Add more trees

Trees and vegetation are the lungs of the planet. They exchange the air, cleanse what we breathe, strain out pollutants and give us oxygen. A recent letter writer said it right when she wrote that by chopping down 30 miles of trees on I-26 we are paving paradise and giving ourselves emphysema in the process.

The solution to motorists crashing into median trees isn’t to remove the vegetation. It’s just the opposite: Add vegetation in the form of tightly packed hedgerows between the pavement and the trees to catch errant vehicles.

The hedgerows in Europe were significant impediments to the movements of armored tanks during World War II; if a hedgerow can stop a tank, it can certainly stop, or at least attenuate the speed of, an errant car, even a truck. They are the best catch-net of all, far superior to cable barriers and guard rails, especially in this setting.

The added benefits include adding to the lung capacity of our planet, reducing the severity of vehicle crashes and providing a quick, easy and inexpensive repair after performing the catch-net job. Simple, effective, cheap.

Save the trees, save the air, save motorists.

What more do we want? Are you listening, South Carolina Department of Transportation?

A. Elliott Barrow Jr.

Barrow Law Firm

Chuck Dawley Boulevard

Mount Pleasant

Enforce gun laws

While we have many gun control laws in place, they are not enforced, and now Congress believes that passing more laws is the answer.

The president and his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, now mayor of Chicago, need to consider that the gun laws in Chicago are the toughest in the country. How are they working? Chicago had 506 murders during 2012 — highest in the nation.

More people were killed in Chicago last year than Americans killed in Afghanistan. Virtually all of the killings were committed with handguns, not with AK-47s, or with magazines that held 33 rounds.

More people died in Chicago than at Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood and Aurora, Colo., combined.

The government and law enforcement need to focus and support the laws that are in place, not write a set of new ones that make their jobs more difficult to accomplish.

ED GILLIGAN

Marsh Hawk Lane

Kiawah Island

Education threat

If you are a public school advocate, now is the time to let it be known firmly and loudly in response to Senate Bill 279, which was introduced on Jan. 23 and immediately referred to the Finance Committee.

S.279 provides for state income tax deductions for parents who send their children to private schools, and also provides deductions for parents who incur home schooling expenditures.

It further provides tax credits for donors who contribute funds to a scholarship organization for disadvantaged students.

Senate Bill 279 was sponsored by Sen. Larry Grooms and has 15 co-sponsors, including Paul Thurmond, Chip Campsen and Robert Ford.

To read the full text, go to http://scstatehouse.gov/index.php. Should this bill be enacted, not only would it give special treatment to those attending private schools, it would reduce the amount of tax revenue available for public school funding.

The S.C. Constitution states: “The General Assembly shall provide for the maintenance and support of a system of free public schools open to all children in the state.”

In 1999, the S.C. Supreme Court made a ruling upholding this mandate. But instead of working for an updated, realistic and sound financial formula for quality public education, our legislators enact piecemeal legislation that erodes and weakens the public education system.

I have become aware in recent years of the large donations to S.C. legislators and candidates by out of state individuals and PACs. It is those very donors who have an interest in dismantling public school systems throughout the country.

If you are upset about the direction of this current legislative attempt, please express your concern to your legislators.

FREIDA McDUFFIE

Harbor Oaks Drive

Charleston

Sinking feeling

Repair streets and drainage? Charleston is built on reclaimed land. We are at or below sea level, and as sea levels rise and ground-water levels rise we will experience more flooding. Check out A.O. Halsey’s 1949 map of the city to see the original high-tide water lines. The City Market was built on a filled-in creek and Lockwood Boulevard was once part of the Ashley River. Storm drains empty into the harbor.

We should study Holland and emulate other cities trying to keep above water. No one, as far as I know (and I have lived here all my life), has confronted our problems from a practical, historical standpoint.

Why can’t the powers that be or the newspaper put the facts in front of us?

If I had the money I would put a full-page illustration in the paper to show the problem’s range.

Wake up! Unless we raise the city, there is nothing the authorities can do. We’re up against nature, and last I heard, nature doesn’t listen to arguments nor respond to taxes.

C.T. Leland

Coming Street

Charleston

Media bias all wet

A report of Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., taking a sip of water was above the fold on Page A3 of The Post and Courier.

The report of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., Obama’s 2008 campaign co-chair, and his wife taking a plea deal for conspiracy (taking $750,000 in campaign funds) was at the bottom of Page A4. Wow.

Come to think of it, I don’t remember seeing much about the FBI investigating Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., allegedly soliciting underage prostitutes in the Dominican Republic at all, or how the illegal alien intern in his Senate campaign office had his deportation held up until after the election. And the greatest irony, Menendez sponsored legislation on sex trafficking, particularly relating to children.

I wonder what page that will end up on, if it is noted at all.

That the media has chosen to focus so much attention on a sip of water is not only juvenile, but journalistic malfeasance. At the same time North Korea was testing nukes. Think that got as much air time? No.

How about the HHS report on Head Start being a failure in light of Obama’s call for mandatory Pre-K? Or holding the White House to account for being the creators of the sequestration bill for which they are now trying to shift blame? Instead, their priority is a sip of water.

There is something seriously wrong there. Pat Caddell is right — the media have become a threat to democracy in this country. Unless and until the media start reporting actual news, with no slant or bias, we cannot be an informed citizenry as the founders of this nation envisioned.

This paper can start: If it is going to report on a senator taking a sip of water, it is a news brief, not a Page A3 article.

Amy J. Samonds

Edisto Ferry Road

Edisto Island

Defining questions

Most of the candidates for the 1st Congressional District seat claim to be true conservatives. That probably means different things to each of them. It would be helpful if each could address issues like these:

Freedom from federal government intrusion. South Carolina receives $1.92 from Washington for every $1 it sends there. What are your plans to get this ratio down to a dollar received for a dollar sent?

Do you believe the Earth is 9,000 years old, that evolution is a lie and that climate change is a hoax?

Even so, will you be open-minded to scientific evidence that conflicts with your beliefs when making laws?

Freedom from the Nanny State controlling citizens’ rights, e.g. motorcycle helmets, incandescent light bulbs.

If you agree this is critical, will you then oppose Nanny State laws to control women’s health, homosexuals’ lives and others’ rights to freedom of religion even it contradicts your personal beliefs?

Many gun owners say the biggest reason they oppose gun control is to prevent tyranny by the federal government. If you concur, would you support an armed insurrection if the Obama administration does things that oppose your true conservative values?

Many supposedly true conservatives believe the president is not a citizen of the U.S.

Will you encourage your supporters to believe this myth, or will you firmly deny it in an attempt to bring more harmony to the country?

Some candidates want to repeal Obamacare. Since this has already failed 34 times in the House, will you devote your energy instead to other more pressing problems?

Most conservatives say our biggest problem is the debt and too much spending.

Will you pursue big cuts in the largest single item in the 2013 budget ($851 billion), defense, where the U.S. spends more than the next 14 countries combined? (The next two are Social Security $820 billion, Medicare $523 billion).

The Post and Courier series on “Forgotten South Carolina” shows that our state is near or at the bottom in all measures of health, education and economic opportunity. The state has been governed using conservative principles for decades.

Will you use these lessons in Washington, or will you continue to push low taxes and minimal support to health and education in hopes that someday that will work?

Michael Griffith

Sterling Marsh Lane

Johns Island

Evidence over faith

I was happy to see the Feb. 23 article “Man of science, faith” about Dr. Rob Dillon, evolutionary biologist at the College of Charleston. I appreciate all he has done in South Carolina to support high standards for science education, working to keep religion out of science classes and upholding the principle that church and state should remain separate.

My one quibble is with Dr. Dillon’s contention that Darwin Week speakers have claimed that science disproves the existence of God because God can’t be proven by science.

Not true. Participants in such debates (myself among them) have said we can’t find evidence for god belief, scientific or otherwise, so we are without belief in any gods. Dillon and I agree that the Bible should not be treated as a science book and that God belief is faith-based.

Even eminent evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, who will speak at the College of Charleston on March 9, doesn’t claim he can disprove the existence of God.

In his best-selling book “The God Delusion” Dawkins rates god-belief on a seven point scale, with one meaning absolute certainty in God’s existence and seven absolute certainty in God’s non-existence. Dawkins counts himself as a six, leaning toward seven.

Charles Darwin set sail on the Beagle in 1831 as a firm creationist.

Confronted by evidence unearthed during years of study, he changed his mind. Many of us became atheists because we value evidence over faith.

Herb Silverman

George Street

Charleston

Costly barrier

Your reporter Bo Petersen recently called attention to the hubbub associated with the placement of cement panels along Dorchester Road. Their purpose is to give homeowners a barrier to reduce the road noise along a 6,000-foot stretch, and it’s only costing us taxpayers $1 million.

I live in the little town of Dorchester on Highway 78 with all of its traffic.

To add to the situation, the Norfolk and Southern rail line is only 51 yards from my from door, day and night.

Unfortunately, we also have a rail crossing nearby.

It’s a real hullabaloo with all the auto traffic and the horns blowing on the locomotives along with the clanging of the warning bells at the local crossing.

Yes, of course this can be a little annoying if you are watching TV. However, I can spare a minute or so of the TV gibberish if it can save us a million dollars per mile for a concrete sound barrier.

There must be something more important than a cement fence that we can spend our million dollars on.

Who in the world would OK this to begin with?

Jim Way

Highway 78

Dorchester