Smaller airports serve community
I read with interest Warren Bolton's column on "funding wasteful airports" Thursday. As a commercial airline pilot, I see the busiest airports in the world; I also use many of the smaller ones in my free time. Mr. Bolton points to the larger airports struggling with air traffic delays while not mentioning that many of the smaller airports relieve some of this traffic by providing a place for corporate and personal aircraft to land. Medical, law enforcement and the military use these general-aviation airports as well. Economic development can often depend on the availability of an airport.
But the real disappointment is the failure to understand the need and importance of our smaller airports such as the Jim Hamilton-L.B. Owens Airport. I got my first introduction to flight at a small airport as well as most of my instruction. Each month at Owens Field, the local flying club (Palmetto Sport Aviation Association) gives free flights to children in our community, introducing them to the world of aviation. There are picnic tables near the runway where families watch the airplanes take off and land. These opportunities do not exist in many places in the world, so let us please remember the value our small airports give us, especially here in Columbia.
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Graham takes right stand on climate
I would like to thank Sen. Lindsey Graham for leading the effort to pass climate and energy legislation. Despite taking considerable heat from the extreme right wing of his own party, the senator has decided to act in the best interests of our national security, the people of South Carolina and the planet we will leave to our children.
Our own generals are saying it: Climate change is a clear and present danger to our troops, our military resources and our national security. Let's stop sending billions of dollars to the Middle East and instead invest that money in our own homegrown energy resources and the jobs they will create. Sen. Graham, thank you for making our state proud.
'Pay to play' game of politics
Tired of hearing about and debating health care reform? Let's change the topic and tackle an underlying cause of our nation's systemic problems: the "pay to play" game of politics.
First up should be major campaign finance reform - setting reasonable limits on contributions and regulating hidden corporate and lobbyist donations. Excess "war chest" funds should automatically be used to pay down the federal or state debt.
Next we should shorten the campaign period. Many candidates already hold an elective office and should be focused on doing their current job, not spending time and energy seeking a future position.
Then we should impose rational term limits on political office holders. History shows that seniority does not always equal wise and progressive legislation.
Such changes would allow legislators to make decisions without regard to partisanship or perks for themselves and their contributors. There has been too much greed and coziness in our political system for too long. With the recent display of growing cynicism, anger and discontent, the timing is right to require a makeover for our elected representatives - from self-interest to statesmanship.
FREIDA F. McDUFFIE
'Hope' and 'change' were just buzzwords
After these first nine months of Barack Obama's presidency, it seems that a great many people are still hung on those two campaign buzzwords, "hope" and "change." Obama's platform was about transparency, openness, honesty and no tax increase on the middle class. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said his election would usher in the most honest and open Congress in American history. Obama himself said all new proposals would be available for the public to read before any voting was done. Yeah, right.
Seems the only thing he was honest about was telling Joe the Plumber that he wanted to redistribute the wealth. We just didn't know, at least at the time, that he meant to take the wealth from the rich, the not-so-rich and the less-than-rich and then create enough debt that our children's children will be the ones paying it back.
Obama now can add Nobel Peace Prize winner to his list of credits, even though he promised to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay and hasn't, promised to get us out of two wars and hasn't, kowtowed to as many despots as possible and has done nothing to stop nuclear proliferation in Iran and North Korea. It seems the only decision he has been able to make is to spend us into oblivion.
As best as I can tell, the Democratic Party stands for big government and more taxes to pay for it, and my own sad Republican Party stands for nothing.
My hope is that we wake up, and change the course of America before it is unrecognizable.