published Sunday, May 26th, 2013

As Americans, we must take responsibility for better health and other letters to the editors

As Americans, we must take responsibility for better health

A (May 21 Times) editorial talked about the crazy and virtually unknowable costs of health care in America. It is scary to learn the differences between costs at various area hospitals. What will we learn if health care outcomes for these hospitals were placed side by side? In the editorial, health statistics and per-person health costs for different countries were presented. America is by far the worst country to live in from a health outcome and cost viewpoint.

The chart explanation says that money (spent) doesn’t always translate into better health. I suggest this statement [is] backward. In America, the way the average person treats his health (and body) translates into the health costs we spend.

When will we learn that good living choices drive health costs? High medical spending does not drive good health. Wake up, America, and choose to be healthy by healthy eating habits and way more exercise than a couple of hundred steps from house to car to store and back.


GOP must discern opposition, sedition

It is increasingly obvious that Republicans prefer the circus to conducting the business of government. They “make mountains out of mole hills,” obstruct progress and suck-up to the rich, while creating a smokescreen of scandal.They don’t know that they are working for the American public, not the “National Enquirer.”

Their manufactured outrage about the tragedy in Benghazi is nauseating. As the father of a daughter who works for the State Department in an Arab country, I totally support making our diplomats safer, but Republicans are only interested in creating scandal, not diplomatic safety.

Four Americans died on 9-11-2012 in Benghazi. Three thousand Americans died on 9-11-2001, when Bush ignored warnings about al Qaeda striking in the U.S. Where was the Republican outrage? We did not hear a single peep from Republicans even after the 9-11 commission clearly indicated that Bush was “asleep at the switch.”

Republicans follow a self-fulfilling prophesy. They believe government is “bad.” When a Democrat is in the White House, Republicans do everything within their power to make that belief a reality. They don’t know the difference between opposition and sedition.


Redesign army for emergencies

Regarding Benghazi, a high-ranking official said on television that the army is not designed to be a 911 emergency responder. I feel the army needs to be redesigned to respond to emergencies, and the help available should never be told to not respond to emergency needs. Things must be done to assure this.

Regarding the IRS scandal, the requirements for a tax-exempt status have doubtless been on the books. Political correctness certainly is not one of them.

A whistle blower’s identity should be guarded, and their charges investigated by a “routine” check. If found true, the whistle blower should be rewarded, and the bad procedures corrected, with those responsible fired and punished.

President Truman had a plaque on his desk reading “The buck stops here.” If that is so, possibly the president ought to be impeached, for he has final responsibility.


Food-stamp system has holes in it

Last week, I had a couple of folks who wanted to sell me their food stamps. It got me to thinking. I knew these guys. I wondered how/why they got food stamps, selling them at 50 cents on the dollar.

My elderly mother, who gets Social Security benefits, has no money, yet pays an exhorbitant amount of property taxes and needs food stamps.

I called the DHS two weeks ago, filled out the online forms etc. They told me all the information I needed to gather for my mother, which I did, and nobody called. So I called them. They asked me if I had a fax machine. I don’t. I explained to them I applied online so it would be faster/cheaper/efficient/expedient for everybody. But because I did it online I would need to fax them the material. The government and the taxpayers who pay their salaries.

I asked this simple question. Now it looks like it would be simpler to come down to MLK to the DHS office. Their response? “Sir ... we are calling from the DHS on MLK.” Not sure that answered my question. My case worker has not called back. Do we have holes in this system?


Drop the phone while driving

Kudos to David Cook for his insightful, wise and uplifting column on Friday, May 17. He celebrates, congratulates and encourages our new high school graduates. And, rather than citing statistics and simply exhorting them to not text and drive as they venture forth in this brave new world, he appeals to their sense of control.

Driving is not only a privilege; it also is an adventure and warrants the driver’s full attention. Mr. Cook’s observation that when one puts down the phone, one takes charge couldn’t be more correct. Why on earth would a driver want to chit-chat on the phone, send meaningless texts and fool around with a playlist when the open road beckons? Wake up. Look around. Pay attention. Be conscious and considerate of others. These are the appropriate admonitions for living life fully and responsibly — and for sharing the roadways.

Please don’t text and drive.

CAROLINE JOHNSON, Drivers Education Coordinator Traffic Engineering Division, City of Chattanooga

Some secrecy is necessary

I was a long-time Times Free Press subscriber until I moved away two years ago. But since I have been in Chattanooga this weekend, I have enjoyed reading the paper each day.

On Sunday I read the op-ed piece on press freedom by Alison Gerber with amusement and a grain of salt. Media folks nowadays quickly develop a martyr complex when they feel their toes are being stepped on.

But the First Amendment has never been an absolute. In an oft-cited example, freedom of speech does not give one the right to shout “fire” in a crowded theater. And a religious group is not allowed to perform human sacrifices or even ingest illegal drugs as a part of its rituals.

In the all-important and very touchy area of national security, it is understandable that when crucial information is being leaked, our leaders have a right, even an obligation to ascertain from where it is coming. In a very dangerous world, some secrecy is called for.

If a reporter can’t handle that, maybe the national security beat isn’t the right one. There are plenty of spine-tingling revelations to be had covering local government or news of entertainment celebrities.

STEVE BARTLETT, Waverly, Tenn.

Article shows anti-British view

I didn’t realize that the Chattanooga Times Free Press was anti-British. The article that compared the graceful, classic and elegant looks of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, with the trashy, disgusting, egotistical Kim Kardashian is an insult to the people and country of Great Britain.

The duchess uses her time for charity work, making appearance for Britain, and helping others, while Kardashian, who is still married and having a child with someone other than her husband, spends her time doing reality TV, showing off her apparent celebrity statue, and otherwise promoting her life as a tramp. I only hope that the Chattanooga Times Free Press doesn’t have too many British readers.


Politicians talk but don’t act

The American people have persistently insisted on universal background checks and reasonable control on the legal purchase of weapons, neither of which contradict Second Amendment provisions. The NRA has been successful in buying lock, stock and barrel the votes of politicians with their lobbying power in Washington and large contributions to the campaigns of those willing to comply with NRA propaganda.

What has been deemed essential to the public’s safety by our nation’s mayors, police chiefs and officers from coast to coast is less compelling to our representatives in Congress than the demands of the gun lobby. Will we ever again have a Congress responsive to the will of the people, placing public duty ahead of private interests?

Our children are inundated with violence, but neither the politicians nor administration have done anything to curtail what they watch on video games, TV, movies and the Internet. What we hear is all talk and no action.

If another preventable disaster occurs with the same consequences for our country and children in particular, constituents should hold those responsible who failed to act by voting them out of office.

JOHN BRATTON, Sewanee, Tenn.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
anniebelle said...

Unfortunately, John Bratton, money talks and stupidity is the new religion in the good ol' usofa.

May 26, 2013 at 5:54 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

JOHN HUBBARD, no one can disagree that exercise and healthful eating habits would go a long way towards reducing health care costs, but to speak of personal choices as the main driver of those costs and not mention the profit motive, the high administrative costs, and the boondoggle that go hand in hand with the way this country makes health insurance available (through private, for-profit companies) is short-sighted and disingenuous. Even the healthiest of people suffer serious accidents and contract any number of diseases or afflictions that are the direct result of genetics or are attributed to things beyond our control. Also, we live in a society in which the most wholesome and nutritious foods are usually the most expensive and the least accessible. It is very difficult for poor and working class people to be able to afford those foods or to even have access to them. As long as we are at the mercy of agribusiness and food processing industries that produce most of our foods and meats laden with toxins and processed with high-fat, overly sweetened, overly salted ingredients it is ridiculous to preach exercise and diet as the primary way to bring our health care costs down. You are taking a backward, myopic approach.

For years insurance companies have penalized obese people and smokers anyway by charging higher rates and those tactics haven't necessarily proven effective in encouraging people to make smarter lifestyle choices. First and foremost health insurance needs to be made accessible to EVERYONE, regardless of their income bracket. It has no business being sold like just another widget on the free market, for the main purpose of enriching some CEO or group of shareholders.

May 26, 2013 at 11:05 a.m.
jjmez said...

Tim Engel, periodically folks have come out making exhorbitent claims about fellow Americans receiving public assistance which later turned out to be an exaggeration or totally false. If your statement is true, why were the individuals attempting to sell you foodstamps? Were they trying to raise money to pay a utility bill? Rent? Buy gas? Did you ask them? And if that were the case, did you offer them instead to help in any other way other than their having to take food of their tables in exchange for keeping the lights turned on, water running or a roof over their heads? I'm sure there are people who abuse the system, but I honestly believe they are rare. Not like those big fat corporations receiving their 15 million plus welfare check as bailout.

As for your elderly mom? If she's elderly, depending upon her age (70, 75 and above/I'm not exactly sure), she shouldn't be paying property taxes at all. Or at the very least she may qualify to pay reduced taxes. Tennessee has a Tax Relief Program for elderly, disabled, veterans and their spouses homeowners. You cn go right down to your county and city property tax offices to sign up.

May 26, 2013 at 2:48 p.m.
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