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Letters Published in September 17, 2008 Issue
September 17, 2008 - Letter submitted by Kristi Emard, Knightstown
I moved to Knightstown from Indianapolis to feel safe and to get away from all the violence that ravages the city. Since moving here I have found that Knightstown has its own violence, in the form of loose and wagging tongues. I was a former employee of a local convenience store and got to know people who came into the store. I thought that I had found a niche in this town and was starting to enjoy living here. Until recently, that is.
It has been brought to my attention that I am being called a very disreputable name. To me, this isn’t fair and has no truth behind it. I am a very outgoing person who enjoys talking to people. But, some people in this town (you know who you are) have the wrong idea. As for my attire, some may think it too tight. Let me set you straight on this matter.
For most of my adult life, I had to wear baggy clothes because I was obese, my heaviest weight being 242 pounds. I am proud of accomplishing my weight loss on my own. I grew up in a small town and know how vicious people can be. I was hoping that Knightstown would be different. My hopes have been shattered by mean and vindictive people. A great place to visit … not so great a place to live.
September 17, 2008 - Letter submitted by Jay F. Tweedy, Indianapolis
On September 2, 2008, John McCain’s Campaign Manager, Rick Davis, said “This election will not be about issues”. While I am sure that Mr. Davis hopes that will be true, I thought I’d lay out a few issues and facts that the McCain people don’t want to talk about.
Sarah Palin is not “against earmarks” (also known as “pork”). While Mayor of Wassilla, Alaska, population 6,715, she received more than 27 million dollars in earmarks. As Governor, she has submitted requests for earmarks, in her two years as Governor, for 453 million dollars. Palin has used lobbyists (including Jack Abramoff’s firm) to acquire that money. Alaska receives more pork, per capita, than any other state in the country.
Mrs. Palin did not say “No thanks” to the Bridge to Nowhere until the Congress had already mandated that the funds could not be used for The Bridge, which by that point had become a national embarrassment. This happened before she actually became Governor. After becoming Governor, however, she did keep the money.
Mrs. Palin is against a woman’s right of choice for abortion, even in cases of rape or incest. Under Mayor Palin, Wasilla rape *victims* were made to pay the cost of rape kits necessary for the gathering of evidence.
Mrs. Palin charged Alaska taxpayers a ‘per diem’ allowance for sleeping in her own house. She has billed for 312 nights spent at home, to the tune of $16,951, on the basis that she was allowed a “travel allowance”, because as governor her duty station is in Juneau, but she sleeps at home in Wasilla. This is legal under Alaska law. Her husband Todd and daughters (not state employees) have charged Alaska $43,490 for travel expenses (legality unclear).
John McCain is not against lobbyists. In fact, his campaign staff is made up almost entirely of lobbyists, including his campaign manager, chief political advisor, chief foreign policy advisor and campaign spokesperson. Collectively, this group has professionally lobbied for the likes of AT&T, Fannie May, The Republic of Georgia, Lockheed Martin, Blackwater, Philip Morris, Chevron-Texaco. They have lobbied for a very long list of other huge corporations, countries, and shady characters such as the dictator of Zaire and Ahmad Chalabi. (Perhaps Barbara Walters said it best when she asked McCain - “Senator, you claim you are going to reform Washington. Who are you going to reform – you?”)
John McCain has admitted that he “doesn’t know much about the economy”, and has proudly noted that he has voted in accordance with the wishes of George W. Bush at least 90 percent of the time.
John McCain wants to keep Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans, and will treat employer-paid contributions to the health-care insurance of employees as taxable income to the employee. Estimated average cost to each such employee – about $2,000 per year.
John McCain opposed the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which would have helped to assure equal pay for women. He didn’t bother to show up to vote though.
John McCain opposed the Webb GI Bill, which increased benefits to service-members, veterans, and members of The National Guard. Again, he didn’t bother to show up for the vote.
John McCain has voted at least 27 times against veterans’ benefits. The Disabled American Veterans group has given McCain a 20 percent rating. Obama got an 80 percent rating. The Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans for America give McCain a grade of “D” as to their issues. Obama gets a “B+”.
In almost every McCain Town Hall Meeting, he says: “My friends, there will be more wars. I hate to have to tell you this, but there will be more wars.”
Pat Buchanan, a far-right conservative TV pundit and former candidate for President, has said: “Is there really any doubt that John McCain will be a war-time President? John McCain will make Dick Cheney look like Gandhi.” I urge all readers to exercise his or her right, and duty, to vote on November 4, 2008.
P.S. Since the above letter was written , Lehman Brothers has collapsed into bankruptcy, Merrill Lynch was sold for 50 cents on the dollar, and the Dow finished down today (9-15-08) by over 500 points. As noted above, John McCain admits he “doesn’t understand the economy”. So who does McCain look to for economic advice? That would be Phil Gramm, former U.S. Senator from Texas. He was John McCain’s presidential campaign co-chair and his most senior economic adviser from summer 2007 to mid-July, 2008, when he was forced to resign after calling the American public “A bunch of whiners”. He is, however, still advising McCain, and would almost certainly have a Cabinet-level position in a McCain administration.
Phil Gramm spearheaded the passage of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, which served to reduce government regulation of banking, insurance and brokerage activities. McCain today called for “more regulation” of the areas which Gramm is largely responsible for deregulating. Gramm’s activities have been pivotal in encouraging the corporate practices that led to the 2008 mortgage crises in America, and to the country’s economic meltdown, as evidenced by today’s crash, and which is very far from being over.
Today, McCain said in a speech that “the fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain strong.” Thanks largely to the actions of his top economic advisor, he is wrong.
September 17, 2008 - Letter submitted by Ginny Taylor, Charlottesville
As an animal lover, and on behalf of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruetly to Animals (ASPCA), I am writing this letter. This organization is featured on the Animal Planet channel, in the “Animal Precinct” segment. They are reaching out to the public for its help in bringing an end to the cruelties of puppy mills and large-scale breeding operations.
I would like to share with you some of the grim realities behind the precious puppies that are sold in pet stores across the nation. Virtually 100 percent of the puppies we see in store windows are born in anything by fancy puppy mills. The ASPCA defines a puppy mill as any large-scale commercial breeding operation where profits are given a higher priority than the well-being of the dogs. Too many people think that if the pet store is clean and/or in a high-class mall it must be responsible. This is absolutely, totally not the case!
Some facilities have as many as 40 breeding females and their sole mission in life is to bear litter after litter after litter. There is rampant cruelty that takes place against the breeding stock. Most of the breeding females spend their entire existence in elevated wire cages that are stacked in dark sheds. They never leave the cages; the mothers never see the light of day and have no human contact. Therefore, there is no socialization with people whatsoever. Sanitation is a horrendous problem. The females are bred continuously to others, sometimes to their own bloodlines, which produces litters of puppies that soon show evidence of alarming genetic disorders. The puppies are often stacked 20 deep in dark trailers and trucked in loads of as many as 300 for distribution to pet stores throughout a geographic region.
The ASPCA is striving to combat this cruelty and abuse through 1) investigation of these kinds of facilities; documenting conditions and turning perpetrators over to the proper authorities for prosecution; 2) striving to improve living conditions by the passage of regulations and legislation, and to strengthen enforcement of existing laws; and 3) educating the public about puppy mills and the conditions under which the dogs are kept.
I am asking the public to “adopt, don’t shop” when a pet is desired. Don’t ever buy a dog in a pet store or over the Internet. If we are aware of any large breeding operation, or even a smaller seemingly “homey” operation, where the health and well-being and welfare of animals is in questions, please contact law enforcement authorities, or the county animal shelter. Please bring it to the attention of someone who can check up on the situation.
I thank the public for any assistance that can be rendered on behalf of all the wonderful creatures that suffer such cruelty and abuse merely for people’s profits.
September 17, 2008 - Letter submitted by Aaron Lowe, Vice President, Government Affairs, Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association
The cost of owning and operating a vehicle will significantly increase if motorists are forced back to the new car dealer for service, making convenient and affordable local auto repair a thing of the past. This is particularly true in rural areas where many motorists may forgo important vehicle repairs due to higher dealer repair costs, plus the additional cost of fuel and travel time required because there is no dealership in the area.
In order to serve their customers, neighborhood repair shops must have full access to the tools, software, safety alerts and repair information necessary to diagnose and repair all systems on today’s modern automobiles. In many cases, car manufacturers are making it difficult for local shops to obtain the information and tools needed to keep their customers’ vehicles in safe working condition.
That’s why the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act (HR 2694) was introduced in Congress and in many states. Right to Repair levels the competitive playing field and ensures that car owners can conveniently and affordably of have their vehicle serviced at the repair shop of their choice, whether it’s their neighborhood repair shop or a franchised new car dealer. The fact is that American motorists need the more than 200,000 independent repair shops located in every town across the country. There aren’t enough new car dealerships in all the right places to keep every motor vehicle serviced, repaired and operating safely.
Right to Repair seeks to restore the competitive repair market that has been in place since the invention of the automobile. Clearly, using advances in technology to create a vehicle repair monopoly will mean increased repair prices and reduced convenience; and therefore is not in the consumer’s best interest.
Please visit www.righttorepair.org to send a letter to each of your congressional representatives, urging them to support the Right to Repair Act (H.R. 2694) by adding their names to the growing list of co-sponsors.
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