Bark or bite?

For several weeks now I have been reading articles and opinion regarding the S.C. Department of Transportation’s decision to remove the trees from the I-26 median, between Summerville and the I-95 interchange.

I cannot believe the sentiments expressed by the majority of my fellow “red state” conservative brothers and sisters. All this hand-wringing over the removal of these bark-covered obstacles to progress is just shameful. Their arguments against this prosperity plan proposed by the DOT are based upon whimsical, touchy-feely, tree-hugging ideals such as the “natural beauty” of the foliage. Since when did the “Tea Party” become the “Tree Party”?

I thought the only “green” most residents of this state cared about was U.S. currency. After all, clearing these trees will allow for the widening of I-26, literally paving the way for faster and more efficient commerce.

Statements by the DOT that the tree removal will save lives have been wrongly attributed to a belief that the removal of all trees in a car’s path makes it harder to crash into one.

My true conservative brethren and I know the truth is that increased survival rates and life expectancy will be a direct result of the increased economic activity made possible by this project, because the pursuit of profits always saves lives. “Live Free or Die (from hitting a left-leaning, government regulated tree)” is my new motto.

What really keeps me up at night, besides watching TiVo’d recordings of “Sean Hannity’s America,” is the name calling and blame game being played by these RINOs (Republicans In Name Only).

For example, attributing fatalities on this stretch of I-26 to speeders and texters. Hello? How in the world can our state get jobs, jobs, jobs if my fellow achievers and I can’t rapidly get to business appointments while communicating with our investment bankers?

True conservatives of the state, unite with me against this Marxist, job-killing, regulation-increasing, tax-dollar-wasting opposition group. They don’t believe in America. We are the Land of the Free, not the Land of the Tree.

J. C. Evans

N. Ridgebrook Drive

North Charleston

Pre-K realities

The April 29 Post and Courier carried an article about funding of pre-kindergarten education programs. It is described as the lowest in a decade.

Professor Steven Barnett, director of the National Institute for Early Educational Research at Rutgers University, expresses the opinion that this is an emergency and we should pour more money into it. He supports President Obama’s proposal to extend the Head Start program to almost every child in the country.

Yet the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ 2012 report on their evaluation of the $8 billion a year program concludes, “In sum, this report finds that providing access to Head Start has benefits for both 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds in the cognitive, health, and parenting domains, and for 3-year-olds in the social-emotional domain.

“However, the benefits of access to Head Start at age 4 are largely absent by 1st grade for the program population as a whole. For 3-year-olds, there are few sustained benefits, although access to the program may lead to improved parent-child relationships through 1st grade... .”

Hardly an overwhelming endorsement of the program.

I can understand Professor Barnett supporting this. If the programs were abandoned he would probably be out of a job. I cannot however, think of any acceptable reason why President Obama might want to expand a failed program.

Harold Booker

Flambeau Retreat

Mount Pleasant

Grateful for honor

Speaking for those who served to those who care I wish to express heartfelt thanks from all of us who were on the May 4 “Honor Flight Low Country.”

To the volunteers who gave, planned and executed this flight: Well done. The logistics for such a venture are formidable, and all went without a fall or a flaw. Thanks to all the good people who greeted us upon our return from D.C.

I am proud to be a American, and I want to make sure that young people serving their country today and through the years since WWII are honored as well.

My father when in his ’80s once said, as I helped him cross a busy street, “I hope you will be as fortunate as I am to have someone help you cross over when you are my age.” I am now, and you all have done this for us.

We will never forget our “Honor Flight Low Country.” God bless you all and keep our country free in every way.

A personal thanks to my flight guardian, Gordon Schreck, a kind, attentive and caring friend indeed.

Charlton H. Leland

Legare Street

McClellanville

Costly clothing

I see that State Sen. Robert Ford is back in the news again on alleged ethics violations.

Several years ago there was a fire at Sen. Ford’s residence. In the article, published in The Post and Courier, Sen. Ford stated that his only income was that of a state senator.

He was reported to have stated that he lost 100 custom-made, thousand-dollar suits in the fire. I wrote two letters to the editor asking the question, “How can a state senator afford 100 thousand-dollar suits on just a state senator’s salary?

After the May 7 article “Ford puts blame on errors,” my question is “Are the 100 thousand-dollar suits part of these accounting errors?”

John Atkinson

Shaftesbury Lane

Summerville

Boating safety

Spring has arrived, and it is time to think about boating. Last year saw a 10 percent rise in boat sales. This year it is projected that boat sales will rise another 15 percent. We all want to enjoy our boats. However, 700 people died last year due to unsafe boating practices or boats that were not equipped and prepared properly.

I offer these suggestions:

1) On June 8, the United States Power and Sailing Squadron is offering an ABC Boat Safety Course on safe operation and preparation of your boat and passengers.

The fee for this one-day course is $50 for the first person, $15 for the second person sharing the book, and youths attend free. To attend this or any other classes, contact Dick Howells at 437-6241 or rhowells125@gmail.com.

2) On May 18, you can have your vessel safety inspected for free by a member of the USPS at the W.O. Thomas boat landing off of Leeds Avenue. This inspection will offer tips on how to equip your boat. Contact Carl Huff at 830-9233 if you would like to arrange an inspection at a location and time of your choice. He can be emailed at captaincarl186@earthlink.net.

3) The United States Power and Sailing Squadron maintains a webpage and blog which offer tips and suggestions on boat maintenance, boat safety and other educational courses. The address for this website is http://www.usps.org/localusps/cps/.

4) Remember, wearing a life vest (personal flotation device) could have saved hundreds of lives last year. It is required for those under the age of 13. Never let your small children ride on the bow of the boat while under way. It is your life to save. Choose wisely.

The United States Power and Sailing Squadron local Charleston chapter is open to all interested people who would like to join and learn more about the fun of boating. It is a non-profit organization of men and women who are boating enthusiasts and who provide boating education.

Come join us. We’ll show you how to have fun.

Karl Naugle

Spring Street

Summerville

Expand Medicaid

A May 4 article in The Post and Courier by Seanna Adcox of The Associated Press states that “Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman said he struggled with the issue [Medicaid expansion] but decided the state can’t afford the eventual costs.”

It seems to me that our state cannot afford the current costs of not accepting the expansion. Every time an uninsured person gets his medical care from one of our hospital emergency rooms (which are required to treat them), there is a burden on the hospital system that is passed on to the rest of us in increased costs.

It is my understanding that the first three years of the expansion are totally paid for by the federal government, and thereafter the major portion will continue to be paid by the feds. Why is Sen. Leatherman struggling when there is a clear, commonsense answer?

Barbara P. Measter

Bent Twig

Johns Island

Media defense

In his breezy diatribe against the supposed liberal bias of big media, R. L. Schreadley offers an April 29 column full of tired and unsupported opinions, never descending to the level of specific cases that might be debated.

He accuses newspaper editors and journalists of falling in line with the dictates of a liberal president. Perhaps this is true in some cases, but since he never refers to a particular example it is hard to grant his assertion. The fact that Schreadley associates uncritical reporting only with liberal causes, though, is absurd.

Schreadley might further consider the extent to which the “big media” of the right, including the self-proclaimed source of “fair and balanced” reporting, toes the line of partisan ideology.

What I would most like to see Schreadley do, however, is question a broad premise of his column, that journalism has no business engaging in the work which he dismisses as “ ‘transforming’ America into something unlike what it is or ever has been.” Since he again refers to no specific example,

I will pose a few possible cases.

What role did reporting on the facts of poverty in America play in the passage of the Social Security Act? How did liberal news outlets prepare the way for the Civil Rights Act by exposing the facts of racism and inequality?

How are journalists today advancing the liberal cause of gay marriage by revealing the consequences of the fact that homosexual citizens do not receive equal protection under the law?

I concede the point that many journalists probably espouse liberal political ideas. I am glad that some of them have undertaken work that has made the nation more safe, more compassionate and more fair. Is that the sort of transformation that Schreadley despises?

Tim Carens

Gate Post Drive

Mount Pleasant

Imperial profits

What are “too big to jail” banks and “too big to regulate” arms manufacturers telling us about the revolutionary new “Flat Earth” economy currently employing so many millions around the globe?

It should not be news that TNCs (trans-national corporations) have no loyalty to any particular nation. If you work for one, you must maximize profits, perpetuate growth and subscribe to an amoral behavior (not moral or immoral).

One with any priorities other than these will be quickly replaced. These institutions, quite simply, will outlive the people who populate them. When saluting “Old Glory” we do so proudly. But flags bearing trans-national trademarks don’t seem to inspire such emotions.

Our young men and women in uniform might awake some day to the fact that they are risking their lives not for their fellow citizens or loved ones, but for the glory of inanimate “people” such as J.P. Morgan, Exxon and Nike.

In our new era of corporate imperialism, TNCs function more like the fictional Borg invaders of “Star Trek” (“Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated”) than the industrial corporations once synonymous with the red, white and blue.

Philip J. Murphy

Ventura Place

Mount Pleasant

Cruel disease

The Post and Courier has several times reported that Chief Thomas Carr died “after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.” (April 30, Page B3). This is incorrect.

As stated by the Charleston Fire Department spokesperson, Chief Carr died as a result of Multiple System Atrophy (MSA), one of several “Parkinson’s Plus” syndromes.

MSA, like PD, is a degenerative neurological disorder. While PD can neither be prevented nor cured and does cause a gradual deterioration of the quality of life for its victims, many of us live for many years with only minimal impairment.

MSA is a much more aggressive and debilitating disease that does not respond to anti-Parkinson medications. Our hearts go out to all who suffer from MSA, as we know that it is a much crueler disease than Parkinson’s.

Jay Phillips

Trident Parkinson’s

Support Group

Billowing Sails Street

Summerville

Retiring boomers

For three years, the media have reported that 10,000 baby boomers retire daily. These retirees represent a cross-section of the workforce and include firemen, electricians, lawyers, policemen, government workers, etc.

It seems logical to me that we must hire 300,000 people each month to keep the workforce at the prior month’s level. The jobs report released May 3 shows 165,000 new jobs for April, and Wall Street went wild.

What am I missing?

JOHN W. LYNCH

Hartford Village

Mount Pleasant

Absurd poster

I saw the Spoleto poster in the paper this morning. It reminded me of the boy in the crowd who spoke up saying, “The Emperor has no clothes!”

Does this pale orange semi-geometric poster board provide the inner emotional feeling that says celebrate the arts in Charleston?

It’s a joke played on the people of Charleston who appreciate the arts and not the pretensions of those claiming to understand art’s depths, something the hoi polloi would never approach understanding.

I am sure good money was paid for it, adding insult to injury.

Alfred F. Croucher III

Riverland Drive

Charleston