published Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

U.S. flag depicted incorrectly in graphic, and more letters to the editors

U.S. flag depicted incorrectly in graphic

The graphic for the editorial "Washington is slouching toward babel" displays the U.S. flag incorrectly.

When the flag is displayed vertically, the blue field with the stars should always be to the left. I would have thought all the so-called "right side" patriots would know that.

TOMMY HEWITT, Sewanee, Tenn.


It's time to increase state's cigarette tax

The Times Free Press is commended on its reporting on important issues including reducing the number of smokers in our community. Hopefully, it will encourage thought and policymaking among our lawmakers in Tennessee.

Raising the excise tax on cigarettes is one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking, save lives and raise government revenue -- even in tough economic times. Excise taxes decrease the number of youth who start smoking, increase the number who quit smoking and cut health care costs.

This can be established by a $1 cigarette tax increase in Tennessee. It can prevent 43,400 youth from smoking and, over five years, save an estimated $18.55 million in lung cancer, heart attack and stroke costs, according to the American Cancer Society.

As Tennessee hasn't raised the cigarette tax since 2007, please encourage your state lawmakers to act on these important issues. It will help all of us breathe easier.

KEVIN LUSK


Gay marriage issue is not a fad

While some might say extending marriage to same-sex couples is special treatment, this isn't the case, especially if we consider being gay as nearly identical to being straight in that it's nearly hard-wired. Marriage is about monogamy first and foremost, and while children are part of it, biological relation isn't absolutely necessary for the relationship to have significance.

An objection that it is perversion can be met with an observation that God logically made a person this way, so either God didn't make humans and homosexuality is a natural variation, or God did make homosexuals and then insisted that they be either celibate or never enjoy holy matrimony because he picks and chooses.

The acceptance of marriage equality (that is, allowing gay couples to marry in both state and federal law) is quite high these days, and it isn't just a fad. It can encourage fidelity and create more parents for children without them. and that it won't suddenly lead to polygamy arguments.

If you're afraid of something, don't blindly label it as dangerous without investigating and interacting with it. LGBT people are just like everyone else in wanting basic marriage rights, why deny them that?

JARED COWAN, Sewanee, Tenn.


Cook's column has answers to dilemma

Thank you, David Cook for "The Test Before Us!"

As someone who spent 30 wonderful years as a classroom teacher at North Rossville Elementary and the proud recipient in 1986 of Teacher of the Year from Walker County, I wholeheartedly endorse your succinct understanding of what is needed to fix America's appalling educational system.

David, your candid reporting is so desperately needed. Keep it up!

LYNELLE MASON, Signal Mountain

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