Regarding the recent editorial, “Don’t ‘opt out’ of Affordable Care,” so young people in America are “gambling” with their future and making a “stupid political statement” by opting out of Obamacare?

You should be praising Generation Opportunity and all other Americans who are standing up against this horrendous, unconstitutional mandate.

Obamacare is nothing more than a big government takeover of the best health care system in the world. This program will destroy quality health care in our country and is forcing our citizens against their will to purchase an inferior product they don’t want. It should be fought at all levels, in any way possible, including civil disobedience.

Our freedom and liberty is being stolen by our government at a rapid pace because of the short sighted viewpoints exemplified in this editorial.

Steve Drew



Regarding your editorial, “Science of polling is really a dark art,” of Sept. 21, I taught social research methods for 40 years, 35 at UT Tyler, undergrad and grad. I conducted many survey research studies of my own. Polling is the political version, usually quick and dirty, but still their results have very high predictive validity. There is always a chance of statistical error, 0.05 or 0.01 depending on how much time and trouble one is willing to take on; but the degree of certainty is known and always expressed.

Furthermore the questions used in surveys are always shown, and the details of the sample are always discussed along with any snags in the process — polls, however, typically don’t clarify such issues. Furthermore, now that ideology has taken over academia and news reporting, the readers of professional literature have to be more circumspect than in my early career, and consumers of polls as interpreted by journalists have to be darkly skeptical.

W. Allen Martin



Because I have now been associated with a recent letter on the Emergency Services District No. 2, I would like to address some of the items that I do know something about.

Judge Baker did not and does not appoint the board as the letter-writer described.

Smith County Fire Marshal Jim Seaton works with all volunteer fire departments (VFDs). Investigating fires is only one of his many duties. It is only natural that VFDs would work with him. As a common denominator, they may even turn to him as their representative.

Most of the volunteer firefighters have gone through the same training as their paid counterparts. They are constantly going to firefighter schools and training, and many do it at their own expense.

I have attended well over a thousand traffic fatalities. I have seen as many as four VFDs on the scene and one of those were from Gregg county. All the VFDs work together to clear the road, so the miles of backed up traffic can proceed. When I order a removal, the local VFD is ready and has the equipment to extract the body. They perform their duty without pause or question.

ESD taxing has saved me money. What I donate now is of gratitude and not out of guilt or fear that my VFD will be unfunded. I admit the total is less than what I used to donate. Since the ESD serves everyone in the district, it spreads the cost.

The election of ESD board members may address some concerns. Apparently, at taxpayer expense, we will have a new ESD positions on the ballot. We may end up with an elected board that will increase taxes and spending.

I have not monitored the moneys collected by the district. I have noticed nicer fire stations, trucks, and equipment. It seems the emergency response time has shortened and the firefighters, men and women, are better equipped and trained. Paid or unpaid, they all wear the same bunker gear and do a good job.

Judge Thomas Mitchell Shamburger

Justice of the Peace

Smith County, Precinct 4


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