I continue to be amazed at Sen. Ron Ramsey’s lack of compassion for the people he is supposed to represent. An example is calling the maintenance workers, caretakers, custodians, etc., that will lose their jobs when Gov. Haslam’s privatization plan is implemented “squeaky wheels.” These are people with families and a need for their income, medical insurance and retirement. Their needs are the same as Sen. Ramsey’s but with much less money to pay for them. Another example is that 280,000 Tennesseans could have medical coverage at no additional cost to the taxpayers if not for Sen. Ramsey’s and others’ opposition to Insure Tennessee. I did see Sen. Ramsey, his daughter and grandson on the evening news delivering toys to be given to the children at the Niswonger Children’s Hospital, which was a nice gesture. I do not want Ramsey’s grandson, my grandson or anyone’s grandchildren or children sick and in need of unaffordable care. What has Sen. Ron Ramsey done for the 280,000 Tennesseans that could have medical care now?
Bruce Dotson, Kingsport
Trump a solid nominee
The GOP does not know where it is going as evidenced by the ouster of John Boehner, the Benghazi hearing circus, and the media circus of the 10 presidential hopefuls in the last two debates with personal bickering and name calling which does not reflect any issues that voters can judge. I’d like to vote for the Republican nominee, but there is no hopeful who can match the brilliant qualifications of Hillary Clinton. Bush should bow out as he cannot lead this great nation because he is unaware of Mideast history, failed to admit his brother’s mistake in invading Iraq, and he has no national stature. The young Rubio is a dreamer and winning over Bush in the polls, but his agenda is the same old wine in a new bottle of GOP issues. Carson is a genius and has no qualifications to manage Washington politics. If he wins both Iowa and New Hampshire, can Trump be stopped? Probably not.
Trump is bold enough to spell out his presidential goals discarding the old ideology of the GOP. He says he will talk to Putin to solve world conflicts, enforce the nuclear deal with Iran and not tear it up on inauguration day, and keep U.S. troops out of Syria. He will ask South Korea to provide more troops for its own defense. Trump is also ready to solve the thorny immigration problem. Although radical, he is not against qualified legal immigrants. After all, he is a sound businessman, and I think he would be a good nominee to manage Washington politics with his success in business. Do not forget that he also wants to tax the rich even more. Trump would be a solid nominee for the GOP as he will not be a victim of the PAC groups and rich right-wingers.
Mahima Kundu, Rogersville
Who stands to gain?
An editorial lamented the “conspiracy” of the global warming alarmists. Could we turn the tables and ask who stands to gain the most through disinformation? If one looks at the profits for the top 10 energy companies they are three times the entire budgets of the EPA, Department of Energy and Sierra Club combined. Two of the top energy companies have admitted to funding climate disinformation. We see from leaked documents where internal scientists from ExxonMobil have known and warned of problems due to global warming since the late 1970s and rather than fund R&D for clean energy they funded disinformation campaigns. This is the same tactic and some of the same people as tobacco companies who raised doubt on the link between smoking and cancer.
When our family supported big energy, we were spending over $3,300 a year for electricity and gasoline. Now that we have made the switch to plug-in cars and solar, our energy costs are less than $500 a year. We in the U.S. spend a lot for energy. The oil and coal companies do not want people to know there is a much cheaper alternative that also gives one energy independence, and it is much cleaner for the environment. Just like Kodak missed the transformation from film to digital photography, the oil and coal companies are missing an opportunity to transform into clean energy that can virtually last forever.
David J. Hrivnak, Kingsport
Teach the reality of Islam
A recent letter about the fuss in White County over teaching Islam in the seventh grade made an eloquent case for teaching history of religions so students understand the effect of various religions on culture and government. The issue involves the new standards for seventh grade social studies and the textbook, World History and Geography: The Middle Ages to Exploration of the Americas, with its favorably biased presentation of Islamic history and beliefs. A university professor who writes under an assumed name, summarizing a page-by-page examination, concludes, “This book shows an obvious Islamic bias. Negatives are either not mentioned, downplayed or glossed over. Other religions are not handled in the same manner. Much of the text regarding Christianity focuses on internal conflicts or other negative aspects. The impression is that the section on Islam is written by a Muslim. However the sections on Christianity read from an outsider’s perspective.”
Kyle Mallory, a history teacher named state teacher of the year last year, says: “All major religions — Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam — were briefly summarized in the old standards. Students were introduced to the complexity of the various cultures in the world. In contrast, only Islam is given detailed attention in the new standards. The Islam centric bias is compounded, by the state’s failure to provide unbiased supporting materials to the teachers.” Rabbi Rami Shapiro, an adjunct religion professor at Middle Tennessee State University, downplays fears that Muslims would impose their religious laws on the U.S. saying, “Muslims are not going to ‘Shariah-ize’ America. What’s going to happen is that America is going to Americanize Muslims.” Let us teach the reality of Islam.
Murvin Perry, Johnson City
We need to consolidate schools
The only way for Kingsport to achieve the OneKingsport vision is to develop a consolidated city/county school district. Kingsport seems to forget that the majority of Kingsport residents also live in Sullivan County and pay Sullivan County taxes. Therefore, when Sullivan County raises the tax rate to pay for new schools, this will affect the majority of Kingsport residents. Further, if Kingsport pays $20 million below market value to buy North from the county, then $40 million in taxes will need to be raised to cover the difference. Yes, Kingsport will get half of the tax money back from the county, but the new tax rate will stay forever.
The city needs more school space, and the county has excess. This is due to Kingsport annexation that, in addition to decimating the population of Sullivan County schools, has destroyed the good will between the city and the county. OneKingsport should have neighbor children going to the same school, and that should be the school closest to where they live. If in OneKingsport there was one school system, the remaining county residents would be much more open to the possibility of future annexation. School system is a major factor in choosing a home. Schools were a major reason why 30 years ago Colonial Heights opposed annexation. Much has changed in 30 years, and both the city and the county should be expected to fully explore all options before asking residents to put up $140 million toward new schools that are only necessary because of lack of cooperation. Wouldn’t it be better if a fraction of that money was used to raise county teacher pay up to the same rate as the city in a consolidated school system?
Betsy Thompson, Kingsport