Letters to the Editor July 26, 2009

Advanced degrees valued in education jobs
The reason Mississippi has an advanced degree requirement for state superintendents, and not other states, is that it is understood that no one with only a bachelor’s degree would be considered in the other states. (Editorial, July 22.)
It is sad that our state must add that requirement because some decision makers are unable to see how important the advanced degree is for credibility among educators. In the education world, advanced education degrees are valued and expected. Just as in the business world, it would be difficult to follow the lead of a supervisor with less experience or less education than those he or she would be directing. It is a tragedy that Judy Rhodes did not pursue an advanced degree at an earlier time in her life.
It would have been a benefit to our entire state had she acquired at least a master’s degree. But she chose not to do so.
James Denton
Thaxton

Weather radios preferred over sirens
I have been a volunteer weather spotter for about 40 years and in my experience, the storm sirens are a waste of money.
By the time the sirens are activated the storm system usually has passed.
Also, the repeated lengthy sounding of the sirens during and after a storm tends to lull the public into a sense of complacency thus defeating the purpose.
A far better investment of the $210,000 would be to buy 7,000 NOAA weather radios. I do not think the government should furnish these units to everyone because at about $30 each, most households could afford one. These radios can furnish instant warnings to the individual household or business before the storm sirens can be activated. In addition to furnishing almost instant warnings, these units also furnish forecasts and general weather information on demand.
The sirens would be better utilized if they could be activated when needed and then turned off once the storm had passed the area and not allowed to sound for many minutes after the event. The warnings issued by the weather radio network specify the exact location of the storm and the areas to be involved. Thus the individual can take the appropriate action as needed.
Jim Miller
Amateur Radio Operator
Saltillo

Bicyclist thanks those
who show rider respect
Thanks, Tupelo.
I recently rode my bike. Thank you to the man on West Jackson Extended who waited 10 seconds and allowed me to safely turn left.
Thanks to the “Todd’s Big Star Man” who patiently waited 5 seconds to back out of his driveway then gently came around me giving me more room between my bike and his truck on Filgo Road. To the lady on Chesterville who waited a few extra seconds until she could safely see over the hill to pass, gracias! Thanks to the City of Tupelo for the wide lane on Coley Road and for sweeping it to help keep it clear of things that could so easily cause a flat or a blowout.
A big thank you to the man who realized that lane ends at Frito Lay, and moved over to allow me room to ride.
How I wish all drivers could be like those I encountered. I could be their child’s teacher, their surgeon, dentist, chiropractor, auto mechanic, radiologist, physical therapist …
Linda Hale
Tupelo

Pontotoc water fluoridation necessary
At a time when the nation is debating the ways and means of health care in our country, it is appalling that the City of Pontotoc has decided to stop one of the truly miraculous public health benefits ever discovered. A fluoridated public water system is the most cost effective program the citizens of Pontotoc get for their tax dollars. At a time when job security and family incomes are being threatened, employer provided medical and dental insurance plans are being lost and there is uncertainty of healthier being provided in the future, stopping this water fluoridation program which has clear, certain and provable benefits defies logic and reason.
As a practicing pediatric dentist, I daily see the ravages of poor dental care in a vulnerable pediatric patient population. I also see the benefits derived from fluoridated water supplies, fewer cavities in primary and permanent teeth. I urge the good citizens of Pontotoc to demand that this terrible decision by the Board of Aldermen to stop fluoridating the public water supply be reconsidered and rescinded.
Richard Warriner, DDS
Tupelo

Gray’s column hit
the mark on songs
Columnist Lloyd Gray’s remarks about embellishments to the Star Spangled Banner by self-absorbed “celebrities” were spot on. But he failed to include the most disgraceful performance of the Anthem I have ever seen: Rosanne Barr’s parody of our national anthem before the San Diego Padres game on July 25, 1990.
Her deliberately screeching rendition of the song, accompanied by spitting and tugging on her crotch in imitation of ballplayers “adjusting” themselves when stepping up to the plate, was the most egregious thing I have ever witnessed on live television.
I remember as a small child during World War II going to the movies with my parents. Whenever our flag appeared on the screen in the film or in a newsreel, the audience would applaud! The fact that Ms. Barr was not booed out of the ball park shows how much things have changed in our nation since then.
Of course, her actions were protected by her freedom of speech rights under the First Amendment to our Constitution. But too many brave Americans have bled and died defending those rights and the nation that the flag represents for her to dishonor their service in such a crass manner.
But I have extracted my revenge. To my knowledge, no apology was ever made to the nation by the network (ABC) for this disgraceful scene, so ABC is no longer welcome in my home. I have never watched anything on ABC since then, and I never will.
Gerald A. Maillian
Tupelo

Catfish official says
safety’s top issue
While many accusations have been leveled at the domestic catfish industry and its pursuit of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspections, the intent of the U.S. catfish industry has always been very clear – consumer safety.
U.S. consumers currently believe that their seafood is subject to the same rigorous inspection standards as those imposed on meat and poultry products. However, that is not the case under the existing Food and Drug Administration (FDA) standards, and the domestic catfish industry is dedicated to fighting for increased consumer food safety.
Seafood consumption in the United States now exceeds 4.9 billion pounds annually. Of this amount, over 83 percent is imported, and less than 1 percent of our seafood imports ever sees an inspector. Furthermore, only a fraction of that amount is ever tested for contamination from illegal drugs and chemicals.
It is of great concern that inspections by the Canadian government along the U.S. border and testing by the agriculture departments of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi have found dangerous and illegal drugs and chemicals in Asian fish imports that had already been cleared by the FDA. To say that the FDA leaves U.S. consumers vulnerable is an understatement.
The first and foremost responsibility of the elected officials of this country is to ensure the safety and well being of its citizens. The assurance that the food we eat is safe should be an integral part of that responsibility. Taking action to eliminate any threat to the safety of the American public, including food safety, should be non-negotiable and off-the-table in any political arena.
Let’s hope our elected officials do the right thing.
Joey Lowery
President,
Catfish Farmers of America
Indianola

Taxes are immoral;
GOP doesn’t see it
Do you want to know why taxes keep going up and up? It is because conservatives (especially Republicans) have not understood this simple fact: Taxation is immoral.
Taxation is government seizure of your possessions, by force. If you doubt the forceful nature of taxation, try not paying them. Then you will discover first-hand this truism: Liberty ends where force begins.
No number of “tea parties” or protests will ever succeed in altering the tide of taxation while those who protest taxes on April 15 praise taxes on May 15 when they receive refunds for having children and for paying interest on their mortgage. These are the same people who profess pride in socialized education (public schools via taxation) while cursing socialized medicine (doctor care via taxation). Do you see the contradiction?
Taxation is a brazen violation of man’s liberty. Stop lusting for its benefits and stop debating its proper form. It has no proper form and no proper place in the lives of free men. Legalized theft by the will of the people is still theft and still evil. Taxation ought to be abolished and expunged from the Constitution.
Do you know why the Revolution came in 1776 instead of 1756? It is because the colonists believed the Crown was proper, and necessary, and even hallowed. When enough colonists finally realized how wrong that assumption was, their minds were ripe to seize their liberty and hold on to it. What an intellectual leap!
Are you ready to make an intellectual leap and understand the immorality of taxation, all taxation?
Long live Lady Liberty!
Nathan B. Laser
Tupelo

Sanctuary Hospice
praised by a family
May we tell you about a wonderful place in Tupelo called the Sanctuary Hospice House? We can tell you from first hand experience about the great nurses and the entire staff. It is a place where you can truly feel the presence of God when you walk into the building.
We would like to give a big thank you to those who had a vision and a dream to build a facility such as this and worked so hard to make it a reality. Also to those donors who help sustain it and especially the nurses and staff for all the love and hugs and prayers and even tears when our loved one was a patient there.
They will never know how much it meant to us to know that our dad was so well cared for.
They will always have a special place in our hearts.
The Russell Lanphere Family
Helene Wade
Tupelo

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