Shared from the 7/4/2019 The Columbus Dispatch eEdition


Jefferson would support a carbon-free world

On July 4, 1776, Thomas Jefferson recorded the temperature in Philadelphia as 76 degrees. The forecast for July 4, 2019, in Philadelphia is 92 degrees.

If he were here today, I believe Jefferson would say this:

“These times call for a new Declaration of Independence — from the ruthless King Carbon, whose offenses we would never tolerate from any nation.

“King Carbon has changed the climate, attacking us with heat, wind and water.

“Invading our communities with heat, King Carbon holds us under 'house arrest' in artificially cooled air or desperate without it. He has attacked France, our ally in 1776, with temperatures as high as 114 last week.

“He has burned our parched forests and their towns; his storms on land and sea have blown our homes away and terrified us; his armies of invasive insects and plants wreak havoc on our woodlands and farms. We cannot find peace even in nature.

“King Carbon’s armies of rain have flooded our nation’s heartland, left our farmers helpless.

“Let us now join in a Declaration of Independence from King Carbon — and pledge to each other our tireless work toward a carbon-free world.”

E. Marianne Gabel, Delaware

Let students discharge loans in bankruptcy

The editorial cartoon by Bill Bramhall on Friday's Letters Page depicted bankers getting their student loans discharged by the Democratic proposals floating around. There is another solution. Student loans currently cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. This became law around 1980. This relieved the federal government and private loan companies from their due diligence to see if the offered loans could ever be repaid.

Money has been thrown at 18-year-olds with no regard for their creditworthiness. For the very reason that bankruptcy court exists — to give people a second chance — student loans should be subject to discharge in bankruptcy. Then the bankers depicted in the political cartoon would not be eligible.

Loans would become more realistic. There should be no federal bailout for bad business decisions either. The poor will continue to have Pell Grants to access higher education. The Friday letter "Allow students to claim tuition as a tax credit" from David Geissler bears closer scrutiny.

Susan McNally, Upper Arlington

Supreme Court ruling undermines our votes

The U.S. Supreme Court has directly undermined the power of my vote as an independent voter. By ruling that federal courts have no jurisdiction over partisan gerrymandering, the court closed an avenue to challenge party influence over who represents every independent voter in Congress. This wrongful decision will cement permanent majority-rule power structures in each state and put moderates at risk within the majority party.

Additionally, bills have been introduced in the Ohio legislature limiting future citizen ballot initiatives. Undermining citizen-initiated reforms (e.g., Issue 1, which requires balanced, competitive congressional districts) will make Ohio like North Carolina, where citizens cannot take proposals directly to the ballot.

A combination of undermining direct citizen ballot access and gerrymandering districts by the majority party will limit my free speech and that of every independent voter. The majority party in Ohio will continue to pick its voters rather than we citizens picking our representatives under a competitive framework.

Justice Elena Kagan stated in her strongly worded dissent, "partisan gerrymandering can make (elections) meaningless," and “At its most extreme … the practice amounts to ‘rigging elections.'”

With this ruling, it is fundamentally important that Ohio mapmakers draw competitive districts and that citizen ballot initiative power remains in place.

Michael Ahern, Blacklick

Prayer comment implies gays are living in sin

I am so offended by the Monday letter "Traditional values don't preclude love, sympathy" from fellow heterosexual Charlie M. Miller, who claims to be a Christian. Why does he need to pray for his gay friends more than anyone else? Does he think they are sinners and are living a sinful lifestyle? That is what he insinuates.

I will pray for him. Judge not lest ye be judged.

Peggy Severance, Columbus

Anti-vax movement promotes false info

The Sunday letter "Kennedy seeks better testing of vaccines" from William Fullarton claimed that vaccines are not rigorously tested. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Vaccines undergo comprehensive clinical trials before they are approved. After that, surveillance systems, including the Vaccine Safety Datalink, monitor vaccine usage. We additionally have decades of clinical experience and numerous well-designed studies validating vaccine safety and efficacy. Contrary to what anti-vaxers argue, there also have been multiple studies comparing vaccinated and unvaccinated children, with no difference found in health outcomes — except that unvaccinated kids are far more likely to be sickened by vaccine-preventable diseases.

As for Robert F. Kennedy Jr., he continually repeats false anti-vax tropes and compares vaccination to the Holocaust. His appearance in Ohio to promote House Bill 268 means that he supports immunity from workplace discipline for medical staff at hospitals and clinics who refuse vaccination, placing patients, visitors and employees at risk.

Eric Lang, M.D., Blacklick

Demagogues play upon public's fears

This is the way demagogues and their regimes work: They warn us of terrorists, immigrants and other “villains” that they believe we should fear. That keeps our minds off the really significant issues they don’t want us to discuss — nuclear weapons, climate change, extremely unequal incomes, the military-industrial complex, corporate constitutional rights or the autocracy we now live in.

These latter matters, then, become lesser issues. But time is running out, either for these plutocrats or for the 99% of the rest of us.

Farrell Brody, Columbus

Concealed-carry bill needs a sanity check

I respond to last Thursday's Dispatch article “Concealed-carry bill clears panel." I would like to question the reason for this bill to not require permits and training for those who carry concealed weapons. I support Second Amendment rights, but not requiring a permit and training is, in my opinion, a bad idea.

If it were a good idea, should we also not do away with driver's licenses and education? Perhaps I am missing something, but I think a requirement to have basic training on the proper use of a firearm and when it is permissible to use such force is a sensible and responsible thing to do and would particularly help prevent possibly fatal accidents.

The bill in its current state is irresponsible and its proponents should use common sense in amending it. To put it simply, clearly and in the vernacular of the peasantry, this current bill is knuckleheaded.

David Guza, Powell

Continuing violence is reason that I carry

I respond to the Friday letter "Legislators OK bill that most Ohioans oppose" from Richard Davis, who claimed there is overwhelming opposition to allowing a person to carry a deadly concealed weapon without a permit or training.

It is time to treat citizens as free adults. I agree that those who choose to carry should know what they are doing, but I don’t think the state should mandate a permit or license to carry, which I believe is a violation of the Second Amendment.

He is right about young teens shooting one another and that is one reason I carry.

Oscar Shepherd, Columbus

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