DOT knows best

I want to congratulate the Department of Transportation and the COG for voting to remove those dangerous trees that jump out in front of approaching vehicles that leave their approved path of travel. That trees have no option, and that inebriated and unconscious drivers do, should have no part of the decision.

However, DOT and COG did not go far enough. They should vote to remove all of the telephone and power poles in the city limits, which also might have the temerity to leap out in front of approaching vehicles.

Deaths from vehicular accidents are tragic, but using DOT's own statistics, of 58,190,225 vehicles over a five-year study, there were 44 fatalities, 709 injuries and 1,934 crashes. You have almost as good a chance of winning the lottery, but COG and DOT want to spend from $5 million to $10 million to protect us from ourselves.

We should always have a government that is so far-reaching that we do not have to take any responsibility for ourselves. The government will do it all for us and spend our money how it wants.

Alan Laughlin

Darwin Street

James Island

Slow down

Jadeveon Clowney is unfortunately aptly named. Great speed on the football field is admirable, but on an interstate going 110 mph can be deadly. Perhaps he thought he was auditioning for NASCAR and not the NFL.

Alas, Mr. Clowney has way too much company on the highways. Recently while going the speed limit on I-26, I was consistently passed by drivers whose mantra is "up close and personal."

We should drive safely 365 days a year, but especially at this season of the year with so many on the road visiting family. Drive to stay alive.

Linda Bergman

Willowick Court

Mount Pleasant

Unfair to ACA

The Dec. 17 editorial titled "Obamacare earns public disdain" deserves a response. I have been a physician for over 40 years and have experience in academic medicine, medical practice and medical management in the health care insurance industry.

I find it disheartening that this editorialist fans the flames of suspicion about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The effort to castigate the plan as government intrusion into the lives of Americans is reminiscent of the reaction to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid initiatives dating back many decades. How are they doing now?

Is it wrong to provide affordable health care to over 30 million Americans who lack health insurance; to mandate coverage for preventive services that can prevent untold illness and suffering; to mandate coverage for pregnancy, eliminate pre-existing condition exclusions, and allow young adults to be covered under their parents' insurance until age 26?

I have seen grown men cry because their insurance dropped them and they could not afford to see a doctor. I have seen patients come to the emergency room with terminal cancer because they could not afford preventive care or treatment.

I have seen impoverished families who worry every day about how they will pay medical bills when they cannot afford health insurance. Think about the thousands of people cared for in free clinics, most of whom work in low-paying jobs with no health insurance. These are only a few heartbreaking examples.

Congress passed the ACA into law and the Supreme Court upheld it. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that it will save money over the next decade. The health care exchanges are a commendable example of allowing private insurance companies to compete in the marketplace.

States have the opportunity to expand Medicaid eligibility at the federal government's expense. Shamefully, some states, including South Carolina have refused this offer, thereby leaving many thousands of low-income families without health insurance.

Finally, the editor's statement that the Obamacare is "wreaking havoc on our nation's health care system" is clearly spoken by one who has not made a career out of caring for the health care needs of the population. Perhaps the editor could offer a viable alternative.

Bernard Mansheim, M.D.

Water Street

Charleston

NSA justified

The Constitution was written when the "other side of the world" was actually on the other side of the world. The days, months and years prior to 9/11 changed all of that. The "other side of the world" is now in our back yards, infiltrating our neighborhoods and walking among us, honing their craft on our soil and slamming planes into our buildings. Since the events on that fateful day we continue to complain about security checks implemented at our airports, train stations, ports-of-call and government buildings, although I have yet to hear anyone complain about arriving at their destination safe and sound. Over the years since 9/11 do we attribute this to sheer luck? I think not.

I believe we have been kept safe because of the watchful eyes and ears protecting our people and our country from those wishing to harm both. Many Americans are now in an uproar over the protective measures taken by the NSA due to a certain person who felt he must share those tactics with the world; the word "traitor" comes to mind. We need a reality check.

It is my understanding the NSA is monitoring those communications made to and/or from foreign countries. The metadata obtained are not an effort to listen to actual conversations, but an effort to watch for communication patterns that could be the precursors to sinister and dangerous acts upon us.

Of course not every call is suspicious, but do you know our enemy who might live next door or work in the adjacent cubicle? Those who knew and worked with the 9/11 terrorists had no idea of their actual agenda and how extremely skilled and patient they were so as to succeed with that agenda. If the NSA had been diligently monitoring foreign communications prior to 9/11, could those tragedies have been avoided?

I, for one, am not worried about the NSA watching our backs and our borders, and I appreciate the efforts of the men and women assigned to this daunting task. I am concerned about the people who are up in arms about this revelation. Why?

Samantha Ensign

Shillings Way

Ravenel

Conflict resolution

A recent article on the crime page described an incident between a trucker and a young man with "road rage." The incident, which involved signs and weapons, came to a head at a gas station, and the young man became an overnight guest of the local law enforcement agency.

How did we solve issues as children? In South Africa we called it ching-chang-chow and flashed our signals to the opponent. In the USA it is known as rock-paper-scissors. Best out of three won. Pretty simple, and no one was hurt.

In our increasingly coarse, vulgar and rude society, disputes too often dissolve into violence - not verbal arguments or even simple fistfights. Nothing close to the "rock-paper-scissors" solution. Rather, now it appears as though we have another way of resolving these issues:

1) Flash the finger, 2) draw the dagger and 3) point the pistol.

Someone always loses. And society suffers too.

WALTER D. LEVENTHAL, M.D.

Midland Parkway

Summerville

Arms for all

I guess April Infinger should have been carrying a gun to protect herself from the random bullet that passed through the wall at a bar in Goose Creek and killed her.

Or maybe if everyone in the bar had guns out, it might not have happened. Clearly more guns in the bar and parking lot would have prevented another tragic shooting.

It never stops.

JEFFREY JOHNSTON

Ballast Point

Mount Pleasant

Prosperity returns

Stop all the hand-wringing. It is time to thank our ground-breaking steward, the commander in chief, the president of the United States of America, for returned prosperity.

John C. Godfrey

Kracke Street

Charlestons