News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Riley asked to join 21st century

Did I read this right? Regarding Maryemily Slate, manager of Nucor's cold mill, did Gov. Bob Riley actually say, "As long as I live, I will never get used to someone who looks like that running a steel mill"? And just to make sure he had both feet in his mouth, he added, "It just doesn't look right."

Hello, Gov. Riley, this is the 21st century. You are welcome to join us!

Virginia Richters


Only individuals should donate to campaigns

I saw in THE DAILY that Rep. Jody Letson had received thousands of dollars in campaign funds from various businesses and PACs. Among the businesses were Exxon Mobile Corp. of Houston and Philip Morris USA Tobacco Company of Richmond, Va. Why would companies in Houston and Virginia contribute to the campaign of a state legislator in Alabama?

David Bronner, one of the few leaders in Alabama with the wherewithal to stand up to unethical politics, recently brought some shocking information to light. Remember the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in Alaska in 1989? Exxon has yet to pay one penny of the jury award. In another matter in 2003, an Alabama jury awarded the state $11.8 billion in punitive damages where this company tried to take advantage of our state. Exxon Mobil has yet to pay a cent and the Alabama Supreme Court has allowed Exxon to stall for another two years.

Tobacco companies, which have caused millions of unnecessary deaths and health care related costs, tried to cover up the obvious with lies. They were caught and found guilty several years ago. They were fined hundreds of trillions of dollars. They never paid and recently the Justice Department dropped the fine. Tobacco is exempt from federal food and drug laws. Why?

To avoid the appearance of, if not the actual influence of money, financing of political campaigns by businesses or Political Action Committees should be banned. Rep. Letson happens to be a Democrat, but Republicans are certainly not immune from influence, as evidenced by the actions of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay and former U.S. Rep. "Duke" Cunningham. Only people should contribute money to candidates for public office, and to be fair, there must be a limit as to how much each gives, including what he contributes to a political group.

David Lee


Punishment should fit crime

Our son has been in the prison system for nine long years, for stealing.

He has a big mouth and said things he shouldn't have said and hurt some feelings. I am not saying what he did was right, but he didn't deserve life without parole. Now, murderers are killing people and getting just months and years.

What kind of system do we have when our children spend the rest of their lives in prison for stealing? Wouldn't you think they deserve another chance, too?

People out there who have children like ours, speak out.

Bessie McLin


No excuses for child abusers

Who among us had a prefect childhood? "I was abused as a child. I was drunk. I was on drugs. I didn't know. I was insane." They all belong in one category. Inexcusable.

Our politicians, teachers, law officials, clergy and doctors — anyone who a child would look to as a role model — these people are held to higher expectations. The higher one goes, the more they are in the spotlight. So it follows the more spotless their lives should be.

To accept an excuse of "I was abused as a child" is to give that person the right to abuse. This is not acceptable.

Patsy Sparkman


Fiddlers' festival was best ever

I would like to comment on the Tennessee Valley Old-Time Fiddlers Convention. This year was the 40th anniversary of the convention and we believe that this event was the best yet.

The bands I have played with have really enjoyed this event and the professional way the entire staff performed their work. I know there will always be a mad Mama or two who wants her child to win, but the staff handled everything well.

I would like to see more information and pictures of this event in THE DAILY. Keep up the good work.

David M. Williams


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