News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Three Stooges, Morgan-style


As a child, "The Three Stooges" was one of my favorite programs. Many considered them stupid, but they were funny to me. They didn't accomplish much, but they entertained.

I am pleased to have the new stooges in my daily paper. Roll over Larry, Moe, and Curly Joe — Kevin, Greg, and Stacy are here. You may consider them comically inept, but I defend them.

Small people with a little authority never fail to produce laughable results, but no one foresaw this matchup would yield comic genius.

Like the old stooges, the new ones don't accomplish what they're paid to do either — but that's part of their charm.

Isn't it funny to hear politicians discuss "ethics" while zealously guarding and expanding their little fiefdoms of power?

Verbal zingers such as "get your head examined," and "attend anger management classes," show these guys are good. They fire off witticisms I haven't heard since third grade.

I may not be able to hold my water if they graduate to the tongue-out, finger waggling, "na-nanny-boo-boo" thing, or the PeeWee Herman, "I know you are, but what am I?" level.

Moe was my favorite old stooge, my favorite new one is Stacy. Like the smallest dog at the party, he has no real business there, but always yaps shrilly and loudly, and gyrates wildly in the air around the action pair.

Morgan County government no longer suffers a boring image of dignity and respect. This Kevin, Greg and Stacy show is more fun than a menage a trois of clowns.

Will voters renew this new stooges show come election time? My friends agree; just get us to the polls — we can hardly wait to help them out.

Ricky Thomason


Sheriff Bartlett's bullying tactics


I would like to throw in my 2 cents worth on the issue of the Morgan County Sheriff's Department's ongoing budget conflict with the Morgan County Commission. After reading the article in the Nov. 13 DAILY, it seems to me that Sheriff Greg Bartlett is using the newspaper to spread discontent with the County Commission as well as preach doom and gloom. Does he believe doing this will force the commission to give him what he wants? It would appear so, which doesn't win him points for re-election in my book! Every department is receiving budget cuts — why should his be exempt? Because he says so? It appears that Bartlett is attempting to strong arm the County Commission into giving him what he wants.

It only makes sense to have a combined 911 dispatch area. Why doesn't he use the money in his pistol permit fund (which he wouldn't disclose the amount of)? Why doesn't he spend the energy he's using to fight with the commission to work with the commission?

No one likes a bully. And that's exactly the way Sheriff Bartlett is behaving.

Lynne Orr


The way this world works


I am proud of the Sheriff's Department in this county. The citizens, as well as the County Commission, expect them to do an impossible job with extremely limited funding. The commission just doesn't have the money, as they see fit, to allocate it. The money is there, but it must be dispersed to several departments. So a little here and a little there until most departments have mediocre funding for another impossible job.

But remember that, just as the commission has to decide who receives money and how much, it is also a deputy's decision as to when and where he or she issues a citation. I am not proud of an official who is so backward as to "holler like a stuck hog" because he does not understand the way this world works.

David Childers


Decatur lacks leadership


I read with interest your article "Why Is Huntsville Hot, Decatur Not?" Was this a rhetorical question? If you read your own paper the answers are clear. Politicians bickering with the sheriff over tickets and funding. A myopic City Council trying to figure out what services to cut so they can reduce a penny from the sales tax. A mayor who carefully studies all the issues until they finally just go away. City bureaucracies driving home builders, home buyers, and new business development to other areas. An outdated softball complex instead of new stores and shopping opportunities. A complete lack of vision in planning for the future and a plan to get there.

When I moved to Decatur in 1976 it was a vibrant and growing city. Somewhere we lost our vision and replaced it with petty personal causes and revenge for wrongs done to our fathers years ago. Shame on our officials for being so short-sighted, and shame on our voters for electing them.

The global economy is certainly a contributing factor, but basically, 10-cent politicians produce 10-cent communities and economies (and the 10 cents includes current inflation). Our city and county governments are duly elected rulers of our community. They have shown no indication they are, or ever will be, leaders of our community.

We need real leadership, knowledge, and experience to move Decatur and Morgan County forward again, and we need to find it quickly.

John P. Peters


First things first in Decatur


Do we really need signs telling people to shop in Decatur?

What Decatur does need is more places for people to make spending their money more worth while: a better mall, better theaters, and more name oriented stores and restaurants. The city of Decatur and its surrounding areas have more than enough people to service each new business that chooses to build here.

But where can we build these businesses?

In this case, acquiring new land is a daunting task, but Decatur has no choice but to search for more land. As the outer suburbs grow, the less advantage Decatur will have in acquiring the land needed for expansion. To persuade, Decatur should present the outer areas with visual aids that might sway a favorable decision from people for the city to annex these areas. For example, enhancing the look of the whole city rather than just its entryways will add a favorable appearance. In addition, construction of sidewalks for pedestrian safety, and restriction of building codes to more upscale settings will add value to the eye of the beholder.

What's more, assurances given to people in potential annexed areas should not have to wait for elections for a starting date. For instance, the widening of the Beltline is finally in the works to start in the spring because Gov. Riley is up for re-election. People want results now rather than later.

In conclusion, people will spend money in Decatur when options for the people to spend their money increase. Before the city spends money on making signs, tags and other promoting objects, the city should think about where else that money can benefit the public. The announcement of a new name-brand restaurant or store opening will promote itself.

Clinton Herbert


Soldiers fighting for our freedom


From a soldier who has been in Iraq and now in Afghanistan, I was very upset when a reader wrote that soldiers should be brought home from abroad.

If this person values his freedom and general way of life, he should thank a veteran, because it is we who are taking the time away from our families to give our lives in defense of that freedom.

If the reader can't trust the "puppet" government that this country has, he should leave!

Sgt. Joel Sims, U.S. Army


Unfounded criticism


After reading Tina Seeborg's concerns about the Team Impact visits to area schools, I asked my very astute 7-, 9-, and 12-year-old children what they remembered about the performances they witnessed at their schools. Their answers: "They were strong," "They could bend things," and "They could bend things, and they told us to never give up," respectively. Those reviews hardly qualify as fodder for religious debate.

According to my children, the group made no mention of Christianity, or their venue at First Baptist Church of Decatur. (In fact, we are members of FBC, and my children were unaware that the group was performing there until I told them.) I sincerely doubt that Team Impact altered their messages so radically for each school system. Ms. Seeborg's claims sound somewhat unfounded and exaggerated, much like her discriminatory assertions that a Muslim group of athletes with a similar message would be prohibited from addressing local schools. To the contrary, I am sure many people would welcome that diversity in our schools. If Ms. Seeborg knows of any such groups, I hope she utilizes this opportunity to invite them to our area.

Non-Christians who wish to redundantly wage battles in the "separation of church and state" war can invent many arenas in which to do so, but the positive performances from Team Impact hardly qualify as a "sideways way to insert Christianity into the schools."

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, "The right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins." If Ms. Seeborg, and others like her, disapprove of positive, wholesome, values-based programs such as the Team Impact assembly, they should remove their children from the public schools, just as they have removed our God. My children loved Team Impact, and we hope they return soon.

Pamela A. Ramey


North Courtland surveillance


Police departments are perpetually underfunded and police officers underpaid. So, when I read that Decatur was getting $100,000 and North Courtland $50,000 for their respective departments, I felt good because I know they could certainly put the money to good use.

I have always been a staunch civil libertarian and advocate of less government intrusion into our personal lives. I was, therefore, appalled when I read that the major priority of Police Chief Alex Taylor of North Courtland was to put outdoor surveillance cameras on every street for 24-hour monitoring of all citizens.

We all know that surveillance cameras are already in many of the places we visit each day, and certainly, they have in many instances, contributed to solving crimes. The chief is a good man and I know that he knows his town better than I. Yet, I cannot help but think that less, not more, surveillance of our citizens is better and that surely, there must be greater needs and a less intrusive way to deter crime in North Courtland.

Dr. Charles Borden D.M.D.


Banning DDT killed millions


What is the most important life-saving medical discovery of the past 100 years? A committee of the National Academy of Sciences strongly indicates it is DDT. This committee wrote: "To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as DDT. Indeed, it is estimated that, in a little more than two decades, DDT prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria that would otherwise have been inevitable."

The record of actual research continues to show that DDT is the world's safest way to stop insect-borne disease.

You may say, "DDT causes cancer." Check the record. Back in the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency examiner summed up 9,000 pages of research by declaring, "DDT is not a carcinogenic hazard to man." He also emphasized it does not harm fish, birds or other wildlife.

Despite this open-and-shut case, the examiner's boss, EPA head William Ruckleshaus, went ahead and banned DDT. Aides later said he never even read one page of the studies. He had helped hatch the DDT scare and would not admit he was wrong. Years later, as a private citizen, he admitted his error.

The worldwide witch-hunt against DDT hasn't saved one bald eagle. But it has murdered millions of children in tropical nations who continue to die from malaria, yellow fever and other mosquito-borne plagues.

Americans are now spending millions trying to stem the malaria deaths in Africa, with little success. If half this money was spent on DDT, millions of children could be spared this horrible death.

Kermit Tucker


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