Letters to the Editor, Wednesday, Aug. 14

  • Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Futile trial


Just about the time I think I have heard the most asinine thing our government could say or do, they outdo themselves.

This terrorist, Maj. Nidal Malik, who has chosen to represent himself for the massacre at Fort Hood, performed in the name of radical Islam, stood up first thing to plead guilty. He admitted his crime.

Here it comes. The military court told him that military law doesn’t allow a guilty plea in death-penalty cases.

Yep. That’s what they said.

They would rather spend thousands and thousands of our tax dollars trudging through and dragging out a futile trial.

Our illustrious government has also continued to pay him his full salary.

It is no wonder that our nation is $17-plus trillion in head-over-heels debt. And the two trips our president, his family, friends and staff just completed cost us taxpayers another $190 million.

Yet our children can’t tour the White House because it is too expensive to keep open?

We should vote out the 535 special-interest politicians in both houses of Congress. They and the Supreme Court and the White House are “running” (or I should say “ruining”) our nation.

We should get things back on track so that we can get out of debt and again become feared by the rest of the world if they dare try to take people’s freedoms.

“Praise the Lord, and pass the ammunition!”

Mike Moore

Pimpernel Street

Summerville

Cut-throughs


I live in Harbor Woods, a neighborhood with its main entrance on Fort Johnson Road. There is another entrance directly across from that, making my neighborhood a great place for people to cut through.

Harbor Woods was built in the early 1970s. The roads were paved then too.

Since then Harbor Woods has lost its homeowners association but has kept the roads from around 40 years ago.

About four years ago the City of Charleston did a study that showed approximately 4,000 cars cut through Harbor Woods, despite “No Cut Through” signs.

They have been aware of the people going to James Island Charter High School and a few thousand others cutting through.

I say that if you’re going to let people use a neighborhood as a highway, at least repave the roads. Or just get the people off them.

Christopher Tomasson

Regatta Road

Charleston

Common Core


An Aug. 7 letter detailed many negative aspects of the ill-conceived “Common Core” standards. The history of government involvement in education has been a complete disaster.

Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty,” “Title I,” “No Child Left Behind” and “First Steps” come to mind as I recall programs that were supposed to create a better educated society.

The exact opposite has happened.

High school graduates are unable to do simple arithmetic without a calculator, college students are assigned reading in a comic book format and a majority of folks know little or nothing about this republic we call the United States of America.

This is no accident.

Since the early 20th century the public education system has been designed with the goal of creating a compliant society with enough education to function as workers who will help maintain the status quo for the ultra rich and powerful but not so much education as to be a threat to them.

For the first 150 years or so, education in this country was confined primarily to reading writing and arithmetic with history, geography and civics as important asides. This resulted in an innovative, inquisitive population and inspired people to be the best they could be. We became a world leader in everything from agriculture to manufacturing.

When the federal government got into the education game we became a nation of crybabies who look to that same government to supply our most basic needs.

We are a country of victims and advocates for them and not much in between. The education system under the guidance of the federal government has become an engine for social change, supposedly for the better, but trashing the Constitution and the brilliant men who crafted it.

Until we get the federal government out of our educational system and resume complete local control, the dumbing-down of the electorate will continue unimpeded.

BILL Reed III

Bowfin Drive

Moncks Corner

Flanking tactics


Looks like the local scoundrels are now trying to snag over a billion dollars for their scheme to encircle Charleston with a $534 million “improved” six-lane interstate dumping into a four-lane $600 million low-speed parkway, all dumping onto a flooding two-lane, or maybe a sorta three- or four-lane, downtown street.

Clearly a plan for success.

They must be channeling the Redcoat and Union aggressors who all tried the same thing. The old has gone, the new is here. To the ramparts.

Rich Thomas

Betsy Kerrison Parkway

Johns Island

Thanks to Stevens


I had the pleasure to serve on the Charleston County Aviation Authority from its inception until the existing airport was completed some 12 years later. During that time, we were a group of six appointees and the mayor of Charleston.

We enjoyed a compatible relationship with few serious disputes, none of them personal in any way. We accomplished a great deal, including negotiating with Georgia-Pacific to purchase a large tract of property adjoining the airport. On part of this purchased tract, Boeing now has its facility.

The authority employs a staff, which has grown over the years. I am fortunate to have been one of those who recognized the ability of Sue Stevens, the outgoing director. I had the pleasure of developing a close, friendly admiration for her.

She is an outstanding individual with high personal standards. I suppose the true reasons for Sue Stevens’ resignation will become known soon enough.

Whatever they are, the citizens of this region owe her their appreciation for an important job well done.

Reading between the lines of articles from The Post and Courier, it appears that the authority has been viewed of late as a potential source of patronage by some of its members.

I hope for all our sakes that it can remain above such petty politics and move into the future with a new director who will seek to emulate the standards of the outgoing one.



William McG. Morrison

Church Street

Charleston

Fair exchange


I was disappointed in the July 27 headline suggesting “confusion reigns” in the run-up to the Oct. 1 opening of South Carolina’s health insurance exchange. The article seems to say the opposite.

The writer reports that the online exchange will open on schedule and remain open for six months. During this time, more than 900,000 working South Carolinians and their families will have the opportunity to buy health insurance at exceptionally low rates.

The state’s Department of Insurance is currently conducting a review of plans to be offered on the exchange, while representatives of hospitals, news agencies, stakeholders, and community groups are participating in forums across the state to gather information and facilitate access to the exchange.

The article seems to be critical of the state’s Department of Health and Human Services for not paying a public relations firm $1 million to tell state residents how to access the exchange.

Gov. Nikki Haley has said repeatedly that her administration would leave the promotion and operation of the exchange to the federal government. There has never been any confusion about that.

However, there will be plenty of help for state residents.

For the past three years, advocates and other stakeholders have been working to facilitate implementation of the Affordable Care Act in South Carolina. This includes setting up networks to provide public education and outreach about the exchange.

The federal government released funds to community health centers to help their patients gain access to the exchange, while additional outreach funds will be made available to non-profit groups to train local “navigators” to assist citizens with questions.

There will certainly be challenges as the exchange opens, but there is nothing at this point to suggest a level of chaos inferred by the article.

Putting aside Obamacare politics, this is a huge opportunity to improve the lives of nearly one-third of working people in this state.

STEPHEN SKARDON JR.

Executive Director

Palmetto Project

Chuck Dawley Boulevard

Mount Pleasant

Glaring absences


All nine members of the S.C. Congressional Delegation were invited to attend a reception sponsored by the National Coalition of Parent Centers on Capitol Hill on July 30. These centers are mandated for each state and funded in part or in whole by the U.S. Department of Education.

This reception provided the opportunity for members of Congress to meet with professionals who work with 6.9 million children with disabilities.

Approximately 1,000 professionals were in attendance.

Here in South Carolina, some 100,000 children need special education and early intervention services.

I myself am the stepfather of three children with varying degrees of learning disabilities. I was appalled that none of the members of the S.C. Congressional Delegation attended this event to interact with the forces who are on the front lines in providing these services to those affected parents and children.

Sen. Lindsey Graham was the only member to respond in writing and send a member of his staff.

Rep. Joe Wilson’s office did negatively respond, but only after repeated online and telephone requests.

If our congressmen don’t care about the education of those needing special services, what do they care about?



Gary R. Baker

Counts Ferry Road

Lexington

Federal benefits


An Aug. 18 letter concerning federal civil service employee benefits was inaccurate when it stated “the employee contributes .08 percent of his bi-weekly salary and the taxpayer contributes 20 percent” towards his retirement. For an accurate summary of federal retirement benefits see http://www.opm.gov/retirement-services/fers-information/

A federal employee (under the Civil Service Retirement Plan) can contribute up to 10 percent of his salary toward his retirement benefits. The government will match up to 6 percent.

The employee has a diverse field of options on where that money will be invested: funds for diversified growth and stability (L Fund); funds for stability (F and G funds); and funds for long-term growth (C, S, and I Funds).

In addition, under the Civil Service Retirement Plan (which has been in effect since 1987), the retired employee receives a small pension depending on his length of service, but it is no more than 2 percent of his salary.

Those employees who were hired prior to 1987 and were covered under the old Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) and did not elect to switch over to the new one, do not have all the benefits listed above, but were entitled to greater pension benefits.

However, they do not pay into Social Security and their years in federal service are not counted in computing Social Security eligibility or benefits.

Health and life insurance benefit plans are similar to those of private employees. The federal employee can elect coverage under a number of insurers, and must study each insurer’s plan to see which best meets his needs.

As with private employers, part of the premiums are paid by the employer.

Postal employees, however, do have very good medical plans, and they pay little for their coverage.

Irving S. Rosenfeld

Simpkins Street

James Island

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