President should focus

on policies, not payback

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

A half dozen times a day, I receive a pop-up that “Donald Trump has just tweeted.” The president obviously spends much of his day following television, social media and print news. Incited by an unabashedly liberal media, he posts observations on every conceivable issue from trade negotiations, to the latest threats by China and Iran, and even perceived put-downs by the Duchess of Sussex.

The fact is that Donald Trump feels slighted if he’s not the center of global attention. His core insecurity demands that he constantly reaffirm his self-importance. Instead of learning the issues and governing, he spends his day searching for opportunities to counter-punch against even the slightest insult.

I guess the “celebrity-as-president” phenomenon began in 1980 with Ronald Reagan. However, Reagan never sought to exploit his celebrity. Rather, he respected the presidency and demonstrated a degree of decorum appropriate for this country’s highest political office. Today, the presidency is all about the self-absorbed Donald Trump, a condition driven by both the president and the media’s pursuit of clicks and eyeballs.

Following completion of the Mueller report, it’s now political payback time and Trump no doubt relishes the prospect. As the “investigation of the investigators” unfolds and the 2020 elections approach, I wish Trump could resist the temptation to post outlandish diatribes and focus instead on getting his agenda through an intransigent Congress. Voters are tiring of his ego-promoting commentary on every investigatory discovery or Democratic accusation. Indeed, they long for the days when we had a president who relied upon the advice of his staff and who seriously thought about the strategic implications of his policies — and, as important — his words.

Bone spurs kept Donald Trump out of the military but self-inflicted gunshots to his feet are undermining his presidency.

Tony Davis.


Mining ban protects

citizens, environment

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

As a person of faith, I am encouraged that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Virginia’s ban on uranium mining. Faith communities have a moral obligation to care for creation and our neighbors around the world, and this ban supports Virginians doing both.

Banning uranium mining prevents severe water contamination that could have started in Pittsylvania and the Roanoke watershed and reverberated throughout the state and region for generations to come. In addition to the ecosystem, this ban protects residents of Virginia and neighboring states from potential exposure to dangerous levels of radiation. It is vital to protect access to clean water in this area for drinking, fishing, farming, recreation and more.

This ban supports the health of the environment and the many people it sustains. We must continue to support strong environmental policy that protects our climate and cares for creation and our neighbors, and we must stand with those at greatest risk for exposure to environmental harm.

Laura Grier.


Drivers need to obey

crosswalk traffic rules

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The new crosswalks and pedestrian-oriented traffic lights at the corner of East Laburnum Avenue and U.S. 360 have been in place for a few months. The good news is most motorists seem to be aware of the right of way laws and obey them. They also have the courtesy to stop at the line that prevents them from blocking the crosswalk.

The bad news is there are motorists who appear to be unaware or who could care less.

In the past two weeks I have encountered two drivers who were particularly vexing.

The first vehicle entirely blocked the corner-to-corner crosswalk on East Laburnum. Since that crosswalk also has a ramp for the mobility-impaired, the necessity to either go around the vehicle into the passing lane or the corner close to U.S. 360 is a danger to those less mobile and negates both the crosswalk and the ramp to make the road easily accessible.

The second is far more egregious. A large, black, full-size truck blocked all but approximately 2 feet of the crosswalk on U.S. 360. I motioned to the driver to get him or her to back up a bit. I was ignored. I pointed to the pedestrian signal showing I was crossing legally. Ignored. As I crossed in front of the truck — which had tinted windows so I could not see in and which was tall enough that my head barely reached the hood — the driver decided either to see how high an older woman could jump or if I would jump at all. I did neither. What I did as the truck pulled out immediately behind me to make its turn onto Laburnum Avenue was take down the license plate.

In reality, there is nothing the police can do about such actions, but I will continue to collect license plate numbers just in case.

Anne Snyder.


Why use divisive term

for gerrymandering?

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In Tuesday’s paper, reporter Graham Moomaw writes about the redistricting case in which he calls it racial gerrymandering. I agree that it is racial. However, isn’t it more accurate to call it voter gerrymandering since the people, whichever party is represented, are looking for votes favorable to them? If blacks normally voted Republican, the Republicans would seek black voters and Democrats also would seek votes wherever they are found. Isn’t it divisive to use the racial term when it’s simply votes both parties are seeking?

Al Martin.


Americans make up

most of Raptors’ roster

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Correspondent Arthur Guruswamy’s June 17 letter is littered with inaccuracies. While millions of basketball fans enjoyed the NBA finals this year, clearly Guruswamy is not a fan and does not follow the NBA. He believes that American domination of the game of basketball has ended now that the Toronto Raptors are the NBA champions. Of the 16 players on the Raptors roster, only Chris Boucher is Canadian, and he averages two points per game. Toronto’s best player, Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, is an American born and raised in Los Angeles. Toronto’s longest tenured player of seven years is Kyle Lowry, who was born and raised in Philadelphia. Most of the team’s players are Americans, as is Raptors head coach Nick Nurse, who was born and raised in Carroll, Iowa.

Guruswamy then complains about the deification of pro basketball players and their “out of control salaries,” mentioning Kobe Bryant specifically. Bryant retired from basketball in 2016. Although Lebron James was paid about $35 million this year, and several NBA players had salaries in the $20 million neighborhood, the average NBA salary in 2018 was $5 million. The Raptors players don’t do too bad in the million-dollar club themselves.

No group of people is deified more than movie stars and reality TV stars like the Kardashians. I don’t understand what the Kardashians do to make money, but I say good for them. Actors Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio both command more than $20 million per movie. Two movies in a year from these two can easily outpace the NBA “out of control” salaries.

Everyone has the right to choose their form of entertainment and especially where their disposable income goes, but don’t knock a sport that others love by using inaccurate information.

Jim Henley.


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