Letters from Readers - 2012

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Nov. 5, 2012

Amendment No. 4 is bad
I write you because we face an urgent and critical matter. It seems so good but is so bad. It seems like it is a step forward but it is a great leap backward. It seems like it lifts Alabama into the 21st century but it really pulls Alabama back into 19th century. It is a wolf in sheep's clothing. The “it” of which I speak is Constitutional Amendment No. 4 on the November general election ballot.

Amendment 4 proposes to remove racist language from the Alabama Constitution that requires black and white children to attend separate schools. That should make Amendment 4 a good thing. Amendment 4 also proposes to remove the racist poll tax language from the Alabama Constitution. The poll tax helped prevent most black and poor people from voting. Voting is a right under the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and no one should have to pay to exercise that right. The poll tax language in the Alabama Constitution is very bad and should be removed.

Amendment 4 destroys the right to a public education. I acknowledge that some see the import of this provision differently but it's better to be safe than sorry. Amendment 4 seems like a step forward but it is a giant leap backward, to a time before the Civil War.

Amendment 4 is a fraud on the people of Alabama. It proposes to remove racist provisions from the Alabama Constitution that have no real legal impact. However, the provision limiting public education circumscribes the future of our children, our communities, our state. The proposed removal of racist language by Amendment 4 simply puts lipstick on the reactionary 1901 Alabama Constitution while sticking a dagger in the heart of education rights for our children.

Sen. Hank Sanders

The Golden Goose
I have always believed that animals are one of the greatest gifts God has given us. They entertain us, but most of all they dazzle us with their sheer beauty. But there's a string attached: It's our duty to care for them and protect them, since they cannot protect themselves.

It is also our duty to protect the wonderful creatures that make Weiss Lake their home—ducks, geese, herons, pelicans, ospreys and yes, even the very symbol of our great nation, the bald eagle. There is also a mythical animal that is in very grave danger, the Golden Goose (Weiss Lake).

The Golden Goose serves our community, it helps our schools, it helps our businesses, it creates jobs, and provides entertainment for thousands. And yet when it gives so much to us, the people who are charged with its protection just ignore it. Too many are only interested in collecting the golden eggs.

As a member of Save Weiss Lake, I care about the Golden Goose and ask that you help us protect every one of God's magnificent creatures. Please help us fight to save our Golden Goose. With your help, we can succeed and our Golden Goose will soar with the Eagle. Please help us fulfill our obligation to protect the wonderful creatures of Weiss Lake.

Debra Mauldin

BOE's money source?
Our Board of Education is at it again. It was a year ago that the members decided they didn't have enough money to keep the vocational school open. I was told by a board member that state proration was why there was not enough money. After an uprising in the community, our citizens stepped up and voted a tax hike to keep the vocational school open.

Our outgoing superintendent made many personnel changes that eventually left open the position of principal at Centre Elementary. Then, the superintendent resigned. The newly-appointed assistant superintendent was then reassigned to fill the vacated superintendent's position by the board. The outgoing superintendent was then appointed P.E. teacher at the Centre Elementary School. At the board meeting on Oct. 30, the outgoing superintendent was hired to be the new principal at Centre Elementary.

Where did the money come from to pay for all of these personnel changes? Just over a year ago, our finances were in such dire condition that taxes had to be raised to keep the vocational school open. Now, we seem to have plenty of money for high-paying positions that haven't been filled for 12 years. Did the state lift the proration? What programs will come up short now because we have all these new positions?

Also, why was it so urgent that all these positions be filled before the election? Could we not have waited until the new superintendent and board members are in office, then let them evaluate the situation and make personnel changes? If the board and the superintendent thought we could do without the vocational school, why can't we do without all of these personnel changes for a little while longer? If our school system is so strapped for money, I would like to know where the money came from.

Sarah Bright

Regarding Medicaid
Poverty rates are generally higher in rural areas than in urban centers. Also, residents of rural Alabama are more likely than their urban neighbors to be self-employed or working for a small business without employer-sponsored health insurance. They are, therefore, more likely to be uninsured or underinsured.

As written, the Affordable Care Act would expand Medicaid eligibility to all adults below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, ruled that states could not be compelled to participate.

That decision means that over 100,000 Alabamians who fall below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, such as a family of three earning less than $26,344 annually, will still struggle to find affordable health insurance if the state declines to participate in the Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid provides a crucial healthcare safety net for those rural residents most in need. And the expansion of Medicaid would bring in several billion dollars from the federal government by 2020, potentially financing the creation of over 10,000 ongoing Alabama jobs. Moreover, expanding Medicaid will help alleviate some of the costs of uncompensated care for the uninsured, reducing premiums for those with private insurance.

Over 10,000 healthcare jobs, lower insurance premiums for the currently insured and access to affordable healthcare coverage for over 100,000 hard-working Alabamians, many of whom lack coverage today, all speak in favor of expanding Medicaid in the state, for rural Alabama in particular.

John Crabtree
Center for Rural Affairs
Lyons, Neb.

Statewide amendments
Once Alabama voters finish choosing among presidential, congressional and judicial candidates on Nov. 6, some may think they have completed their civic duty.

However, those choices are the easier part. The final portions of the ballot may actually be the greatest challenge of the election. Alabamians will also be voting on proposed revisions to the Alabama Constitution of 1901. The decisions on many of these questions can affect the lives of Alabamians way beyond the terms of office for which candidates are running.

For amendments, voters are asked to choose “yes” or “no” in response to confused wording, and election rules forbid poll workers from giving even a straight unbiased explanation. It benefits the serious voter to untangle the mind-numbing legalese before heading to the polling place.

Of the 11 questions on the ballot, three come from the efforts to reform the 1901 Alabama Constitution. Proposed Amendments 4, 9 and 10 differ from the usual laundry list of local measures. They are efforts to rewrite the 19th century language of the State Constitution.

When you go to the polls on Nov. 6, you will find these amendments among numerous others. To see all proposed amendments and a sample ballot from your county visit www.sos.state.al.us. They are there for the citizens of Alabama to determine whether or not to keep segregation and poll tax provisions in Alabama's Constitution and to address bringing business and corporation laws into the 21st century.

ACCR Foundation

Oct. 29, 2012

Opposed to wind

To state that the Shinbone Wind Project would increase tourism is simply outrageous and untrue. Tourists visit because of the natural beauty of the mountain and lake; to acquaint their families with the outdoor life of hiking, fishing, and camping because most of them already live in cities filled with steel, glass, and concrete towers and buildings. They do not want to drive a long distance to see huge wind turbines protruding up into the sky, scaring the wildlife away and polluting the air with noise.

My family had the pleasure of seeing one of these so-called “wind farms” when my son graduated from U.S. Army basic training at Fort Sill, Okla. Although it was at a distance of approximately 100 miles away you could still see the massive wind turbines dotting the countryside in a very rural, unpopulated area. And even at that distance it was a massive eyesore. They would make the cell towers already on the mountain seem minuscule. I can only imagine the noise (humming) these massive things would create.

Also, there has been no mention in the paper of any of the wind turbines that have collapsed in Oklahoma and other areas, or how some of them are only producing a third of the power that they were initially promised to produce. And what would happen if they decided to terminate the program? Would the massive wind turbines just be left standing or would someone come and remove them from the area? And if removed, who would be responsible for paying for the removal?

All citizens of Cherokee County should remember that when Pioneer Green Energy is finished constructing the wind turbines they'll be moving on to another area, another “project”. Meanwhile it will be the citizens of Cherokee County left with the eyesore and noise for many years to come.

Judy Beck
Sand Rock

Oct. 22, 2012

Explain yourselves
The recent decision by two members of the Cherokee County Parks and Recreation Board to allow one of our most treasured landmarks to be turned into an industrial site is beyond belief.

The Shinbone Wind Project project was kept secret and voted on without fanfare in what can only be interpreted as an attempt to exclude public participation in the matter. When the Board was charged with turning Cherokee Rock Village into a tourist attraction, I don't think anyone had this in mind. In fact, the consequences of such a project will decrease tourism despite the sunny projections offered by the “independent” economic assessment conducted at Jacksonville State and financed by Pioneer Green Energy.

I think you'd have to search far and wide to find many in favor of turning our nature park into an access route for an overgrown power plant. This project should be canceled immediately and the two abstaining members of the Board asked to explain their actions.

Shannon Mackey

Oct. 8, 2012

Leave Rock Village alone
The news of the agreement of the Parks and Recreation Board to lease part of Cherokee Rock Village (“Park Board apparently votes for wind turbine project,” Oct. 1 edition) is beyond shocking. It might be likened to selling one’s soul to the devil.

Faust was known for selling his soul to the devil to gain the love of Gretchen., and it appears that two members of the PRB are willing to sell the outstanding beauty of Cherokee Rock Village for love of dollars and defile one of the crowning natural beauties of Cherokee County. The immensity of a wind turbine compares to the height of a 50-story building (500 ft.) with blades of comparative size.

Would misters Adcock and Banister want one of these monsters hovering over their front yards? Let Mr. Savage and Pioneer Green put these political machines on private property and leave the county’s property alone. It appears that the committee allowed themselves to be snookered by a slick-handed corporate “white collar.”

This whole deal smells of rotten fish. Two members of PRB voted for it, one against it, and the other two didn't have the intestinal fortitude to say anything? That is as weak-kneed as one can get. Has anyone seen a cabbage truck in our county lately? Our leaders should always, always, represent the interests of our citizens and look to upgrading our county. That hardly would be found true in creating an abomination.

Dollars are the answer to limited issues and certainly not to the despoiling of Cherokee Rock Village.

Dave Rogers
Cedar Bluff

Sept. 10, 2012

Opportunity is here
Recently, folks who oppose the state's offer to pay for the cutting of trees along the Weiss Lake causeway in Cedar Bluff have sent a petition to the governor. This writer would simply ask them to take a moment and walk in the shoes of a newcomer or a visitor and consider another prospective on the issue.

From Cedar Bluff we can drive and see nature's beauty of mountains, pines and cedars, and flowering trees along the right-of-way throughout the year. But, for the most part we cannot see a beautiful lake with 450 miles of shoreline unless we are in a boat.

When traveling Leesburg all the way to the Georgia line, about 20 miles, there are only a few places where a visitor or a sightseer can get a peek at the wonderful vista offered by Weiss Lake. One of those places is from the highway bridge in Cedar Bluff where you can actually see a sunset from the road (albeit a short view in a moving vehicle).

It is my feeling that opening up the vista on the causeway is an opportunity to showcase Weiss Lake and what Northeast Alabama has to offer. After all, it is the “Crappie Capital of the World”—and not a bad place to catch a few bass, either. Also, there is great potential to encourage more tourism, which translates into a healthier business climate.

Bottom line: Now is the time for Cedar Bluff residents, Cherokee County officials and the Chamber of Commerce to come together and support this initiative and make Cherokee County a magnet for visitors and newcomers.
If it is imperative that we have beautiful trees, too, so perhaps we could line the highways in Cedar Bluff with red bud trees and crepe myrtles to spruce it up a bit and show community pride.

Someone once said “Opportunity doesn't knock, it's here”.

Jeff Wolfe
Cedar Bluff

Aug. 13, 2012

The fair tax
This country is broke. The national debt is growing so fast it will take a miracle for us to survive—or will it? While our Congress and the Obama administration seem to have no answers when it comes to solving our financial woes, the real solution is pending in Congress.

The Fair Tax has been pending for several years and has been ignored by Congress. Why should they pass something that would take away their ability to buy votes in a big way (the federal income tax)? The fair tax will replace the income tax.

Support is growing for the fair tax. More and more taxpayers are finding out how it will do away with the IRS and give each individual their full paycheck with no deducts for Uncle Sam ever again. At the same time, those living below the poverty level will pay no taxes at all. The leaders in Congress continue to ignore this solution to the financial mess this country is in. It will take a large grassroots effort to get it enacted.

Imagine what will happen to the economy when every worker in this country receives his full paycheck without any deduction for income or payroll taxes. Think how great it will be never to have to keep records or report anything to the IRS. What you do with your money will be none of their business. More information is available at fairtax.org.

Roy T. Newsom
Granbury, Texas

 Aug. 6, 2012

Chick-fil-A wars
It was with real interest that I watched (and participated in) the Chick-fil-A wars last week. I read many postings, articles and comments on both sides, but here is my personal perspective: I believe that this was about far more than just how you feel about gay marriage. It is several key things all wrapped up into one.

First, it was about making a positive statement about a bedrock principle. Instead of “occupying” Wall Street, or protesting on a public street, or mudslinging, conservatives and Christians made it a point to openly support the free market in the simplest (and yet loudest) way possible—by buying the goods of a merchant who dared to take a stand.

Second, it was about pushing back against liberal political bullying. The very idea that someone should be castigated for merely openly expressing their opinion is the height of hypocrisy from liberals who would have no patience with someone faulting them for their own beliefs.

Third, it was indeed about gay marriage. We should not condemn, but neither should we be forced to condone. This is still, by and large, a conservative nation founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and anyone who considers that archaic or out-of-touch is not paying attention. Yesterday I think we got their attention.

I, for one, support the constitutional right to freedom of speech. I support the maintenance of traditional marriage as being between one man and one woman. And I support Chick-fil-A.

Sen. Phil Williams

July 23, 2012

Mayoral preference
Regarding the upcoming election for mayor of Centre, I feel compelled to speak on behalf of current mayor Tony Wilkie.

From all experience we have had in dealing with Mayor Wilkie, he seems to be a mayor “for the people”. One thing that I find impressive is that he works to keep our city debt-free and our taxes as low as possible. These policies are very helpful to those of us living on limited income.

It is my understanding that his opponent desires to embrace large-scale programs that, while good in themselves, will cost astronomical amounts of money. These programs have to be paid for. We all know how these costs are passed along. Not many, in today's economy, can afford huge increases in property taxes, utility costs, or other avenues to cover multi-million dollar projects.

I hope the citizens of Centre will consider all aspects of this election before making their mark on the ballot on Aug. 28.

Theresa Simmons

Mutual demise
A social system which assassinates fragile character assures our mutual demise. Regressive legislation and policies labeled as “progressive”, an epidemic of irresponsibility, tossing borrowed “ghost” money at vote-catching schemes, liberal-assisted suicide, a victimhood mentality, etc., leave the American eagle plucked and flightless.

The feds operate 185 entitlement programs, many of which are repetitive. Entitlement spending consumed half the federal budget each year.

Jesse L. Warmack

July 16, 2012

Know the facts first
I don't mind if you're not a fan of the president. I do mind if the reason is a lie. Someone recently told me they wouldn't vote for Obama because he banned the National Day of Prayer. Not true!

The National Day of Prayer doesn't just happen. It has to be proclaimed every year by the president. Obama has proclaimed the National Day of Prayer every year he has been in office.

The status of the National Day of Prayer became uncertain on April 15, 2010 when a federal judge ruled in favor of a challenge brought by the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The judge held that the National Day of Prayer was unconstitutional. The Obama administration was the defendant in that suit, arguing in favor of retaining the Day of Prayer.

The Obama administration appealed the ruling in April 2011 and it was overturned by a three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of appeals in Chicago, which decreed that the Freedom from Religion Foundation and its plaintiffs did not have the standing to challenge the constitutionality of the National Day of Prayer. So, not only did Obama not ban the Day of Prayer, he fought to keep it!

This is only one of many falsehoods I've heard against the president. What I wrote is public record and very easy to verify.

I won't tell anyone which way to vote but I will suggest checking the facts about each candidate. Check the records of what they've voted for or against in the past. An example is Mitt Romney's health care package. While governor of Massachusetts, he passed a health care law that was almost identical to the Affordable Health Care Act (what some call Obamacare). So know your candidate, find the facts and don't believe the propaganda.

April Parker
Sand Rock

July 2, 2012

Voting for change
Achieving meaningful change in Washington, D.C. requires many more thinking citizens to vote in primary elections. In gerrymandered states such as Texas (which is typical of most other states), the November election results are largely determined by the results in the primaries months earlier. This is especially true of members of Congress.

Usually only the reddest of Republicans and the bluest of Democrats vote in the primaries. Independents rarely vote in them. This practice causes devastating unintended consequences. Independents contribute nothing when it's easiest to bring about meaningful change.

The primary election season for the current election cycle is more than half over. The results so far: almost all (90-plus percent) of congressional incumbents have won their primary elections and are almost certain to win re-election to congress in November.

If you really want change in Washington, forget party affiliation. Everyone should vote in the primary of the incumbent's party and vote for someone other than the incumbent. First, defeat the incumbent (it's harder to do than you think); then, come November, vote for the best candidate available.

If you really want change in Washington vote in the primary like a determined independent who really wants change.

Glen Terrell
Arlington, Texas

June 25, 2012

The buck stops
In February 2009 President Obama's $787 billion stimulus program was supposed to create 5 million new jobs and reduce unemployment below 8 percent by the end of 2010. He missed both projections by wide margins.

Now, at the end of May 2012, unemployment is still above 8 percent and only 69,000 new jobs were created in May, the fewest in a year. When we add in people who have stopped looking for work the real unemployment rate is closer to 13 percent.

During Obama's term the national debt has increased by $5 trillion to over $15 trillion, and is still rising. The flailing administration has created extreme uncertainty in the private sector, which has depressed manufacturing activity and inhibited hiring.

Obama's policies and programs have had a negative impact on the work force. He has obstructed job creation by putting the Keystone pipeline project on hold. The Congressional Budget Office stated Obama's healthcare bill will cost 850,000 jobs.

The latest reports show we could be in a stagnant economy and could possibly fall back into recession. Obama has been in office three-and-a-half years, and he owns the faltering economy. As President Truman said, “the buck stops here”.

Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, N.H.

June 18, 2012

The Chinese navy
The U.S. Defense Department believes China will soon have anti-ship missiles with a range of a thousand miles, B-6 bombers armed with long-range cruise missiles, aircraft carriers, 75 surface navy ships, 60 submarines and fleets of missile boats. These forces will enable China to project its influence in the Asia Pacific region.

China has claimed territorial sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, including areas near the Philippines and Japan, and Chinese ships have violated waters in close proximity to a number of Asian countries. This has prompted the United States, South Korea, Australia and India to implement security agreements. Also, Vietnam, Taiwan and the Philippines have sought to foster closer ties to the U.S., India and Japan.

In the face of China’s expansionist policies the U.S. should encourage Pacific allies, especially Japan, South Korea and India, to build up their military forces. We should rethink the proposed cuts in our military, especially the cuts to our Navy. We are down to 285 ships and might eventually have less than the 11 carrier battle groups needed to patrol the world’s oceans. China can concentrate its forces in its region, while we have to deploy our forces around the globe.

Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, N.H.

June 11, 2012

Who's the problem?
Are our elected politicians entirely to blame for our ruinous debt? Could the real problem be the mentality, morals, and lifestyles of ever-growing numbers of American voters?

If you live to eat, driving health care cost through the stratosphere, instead of eating to live, could you be the real problem? If you feel that taxpayers are indebted to you simply because you exist and vote accordingly, could you be the real problem?

If you are a never-employed, unmarried mother who feels employed taxpayers should play the role of the biblical Joseph (surrogate father) then perhaps you are the problem. If you think that the government mandated entitlements financed by capitalism will continue under communism then perhaps you are the problem.

If you think yourself immortal and in possession of a patent on morality because of someone else suffered and died temporarily for your actions and decisions then perhaps you are the problem.

Jesse L. Warmack

God needed
This year's election is not just “about the economy, Stupid.” More importantly it is about preserving that which makes this country exceptional: the U. S. Constitution and the Christian Faith. In other words, this election is about freedom.

I believe the bad economy continues by design as a distraction. The plan has always been to “fundamentally change this country.” This was the stated goal by the current administration before the last election. I was and I still am totally dumbfounded that no one openly asked question, “What kind of changes are you planning”?

Freedom can only be preserving by electing people who believe in the Constitution and who accept it as the guide and the standard of measure for the laws that govern this country. If we get stuck with people who think the Constitution is not relevant today we should throw them out. Their agenda opposes the will of the freedom-loving people they are supposed to be serving.

First we allowed God to be ejected from public life under the false premise of “separation of church and state”. If you study the Constitution you will know this premise is a complete lie.

Just as the Constitution has safeguards for change, God has also given us a way to change our country by promising to hear our land if we follow His instructions. We need God's healing power on our land more than ever. Read 2 Chron. 7:14 for instruction.

Betty Rhinehart
Fort Valley, Ga.

June 4, 2012

Boys State alumni
For the past 75 years, the American Legion has sponsored Alabama Boys State. Over 34,000 rising high school seniors from every community in Alabama have come to learn about citizenship, leadership and local and state government. Boys State is a week-long camp that teaches leadership and government.

We want your help in locating former attendees to Boys State. Over the next year we will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of Alabama Boys State. The 75th anniversary will be celebrated on June 10 at 2 p.m. on the campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. We invite all former Boys Staters to come for lunch at noon at the Ferguson Center and the Celebration at 2 p.m.

Alabama Boys State would like to hear from all prior Boys Staters whether you can come to the 75th reunion or not. Please e-mail me your contact information at: alboysstate@brooknet.com or by postal mail at P.O. Box 130478 Birmingham, AL 35213. Let us know where you are, when you attended Boys State, your contact information and if you will join us.

Judge “Pete” Johnson, Retired
director, Alabama Boys State

A change is needed
This country is broke, $15 trillion in debt and growing at more than $1 trillion annually. Indebtedness, illegal immigration, massive unemployment, and the career politicians in Washington think they can spend our way out of this mess. The same incumbents who got us in this situation are re-elected every two years.

GOOOH is a system for selecting candidates to the House of Representatives who are pledged to stop the madness. We seek citizen representatives who are not bought by special interest money or big party agendas, and will support term limits. The GOOOH selection system has put candidates on the ballot in three states for the U.S. House. Help replace the current politicians with someone who will return our government to the Constitutional Republic it once was.

For more information about this movement, visit www.goooh.com

Roy T. Newsom
Granbury, Texas

May 28, 2012

Liberty and freedom
Americans need to know that it is our own government that is the problem and that it controls a great deal of the situations around the world that seemingly threaten us. Certainly nearly every dictator or communist system in the world has been set up with the help of either our State Department and/or the Central Intelligence Agency since World War II.

Like it our not, it is American Insiders that influence organizations such as Haliburton through the Council on Foreign Relations (subversives against the American people). These same people supply our armed forces and they are helping Communist China to become a military superpower through fake "free trade" agreements and moving American technology and industry to this and other tyrannical nations.

This is what has gone on and is happening now. It's President Obama's job to destroy our currency, so Americans will be forced to subjugate themselves under a world currency to be controlled by a tyrannical oligarchy set to take world control through the United Nations.

It is time for the American people to be informed and educated about the true nature of the treachery and treason that has been committed against "We the People". Go to JBS.org, learn the truth and write letters to Congress before "Liberty and Freedom" fade away into a distant memory.

Ed Ventreska
Los Angeles, Calif.

May 21, 2012

Recess is for kids
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives continue to get reelected in spite of their inability to resolve our $14 trillion national debt--which they created. Yet Congress is taking a two-week recess!

And when they get back in session they will spend much of their time and energy preparing for the next election. Why do we continue to give jobs to these people? We need serious, responsible adults who will spend their time and energy on the real problems our country faces. Recess is for children.
Here are actions we can take to improve the quality of our congressional representatives:

1) Do not vote for the incumbent; this is a simple way to enforce term limits.

2) Support any candidate who is elected by the GOOOH process (www.goooh.com). These candidates will agree to term limits and are not associated with any political party.

Serving in Congress should be an honor, not a career.

Billy D. Clifford
Austin, Texas

Math competition
Cherokee County Schools recently held a math bee for the schools in the county. This is a good thing and congratulations are in order for the winners. However, something needs attention before they do it again.

Not all the schools in the county have the same year-by-year curriculum. One would not give first graders questions on fractions or multiplication because they have not been taught that. Neither should questions pertaining to algebra II or trigonometry be given to ninth or tenth grade students if they have not had those classes yet.

Presuming that if one school has these subjects in a particular grade does not mean that all schools offer it in the same grade. Some students could be at a disadvantage because of this.

Eleanor Robertson
Hokes Bluff

May 14, 2012

Closed refineries
I recently wrote a letter on exported fuels by U.S. oil companies who reap higher prices paid overseas.

Another reason for our high gasoline prices is the closure of U.S. oil refineries and the movement of our oil overseas to foreign refineries, “Sunoco is closing two refineries in July 2012 in Philadelphia and Marcus Hook, PA. Conoco Phillips announced the closing of two plants in Trainer, Pa. and Bayway, N.J., and is closing its facility in Alaska. Hess is closing the third largest U.S. oil refinery, laying off 2,000 workers and impacting 950 contractors.”

The oil companies, with profits of tens of billions of dollars each year, are closing U.S. refineries due to environmental and other government regulations and union demands. Refineries are being built in Columbia, Mexico and Brazil due to low construction and operating costs. Plus our government unconsciously promotes this construction by providing foreign aid to the countries.

Hopefully, it isn’t too late for our government and the unions to wake up and evaluate the impact of their policies and decisions on the oil refining industry. Otherwise we will continue to see rising fuel prices that could reach historic highs, including gasoline at or above $5.00 per gallon.

Donald A. Moskowitz
Londonderry, N.H.

May 7, 2012

Making it right
On April 30, I filed a suit in small claims court in Cherokee County against Cherokee Electric Cooperative. I feel they are doing me wrong and I want to do something about it.

It's not about the money, either. The amount I am seeking in court is only $150. It's just that what they are doing is wrong and I am not going to let them get away with it, if I can help it.

The Cooperative has turned off the electricity to my mobile home because they first claimed the side of my meter box was “slashed.” When I explained to them that the box is over 14 years old, was purchased at a construction site, and has been like that since it has been on my property, they changed their tune. Not long afterwards, I got a letter claiming I had tampered with the seal on the meter box, which is untrue.

When I spoke with the Co-Op representative in charge of theft, she was rude to me. She put her finger in my face and told me I would “pay the charge” whether I liked it or not.

But I will not voluntarily pay what I do not owe and I want my security deposit back. Now, I am forced to transport my ailing wife into our house next door, which does not have a ramp or doors wide enough for her wheelchair. The Cooperative has already followed through on its threat to cut off my power, which rendered her oxygen tank in the mobile home useless. Truly, for my family and me, this is a matter of life and death.

It is not right for an organization with a monopoly in this county to push around the least among us. The judge may force me to pay this unwarranted charge, but he will have to order me. This is wrong and I am determined to fight to make it right.

Doyle McGuire

April 30, 2012

More about GOOOH
GOOOH (www.goooh.com) is trying to save this country from our elected congresspersons. In particular, GOOOH is trying to support all challengers of deeply entrenched incumbents in the House of Representatives; Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike. GOOOH is truly nonpartisan!

Every seat in the House of Representatives will be re-filled this November. Take a close look at your own representative. Statistically speaking, there is a much better than 50-50 chance that he/she is part of the problem. The mess our country is in represents the will of the majority of the Congress. Their vote determines the direction of the country. What do we have to show for their effort on our behalf other than gridlock, partisan bickering, and other foolishness? Bridges to nowhere, earmarks, pork, goodies for fat cats, bailouts for greedy big businesses, tax loopholes for their big donors and the like; they are spending our tax money as if we were all as rich as they are.

If the primaries have not been held in your state, vote in the primary of the incumbent and vote for someone other than the incumbent. In November, if an undesirable incumbent is on the ballot, vote for the challenger.

Glen Terrell
Arlington, Texas

April 23, 2012

Medal of Honor
CHJR5 was passed by both houses of the Alabama Legislature, and signed by Gov. Robert Bentley on Feb. 28, 2012, establishing the Alabama Legislature Medal of Honor, honoring all Alabama Wounded Warriors, Disabled Veterans and Family Members of those who Made the Ultimate Sacrifice, covering all conflicts and wars.

Alabama is nationally recognized as a patriotic state, flying the American flag and honoring our Veterans for the positive impact they’ve had on our nation. The Honoring Our Heroes program is part of the ASF Foundation’s commitment to teach Alabama student-athletes good citizenship by highlighting the sacrifices made by others to keep our country a free and safe society.

The ASF Foundation will present the Alabama Legislature Medal of Honor to all attending honorees on Friday, June 22, 2012, at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (BJCC) Arena. The medal ceremony will be televised live statewide.

Online registration for receiving the Alabama Legislature Medal of Honor is now available at www.asffoundation.org. For more information, please contact the ASF Foundation at 800-467-0422. Please help us communicate the opportunity all eligible Alabama veterans and their families have to be honored and receive the Alabama Legislature Medal of Honor.

Chris Wilkins
Communications Director
ASF Foundation

Letter to the BOE
This is an open letter to the members of the Cherokee County Board of Education.

I think it is time to put aside petty politics and personal vendettas and put the best interests of our schoolchildren first.

Gaylesville School principal Scott Hays gave his recommendation for a highly-qualified and experienced assistant principal to the Board at last week's meeting and Mr. Stowe, Mr. Gossett and Mrs. Rochester voted against the person he recommended. Why will you not support your new principal and do what is best for Gaylesville School and the precious children who attend there by approving Hays' recommendation? I ask you to revisit this issue and do the right thing.

Thank you Mrs. McKissick and Mrs. Neyman for voting your convictions on this very important matter.

Mary Gardner

April 16, 2012

On immigration
Centre is the hometown of R.G. Lyons, one of United Methodist Bishop Willimon's point men on the immigration subject in June 2011. Probate Judge Melvyn Salter was a student in Seminary with my father's friend Colin Harris, a Mercer professor eloquent 0n immigration. Good Christian folk in northeast Alabama can this fall have the likes of Harris and his network at www.ethicsdaily.com who are on the cutting edge of the Immigration issue in the area to get closer to the nubbin on the state's latest shame.

This is a serious matter. Your children are watching in this moment to judge the depth of your Christian witness on justice issues at the heart of the Gospel. Gadsden State Cherokee, in conjunction with nearby Berry College (Rome, Ga.) can do something significant this fall if they start to plan now. To whitewash or skirt this matter further would be edging closer to the community at Laodicea, which the Book of Revelation said was mediocre; and the Lord God Almighty somewhat against.

Stephen M. Fox

Ordinance not enough
A little over one-tenth of one percent of the Weiss Lake drainage basin is impacted by the sewerage ordinance approved last week by the County Commission. The sewerage ordinance applies only to sewerage in the unincorporated areas of the county and in the Alabama Power flood easement. This area impacts only 447 acres of land out of the total of 3.37 million acres that lie within the Weiss Lake drainage basin.

The ordinance is a start that will not address cleaning up the lake, which has deteriorated significantly over the past 50 years. It has taken 11 years to accomplish this much on sewage. I wonder what will be accomplished in the next decade to act on the remaining 99.9 percent of the Weiss Lake drainage basin?

Tim Farnham

April 9, 2012

I can't believe this
The Weiss Lake Improvement Association has done so much towards cleaning, educating and restocking the lake that the site of dozens of undersized crappie, filleted and their carcasses tossed along the edge of the lake near Yellow Creek—I saw it myself two weeks ago—makes me sick. This is why Weiss Lake sucks: There are no fish.

When I told someone about this they said to me, “Well, what are you going to do about it?” I thought, “What can I do?”

Well, I can write this letter, using the wonderful freedom of speech that so many have fought and died to preserve for me. I can notify the proper game officials when I see a crime. Because I care, I can pass this number along to everyone to put in their cell phone so they can do the same (256-846-0498). Our conservation officers cannot be everywhere, after all. Maybe we can all get together and place signs at boat launches around Weiss Lake informing out-of-state fishermen that we have size limits and creel limits?

We could all, as citizens, be more watchful. If we see laws being broken we could do something about it besides complain. It's time to stand up and do what's right. Call the officials; let them do their jobs. All of these people who have worked hard on their efforts and love our lake have been terribly disrespected by instances like what I saw and photographed.

So I'm speaking up to you, our business owners, landowners, taxpayers, fishermen, and all of us who love and enjoy Weiss Lake. I can't believe somebody didn't see this. Do your part. Thank you.

Alicia Blalock

Editor's note: The Post has the photo Ms. Blalock mentioned in her letter and has been in touch with state wildlife officials. Stay tuned for a front page story in the coming weeks.

A great experience
I would like to thank everyone who supported me in my race for a seat on the Cherokee County Board of Education. Even though the results were not what I had hoped, I have learned much from the experience.
I have found hope for our community knowing that so many individuals, groups and our local media were interested in knowing more about our local government.

I have newfound respect knowing the hard work that the candidates, public servants all, must perform in order to earn your vote.
May God continue to bless Cherokee County.

Randy Hunter
Blanche community

April 2, 2012

From the DA
I am writing to inform all area merchants of a no-cost service that the district attorney's office provides in Cherokee County—our Worthless Check Unit. If someone writes a worthless check at a business it can be turned over to us.

The process is pretty simple. After receiving a worthless check the business owner must first mail the check writer a certified letter. If they do not respond to the certified letter then the owner may bring the mail return receipt and the worthless check to our office. The district attorney's office will then send the bad check writer a letter giving them 10 days to pay it. If they do not respond to our letter a warrant is issued for their arrest. When restitution is paid through our office the business will receive a check in the mail.

The success rate for the Worthless Check Unit in Cherokee County is very high and I would strongly encourage business owners to take advantage of this service. Additional information and a sample copy of the certified letter can be found on our website at www.dacherokee.com. If I can be of any assistance please feel free to contact me.

Mike O'Dell
District Attorney

Thanks to you all
I would like to offer a very special thank you to Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall and his assistant, Jimmy Miller.

These are some great men who wanted to see justice served. They were persistent in obtaining enough evidence to arrest, convict, and sentence of the people responsible for shooting me on July 31, 2007. They spent countless hours doing a job that was outside the area they normally worked. They traveled to and from Guntersville many times. I never called Mr. Marshall when he did not answer. They will forever hold a place in my heart for their diligent work, but most of all the compassion and kindness they showed while doing it.

I will also be forever grateful to the following: Cherokee County District Attorney Mike O'Dell and his office, Danny Smith, Chaz Clifton, Sheriff Jeff Shaver, Lanny Ransum and Brent Thomas of the Alabama Bureau of Investigation.

If I forgot to list you please know that I thank everyone who helped in any way, whether it was through physical work or by spiritual prayer.
I have faith they will continue to look for more evidence to get the person ultimately responsible for having me shot. If anyone out there has any evidence that would help please contact Mike O'Dell's office.

Lorette Gilbert

March 26, 2012

Ordinance not enough
The draft sewage ordinance being debated by the Cherokee County Commission is, at best, only a start. As it now exists the ordinance will not address the cleaning up of Weiss Lake. The “elephant in the room” not being discussed is the small overall area that is addressed in the ordinance. It only applies to the unincorporated areas of the county and then only to areas inside the Alabama Power flood easement. Nothing is mentioned at all about the more important “Weiss Lake drainage basin.”

Consequently, the ordinance does not address water runoff, sewer drainage and pollutants that eventually flow into the lake from higher elevations than the flood plain and are polluting the water more and more each year. The quality of the lake has deteriorated over the years to the point where, if I were a property owner, I would be very scared that my value would collapse as the result of a swimming ban. Such a ban could be mandated due to bacteria or some other pollution declaration, which could happen very quickly given the current condition of Weiss Lake.

Tim Farnham

Attend the meetings
I would like to beg--not ask, beg--that Cedar Bluff residents attend the meetings of the Town Council. There are things that the people of Cedar Bluff need to know about and the only way to find out is to attend the meetings. Reading the minutes of meetings or listening or reading about the meetings in the news only gives people part of what happens.

For example, at a recent meeting there was some very important information about audits that citizens needed to know about, but it was not in the news.

I know that I and others have heard people say "it doesn't do any good to go to the meetings" because the Town Council will not listen to residents. But it does do good to come because, come election time, residents will know for themselves what has taken place instead of what someone tells them.

I am begging the citizens of Cedar Bluff to attend Town Council meetings, or at least get together in their neighborhoods and appoint someone from the neighborhood to attend the Council meetings and report back to everyone else what is going on in the town.

The Town Council meets the second Tuesday of the month at 4:30 p.m. The election is in August. I hope residents will start coming now so they will know first-hand what we need to make sure our town remains the same town we all love and enjoy.

Gloria Thacker
Cedar Bluff

March 19, 2012

Different isn't wrong
I was watching a news program where a mother was talking about her 15-year-old son who committed suicide because he was “different”. I thought about how sad it was for her son, that his only way out was suicide, all because of bullying.

She said she could never get help from the local school system. It made me think of our school system, which allows bullying and looks the other way because these children are also “different”. When the children here are bullied they seem to have no rights and are overlooked. The bullies have all the rights, I guess, because they are “normal”.

A bully is a bully, I don't care what size or age he or she is. You send your child to school to be safe and to learn, not to be put through hell. There are so many children who have a terrible home life and they come to school to learn, only to be tormented by bullies.

If your child is one of these bullies I hope that one day they are the ones being bullied because it's not a fun place to be. Parents need to wake up and teach their children compassion and respect. We are all different. Stop defending your child's actions and very bad behavior. I would hate to have it on me if my non-actions caused a young person to commit suicide.

Children are fragile. I thought about the recent elections and wondered when our school system will to stand up for all children in Cherokee County. Yes, even the “different” ones. Have some guts, Cherokee County. You're in church every Sunday and give yourself a big pat on the back for being there, but you have missed the real message—to love one another.

Last time I checked God made everyone, even the “different” ones. Wake up educators, Board of Education, superintendent and parents; have the compassion to stop bullying because I don't want to lose even one child to suicide. Let Cherokee County stand up to bullies and show the other counties that we are going to make a change and make schools here the best for all children. Our one-sided ways are going to have high consequences one day. Are any of us ready to have that happen?

Judith Caldwell

Attend the meeting
If you care about Weiss Lake, I urge you to contact your county commissioners and urge them to pass the proposed sewage ordinance that is now out for public comment. I also urge everyone to attend the next Cherokee County Commission meeting, to be held March 26 at 5 p.m. at the commission chambers in the Administrative Building in Centre. Hopefully, we can fill the room with citizens who are willing to ask why our Cherokee County Commission has not already passed a sewage ordinance.

Weiss Lake is the No. 1 economic engine for Cherokee County. Weiss Lake helps our property tax base greatly, and increases our tourism business for motels, restaurants, and merchants. Weiss Lake also attracts retirees, their families, and their money and investments to Cherokee County. We get a lot of our drinking water from Weiss Lake, and we return a lot of dirty and treated water back into the lake for further dilution. Weiss Lake is the main generator for jobs in Cherokee County, as well. Therefore, I wonder, why has the issue of sewage control around Weiss Lake been dragging on for years without corrective action?

It has already been determined that our Cherokee County Commission is legally responsible for passing and enforcing rules and regulations to correct the sewage disposal problems in Cherokee County around Weiss Lake. I suggest it is now time to hold them accountable. I personally think it is time to request that our elected county commissioners pass a sewage ordinance, without further delay.

I love, enjoy, and appreciate Weiss Lake, “the Crappie Capital of the World”. Our lake is hurting now, and needs our help. Please voice your support on this issue before we allow Weiss Lake to be further damaged. I hope to see many of you at the Commission meeting on March 26 at 5 p.m.

Jerry Culberson, Sr.

March 12, 2012

Support for BOE
I would like to ask everyone to give their support to our Superintendent Brian Johnson and our current Board of Education members, Dewandee Neyman and Don Stowe, when they exercise their right to vote in the March 13 primary election.

In a time of so much negativity and I would like for voters to consider the situations these people have been thrown into and look at the positive things that have taken place during their administration. I worked in the Cherokee County School System for 25 years and can remember many times when we dealt with proration and lack of funds for things we needed. That's something education has always had to fight for, but lately it seems as if the people in power, the decision-makers in Montgomery, have lost sight of our children and the plight of rural schools.

The decisions that the superintendent and Board of Education have had to make recently have been dictated to them by Montgomery, and I feel they have tried to do what they thought was best for our students. Personally, I think Cherokee County has made progress despite the Legislature's current “war on education”. We have a fine, new middle school in the county and I witness improvements at my local school, Cedar Bluff, every day because I live next door.

Also Cherokee County is one of a few systems that have not had to borrow money to continue operation. Who do we thank for that? I have nothing against any of the candidates running against the incumbents; in fact I don't even know them. What I do know is that our current superintendent and Board members have had experience with your children and are looking out for their needs, regardless of what some have been saying. A comment was made that if the 1 percent sales tax does not pass on March 13, a new administration might be forced to close schools and make unpopular cuts. Isn't that the same thing some people are upset about in regards to the current administration?

The bottom line is this that our current superintendent and Board members are experienced, and we need them to deal with all the issues thrown at education by state budget limitations and national guidelines. Why would we want to change now when we need those people who have been trying to do the best they can to keep Cherokee County schools productive? Thank you for at least reading and considering my opinion.

Bonida Dean Scott
Cedar Bluff

For the sales tax
Having spent 42 years as an educator and member of the Cherokee County Board of Education, I think I can speak knowledgeably about the one-cent sales tax that will be on the primary ballot on March 13.

In short, if we aren't willing to pay a few dollars for our kids' education, we're not very good citizens. We are never going to be able to bring industry to Cherokee County without a place to teach the required skills for such high-tech jobs, and the Career and Technology Center provides that opportunity for many students in this county. In Montgomery, all they talk about is bringing more industry to the state, then they turn right around and cut millions from the state education budget. We're never going to have anything like that until we have a good education system.

When I was on the Board I was part of an effort to build a first-class welding shop at the trade school. When those boys graduated, they all had jobs. College is not for everyone, and the trade school is a great alternative. Ours is one of the best in the county and kids need the options that the trade school provides. We'll educate them and turn them into good, taxpaying citizens. I encourage everyone to vote for the sales tax on March 13.

Billy Godfrey

March 5, 2012

Yes, no on March 13
“Voters will decide sales tax fate March 13” (front page, Feb. 20, 2012) has brought back memories from last summer. I was one of about three dozen people who spoke at the board meeting to the superintendent and Board of Education in July 2011 when the Career and Technology Center had been closed. Many people will remember me as the angry person who told the superintendent and Board members that I was ashamed of every one of them and that the voters had put them in office and we would take them out. I've had enough time to calm down since then, but I haven't calmed down. There is not a one of them who was elected who needs to still be in office.

Too much money has been wasted by the superintendent and Board with a high-priced law firm from Huntsville. Literally, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been spent with this firm to do things like close the Career Tech Center and even sue the County Commission because the superintendent and his staff weren't “comfortable” in the current building.

No doubt the officials responsible need to be voted out of office. However, we don't need to just vote against the incumbents. We need to carefully look over the field of candidates for superintendent and vote for the person who is most qualified so that we don't have a replay of what has already happened. The same needs to be done for the two Board member seats that are on the ballot on March 13.

The one-cent sales tax that is in place needs to stay. Newly-elected officials will not be able to keep the schools open or operating as they need to be without the tax. I support “YES” on the tax and “NO” on the current group of elected officials at the Cherokee County Board of Education.

Sharon Jordan

Before you vote
The March 13 primary is next Tuesday. Since it will be a party election, when you arrive at your polling place you will need to declare if you are voting as a Democrat or a Republican. Also, do not forget your identification, which is required to vote.

If you want to vote for Democrats on March 13 be sure to sign the WHITE booklet; if you want to vote for Republicans, sign the BLUE booklet. Once you have placed your ballot in the voting machine, you have completed your trip to the poll. Your ballot will have been counted and you will not be able to change your vote at that time.

As a result, before you place your ballot in the voting machine you need to be sure that you have used the ballot you intended to use. If you change your mind before you insert your ballot in the voting machine you can return your ballot to the clerk, have your ballot spoiled and receive a new ballot after signing the appropriate booklet. Of course, you can only vote one time.

On the back of both the white Democratic and blue Republican ballots, you will see the referendum for the one-cent sales tax. This is not a vote for new taxation. This vote will decide if you are for or against continuing the current one-cent sales tax for two more years.

Registered voters who do not wish to vote in either the Democratic or Republican races may still vote on the one-cent sales tax. In order to do so, only sign your name to the booklet for that pertains to the continuation of the sales tax.

Melvyn Salter
Probate Judge

Feb. 27, 2012

GOOOH for it
Your vote for president on Nov. 6 will be only one of tens of millions. Your vote for United States senator will be only one of all the votes cast in your state. Where your vote counts most is for your representative in the U.S. House of Representatives; make it count for all it's worth. Your vote will absolutely count the most in the primary because voter turnout is lower. Be sure to vote in the primary of the incumbents' party.

Think about the incumbent. Is this a person you want back in Congress? If so, vote for him or her. If you are for the incumbent chances are good the “party folks” will want to replace him or her. If the incumbent has not represented the constituents well, has not tended to America's business well, has been one of the “Washington Partisan Clowns,” and always votes along party lines, then vote for some else. Remember, the incumbent is most vulnerable in the primary.

If possible, participate in a GOOOH (www.goooh.com) candidate selection process in your district. The sole purpose of GOOOH is to select a citizen candidate to compete against the incumbent (hopefully in the primary) in as many of the 435 House seat races as possible.

Glen Terrell
Arlington, Texas

Latest assault
President Obama's latest assault on our freedoms came in recent his mandate that religious organizations must provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and birth control even if the provision would violate moral beliefs of the organizations. His “compromise” to force insurance companies to provide the drugs and services free of charge makes his ruling more egregious. These charges will be passed along to consumers, thus making all of us pay for these products. In addition, no president has the authority to require any industry to offer any product.

Regardless of theology or lack of theology we must all stand with the Catholics, who are the most affected by the ruling, to oppose this attack on our religious liberty, the very first amendment to our Constitution. If this tyrannical law is allowed to stand, we will soon have no liberties left.

Make no mistake—this is not about birth control. It is about liberty.

Judy F. Ayers
Cedar Bluff

Feb. 13, 2012

Weiss video reply
Last week in this section, we ran a letter from a man who was upset at what he thought were human grave sites left in the ground in a location that was ultimately covered by the waters of Weiss Lake when it was constructed in the 1960s.

Actually, those graves are empty. Alabama Power employees of the 1950s were very thorough regarding the removal of graves from the soon-to-be water-covered areas of Cherokee County. For more information you can read my book, "A History of Weiss Lake."

There were 132 graves at the site in the video mentioned in last week's letter. All of them were moved by Alabama Power before the lake was impounded. The empty graves were then refilled with dirt after the caskets were removed and relocated to other local cemeteries, which may account for their eerie appearance in the video.

Additional information about the cemeteries affected by the building of Weiss Lake is available in the Cherokee County Public Library.

Scott Wright
Managing Editor

Buy an ad
In the Jan. 30 issue of The Post a letter written by Sen. Roger Bedford titled “Watch Republicans” really struck a nerve with me. Why is a senator from a different area spewing his Democratic talking points in a Cherokee County paper? He is receiving a free political ad to bash Republicans.

He fails to mention that the Democrats in Washington haven't passed a budget in over a thousand days. He fails to mention that if spending at the state, local and federal level doesn't get reformed, there will be no money.

The Democrats have created and expanded programs and killed business to a point that income from taxes to every level of government is suffering. Instead of helping business grow and provide jobs, they have given tax money to create businesses that have failed. They have given money to bailout companies that, had it been me, would have been let go bankrupt.

Using The Post as a means of informing the public of current events and public issues is a purpose of the paper, in my opinion. Using The Post as a vehicle to bash one political party or another is not. If Sen. Bedford feels he needs to bash Republicans he should pay for an advertisement in the paper.
I won't continue with schools being required to serve certain foods which they can't afford; church-based hospitals and clinics being required to provide abortion services or day-after pills. I could go on for awhile but then I could be accused of doing as Sen. Bedford did.

Daniel L. Kosteff
U.S. Army (retired)
Cedar Bluff

Feb. 6, 2012

Weiss Lake graves
Recently, I got an e-mail from a friend containing a link to a YouTube video entitled “Weiss Lake Underwater Grave Sites”. I encourage readers of The Post to search YouTube for this short video and watch it. I'm sure they will be as enraged as I am. I won't go into any details about the location of the gravesites, but suffice it to say that they begin less than 50 yards from a major highway that was built at the same time as the lake.

To Alabama Power, I would like to say: What were you thinking? You had to know the graves were there because you had the road built. Did you tell folks that you moved the graves when in fact you only moved the markers? Or was it overgrown at the time, and you just backed up the lake over the graves hoping no one would notice?

This is an area that even in the summer is so shallow that it is virtually unusable as a passage for watercraft. I believe Alabama Power needs to step up to the plate here and do what's right. I've spent most of my life in Cherokee County and we don't treat our dead that way. Alabama Power should haul in some fill dirt, raise the graveyard above the level of the lake, and since there's probably no way to determine who is buried there, erect a small monument to those interned. Finally, they should issue a public apology to any living relatives of the dead.

This is a small community with old-fashioned values. To us there are some things that are simply more important than money, including doing what is right.

Richard Chumbler
Cedar Bluff

Affairs fair game
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's marital affairs are fair game, much more than similar dalliances by John Edwards, Eliot Spitzer or Bill Clinton, because only pro-family, pro-life, ethics-committee chairman Gingrich hypocritically broadcast MonicaGate to America for years, freezing all other business and costing taxpayers $47 million for Ken Starr's zero convictions. Meanwhile, Gingrich was not only cheating on his wife (again!) but paying for his mistress's abortion—deeds far worse than those of Clinton, Spitzer, Edwards, or any other elected official I can think of.

J. Andrew Smith
Bloomfield, N.J.

Jan. 30, 2012

Watch Republicans
We were very disappointed to learn that the Alabama legislative leadership does not plan to hold budget hearings before the 2012 regular session. Historically, budget hearings have been held by the Joint Fiscal Committee and led by the budget chairs in the House and Senate to help provide the entire Legislature and the public with a greater understanding of the funding challenges facing us each year. This is the first year I can remember that budget hearings will not be held.

In these hard times, you need more information, not less. People need to prepare for what is to come. We are concerned that this year, like last, the Republicans in the Legislature will balance the budgets on the backs of teachers and state employees.

Everyone needs to see numbers as soon as possible so we can best protect the citizens of Alabama. The budget hearing process is critical to the Legislature's being able to do a good job in hard times, and it is disturbing that the leadership has chosen to abandon these hearings.

As Democrats, our priority has always been protecting seniors and children. To do that, you must protect Medicaid. Our state and matching federal Medicaid dollars fund 78 percent of beds in nursing homes, one in two live births, and 38 percent of child health care in Alabama. Without proper funding, seniors will lose their beds in nursing homes and pregnant women and children will lose their health care.

The Republican legislators who have cancelled budget hearings are the same people who ran on a platform of openness and transparency. But we must watch their actions and not just listen to their words. They ran for office saying they would provide more openness and transparency, and yet one of the first things they did was try to block the public from the State House during sessions. Now they are denying the public, the press and the Legislature access to the critical information provided by pre-session budget hearings.

Sen. Roger Bedford (D)

Jan. 9, 2012

Special interests
Career politicians in the U.S. Congress are quick to reach out to voters around election time. This is natural since it is the voters who will determine who gets elected. However, these politicians are continuously reaching out to special interests who supply the large amounts of money needed to run a successful campaign. So, the voters supply the votes and the special interests supply the money.

The problem here is that the voters and the special interests are different groups with different expectations. Voters expect politicians to represent the country and their local district. Special interests expect favors for themselves and their companies. Voters never have enough money to get the attention of members of Congress after the election.

If you would like to support candidates who will refuse to accept special interest money, are independent of a political party, and will serve a limited term, go to www.goooh.com to learn more.

Billy D. Clifford
Austin, Texas

Spread of communism
As I write, future Communist party members flood across our borders illegally. Our immigrant hospitality funds are hopelessly depleted.

Communism affects every aspect of our lives while editing or silencing the thoughts and writing of those who disagree in the name of political correctness. When a state makes a move toward modest autonomy, federal judges abolish the attempt. An already tested and failed system of oppression and exploitation, Communism requires a re-education, which is exactly what our children are receiving in today's public schools.

The American Republic, an imploding nation, is being systematically picked apart and large element of farce can be ill-denied by any objective viewer of the liberal press.

Diversity, having reached a critical saturation point, has crippled logical decision-making and we are receiving a thorough drubbing by reality.

Jesse L. Warmack

Jan. 2, 2012

Weiss Lake movie
A few weeks back I took some friends to see Little River Canyon. It is very impressive. The highlight of the trip is the $21 million Little River Canyon Center. The park rangers there give visitors a tour and show a short movie.
The film starts off by showing Jacksonville State students teaching kids about crawdads and snakes, then Randy Owen from the group Alabama talks about the park. Then, low and behold, our own Rep. Richard Lindsey talks about the wonders of the park. It was great!

On the way home I got to thinking that what Weiss Lake needs is a movie to get some attention. I went to work and came up with a plan. We don't have a $21 million facility, but maybe we can use the Cherokee County Historical Museum to show the film.

First we'll have some university teaching kids how to swim in polluted water without getting it in their eyes, ears, nose, and throats. Next they can talk about how the many verities of wildlife have to eat and swim in our sewage.

Next, we can have Alabama Power show pictures of their flood easement, littered with abandoned RVs, trash, and docks falling in the water. Alabama Power can even invite Georgia Power to show pictures of the dead fish and boiling water they send to our lake from their coal-fired plant in Coosa, Ga.

We don't have a big-name star to talk about Weiss Lake, but maybe the lead singer from the “Crap-Pee Band” can talk about the wonderful fishing. Of course, he will have to warn folks not to eat the fish they catch in the lake.
Now comes the highlight of the movie. State senators Phil Williams and Gerald Dial, and of course Rep. Lindsey, can talk about all the things they are doing to help. (We will have to limit their time because they have so much to talk about.)

To conclude, we can have the Cherokee County Commission talk about their 10-year struggle to pass a sewage ordinance and how they expect to get it passed in the next year or two and implemented in the next decade. I think the movie will really impress those who see it.

After the premiere, Alabama Power can host a fish fry. (Don't worry, they will import the fish from the lakes south of us where the water is clean after being filtered through their Weiss Lake “retention pond”.) To cap a wonderful program, Dr. Donald Williamson from the State Health Department can finally “plant the flag” he promised to put in Centre a year or so ago.

I think this will be a glorious affair and I hope The Post will get pictures, especially of the flag-raising.

Tom Taylor