As the old year closes, I would hope citizens will think of the bigger issues that need to be discussed. The national debt needs to be paid down. We need to stop the lobbyists from exerting excessive influence on lawmakers. Needless pork-barrel amendments to bills need to be totally prohibited. And "going green" for the environment should not only prompt alternative energy, but it should also emphasize efforts to reduce wasting water, food, fuel, paper and packaging materials. Congress and all the presidential candidates need a loud wake-up call from the public for "Auld Lang Syne."

James A. Marples