The angry old white men of the Republican Party have gone around the bend. Their vote to delay the nomination of Chuck Hagel, a fellow Republican, is absurd. This is pure political punishment because Senator Hagel had the courage to oppose the so-called "surge" in Iraq.
Both Tennessee Senators Corker and Alexander voted to delay confirmation, following the lead of John McCain, who obviously has a flaming case of post traumatic stress disorder and needs his medication increased. McCain and his obsequious lackey, Lindsey Graham, need to explain how America has profited from sacrificing the lives of 4,000 GI's in Iraq.
While Chuck Hagel was a "grunt" with the Marines in I Corps in the 1968 "Tet Offensive," Corker and Alexander were enjoying the "good life," safely protected here in America by real men. The fact that these two political hacks are allowed to judge Chuck Hagel's fitness for secretary of defense is an indictment of our sick political system.
TERRY STULCE, Ooltewah
I would like to put to rest some of the fears and misconceptions about gun owners and permit holders. In the state of Tennessee when you purchase a gun you are subject to an automatic background check. Only if you pass will you be allowed to buy the gun. If you want to protect yourself and family and apply for a carry permit, you must attend an all-day class taught by a certified instructor.
In class you will be schooled on the parts, handling, safety and shooting of your gun. You must shoot at least 50 or more rounds at a target, and hopefully hit enough of the target to pass the class.
This is by no means the end, you will then be finger-printed and - if you are cleared - issued a carry permit with your picture and information about the size of your driver's license. This permit has to be renewed every couple of years.
It's not the legal gun owner you need to worry about, it is all the illegal guns and crazies that should worry you. This worries us, too. This is why we are permit holders.
VINCE PATTERSON, Signal Mountain
I'm writing today about the current state of our great city, Chattanooga. There are some major problems in our community that are not getting properly addressed by the current District 8 councilman. Crime is spreading like a cancer throughout our neighborhoods. New businesses that we need, like grocery stores, are scarce. Our roads are deteriorating and dirty. All we are asking for is a safe place to live, a good-paying job, and for our children to have an opportunity at advancement. It's time we had someone who can be vigilant and effective in helping us achieve these basic needs.
My friend, Moses Freeman, has stepped forward and is campaigning to be our next City Council member in District 8. He is running to benefit all of us. A councilman should be sensitive to our needs and responsive to our concerns, and that is exactly what Moses intends to do. We need someone in city government who can bring everyone who has a concern about a particular issue together and who will actively work with us to find a meaningful and effective solution. Moses has been doing this all his life as an activist, a volunteer, a teacher and an advocate.
Join me in supporting Moses Freeman.
In a recent letter to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, a writer said that the paper would be a better product if it only concentrated on Chattanooga and Hamilton County because most towns have their own newspapers.
I sincerely doubt that it was the intention of Mr. Adolph Ochs, who founded The Chattanooga Times and later, The New York Times, for the papers to be only local.
I do not live in the Chattanooga area, but I subscribe to the paper. I get more than double the state, regional, national and world news in the Chattanooga paper than I do in the Oak Ridge and Knoxville papers combined.
I was told that approximately 34 percent of the subscribers live in Georgia. Someone I know who lives in Georgia said that he gets more Georgia news from the Chattanooga paper than he does from The Atlanta Constitution. If the Chattanooga Times Free Press lost those subscribers and those like me, there would be no paper. That would be a great loss even for the aforementioned letter writer.
I would also like to comment about those who rant about Mr. Bennett's cartoons. They should only read the Free Press editorial page. Mr. Bennett's cartoons are frequently reprinted in other papers such as The Chicago Tribune.
P. CAROLYN GOOCH, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
Here's an idea. All of those rich people in Washington sitting up there doing nothing should give millions of their dollars, and we wouldn't have to hear about the "fiscal cliff" anymore.
Also, they don't want to help the poor. I would love to see them live on $780 a month like me.
My husband died recently, and I can't draw his Social Security because I draw $15 more than him. Who came up with this law? All the people in power just sit up there and do nothing and get rich.
What's wrong with this picture?
SUSIE BLEVINS, Rising Fawn, Ga.
Christian author John C. Maxwell once said, "Real leadership is being the person others will gladly and confidently follow." I, along with many others, have been disappointed by Pam Ladd's leadership during the past four years. Today, we have roads that have gone neglected due to underfunded budgets supported by Pam Ladd. People are scared in their own homes because gangs and crime problems were ignored far too long by Mayor Ron Littlefield and Pam Ladd.
It's time we have a representative who believes funding essential city services is paramount. Three years ago, Pam voted "yes" to increase taxes by nearly 20 percent. Yet, we continue to underfund our public safety needs and defer needed road improvements while supporting funds for non-essential needs, such as city-owned assets that compete with local businesses that actually pay city taxes.
We need representation that understands our core values and represents these values when making decisions on City Council. As a businessman and community leader, Ken Smith has the right background, experience and personal character to truly represent our interests and needs at City Hall. This is why I hope you will join me at the polls and elect Ken Smith for District 3 City Council.
Roger Tuder is running for Chattanooga City Council in District 2 because he deeply cares for the future of all the people in our district. With a focus on increasing neighborhood safety, accountability in government and getting real value from hard-earned tax dollars, Tuder will serve us well. His "no nonsense," down-to-earth personality and moral backing will prove to be the voice of reasoning for District 2.
As a newcomer to politics, he brings decades of real-world experience that is not only necessary for the job, but refreshing. I believe he will create value and serve the people. I invite anyone to reach out to Roger in the weeks to come. He'll easily prove that he is running because he wants to make our community a better place.
As our nation weeps over the Connecticut school massacre, I'm reminded of another massacre over 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem of Judea. A royal birth occurred there, prophesied centuries earlier. A virgin, miraculously impregnated by the Holy Spirit, gave birth to Jesus the Christ, who came to earth to be King of Hearts. Herod ruled Palestine and was informed that in Bethlehem one had been born King. Herod, cruel, paranoid and fearing this child's identity as a King, commanded that all male children aged 2 and under in Bethlehem be slain, intending to kill the one he thought a threat to his throne.
Through an angel's intervention, Jesus escaped to Egypt with his earthly parents, and his life was spared. The other little boys were murdered by Herod. Though Herod used no guns, his Bethlehem massacre caused suffering just as real, loss just as severe, grief just as overwhelming as the Newtown massacre.
The howl of hurt transcends centuries. Whether in Bethlehem or Newtown, the killing of innocents comes from an evil heart or an ill mind. The answer lies not in gun legislation, but in healed minds and changed hearts. If only the world knew the King of Hearts.
A wonderful man saved our family last year. My husband (who is confined to a wheelchair), our 10-year-old daughter, and I (who also has a debilitating condition) became stranded after a car crashed into our rental car on the interstate in a rural part of Georgia.
After sitting and waiting 10 hours for a wrecker and a means to get home, James "Jamie" Case saw us disabled and trying to bed down for the night in our car. He loaded our luggage and my husband's wheelchair and drove us home! Mr. Case would accept no money or payment for his time or gas.
In these troubled times, we found it amazing and beautiful that angels still appear when we need them the most.
We would love to have the good folks in Chattanooga know that there is a wonderful man in your community.
RACHEL S. MORROW