News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Council's handling of hirings suspect


I see from the Oct. 18 newspaper that our City Councilmen, except for Mr. Metzger, have begun to act very much like their predecessors. That is, they are making important decisions with absolutely no public discussion.

As I read the article, I thought there may not have been enough private discussion, either. One council member said he had no idea it was going to be on the agenda until an hour or an hour and a half before the meeting. All the council members who deigned to be quoted said they had nothing to do with setting this agenda, although council rules allow any member to put an item on the agenda and, more importantly, any member can request that an item be tabled for further discussion. Strangely enough, no one requested that.

It may well be that Ms. Busbey is the right person for the job. However, there should have been time allowed for public discussion and the council should have conducted its deliberations in public, except for a very limited time allowed by law to discuss the "good name" of an individual, if needed. I am surprised by this action, since the new law governing private meetings just went into effect.

I believe there had to have been private meetings for this to have taken place. Unless, of course, the whole thing was a unilateral action by Mr. Jackson to get the changes made while the mayor was out of town. He was in Japan at the time of the council meeting. If that was the case, it says something about the other council members that they allowed themselves to be taken advantage of in that manner. They are not accepting the responsibilities that they agreed to when they ran for office.

James Thornton


Reader fed up with government corruption


Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich could not have realized how true it was when, in 1994, he said Congress had become a corrupt institution. As corrupt as it was then, however, it has only continued to get worse.

Now we have congressmen Delay and Blount with their goon platoon, plus Sen. Bill Frist, congressmen Randy Cunningham and Bob Ney, Chief Procurement Officer for the White House David Safavian, Jack Abramoff, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby, all of whom revolve around the president. Their mentality seems to be, "If you can't buy it, then steal it." They have stacked the federal court system to the point that seeking justice is a joke. The Supreme Court proved this in 2000. These people make the New York Mafia look like a church choir.

I would bet dollars to doughnuts that none of these people who are being investigated or indicted will serve a day in jail. This administration has lost the trust of the majority of the people and when they are confronted about one lie, they tell you another. The president's approval rating is down to 39 percent in one poll and 37 percent in another. The administration cannot understand why.

Like many other people, my faith and trust in the federal government is at an all-time low. It seems that Sen. John McCain is the only Republican in Washington who has the decency and courage to speak out against this conspiracy and corruption. My question is: Just how many Alabama politicians will the corruption touch? Only time will tell.

With this administration's no-bid contracts, and $3 per gallon gas, what else can we expect? Maybe our conservative friends should read Cal Thomas' column from last week. It seems I am no longer alone in thinking that the president's bubble has burst.

Gordon D. Pigg


Veterans enjoyed reunion in Decatur


I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the citizens of Decatur for their Southern hospitality during the annual of the reunion of the destroyer USS David W. Taylor (DD-551).

While in Decatur, people told the old veterans — now in their 80s — that they appreciated the sacrifices they made to keep our freedom to allow them to live in such a great country.

My thanks also go out to the fine industries and businesses that contributed mementos of their stay while the veterans were in Decatur.

The highlight of the trip occurred during our tour of the 3M facility. While touring the plant, employees lined the tour route, waving American flags as our tour bus passed.

I also would like to express our appreciation to THE DECATUR DAILY for its coverage of the reunion.

The group accused me of doing a lot of arm-twisting, but I told them (and rightly so) that they were sincerely appreciated and the support was spontaneous. I want all to know that the members of the group will always remember Decatur as the best reunion they ever attended.

Robert J. Strehle


Public needs relief from gas price hikes


Every day, we are being bombarded with news that energy prices are going to continue to skyrocket in the coming months. The Oct. 13 edition of THE DAILY headlined the state Attorney General's office investigation of gasoline price gouging. Still, this is supposed to be the result of the war in Iraq, unrest in the Middle East and hurricanes striking our coast.

On Sept. 25, the "Parade" magazine in THE DAILY had, in the "Ask Marilyn" column, this question: "What single country supplies the U.S. with the most oil?" She answered, "Guess first, readers. For this year so far is it a) Iraq; b) Saudi Arabia; c) Kuwait; or d) Canada?"

Her answer: "d) Canada and I'll bet you're surprised! For the seventh year in a row, it (Canada) has been the largest supplier of crude oil and oil products to the United States."

There have been no hurricanes in Canada and if there is a war going on they have managed to keep it concealed from the media. Why hasn't Canada's supply had a positive impact on our prices? Yet, who do we know, now holding the highest of government offices, who has been heavily connected with the Middle East oil industry, for a very large part of his career?

Maybe it's time we started questioning our government about some of these things, instead of just accepting them. High energy prices are affecting us all. Perhaps it's time to start writing our congressmen, reminding them that, even though only some will be up for re-election soon, the people who previously put them into office need some relief. It's needed now — before winter.

B.H. Hopkins


Early detection and prevention cancer keys


As a member of the Congressional Families Action for Cancer Awareness Program, I wanted to let your readers know that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and to use this opportunity to share some tips on prevention and early detection of breast cancer.

First, the good news: When found and treated early before it spreads, the five-year survival rate for breast cancer is 98 percent.

Despite this hopeful prognosis, however, the statistics relating to breast cancer are sobering. On average, one in 13 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. More than 211,240 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women this year.

Breast cancer is second only to lung cancer in the number of cancer-related deaths among women. Unfortunately, approximately 40,410 women will die from breast cancer this year, including an estimated 700 in Alabama.

What can you do to prevent breast cancer or detect it in its early stages? The combination of monthly breast self-exams, yearly clinical breast exams and annual mammograms beginning at age 40 are the best ways to discover breast cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages. I know that mammograms aren't popular, but they are our greatest tools for early breast cancer detection.

The best ways to prevent all forms of cancer are to stop smoking, eat a low-fat diet and exercise on a regular basis. If you suspect that you are in one of the high-risk categories: age (over 50); family history of the disease; inherited abnormal genes or obese women with sedentary lifestyles; talk to your health care provider. For more information on cancer prevention, please contact the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation at (800) 227-2732 or visit the Web site at

Mary Sessions

Washington, D.C.

Mary Sessions is the spouse of U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, and is a member of the Congressional Families Action for Cancer Awareness, a program of the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation.

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