Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor for Aug. 11

Trump is always working, not golfing

To writer Lee Pitzer, and as few others want to claim how Donald Trump every weekend goes to his getaway place to go golfing, sorry to inform you otherwise, but Trump is always working, not golfing. There has not been anything on news or on internet or anything that says he spends every weekend golfing. On news this evening, was said he will have a 14 or 17-day working vacation — working. Does that sound like he is going to do any golfing?

However, whenever Barack Obama went someplace it was reported about his golfing. So no one should be griping that he is not doing anything; he is doing more work then any other president ever has. He may not be doing what kind of work you and many others would prefer he did, but that doesn’t mean he’s not doing the work regardless.

Lori Felts, Worden

Adding to the popular vote, Electoral College discussion

After reading another letter about popular vote/Electoral College, at the risk of political incorrectness, let me add to the discussion. The Founding Fathers, in a time of limited communication and generally uneducated populace, did fear elections swayed by rabble-rousing charlatans, but there was little or no danger of that at the time, since basically only white male property owners were allowed to vote. The primary purpose of the Electoral College was the counting of three-fifths of the slave population of southern states in their states’ population totals, which added to their number of U.S. representatives and consequently to their number of electors to the Electoral College, votes which they would not have in a popular vote. This plan was used to attract constitutional ratification votes necessary from slave states of the South.

The U.S. is the only present democracy (or republic) not to use a popular vote in national elections. Our federally elected officials, except for president/vice-president, are based on one person-one vote, no matter in which state the vote is cast, with each vote worth no more or less than any other. The Electoral College system inflates the value of votes in the seven states of low populations, which have the minimum one representative and deflates the value of a vote in more populous states. Popular vote does not give excessive power to voters of more populous states as some try to argue. This also leads to the power of only 16 percent of the U.S. population, using the 60-vote Senate requirement, to control any federal legislation.

Gary W. McLaughlin, Coulterville

Unfortunately, it’s another sign of the times

It was hard not to chuckle when reading Bloomberg’s Virginia Postrel’s polite rant on inconsiderate marijuana smokers. It is pretty naïve to think that the only adverse side effects of marijuana use are the stink of the smoke.

Postrel identifies legalized marijuana proponents in Toronto, Portland, and New York City that are for it but yet can’t stand the smoke. It comes with the package. When a rancher buys a calf, he’s going to have to put up with a lot of BS in order to yield juicy steaks.

Postrel notes that, “pot smokers haven’t yet developed strong norms about not bothering the neighbors.”

The history of marijuana goes back 12,000 years. Live Science reports that Mexican immigrants, fleeing from the Mexican Revolution, initially brought ganja to the U.S. in 1910-1911. In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act criminalized possession of the plant.

Since then marijuana smokers have had one main concern in regards to the smoke ... avoid detection! Postrel suggests alternate means of ingestion. Good luck with that. In the pothead cult classic movie “Easy Rider” Peter Fonda’s character introduces Jack Nicholson’s character to weed by sharing a gummy or brownie square instead of a joint. Kind of diminishes the buzz.

Marijuana isn’t alone in its approach-avoidance characteristics. Other diversions like fireworks, cigarettes, alcohol, or even smartphones also come with potential adverse side effects. Like marijuana, beholders often lack what Postrel calls “norms of politeness” in regards to the impact of their actions on others. It’s unfortunately just another sign of the times.

Bill Malec, O’Fallon

Poisonous snakes found in St. Clair County

There are four species of poisonous snakes found in Illinois, and only one can be found today in St. Clair County that has been verified. That one, the copperhead, is extremely rare and not likely to be encountered.

The four poisonous snakes are the eastern massasauga, the cottonmouth (water moccasin), the copperhead and the timber rattlesnake. Despite reports and sightings by the general population, there are no coral snakes in Illinois. They are found far south of Illinois. There is, however, a red milk snake that resembles a coral snake in pattern.

The eastern massasauga has never been found in St. Clair County; however, there is a colony at Carlyle Lake in Clinton County and an old record from Madison County.

The cottonmouth has never been found in St. Clair County. It may be encountered in the county, but it is unlikely. The only area with a suitable habitat is the rocky bluff in Dupo. I have encountered one there.

Unless there is a recent verified sighting of a timber rattlesnake in this county, I have to say that is it also unlikely to be encountered. Like the copperhead, Dupo’s bluffs are perfect habitats that could have rattlesnakes, but I do not believe any have been collected or verified. There are snakes that will rattle their tails when encountered that can sound like a rattle if the snake is in leaves.

Contact me via Facebook to get any photos verified.

Gene McNaughton, Belleville

Illinois’ financial mess goes back decades

While anecdotal, since President Donald Trump has been elected we have had three new houses built and four existing houses sold all within a few blocks of my house. This is the most activity in eight years. Just think how great things could be if our state was fiscally sound and we paid less in property taxes. In response to another writer, the financial mess in our state goes back decades. The Chicago Tribune reported that state officials were too optimistic on the annual return of pension investments. They were warned by the Federal Reserve Bank to expect a 2 percent return, not 7 percent as planned. As a result, the ability to pay existing and future retirements declined due to reduced returns of the pension fund investments. Speaker Mike Madigan, as well as both Democrat and Republican governors, until Gov. Bruce Rauner was elected, ignored the problem.

Phil Henning, Smithton

Draining the swamp will be a long battle

Not a calling for some, but a calling for me and you to save this country from the establishment in Washington, wishing to take our freedoms away from us. Draining the swamp is a long battle, not a short one, but we can win it for our grandchildren and great grandchildren. Just think of them living under a Castro type government. Sad isn’t it, to even think of it? Get out and show your support for anyone who is willing to fight for the way of life we love, and want our family to be a part of. We can’t let the shadow government take control.

John Schrand, Belleville