pride Still Mattered.” In the book Maranisss pointed out how Lombardi practiced and provided leadership, discipline, perseverance, teamwork and doing it all in an honorable manner. One of the things he omitted was the fact Lombardi rewarded his players for their efforts. For instance one year after the season ended he gave all the wives fur coats and gave something of equal value to the single players.

Time and space limits my outlining why Rick exemplifies all these characteristics so I’ll just limit it to an item on leadership.

Up until Sept. 17 I was helping Rick and others with their campaign which involved more than making comments via the Internet. At that point I told them I was hanging it up. A few short days later I received a card from him thanking me for efforts on his behalf. Trust me folks and I’m sorry to say but I didn’t do that much. Of course it was well received but not necessary and I don’t feel deserved. It does, however, show he’s considerate of people for even minor things which is not only a must for any leader but a trait found in only those that truly care.

I hope you join me in voting for him Nov. 6.

— John Krueger, Clarksville



 

Roudenbush is choice for Floyd commissioner



Steve Bush, a 20-year veteran of the New Albany police force, showed his disdain for written law in 2006 when he voted to approve the Lafayette Ridge Subdivision on Fertig Creek Road for developer, Bob Lynn. Bush, at that time, served on the Floyd County Plan Commission representing the Board of Floyd County Commissioners. Approximately 26 percent of the lots in Lafayette Ridge failed to meet the clear and unambiguous minimum lot frontage required by ordinance. It was clear that the roads in the area could not accommodate the potential traffic imposed by this 223 lot subdivision. It was also clear that the roads in this area are flooded frequently. However, he voted to approve it. It has cost neighboring landowners more than $200,000 in a futile effort to protect against eminent domain proceedings brought on behalf of Bob Lynn as a result of this approval. The landowners had the law and ethics on their side but not the judges and lawyers.

Steve Bush is on record saying that he wants a countywide sewer district. Again, this is a benefit for no one but developers and land speculators. He is also on record in favor of combining city and county government with the exception of retaining the sheriff’s office as elective.

Our three county commissioners claimed that they were forced by law to establish a “Stormwater” entity and vehemently claimed the stormwater fee was not a tax. On Oct. 7, 2008, Freiberger, Bush and Seabrook admitted that they had not read the law that they claimed forced them to establish a stormwater entity. If they had, they might have asked for a waiver that the law provides under some circumstances, or they might have exempted parts of the county. On Oct. 2, 2012, the commissioners admitted that they have not audited the “Stormwater” books. When asked how many employees “Stormwater” has, only Seabrook would speak up; he said, “I would say three fulltime and two parttime.”

I conclude by saying that Steve Bush should be removed from public office. I will vote for Dennis Roudenbush.

— George Mouser, Floyds Knobs





Writer disagrees with Bennett’s approach to education



Centralized, distant leadership can only be abstract. It cannot know particular people in particular places, which is perhaps the reason that State Education Superintendent Tony Bennett has referred to teachers and students as “human capital.”

The best work of human beings is love. It is not the production of capital. Bennett’s current goals laud the production of competition over the health of human creativity.

Wendell Berry has said, “Education is not properly an industry, and its proper use is not to serve industries, either by job-training or by industry-subsidized research. It’s proper use is to enable citizens to live lives that are economically, politically, socially, and culturally responsible. This cannot be done by gathering or “accessing” what we now call “information” — which is to say facts without context and therefore without priority. A proper education enables young people to put their lives in order, which means knowing what things are more important than other things; it means putting first things first.”

If/when our government transfers education to privatization, entities that know nothing about particular people in particular places (and who hope to homogenize the unique identity of local places into national industrial standards), those entities can only deal with humans as competitive capital. This is NOT education; this is business marketing.

China found out that dealing with kids on a merely competitive level resulted in a profound increase of teen emotional disorders and suicide. Thus, they scrapped their centralized, hyper-competitive, high-stakes tested, merit-based teacher pay system and decided on a local system, overseen by local people and dedicated to the ideal of individual creativity so that their children’s education also includes their children’s well-being. It is a remarkable incongruity to see a communist state decentralize schooling, while our so-called democratic country races to the top-down politics of centralized education.

Mr. Bennett, can you please explain how the world will be a better place for your own children and grandchildren when mere competition is lauded as the ultimate justifier of everything, replacing and discarding the virtues of love as the primary motivator?

Similarly, I would be interested to know how it is that you believe work done out of duty to numbers will be better than work motivated by love?

Finally, I wander how you would respond to John Ruskin when he stated, “The affections are an anomalous force, rendering every one of the ordinary political economist’s calculations nugatory; while, even if he desired to introduce this new element into his estimates, he has no power of dealing with it; for the affections only become a true motive power when they ignore every other motive and condition of political economy. For human beings, affection is the ultimate motive, because the force that powers us is not steam, magnetism or graviton, (or competition and test scores) but a soul.”

— Brian Lowry, of Scottsburg



Conflicts of interest give voter change of heart in GCCS race



  I thought that I had made my decisions about the school board races until I heard about something that happened at the last meeting. I read the letter to the editor about the building trades class working to build or remodel a house of a family member of a school board member. The writer said that school board member Nancy Kraft was the only one against it. It was pointed out by Dan Christensen, Becka’s husband, that it was actually Becka that was the only vote against this use of school energies and she thought it would be more appropriate to do something in Henryville or somewhere needy. He went on to say that Becka was the voice of the people and she would never consider personal benefit from being a school board member. I agreed with that. I found out today that she has personally voted to pay her company for flowers ordered by Greater Clark County Schools several times. This appears to be a similar conflict. If you are going to be on the school board you should not benefit personally or financially from matters that you vote on. End of case! A board member must refrain from benefiting regardless of the amount of the benefit. As a practical matter there is no difference . I’ve decided that I can’t vote for someone who claims to support one thing and then does the opposite when it benefits her personally and financially.

— Walter Brown Jr., of Jeffersonville



New Albany residents says Grabowski best choice for District 72



  Election Day is fast approaching and I want to ask you to vote for Sharon “Lee” Grabowski for state representative, District 72. Sharon is a candidate (and fellow retired teacher) I’ve known and respected for many years. We need Sharon’s energy and enthusiasm, her capability for hard work and demonstrated leadership now more than ever in Indianapolis. Sharon has more than 30 years teaching experience in the New Albany-Floyd County School System. She served four years as president of our Teachers’ Association. She served on the bargaining team for teachers when bargaining was done through consensus building. After retirement, Sharon went to work for the Indiana State Teachers’ Association and Metlife as an investment advisor, traveling throughout the state helping educators (including me) understand their retirement accounts and leading workshops on retirement planning.

I feel the citizens of Floyd County need a voice in Indianapolis. But, we need more than a voice! We need an advocate in Indianapolis! We need an advocate who is attuned to the needs of the community and is available to answer citizens’ calls, questions and requests for help. Sharon will be that advocate! She has the time, the training and the temperament to do this.

Yes, we have problems in Floyd County. It seems as if the state government is taking greater control of our local funding and leaving behind budgets that are squeezed to the breaking point. Help me on Election Day send Sharon Grabowski to Indianapolis to remedy this situation!

— Leland A. Howard Jr., of New Albany



Advice for the undecided voters



  Let’s hope the undecided voter will think long and hard as to whom he wants to be our next president. It would be so easy to vote against our own self interest after listening to all the bluster coming from the Romney-Ryan camp, which in my opinion is simply 95 percent bluster and 5 percent fact.    

Romney-Ryan make no secret of their intention to take from the poor and middle class and redistribute it to the wealthy. They plan to dismantle medicare as we know it and reduce it to a voucher system headed up by the insurance companies and they would also like to privatize Social Security, which would once again put us at the mercy of the banking industry. These institutions are the ones who took us down this destructive path and they still own the Republican Party.

In addition they plan to eliminate the mortgage deduction which will further weaken the real estate market, and especially hurt the poor and middle class who so depend upon it.

Romney-Ryan are so calloused that they would like to eliminate funding  Planned Parenthood which so many destitute women completely rely upon for so many health issues for themselves and their offspring. Also, they are very much in favor of telling you women what you can and cannot do with your own bodies. How would they like for you women to tell we men how and when what’s best for our bodies?

And please, we don’t want our health plan that was fought for so hard and would mean so much for so many to be dismantled by two men who have the best health care money can buy.       

Furthermore, due to all the saber rattling in the Middle East Romney-Ryan wants to intervene in Syria and is also tacitly implying that the United States or Israel should hit Iran with a preemptive strike. They seem oblivious to the fact that we as Americans have sent enough of our sons and daughters to the Middle East to die so that Standard Oil and Halliburton can thrive.

The immorality of taking this country over a precipice from which it may never recover just so the rich can become richer and damned the poor is anything but Christ-like and in the end our progeny will have to suffer the consequences.

   — Charlie Gregory, of Charlestown



Writer says country’s ‘moral direction’ up for  election



  Obama has been leading our country into socialism as well as a continued moral decay by supporting abortion (even later term babies). America is at the crossroads of choosing a continuing path to socialism and communism or to return to your forefathers roots of a democratic republic. Total government control will lead to bankruptcy within the disappearance of the middle class. Communist and socialist governments do not have a middle class. Our moral direction is up for election as well as our government direction. Religious freedoms are being attacked by the current administrations. There have been many executive orders by Obama that are also stripping away our freedoms.

The Obama care health plan has many restrictions that will favor euthanasia. Taxpayers will be paying for more and more abortions. Obama has raised the national debt $6 trillion with $1 trillion deficits every year. Bring decency back to America. Even the respected preacher, Billy Graham, has come out for Mitt Romney.

God Bless America.

— Betty Vaught, of Jeffersonville



Shouldering the blame



We Republicans cut embassy defense by $300 billion but, it’s Obama’s fault! We Republicans didn’t pass the jobs bill that would have created four million new jobs but, it’s Obama’s fault! We Republicans want to not cut military spending but, it’s Obama’s fault that we continue to get rich from companies who build our tanks we don’t need!

We want to basically end Medicare but, it’s Obama’s fault! We want to complete the Keystone Pipeline for Canada to sell the oil to India and China but, that’s Obama’s fault! This was what we said when this started but, it’s Obama’s fault!

We want to give tax breaks to the rich but, it’s Obama’s fault! We spent billions in our salaries voting to repeal Obamacare but, it’s Obama’s fault! We continue to rape the middle and poor class but, it’s Obama’s fault! We created two wars which added trillions to the deficit, but it’s Obama’s fault!

Obama created five million jobs, but it’s Obama’s fault! If Obama were Christ, it would still be Obama’s fault! We said we will make him a one term president but, it’s Obama’s fault! We may as well cry crucify him, for it’s Obama’s fault! We share no blame! It’s Obama’s fault.

— George L. Dorman, of Clarksville