Distracting issue

The texting while driving issue has become a priority with some local governments. I’m amazed at how much time is being spent on this issue at the expense of other critical issues facing our communities. We all need to take a step back and ask ourselves if existing laws such as those regarding careless driving cover driving while texting.

Many look to government to create a specific law for a specific issue. Proponents of texting laws say they will save lives. Then why don’t we outlaw eating fast food or smoking while driving? How about putting on makeup or shaving while driving? Or even worse, reading the newspaper while stopped at a light?

Should we text while driving? Probably not. But do we need yet another law to deal with this one issue?

Chris Drummond

Bagley Drive

Mount Pleasant

GOP lunacy

A lunatic crowd has taken over the Republican Party, and it is no longer fit to govern. It seeks to shut down the duly elected government of the United States.

I am anticipating a shutdown of perhaps a year or more. Then the American public will choose — two more years of shutdown, or removal of radical Republicans from office. This is an exercise in self-destruction by the Republican Party.

As for the debt limit ceiling. It is clearly unconstitutional. Anyone who gives this piece of legislation any credibility is having the wool pulled over his eyes and should read Columbia Law Review’s article on the subject. It is available online.

The media do not choose to talk about this, but I have no doubt that the president will ignore the deadline and continue to fund the debt. This will force the issue into the courts. It has to happen sooner or later. It might as well be now.

William A. Johnson

Serotina Court

Mount Pleasant

SEL learning

A recent lengthy article in The New York Times — “Can Emotional Intelligence Be Taught?” — prompts me to celebrate a tremendous achievement in our community.

With increasing passion and regularity, the world’s thought leaders are embracing the importance of social emotional learning in the lives of children.

These lessons focus on identifying, managing and expressing emotions in appropriate ways. They focus on how to avoid peer pressure and how to present one’s very best self on even the very worst days.

Quietly, methodically and effectively, a local organization has long preached the gospel of SEL. And thanks to its ongoing efforts — and the growing national embrace of SEL — big things are happening.

Just recently as the ink dried on the New York Times article, WINGS for kids officially signed a $3.6 million grant award letter with the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation to support expansion into up to seven more schools over the next three years. That’s a big up-tick for the organization, which currently serves seven schools in Charleston, Lake City, S.C., and Atlanta.

Currently 800 “WINGS kids” marinate in SEL every day after school. They work through a proven curriculum of lessons, guided by passionate young adults who serve as mentors and friends. Most of this learning is presented in fun, lively ways. Kids enjoy WINGS, and their teachers, parents, guardians and others report that the lessons make a tangible, lasting difference in their lives.

SEL has quickly moved from being “hunch” based to research based, and WINGS has been the subject of a multi-year study by the University of Virginia that indicates the work done in elementary school is having life-long impacts.

I’ve proudly served on the WINGS board for 11 years. At the start, we were a tiny program in Memminger Elementary’s auditorium. In that time, WINGS has truly soared. Today’s success can be credited fully to those who dreamed (namely, founder Ginny Deerin and her early supporters), those who trusted (early staff, donors, parents and educators), and those who continue to invest their own emotional and financial capital in the lives of our kids.

Where will WINGS land? By the looks of things, it will alight any place adults are keen to see children make lasting, measurable gains in confidence, happiness and academic productivity. As outgoing board chair, I cannot wait to watch from the sidelines and track WINGS’ amazing future migration.

Rusty Bennett

Marshall Boulevard

Sullivan’s Island

Getting in deep

Some billionaire wants to make more money, so he builds a bigger boat allowing him to ship more and make a few more bucks. All the ports around the world, especially in the United States, jump to spend billions of taxpayer dollars to deepen and widen ports to accommodate this bigger boat so the shipowner can make a few more dollars.

Now that is the tail waggin’ the dog.

We do not need bigger boats. What we do need is a federal limit on the size of commercial boats that can enter all U.S. harbors. No business is going to stop shipping goods to the U.S. consumer market because it can’t ship on bigger boats.

Companies will continue to serve the U.S. market by shipping on those boats that can use our ports as they are now.

What we do need are some representatives and senators with foresight, leadership and enough guts to introduce legislation to limit the size and depth of commercial boats that enter all ports in the United States, even the ports with deep harbors.

Those limits would eliminate competition among ports to service bigger and bigger ships.

Let the ports compete in other ways. And let the port managers concentrate on doing their job of managing without worrying about getting more and more taxpayer dollars so that they can attract bigger and bigger ships.

A limit would save billions upon billions of taxpayer dollars and produce some favorable environmental impacts.

Let’s see if even one of our elected officials is smart enough and has enough guts to act and not let some ship- owner pull all our strings.

Port officials should push the idea of limiting the size of commercial ships entering our harbors. Let’s see if they will not let the tail wag their dog.

Jerry Spencer

21st Avenue

Isle of Palms

C of C needs best

The Sept. 12 article about possible candidates for the presidency of the College of Charleston shows that we have entered into what I’m calling the Chip Limehouse Syndrome.

When an important opening occurs, like the recent one at Charleston International (don’t you love that?) Airport, any politician can apply and be seriously considered if he/she needs more money or ego inflation.

They don’t need to know nothin’ ’bout the thing they’ll head up because any business school will tell you that if you can manage one thing you can manage anything.

That goes double for politicians, of course.

Jenny Sanford, Chip Limehouse and Glenn McConnell ought to be set aside. Cooler heads should look at the issues facing the college and hire a prominent educator who knows what he’s doing. A key cooler head should be Mayor Joe Riley, the man who brought in good leaders, like Reuben Greenberg to be chief of police. The mayor needs to participate in this issue. It’s of extreme importance to the community.

Can you just see the real estate issues that will arise with Chip as president? Or the political slant under Jenny or Glenn?

The school needs intelligent leadership. If Joe’s silence on this issue continues, it will become apparent that the city does too.

Dennis D. Maxwell

Coral Reef Drive

Johns Island

Restore draft

Here we go again. We are a mighty nation; we are a moral nation; we have the responsibility to monitor the behavior of all nations in the world except those with whom we are bedded. There is no moral compass; we decide. Disrespect us at your own peril. We will kill you using only internationally approved methods and weaponry. We will kill you from the air, the sea or any other method sans “boots on the ground.”

Too many brave young persons of our military have been physically and emotionally maimed in our last two wars, not counting those who will come home no more. Our past leader, who successfully dodged being exposed to battle during his service time, led us into two wars under false pretenses.

Maybe the time has come to expect our leader to personally lead us onto battlefields. (Those who benefit the most should take the greatest risk.) Where were the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Was Osama bin Laden from Afghanistan? How many of the 9/11 attackers were Saudi? Who were bin Laden’s suppliers? Does it really matter? It should.

We need to return to compulsory military service, requiring all of us, without exceptions, to give service to our country. I believe we would have fewer wars.

Killing is now the responsibility of our all-volunteer armed forces, but in the main, who are they? Immigrants hoping to become citizens of the United States through service, young men and women who cannot find meaningful work in this extremely rich country to care for their families, and 18-year-olds who believed the promises of recruiters.

Who benefits from financing our war machines? Could those monies be used to provide food, shelter and health benefits to war veterans?

I thank God for our president. Give diplomacy a chance. He is willing to pay the price of seeking an alternative to war, knowing that attacking another country is an act of war and retaliations are to be expected. Escalation would surely be forthcoming. Obama reminds me of Teddy Roosevelt. Lesson learned — the world knows of our military potential. They are not fools.

Luther W. Seabrook

Kendall Drive

Charleston

Storm hype

In early spring of each year hundreds of tornados tear through the Midwest doing untold damage and killing many. In the West summer brings untold forest fires spreading over vast areas, destroying many homes and again taking many lives. These stories repeat every year.

Yet every night we are inundated with fear-mongering weather forecasts of some whimpering tropical storm 2,000 miles away that may or may not turn into a hurricane whose eventual path is still unknown but often veers east of Bermuda, 800 miles away.

Local TV stations are so desperate to have a storm to report on that they even point out when there are no storms. Imagine a Post and Courier headline stating there was no crime to report that day.

Charleston has not had a serious hurricane touch land since Hugo in 1989. New York and New Jersey are much more likely to have hurricane damage. Yet every year weather services overpredict how many major storms we will encounter and the insurance industry gladly jumps on these forecasts to justify our extremely high rates.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie promises folks on the shore that FEMA and the state will help them rebuild. The governors of New York and Connecticut have offered to pitch in.

My question is why anyone bothers to have outrageously expensive insurance when the government promises to take care of everything?

Larry Wiessmann

Seabrook Island Road

Johns Island

Unwanted test

I’ve been a patient at a particular medical office for more than 30 years, but when seeing the physician yesterday, I was told I’d have to undergo urinalysis prior to receiving medication for pain. I left, saying perhaps it was time I changed physicians.

I made an appointment with another doctor, and after answering questions for half an hour, I was presented with a cup and told to visit the rest- room.

Is this becoming common practice? Will I have to drink several cups of water before future appointments?

Perhaps in the future, there will be tests to indicate if a person is lying about his pain and to determine the amount of pain the patient has.

Until then, I’ll keep my urine and, I suppose, my pain, which keeps me from being a productive member of society.

No matter, you don’t need me and my pain.

C.E. Thompson

Teal Avenue

Charleston