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Opinion: Letters to the Editor

Step up, challenge what Jesus said

To the Editor:

I ate at the Union Gospel Mission in Sioux Falls. The one in charge confiscated a bottle of vodka which he put in his pocket.

Someone picked his pocket and relieved him of the vodka he had taken. Boy oh boy was he mad. He even threatened that if he found out who it was, that person would lose his or her bed. He really wanted the bottle. I wonder why.

If you grew up on the street like me you'll know what happens to things that are confiscated. He then turned and claimed to be without sin and set free of it.

I wonder if anyone cares to step forward and challenge what Jesus said. "Let he who is with out sin throw the first stone."

Jeff Stork, Mitchell

S.D. smoking ban has a hidden benefit

To the Editor:

There is a hidden benefit in the new smoking ban that nobody has thought of.

If the bar business is as bad as the bar owners say it has been, that must mean that there are fewer drinking drivers on city streets and highways, thus making driving for everyone a lot safer.

If our state senators and representatives see fit to let people smoke in bars again, then they must think it's OK to put more drinking drivers on the road.

Ronald Dertien, Avon

Contact lawmakers about 'RomneyCare'

To the Editor:

In Massachusetts, RomneyCare implemented all the major provisions of the recently passed health care reform package, often called "ObamaCare": fines for individuals who don't buy government approved health care; fines for employers who don't offer "affordable" health insurance; an insurer requirement to overlook pre-existing medical conditions; a mandate that parents' plans cover kids until age 26; government "insurance exchanges"; and subsidized insurance for the poor.

RomneyCare is "bankrupting the state and would have, if not for the federal government being overly generous with Medicaid reimbursements," stated Massachusetts' Democratic state treasurer, Tim Cahill.

In Massachusetts, just the over-expenditures in the next eight years are projected to cost taxpayers an additional $2 billion, even as the six largest insurers are suing to raise insurance rates because they lost more than $200 million in that state in 2009. Massachusetts has the most expensive family health premiums in the country.

What can a person do about this? First, contact his or her state legislators in Pierre and ask that Obamacare be nullified at the state level. Next, contact Congresswoman Noem and Senators Thune and Johnson and ask that Obamacare be defunded and repealed.

Eldon Stahl, Mitchell

Racial contempt can come in many ways

To the Editor:

As multi-culturally diverse as America may be, one can say that present day racism is as sure as the Titanic is still wet. But when one goes to think as to how American history has evolved for the past 230-plus years, racial contempt (at the time of conflicting interest) can be a given in many situations.

Militant views can be bred into a person in an array of psychological positions. It can be taught by the elders of the individual. The mindset can also be propagated academically, medially (and even more so) through life experiences.

But to keep Caucasians in the limelight when it comes to strong feelings toward other breeds of man is as unjust as the opinion of a drunken taste-testing judge. And for the media, as well as academia, to subliminally maintain this sort of self-resentment among those who were many generations behind the true offenders are doing no justice, nor are they promoting peace among those who have the tendency to become militant on either front. The fact of the matter is that such programming can instigate a form of boldness on the protected minority, while spinning a web of repression, guilt and animosity around the targeted majority. This can only mean that one cannot solve an historical crime by committing a contemporary one through the means of a politically correct system whose principles operate on a double standard.

And for those who have the mental depth perception that slightly surpasses any herd animal can see it in plain sight. A prime example is when comedians of ethnic minorities become permitted to publically entertain at Caucasian expense, while there have been many cases-in-point when the shoe switching feet meant for one to be sued, brow-beaten and in many instances being fired from his/her job. Can anyone say "Martin Lawrence or Dave Chappelle?" How about "Don Imus?"

I rest my case.

Heath Breaux, Mitchell

Lawmakers: Why not pass a texting law?

To the Editor:

I have a couple of points to make.

First, I want to commend Gov. Daugaard for reducing salaries on several upper level state executives. This is a reversal of the normal process of business and government to cut from the bottom up. It will be interesting to see what other choices surface to balance the budget.

Second, one of the strengths of our state is to be slow to make changes until all sides of an issue are thoroughly examined. Most of the time this works to the benefit of all citizens, however, since South Dakota ranks No. 8 nationwide in teen driver accidents and there is plenty of information concerning the danger of texting while driving, I fail to see hesitation on the part of the Legislature to enact such a law. It is dangerous as drinking and driving, yet some stubbornly resist change, citing "individual right."

This type of distracted driving puts all of us at risk for any driver concentrating more on a cell phone than on the road. In my mind, this is a no-brainer.

Dennis Leischner, Mitchell

Hoping tragedy can be a wake-up call

To the Editor:

Phyllis Schneck, Christina Taylor Green, John Roll, Dorothy Morris, Dorwan Stoddard and Gabe Zimmerman. Who are these people? They are the six lives that were tragically lost at the hands of Jared Loughner, the shooter at Rep. Giffords' public appearance. Our elected officials in Washington have across the board condemned and been saddened by this tragedy as have the American people, as we all should. This shooting, however, is a reflection of the polarizing political times our country is currently under.

Our elected officials hold a profound responsibility of choosing their words wisely when speaking to the American people. In the last few years, politicians on both sides of the aisle have used suggestive words in order to get their respective point across. In Philadelphia, July 2008, soon-to-be President Obama said, "If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun. Because from what I understand, folks in Philly like a good brawl. I've seen Eagles fans."

Recently, Sarah Palin used crosshairs on a map to mark congressional seats that she believed should be filled with people more in line with the will of the American people.

I do not believe President Obama and Mrs. Palin are actually trying to incite violence in the minds of American people. Symbols and words that depict violence carry a certain amount of subliminal messaging, though, especially for mentally unstable people who are capable of carrying out such a tragic event.

Our elected officials have the right to use what words they see fit, as it's their First Amendment right. However, even though it is their right, it may not be the smart thing to do. The responsibility for this tragedy ultimately hangs on the head of the shooter, but our elected officials must bear in mind that their words carry a lot of weight among the American people.

I hope that this tragedy will serve as a wake-up call to our elected officials so that they will not risk influencing a mentally unstable person to commit murder in exchange for a cheer from the crowd. The benefits are not worth the possible risks, especially in this polarizing political arena.

Stick to the facts. That's what we, the American people, want and need to hear.

Joel Spaans, Stickney

Time to say 'no' to special interests

To the Editor:

I would like to acknowledge the 21 percent of District 20 voters who supported my independent Sibby for Senate to Serve campaign. If you compare those results to the 2008 District 20 Senate finally tally, you will see that I took abut 10 percent from Mike Vehle and I took nearly 11 percent from the Democrat side.

So, it was wrong-headed for conservative, limited-government, fiscally responsible Republicans to vote for Vehle instead of me out of fear that a big government tax and spend Democrat would win the race.

So District 20 sent three Republicans to represent them in Pierre. In a recent report, Sen. Vehle said we needed to find "new forms of revenue" and continued to promote raising gas taxes and license-plate fees. Lance Carson said "I think the license plate fees need to go up." And Tona Rozum also said new forms of revenue need to be on the table and that "there seems to be positive feelings for potential increase in state sales tax."

When will conservative Republicans wake up and understand that there are big government tax and spend liberals in both parties? That is why South Dakota's state government has grown from $3 billion in 2008 to $4 billion today, and the South Dakota GOP leadership fabricates a budget crisis to fool us into paying even more taxes.

The truth is that the 2012 proposed budget is $247 million higher than what was spent in the year ended June 30, 2010, from state and federal sources. Reducing those increases should not be called "cuts." Instead, saying no to the special interests who are in Pierre to feed on those spending increases should be called "fiscal responsibility." If we don't do what is responsible, then the real crisis will be the financial peril we are placing on future generations via the massive debt created in D.C.

Steve "Sibby" Sibson, Mitchell