WWII veteran award was long overdue
America and the state of South Carolina deserve praise for bestowing upon Dewitt Jackson - an African-American soldier and a member of the historic Buffalo Soldiers - the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for his heroic acts of patriotism and bravery during World War II.
Although this country was slow in honoring Mr. Jackson, it is nonetheless refreshing and inspiring to see some of the wrongs of history made right.
Mr. Jackson's sacrifice came at a time when he and his peers were not considered fully human. He was placed on the front line when fighting the Germans in Italy because he was expendable, but upon returning to America, he was sent to the back of the line and back of the bus.
Despite the horrors of the Jim Crow era and all that he endured, Mr. Jackson seems to harbor no ill will toward his state and country. His long-suffering has garnered him the status of hero.
Mr. Jackson deserves the highest award the state can give for the battle fought in his own backyard against the evils of bigotry and discrimination.
Reduced spending working for Columbia
Tuesday's editorial about Columbia's elimination of its dreaded deficit shocked me. I felt like I was reading something like Moses parting the Red Sea. Columbia has cut expenses with Councilman Kirkman Finlay's leadership of fiscally reducing spending as Mayor Bob Coble asked Finlay to lead the 2009-10 budget process. I commend all of City Council for this miracle of reducing spending.
Just keep it up, and let's not ever get back in the same situation we were in before.
Ben Franklin said the time to fix a leaking roof is when the sun is shining.
Bill won't help health of the nation
Politics does make strange bedfellows, as I find myself in complete agreement with Howard Dean's suggestion of scraping this monstrous health insurance reform bill and starting afresh. President Obama may have had the audacity to win, but now he has the audacity to get it wrong.
As a private practicing physician of 25 years, I find it particularly frustrating to watch our elected officials who know nothing of health care spend a trillion dollars of taxpayers' money that will ultimately do little to improve the health of the nation. The fundamental reason is that we do not have a health care crisis but rather a cultural crisis. Our affluence has created an environment and a lifestyle that is frankly killing us.
Consider just a few simple facts. The United States leads the world in obesity, and 20 percent of our children under the age of 4 are already obese. Unless these children are educated and incentivized to adopt a different lifestyle than what they are being taught by their parents, they certainly will contribute to the staggering numbers of those people with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Putting an insurance card in anyone's wallet will not solve that problem.
Although we desperately need health insurance reform, we equally need to understand that each one of us is more empowered to improve and maintain our health than any legislative action.
Although this bill contains some positive components, it should be killed and the issues re-addressed in a more thoughtful and intelligent manner.
VAUGHN R. BARNICK, M.D.
Deals were necessary to get bill passed
There has been a lot written in letters to the editor and opinion columns and a lot more shouted from talk radio and, yes, politicians about the "backroom deals" made to ensure that some sort of health care reform bill was passed.
There really is a simple solution to avoiding such logrolling - those senators who oppose the plan should stand by their principles and vote against the legislation, but they don't have to vote to allow a filibuster to continue. If even one Republican senator had promised to vote to end debate, all of the concessions made to Sen. Ben Nelson would have been unnecessary. Again, that is a promise to end debate, not a promise to support the bill. Sens. DeMint and Graham have only themselves to blame for the final form of the bill coming out of the Senate.
Slowing traffic on wireless highways
There's an easy solution to the plea by wireless companies for more "spectrum," i.e., highway space, on the airways. Get tough with drivers who use cell phones to talk, text or, heaven forbid, even play games while navigating our earthbound highways. Ban cell phone use in public areas, such as restaurants and shops (for emergencies, provide cell phone areas within those establishments for those who must stay in touch. Limit game usage - which consumes more "airtime" than other apps - by automatically shutting down games after a certain period of time.
If measures such as these were applied, perhaps humans would once more stay in touch with others through face-to-face contact. It sure would make for a quieter, more pleasant and perhaps safer world.