Letters to the Editor for Oct. 13, 2017

Push 'driverless' public transitIn an Oct. 6 guest column, Adam Thierer and Jennifer Huddleston wrote that autonomous cars have the potential to save lives, and therefore the Tennessee legislature should follow Washington's lead and deregulate the industry, allowing innovators the chance to experiment on our roads. That such an idea would come out of the Mercatus Center, a think tank that generates "market-oriented ideas," is not surprising.What is surprising that such an accusatory opinion piece would fail to evaluate the problem's other solutions, namely a sharp investment in infrastructure and public transit. The authors rightly point out that 94 percent of automobile accidents are due to human error and are preventable. But they jump the shark when they claim the solution is not a reduction in the number of vehicles on the roads, but introduction of artificial intelligence into our transportation system.The simplest solution to a problem is often the best one. Rather than using our roads as test tracks for computer-driven vehicles, let's make strides in public transit, walkability, bike sharing and other structural changes that will make our roads safer and more environmentally friendly.Aaron Fowles, Memphis Off the grid, back on the fairwayGoodbye NFL, hello PGA! Thank you, NFL, for the memories. I have to leave you now so that I can remember you as you were and not as the political tool that you have become. I don't need every social justice or injustice mixed in with my spectator sports. Hello, PGA, a sport with no protesters. Players still doff their hats and shake hands with their competitors at the end of play. The closest thing to a power salute is a quick fist pump when the player makes a birdie, followed by quick approval from all spectators (no matter the player's ethnicity). With the PGA, I can wake up from my nap and immediately be up to speed without having to rewind the TV. Side effects from leaving NFL sponsors Continue Reading

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 11, 2017

Don't gamble city's futureI think bringing casinos to Memphis would be one of the all-time worst decisions we could make. The compounding moral consequences would be staggering. You think we have a crime problem now? You think our city suffers from a disproportionate share of folks living below poverty now? You think our education system is a deterrent to those considering moving to and/or investing in Memphis now? You build some casinos here and you can kiss this place goodbye.Among other societal ills, casinos have been cited time and again by studies for contributing to the breakdown of marriages and families — the fabric that some would say barely holds Memphis together today (if at all). The number of divorces would increase; the percentage of out-of-wedlock children would increase; and the (staggering) number of homeless children would increase. In addition, casinos “target” people living below the poverty level, which would only exacerbate the daily challenge of those faced with such burdens. There is a moral problem with casinos, and I don’t think Memphis can handle any more problems.Brian Schneider, Memphis What 'well regulated militia'?The Second Amendment to the Constitution has been misinterpreted in every way imaginable, to the credit of the NRA and others. It was ratified by the states and authenticated by then-Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson: "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."How can the term "well regulated militia" possibly be equated to a crazy man in Las Vegas who attends no "militia" meetings of any kind? And, if the state of Tennessee needs to "account" for my ownership of an automatic rifle, how on earth is that to be interpreted as infringement? Wake up, America!Joseph Wallace, Cordova Turned off by NFLAs a former Marine, I will not let some overpaid jock tell me what to do. Continue Reading

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 10, 2017

Will Orpheum cancel Hamilton?Good catch on Francis Scott Key. I hadn't considered him for the growing offensive list. Let's slip him in with the Founding Fathers. Most of them were slave owners. Meanwhile, North Carolina has edited out Gen. Lafayette. New York City wants to forget Henry Hudson and Christopher Columbus. Sam Houston and Davy Crockett killed many Mexicans in the fight over Texas...Historians say Alexander Hamilton conducted transactions in the purchase and transfer of slaves. Never fear though, The Orpheum will never cancel Hamilton the musical from the 2018 schedule. It's bound to bring in pots of money and that trumps being offended every time.Darlene Foster, Munford, Tennessee Silencing the gun cultureI notice that oldest son of President Trump is championing a bill to allow silencers on fire arms. Just imagine if the shooter in Las Vegas had a silencer on his weapons. How much longer would it have taken to pinpoint his whereabouts? How many more people would have been killed or wounded or trampled to death not knowing which direction the bullets were coming from? Even people in adjacent rooms would not have heard anything. He probably could have continued for another half hour at least. Where has this fascination for guns come from? Where is it going to lead us? We are slowly allowing ourselves to be divided ...to be offered up on the altar of allegiance to those who seek absolute power with no concern for you, me or the country. Them first, the party second, and we and the country bring up a far distant rear.Ronald Wirrell, Sr., Memphis Ready for just footballI will stand for the anthem, but stand or sit or kneel, I don't care. Let's just play some football. I have waited since February.Tracey Rock, Bartlett Send letters to [email protected]; mail Letters to the Editor, The Commercial Appeal, 495 Union Ave., Memphis, TN 38103; or click on the "Submit Letter" link on the Continue Reading

Letters to the Editor for Oct. 9, 2017

 The script always plays out the same: A crazy kills a bunch of folks for whatever reason or no reason at all, candlelight vigils, flowers, "thoughts and prayers" from everybody, promises that the next time things will be different, fundraisers for the victims, sad news stories about all the dead. Then the next big story comes along, blows all this off the news, and a week after the shooting everyone has moved on as if nothing happened. Then a month or so later another crazy comes along and the cycle starts all over again.There will always be another crazy person waiting down the road somewhere, and another and another and another. You can call the results whatever you want -- terrorist attacks, mass shootings, drive-by shootings, road rage -- the victims are just as dead. People always ask, "Why did they do it?" The answer is simple: Because they wanted to, because it was easy to get weapons to do it, and because killing people is, for them, fun.I am an old man now and glad of it because I don't recognize the nation I grew up in anymore. If all those slaughtered first graders at Sandy Hook didn't wake this country up, then there is no shooting anywhere that will change our mindset on weapons and our unique gun culture...We argue incessantly with each other over silly, meaningless things like kneeling football players and Confederate statues until something that kills real people, like hurricanes or a crazed gunman, comes along and shows how empty the things we think are so important really are. It shakes up our certainties, fortunately just for a few days, until we shrug off the dead and go back to our precious little cocoons of hatred...Who needs "Rocket Man" to fire off missiles at us? We Americans are happy to kill each other without any help from overseas. Do you think tearing down a statue or firing a football player will provide any sane answers to that?Richard Wilkinson, Amory, Mississippi Send letters to [email protected]; Continue Reading

Congress made opioid epidemic worse: Letters to the Editor

The opioid epidemic in Delaware was heightened by recent Congressional activity.On Sunday, 60 Minutes reported on its investigation conducted with the Washington Post that inquired into the opioid abuse crisis. The probe revealed the multi-year Drug Enforcement Agency efforts to stop the opioid epidemic were derailed by the passage of Congressional legislation, now signed into law.The bill stripped the DEA of its most potent weapon against large distribution drug companies responsible for the deadliest drug epidemic in U. S. history that has claimed 200,000 lives. Congress was aggressively lobbied by pharmaceutical companies to pass legislation that completely undermined the DEA’s efforts to check the distribution of opioids by making the DEA procedures industry-friendly.The legislation was championed by allies of the pharmaceutical industry: U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and U.S. Representative Tom Marino (R-PA), who was President Trump’s nominee to be the drug czar — Marino withdrew after the report aired.I pray Delaware's congressional delegation has not given up completely to the multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical companies that lobbied Congress and poured millions of dollars into the election campaigns of allied Congressional legislators. John J. Madison WilmingtonThe News Journal recently did some excellent reporting of the difficulties experienced by the Muslim community here in Delaware. It also has written some very informative stories about refugees entering our state. So it seems important that fellow Delawareans learn about incidents concerning Christian refugees who were imprisoned by the Taliban in Pakistan for promoting their Christian faith, getting generous collaboration by the Jewish, Protestant, Catholic and Muslim communities.The Islamic Society of Delaware teamed up with Parish of the Resurrection (Catholic), to provide months of rent and food money for this persecuted, refugee Continue Reading

Letters to the Editor, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017

Columnist a treasureI always look forward to Marla Ottenstein's column on the first Friday of the month. Not only is she informative, but entertaining.She gives great ideas and insight with a little chuckle. It's like sitting and having a conversation with a friend. This is a rare combination to find.Once again, I look forward to her humor and ideas especially in this day and time of such negativity. What a true treasure of Naples Daily News. Lisa Zumstein, Naples  Preserve historyI am from Arkansas, but I am not a racist. In the Navy, my best friend was an African-American from New York. I love people from all races, creeds and religions.I do think it is foolish to destroy all the statues and memorabilia from our historic past, including the Civil War. These are history and not racism.Some do represent terrible things from our past, but they are still history and good reminders of bad things that have happened.The Egyptian pyramids were all built by slaves. Maybe they should be destroyed if our logic about the Civil War is correct. Maybe they should be kept as reminders of bad actions. I doubt they will be destroyed. James Hampton, M.D., Naples  Will never accept disrespectI love football. I played football until a knee injury forced my parents to say, "No more."I grew up loving the Ohio Buckeyes, the Cleveland Browns and, later, the Cincinnati Bengals. After moving to the Chicago area I loved the Mike Ditka-coached Bears and have met and spoken with Ditka several times.I served in the U.S. military as did my father, all of my male siblings and many of my nephews. Some of us served in peacetime and some in war. One brother's remains were returned home in a flag-draped coffin. He served when and where required by the country and paid the final price.I believe in the First Amendment, including the right to peaceful protest in a variety of places and a variety of ways, but not by disrespecting the American flag or our national anthem. As Continue Reading

Letters to the Editor, Monday, Oct. 9, 2017

Outstanding care during hurricaneWe have lived in Bonita Springs for 27 years. We have experienced many summer tropical storms and endured Hurricane Wilma and Hurricane Charley in our previous home. We now live at The Terraces in Bonita Springs.Our experience in staying here during Hurricane Irma can only be described as feeling completely safe in a building specifically designed to withstand the torrent that Irma gave us. But of even more significance was the outstanding work, care and effort exhibited by the entire staff. They could not have done more to ensure our safety and well-being.The Terraces brought the entire staff and their families in to stay throughout the storm. Many of the staff’s families also volunteered to assist in whatever way they could. All of us, residents as well as staff and families, had wonderful meals each and every day. Our well-being was their primary concern even as they faced probable damage to their own homes. Thank you, one and all.Many thanks also to the entire management team here at The Terraces for the great planning and execution they did for the hurricane. We feel very fortunate to have chosen The Terraces for our life care plan. Kathie and Mike Lyons, Bonita Springs  Investigative opportunitiesWhy is the mass media so obsessed with nebulous connections between President Donald Trump and the Russians while ignoring perhaps the worst national security breach in years?Have you heard about Abid, Imran and Jamal Awan? No? Why not? Is the mass media untrustworthy? These three Pakistani brothers were information technology (IT) specialists employed by various Democrat representatives who serve on congressional committees involving national security. After the presidential election, the Awan brothers were fired from their high-paying duties for allegedly accessing numerous congressional computers without permission and then fled the country.Among those responsible was Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Continue Reading

Letters to the Editor, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017

Provide safe Halloween costumesI get it. You were working in your lab late one night and didn’t remind your youngest superhero to watch his cape near open flames. Accidents happen. That’s why it’s so essential to choose costumes labeled “flame retardant” or “fire resistant.”“Flame retardant” refers to the ability to inhibit fire from spreading. Numerous substances can achieve this effect by disrupting combustion, creating a physical barrier or releasing water or flame-choking gas. Even synthetic fibers like nylon and polyester have better fire-resisting capabilities than many natural fabrics.Although federal law prohibits clothing made of rapid-burning fabrics, costumes can still ignite in as little as three seconds. Despite this very real risk, the use of flame retardants has received relentless criticism, with some actively campaigning against the safety feature in Halloween costumes.Deliberately avoiding flame retardants when children are guaranteed to run around open flames while clad in dinosaur tails and oversized skirts is utterly irresponsible.It’s important to remember that manufacturers don’t introduce chemicals haphazardly. Compounds like flame retardants were carefully developed and tested because society professed a need for them.Instead of fearing chemistry this Halloween, embrace your inner mad scientist and appreciate the advancements science brings to holiday safety. And above all, check your children’s costumes for fire safety.Joseph Perrone, Washington, D.C.Chief science officer, Center for Accountability in Science  Cut small business taxesThe Republicans who dwell in the D.C. swamp (President Donald Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, et al.) bloviate and belch out tax-cut proposals for their big-shot Wall Street friends and corporate giants who are burdened with a 35 percent tax rate. That's a good thing which will Continue Reading

Letters to the Editor, Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017

History repeated?The Hollywood left has caught the vapors over the outrageous behavior, particularly against women, by movie producer Harvey Weinstein.It is reminiscent of the executive who spotted a lowly subordinate employee in the lobby of a hotel and ordered one of his guards to bring her to his room. Once she was there, she accused him of sexually harassing her.After she sued him for sexual harassment, he was accused of perjuring himself during a sworn deposition. And yet the mainstream media and the entire Democrat Party, including his own wife, rallied behind him.That was Bill Clinton. While he was president, a barely legal intern said she performed oral sex on him in the Oval Office.And I keep hearing that Trump's tweets are below the dignity of his office. Steve Kissell, Fort Myers  Rearrange prioritiesI just saw an unbelievable headline on one of the newspaper’s top stories: “How California wildfires could affect our wine festivals.” Give me a break. People are losing loved ones and their homes. Are we so small that our concern is focused on our wine festivals? Time to rethink how we headline stories. Al Holaday, Naples  So long, farewell, auf wiedersehenIn his  letter to the editor published Oct. 14, John Hooley asks, "How would we react if Californians were voting to become an independent nation?"I say goodbye. Goodbye, “Hanoi Jane” Fonda.  Goodbye, movie producer Harvey Weinstein. Goodbye, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Goodbye, tens of millions of undocumented aliens. Goodbye, massive welfare payments to or for undocumented aliens, partially funded by citizens of other states. Goodbye, trashy and juvenile TV shows and movies, such as what they called "Californication." Could you take with you as you leave metro New York, Boston and Chicago, leaving behind the hardworking taxpaying citizens of those states?I hear the Sound of Music: "Auf wiedersehen, goodbye." James A. Continue Reading

Letters to the Editor, Friday, Oct. 27, 2017

Make MLK Day learning experienceHaving served as a principal and associate superintendent for Anderson Community Schools in Indiana for 36 years, I found the article regarding Martin Luther King Jr. Day of special interest.Our school system in Indiana decided to have students in classes on this special day. Principals, curriculum directors, classroom teachers, board members and representatives from the NAACP met together. All agreed that closing school on this important day was just a day for students to sleep late and spend the time without much thought of why it was a day away from school.This group agreed to have meaningful activities on this day. Special speakers were invited, and history teachers made lesson plans to focus on the real meaning of this special man. All areas of the schools made special efforts to make this a very meaningful day for all students. Veterans Day was handled the same way.Each year following, new and innovative ideas were interjected and the K-12 students had a very meaningful learning experience.I pass this information along with hopes that this will be a “win-win” situation. The real winners will be the students in Collier County Public Schools. E. Franklin Ellis, Naples  Fox has real newsMy Oct. 3 letter to the editor was directed to people like Bob Dimond.His Oct. 21 letter demonstrated that he was one of the people I was talking about: The people who are brainwashed by CNN and NBC, who spread hatred and violence. They never stop belittling President Donald Trump. What do they hope to gain? It is all because Hillary Clinton lost the election. She is a bad influence over all the left-wingers. She encourages them to spread fake news and the hate we have today.Tune into Fox News for one night and get the truth about what is going on that CNN and NBC would never report. For example, Clinton reportedly was involved selling uranium to the Russians, with the knowledge of former President Barack Obama’s Continue Reading