Sunday, May 14, 2017 1:00 am
Letters to the editor
Executions reflect who we are as a society
I applaud The Journal Gazette's printing of Tim Fultz's letter on May 9, regarding the perceived indifference of the populace to Kenneth Williams' victims upon the execution of Williams. While I sympathize with Fultz's position, I disagree with his suggestion of “eye-for-eye” justice. The protests against Williams' execution, hastily carried out before the lethal-injection drugs expired, is not based on Williams at all. There is no doubt he will get his just reward in the afterlife. Those of us who disagree with the death penalty, generally, and Williams' execution, specifically, would tell Fultz that this is not about who Williams is or what he deserves. This is about who we are.
Williams was a thug who murdered people. Nothing we do will bring those people back. We can, however, choose to be better; or we can choose to sink to his level. It's not about who he is. It's about who we are.
Charles J. Maiers
Time to stop naming things after tribes
Regarding Helen Frost Thomson's May 7 letter, I don't think we should name anything after an Indian tribe anymore. I realize people usually are intending to honor Indians by naming a boat or sports team or school mascot after an Indian tribe, but there are people who take offense. They see the Indian-based name as an insult, a derogatory racial slur.
Take, for example, the North Side Redskins. Apparently someone was offended by that name, and soon there was a call to change the name, and now they are the North Side Legends.
Now there are Indian names being proposed for the new riverboat, “Kekionga” and “Big Chief.” I like the name “Sweet Breeze.” It's a nice name and should not offend anyone.
Why do we need to apologize and make amends for events that happened 150 years ago by our great-great-great grandfathers? I agree that many Indian tribes were treated badly by our ancestors. They had their land stolen from them, and even though the government did offer them compensation and established Indian reservations, it was a painful experience for Native Americans. However, people living today didn't commit these atrocities, our forefathers did, so I don't think we have to apologize for something we didn't do. And the government has tried to make amends, though you can't undo all the damage that was done.
But trying to honor Indian tribes by naming things after them simply isn't going to work anymore. People are offended. So I say it's time to stop doing it and use non-offensive names. Then everyone will be happy.
Foreign-aid outlay also investment at home
In March, a hefty cut of 31 percent to the Agency for International Development and State Department budgets was proposed by the Trump administration. While one may argue that the proposed cut would free up funds for undertaking welfare and safety measures for our own country, what if it serves the exact opposite purpose?
A common perception is that the U.S. is already spending a lot on foreign aid, so the funding should be cut. However, in reality, less than 1 percent of our federal budget is allocated to foreign aid. That's less than what most other developed countries are spending.
Apportioning more money to foreign aid is actually healthy for the growth and safety of our economy. It helps people in developing nations make the transition out of poverty. When this happens, their purchasing power increases, opening new markets for our products and, thus, increasing U.S. jobs. Our top trading partners, such as Germany and South Korea, were once recipients of U.S. foreign aid.
Often, poverty makes people turn to desperate measures, making them vulnerable to be radicalized by terrorist groups. It's no surprise that the world's poorest countries are also the most dangerous. Robert Gates, former secretary of defense said, “Development is a lot cheaper than sending soldiers” – a sentiment echoed by many in the U.S. military.
So rather than slashing our foreign aid budget or imposing travel bans, helping reduce poverty will work more in our favor. As Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Nebraska, says, “We need to stop viewing it (foreign aid) as aid. It's an investment.”
Renewable energy sources unsustainable
After reading the front-page “'Holcomb signs solar energy bill (May 3),” the first thought that crossed my mind was why? Apparently, he had not read the Google Report referencing renewable energy sources. Initially, Google was a huge booster of renewables. The report's first paragraph reads: “At Google, we're striving to power our company with 100 percent renewable energy. In addition to the environmental benefits, we see renewable energy as a business opportunity and continue to invest in accelerating its development.” Four years and $3 billion later, on Nov. 22, 2015, the report continued: “A research effort by Google Corporation to make renewable energy viable has been a complete failure, according to the scientists who led the programme. After four years of effort, their conclusion is that renewable energy 'simply won't work.'”
Under the guidance of President Barack Obama, our illustrious Congress renewed federal energy tax credits of $13 billion a year. These taxpayer dollars primarily benefit manufacturers, developers and operators of and investors in industrial wind turbines, solar panels and storage battery sources. Warren Buffett, the king of wind turbines, advised a group of investors. “In the absence of federal energy tax credits, IWT are worthless.”
The world is rapidly turning against present-day renewable energy sources. Even Australia, which heavily invested in wind, diverted its 2016 $7 billion annual wind turbine maintenance budget to “research and development of renewable energy sources that will work.” Bill Gates publicly stated the cost of renewable energy sources “is beyond astronomical.”
Many localities oppose wind and solar sources because the wind and sun are not always available at time of greatest need. The World Health Organization is opposed to wind; turbines are a proven cause of animal and human illnesses – including heart ailments. Location is critical. Developers of turbines do not want their setback (distance from turbine to a residence) greater than 1,000 feet. WHO, today, recommends 5,000 feet.
For those interested in the Indiana governor's program, read the article carefully. What is obvious, it includes the reduction and/or elimination of monetary benefits to participants – even before the program gets off the ground.
Politicians, insurers oppose our interests
There has been a lot of talk these days about health insurance. Mostly, people seem disgruntled about what our elected representatives are doing with ours. Recently, I had occasion to ask an insurance company some questions about rates and coverage and the results were enlightening, at least to me.
Noticing an increase in premiums on both my homeowner and auto insurance, I called the company to ask why. I realized that my home's value had increased and that would lead to a rate increase, but the value of my auto should not have changed since I am still driving the same nine-year-old Toyota. I was told that since I live in Indiana, and there have been a lot of accidents lately in Indiana, I was being charged for other customers' bad driving, absorbing some of the company's losses. This gave me an insight into how insurers work.
Then another example of insurance company perfidy came my way. My dishwasher, still under warranty, had leaked, ruining a portion of my basement ceiling. Naturally, I called my insurance rep, and an adjuster was sent out to assess the damage. I had called other craftsmen myself to see what they would tell me. Most of the estimates were in the same range. The insurance adjuster's estimate, however, came in at half that number. Neither figure exceeded my deductible, but it was intriguing to see the insurance adjuster come in with a number so laughably below my deductible, as well as real-world estimates.
There are scores of people employed by insurers whose job is simply to keep the company from losing money by paying out on a claim.
So when we become disenchanted with our elected representatives for playing fast and loose with our health insurance, we must remember that even after we get past what the politicians are doing on our behalf, we still have to deal with an insurance company after all.
Edward J. Frank