News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 10, 2013

READERS’ FORUM: March 10, 2013


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Hoosier vets should share their stories

Hoosiers have a long and proud history of serving our nation in times of war, and it is vitally important that we learn from the experiences of veterans. That is why I am proud to support the Veterans History Project through the Library of Congress. This is a wonderful opportunity for family members of veterans, fellow veterans, or young people to interview a veteran of World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, or Persian Gulf wars, or the most recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These histories are compiled through audio or video-recorded interviews, in addition to gathering original correspondence, photographs, and diaries. I have interviewed several Indiana veterans for this project in the past, so I can attest that it is a very rewarding experience to hear firsthand the tales of bravery and challenges faced while serving our country.

I encourage all Hoosier veterans to share their stories for this important archive. For more information on how to submit your story or to learn about how to interview a veteran in your community, visit www.loc.gov/vets or call my office at 317-226-5555.

It is an honor to serve the thousands of veterans and all Hoosiers in the U.S. Senate.

— Sen. Joe Donnelly

D-Indiana

Consider their words vs. actions

It warms my heart to know that the Obama administration won’t blow us away with a drone missile; that they recognize that there are a few things that the government cannot do to us.

Of course, they still reserve the right to shoot us as they did Randy Weaver’s wife.

I haven’t forgotten.

— Mark Burns

Terre Haute


 

Hysteria over spending cuts

As I watch our president go from fear-mongering to histrionics over a 2 percent cut in the rise in spending, not actual spending, I think about where I have lost so much more during his reign.

Illinois income taxes raised 67 percent along with increases in fees of any kind they could (and the state is still the worst in the nation for debt). Gas prices have raised 100 percent from $2 a gallon to nearly $4 a gallon. My energy prices: electricity rates are flying up, with the coal restrictions the main cause, although fracking has subdued it slightly through natural gas available from private lands (not federal).

Overall, I have seen a 40 percent increase in energy cost not including gasoline. Healthcare premiums have doubled as companies prepare and try to implement all the bureaucratic nonsense and government regulations included in Obamacare. So much for that promise, or should I say the basis for that liberal power grab.

If you recall, that was the original premise, controlling costs, not universal healthcare for all. Food costs are rapidly rising, often masked by smaller portions. Have you noticed the concave bottoms on your jars of food, or the big bags half full of contents. This is manufacturers artificially keeping the price down by giving you less material. Overall, an increase of at least 25 percent in food bills. These are just a few of the ways we, the middle class, have had to absorb our cuts, so pardon me if I do not take seriously our chicken little in charge as he complains and whines about the doom and gloom of sequester.

A 2 percent decrease in the expected increase of $15 billion dollars does not seem like a crisis to me. I am sure the Obama administration will do all it can to make it painful to the American people by refusing to cut the billions in bloated government where no one would see it like perhaps the USDA manure management division rather than meat inspectors, but we all know “You never let a serious crisis go to waste”, that is their motto. In this case the crisis is one manufactured by one Barack Hussein Obama. No wonder he is out campaigning to blame the1⁄2 of1⁄3 of the U.S. government controlled by Republicans. All I see is a fraud, looking to blame others for a plan he suggested, implemented and signed into law, even threatening the congressional Republicans with a veto if they tried to change it in 2011.  

Hysterical hypocrite.

— Michael C. Sherrill

Marshall, Ill.

New approach to public schools

In the Flashpoint essay by Rev. Paul McGlasson printed recently in the Tribune-Star, he criticized others in Sullivan for not acting the way he thought they should. He made a fool of himself on Ash Wednesday. I thought of Benjamin Franklin’s rhyme about fools and public places.

I want to praise the people of Sullivan for being honest about what they think and feel. The rights of children; the rights — as well as the responsibilities — of educators and school authorities; and the rights of parents are in extreme conflict pretty often these days. It’s easy to say nothing and do nothing but the parents in Sullivan have the love and courage to speak up for themselves.

While the majorities bullied the minorities in the past, it is now the special interest groups that are winning. The result is the same. We still have winners and losers.

The price of fuel for buses alone could be the end of public schools as they are currently functioning. A recent newspaper article said the government wants to pull back on school vouchers. But even if there were no vouchers at all parents are motivated to get their children to safe schools. The public school is the focus of our local paper almost every other day. We now need armed police guards in our schools, and we have decided to decrease vouchers to keep more children in our schools which, by the way, are politically correct and financially in crisis due to the cost of fuel and inflation.

One solution may be for parents to remove their child from school and find another education provider. A solution may be to change our buses to run on natural gas. A solution may be to teach kids online and reduce school attendance to three days per week. A solution may be to raise taxes even higher.

My suggestion is to have school buildings used as a gathering place for people to get help with problems. The buildings could be utilized in the evenings and on weekends by adults needing help with a variety of problems.

For example, a person who could not pay their rent may be able to get advice if not financial assistance from an adviser with an office at the school.

Another example would be a person who cannot get a renter to pay rent could get advice from an adviser with an office in the school.

I suggest a complete new paradigm. During the years President Bush was in office we had “No Child Left Behind.” It was a disaster. Now we are all just trying to survive the years of President Obama because the economy is so bad.

— Cliff McDaniel

Brazil

Another attack on labor unions

A recent questionnaire and news article in the Tribune-Star sparked me to write this letter.

The questionnaire from a local Republican representative asked what I thought about automatic deductions of union dues. My answer to him was that not only should this not be a high priority, but that all it was is another Republican, pro-business-lobbyist way of breaking unions.

It seems funny in the article in the newspaper that said Gov. Pence and the Chamber of Commerce were for the new bill outlawing these deductions. These deductions first of all aren’t just for political purposes, it is used to protect the rights of the teacher’s union from wrongful termination, good wages, insurance along with many other things. Political lobbying is needed because of bill’s like this one, along with others such as right-to-work, which was voted in because of pressure from outside lobbying groups, the Chamber of Commerce and other political groups that wanted these bills passed.

If you ask any teacher or union member, they, as I do (a 26-year union laborer), gladly pay dues for representation. In the article, Rep. Jeff Thompson says that deducting union dues from paychecks is equivalent to lawmakers raising political donations using the statehouse phones. What a joke. The only reason union dues on anything to do with union money is being used for politics is our representatives are bringing up bills that were influenced by outside lobbyists and the Chamber of Commerce.

So let me get this straight. It’s OK for lobbyists from the Chamber of Commerce and outside money to influence political campaigns with lies about how well right-to-work is doing in other states, but not for unions?

We need jobs, not bills that take away our rights. It is time for the ACLU and my union and others to take this to court. This is a violation of our rights to organize, period. Even nonunion citizens should be outraged that the Republicans are taking away our right to be represented while representing corporations, outside lobbyists and the Chamber of Commerce, etc.

It’s time for political reform, not influence by out-of-state lobbyists. Who brought this bill to the forefront instead of tackling the real issues confronting our state and nation?

— Dennis Huey

Terre Haute

Condemning Muslim racism

It’s time Khwaja Hasan condemned the repugnant racism and brutality perpetrated by myriad Muslims. For all his assurances that Islam is a religion of peace, an alarming number of Muslims manifest a degree of bigotry and violence that’s difficult to comprehend.

For example, there was the gruesome episode in Texas concerning the “honor killings” carried out by a Muslim father against his two teenage daughters. What were the daughters’ transgressions that led to their being murdered by their own father? It seems they had the temerity to date Hispanic lads.

When a reporter attempted to speak to the brother of the murderous father, he spat: “Get off my property you motherf@$king Jew.” It so happens the reporter is Irish, but the brothers probably view any non-Muslim as a “motherf@$%ing Jew.”

Family values, anyone?

Nor should we conclude that this tragedy was an aberration. In some areas of the Islamic world “honor killing” enjoys widespread acceptance. Fortunately, there is no equivalent for such systematic barbarity in today’s Judeo-Christian world.

It’s telling that one encounters little criticism from the media regarding Muslim bigotry. Yet this newspaper was quick to pounce on some misguided Christians in Sullivan for what it perceived as their “bigotry” toward gays. It’s instructive to note that at least seven Islamic countries have the death penalty on their books for homosexuality. Yet I don’t recall this newspaper editorializing about Islamic bigotry. Perhaps I was out of town that week.

One hears much about “moderate Muslims” these days. Estimates reveal that about half of U.S. Muslims are quietly appreciative of constitutionally guaranteed individual rights. While encouraging, it’s a pity that America’s Muslims don’t demonstrate their appreciation by taking a (public) stand regarding said rights. Still, despite such estimates a great number of Muslims appear to be the most bellicose, riotous and easily offended people on earth.

Danish cartoons, anyone?

But let’s step back from religion and consider some unsavory secular groups. Even the worst KKK types don’t endorse “honor killing.” Nor do they stoop to the cowardly practice of using their children as suicide bombers.

Again, don’t look to the media to condemn this malignant barbarism that is metastasizing before our eyes. Instead, they will offer “root causes” in their feeble attempts to gloss over Muslim malevolence. It’s easier (and safer) to focus on ancillary problems than to condemn genuine threats to Western civilization.

The inconvenient truth for Muslim apologists is that the U.S. is forced to spend an inordinate amount of time, money and resources protecting Americans from Muslim extremists. Not Christian extremists. Not Hindu extremists. Not Jewish extremists. But (Muslim) extremists.

Compared to other religions, the Islamic world contains an inordinate number of zealots who detest America. One thinks of the Muslim throngs that took to the streets to celebrate the carnage occasioned by the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001. (The videos can be viewed via the Internet.) A poll conducted in 2005 by the Fafo Foundation, in the Palestinian Authority, found that 65 percent of respondents supported the 9/11 attacks.

But it’s the misogynist component of Islamic culture that is perhaps the most repugnant. Last year, the Arab news agency Ma’an reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has no plans to amend laws that reduce sentences for suspects who claim an “honor” defense for murdering women, according to his legal adviser Hassan al-Ouri.

“Why change it? This would cause serious problems,” al-Ouri told Ma’an, adding that such a reform would “not benefit women.”

Get it? Laws protecting women, allowing them to live “would not benefit women.”

Women’s rights, anyone?

The question arises: Do most Muslims view Mr. al-Ouri’s position as abhorrent? If so, then where are the millions of Muslim protestors?

Feminist outrage, anyone?

When confronted with such egregious examples of Islamic bigotry, Muslim apologists resort to risible comparisons with the KKK. (Seriously, that’s the best they can do.)

At the risk of stating the obvious: Western civilization is not threatened by a small group of crackers who get their jollies by holding clandestine meetings while hiding behind white linen. The same cannot be said of Muslim extremists who have committed mass murder on American soil and seek to do so again.

— Reggie McConnell

Terre Haute

East side church need not close

Is Holy Rosary Church in Seelyville closed? No.

The Terre Haute Catholic Deanery and the Archdiocese of Indianapolis plan to close Holy Rosary Church. Roman Catholic Canon Law lists two reasons for the closing of a church; There has been no Mass held in the church in 100 years, or the building is in disrepair.

We have had no trouble paying our bills. A few years ago we raised money ourselves and had a new roof put on the church and rectory, costing $38,000. Our parish worked and saved through fundraisers and collections. The work was paid in full. No loans. Seven to eight years ago we had all the interior of the church redone. Walls and ceiling were completely replastered and new carpet laid. The cost was over $10,000. Again, paid in full.

The outside of our church building and rectory were power washed by parishioners at no cost to the church. Labor and equipment were volunteered.

Is Holy Rosary Church closed? No.

When our parishioners heard that we were going to be one of the four churches in the Deanery to be closed, we joined together to fight for our little church. The process would be costly in money and time. In about six months we raised $12,000 in part to pay for a Vatican lawyer to represent us in the appeal. This does not sound like a group that has poor leadership and one that is unable to maintain itself (some of the reasons given by the archdiocese for closing Holy Rosary Church).

It takes many parishioners to keep all this together (we were told we didn’t have enough in numbers). Even though we see new construction on the east side of town, new churches, businesses, homes and apartments, Indianapolis says the east side is declining in population. Maybe someone from Indianapolis should speak with the city planning committee.

We have always been in the black financially. Maybe that’s another reason we are being chosen for closure. So the sale of our church and church properties (recently refurbished and in the black) can be sold for someone else’s profit. Not ours.

Is Holy Rosary Church closed? No.

Our church services were stopped in October 2012. Annunciation Church in Brazil has been in charge of our property while we await the decision of our appeal to Rome.

Put yourselves in our position. How would you feel if the church you had worshipped in, celebrated in and grieved in was to close for no good reason. Is there a good reason to close a place of worship? Especially in recent times and events? Even though Holy Rosary is a small church, we have just as much to offer our parishioners and guests as any of the larger churches. Maybe more.

Are we closed? No.

— Bernard Bray

Terre Haute

Career pols not only problem

After reading William P. Thiel’s letter on Feb. 26, 2013, I found myself agreeing with him, on some points. Bill’s main point was about career politicians who stay too long, become “corrupt” and put their financial worth ahead of anything else. I have long advocated for term limits on Congress, but unless the country as a whole demands it, it will never happen.

I could not help but notice that Bill only listed Democrat career politicians. I assume then that protecting the wealthy, and taking money from big business, and special interest groups like Citizens United, allows the GOP congressmen to “retire early.”

Bill reminded us that the approval rating of Congress was 9 percent, and the Senate is the reason for that. Bill may have voted since he was 21, but he’s not paying attention or he’s overlooking why Congress has a 9 percent rating, and it’s not due to the Senate. Their approval rating began to drop when the GOP-controlled House signed an oath in blood to obstruct, filibuster or vote no on any and all bills that would give Obama credit or ask the wealthy to pay their fair share.

Career politicians are a problem, but the real problem is a political party controlled by right-wing extremists, and their rule is, obey orders or get booted out in the next primary, by your own party. Thanks to GOP gerrymandering, there’s no reason not to obey orders because you can’t be voted out by the Democrats and Independents.

Let me close by extending kudos and thanks to Glendon Campbell for stating a fact we all need to remember. The president doesn’t “hold the checkbook and spend money as he sees fit.” Congress has to approve all spending, so keep that in mind when the GOP holds the country hostage again, over the debt ceiling that they approved of.

— Ron Hastings

Clinton

Disturbing trend in Washington

Well, Feb.  28 arrived and our do-nothing Congress was on a weekend break. The threats of the automatic cuts now kick into effect. The meat inspectors will be shut down, the air traffic controller jobs cut back or gone, and many more cuts in the news.

They let Homeland Security free a bunch of illegals because it cost to keep them in jail. Wonder if the cost of sending them back home was too much also. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are still on the chopping block. Those in the Eisenhower era took the SSI funds and used some of it to build our interstate highways. Now, when it comes time to pay the people who had no choice but to pay the tax, it is called an entitlement.

This battle of the two political parties is hurting everyone. Who wins, and what do they win? I hope the prize is an early retirement and jobs for others to take over. Why isn’t air traffic control paid by the airlines who need them for the safety of their planes and passengers. Why should the taxpayers who don’t fly foot the bill?

CBS news just reported that John Kerry announced that we were giving $60 million to a Mideast country. I hate to see us give money and weapons to countries that really don’t like us, while creating havoc at home with all the cuts and politics. Does anyone see a trend here, or is it just me?

— David Marter

Terre Haute