Why celebrate Christmas?
Christmas is a day set aside to represent the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe to be our Savior. The wise men brought gifts to Him, so we want to give gifts. Since we cannot give an earthly gift to Him, we give gifts to His children, those we love and care for.
It is a tradition, not a Biblical requirement, to do this. I love the season. People are bustling around, families get together who may not at any other time of the year. Lights and decorations are beautiful to see, even though they have nothing at all to do with the real meaning of Christmas.
I find it ludicrous that it is “politically incorrect” to mention Christ in public places, or to say “Merry Christmas” to a customer. It is His birthday that is the basis of the holiday which sends us into their stores.
I can’t help but wonder why non-Christians celebrate Christmas? I know why Christians do. There would be no reason for a Christmas celebration without the Christ. It is like people who don't know me celebrating my birthday.
If you celebrate Christmas, and are not a Christian, please at least consider the greatest gift ever: a Savior who was born for the express purpose of dying as a sacrifice for the sins of all those who will accept this gift. It is a free gift. None of us deserve it, but it was given out of love.
And, as you prepare for your Christmas celebration, no matter what it may be, please consider the fact that it is one of the loneliest days of the year for those who are alone, poor, homeless or depressed. Look around and see who you can include in your Christmas celebration this year.
Thank you for considering my comments and have a blessed and merry Christmas.
— Lois Little
Let’s improve nation’s health care system
A number of letters have appeared in the Trib-Star on both sides of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). One of the most thoughtful was an account by Wesley Kirk about how much money the law will save him. But other letters have blasted the ACA as socialism.
Socialism? Well, maybe. The Affordable Care Act is not as socialistic as public schools. Other consequences of “socialism” creeping into American society have been public fire departments. How many of those lamenting socialism in America are on Medicare or Social Security and glad of it? How many big government haters check the packages of cans and boxes of food they buy at the supermarket to see how much sodium or fat is in it? Well, that’s big government — “Big Brother” — at work for you. Do you want to have your teenager or grandchild start smoking, maybe two packs a day? If somebody from the tea party does shoot “Big Brother,” will Joe Camel again be on billboards offering your child or grandchild a fag to puff on?
In the 1950s, “I like Ike” Eisenhower, a big government president with socialist ideas claiming to be a Republican, had the audacity to bring an idea to our country from what formerly had been Nazi Germany — the autobahn, now known as the interstate highway system. Like the Affordable Care Act, it caused disruption when highways like I-70 came through Terre Haute and other communities. Restaurants along U.S. 40 and other old highways throughout America were forced out of business when the new interstates opened for traffic, but this was more than compensated by the many more new businesses opening along highways. In Terre Haute, we began developing the Honey Creek Mall area.
Ike did not back away from starting the new road system because of possible construction woes and adverse economic impact on some people. He promoted it because he knew in the long run a modern highway system would be very good for America. Notwithstanding today’s potholes and road construction, nobody in his or her right mind would wish to go back to the antiquated, often two-lane road system we had before Interstate highways.
Before the ACA, millions of Americans with private market insurance and corporate insurance had to deal with nightmares more traumatizing than crossing a town with 100 red lights and not an expressway to be found.
Until the ACA, America — alone among advanced industrial nations including vigorously capitalistic societies like Switzerland, Taiwan, Germany and Japan — did not offer its citizens insurance portability. During most people’s lifetimes they change jobs several times. With the implementation of the health insurance law, working people and their families now have protection against the loss of insurance because of changing jobs. The overwhelming majority of people will be able to buy insurance for less money than a comparable policy used to cost.
In the past, health care has been far more expensive on average per person in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world. The average per capita cost for Americans before the implementation of the ACA was $7,400 a year, the next highest cost per person was in Denmark at $5,900, and Canada was third at $5,400. Most European countries paid little more than half per person what we do. An estimated 45,000 American have been dying annually from lack of health insurance — my God, that’s a 9/11 a month.
Good health care is available here, but our overall health care statistics are mediocre compared to nations with similar economies. Some people come here from abroad for treatment, but many Americans have been forced to go to India, Thailand and Canada for affordable care.
The Affordable Care Act won’t take away all our insurance woes, but if people of good faith work to implement it properly, in the long run it will be a great improvement compared to the over-priced, outdated and broken insurance system we had. Do we really want America to be the only country in the advanced world without insurance portability for its citizens but with the highest medical costs?
— Steve Kash
Holiday banquet at Sarah Scott
I would like share a phrase from our superintendent which holds true at Sarah Scott Middle school. Superintendent Tanoos speaks of having a servant’s heart when working with the students and families of the Vigo County School Corp. Mr. Tanoos leads our school corporation and lives with a servant’s heart when making decisions and helping others. As I have joined the Sarah Scott family I have seen firsthand how the Sarah Scott faculty and staff work with students with a servant’s heart. At Sarah Scott there is a culture of family, caring and sharing with our students and families.
There have been many opportunities for Sarah Scott staff members to work with students and take pride in the school. Teachers are posting student work to show students how they appreciate their effort in the classroom.
Our staff has worked hard helping to host activities at the school for parents and community members to enjoy and support our school.
Prior to this year’s Thanksgiving break, the Sarah Scott staff hosted and coordinated a Thanksgiving meal that served all students and staff in one sitting. The gymnasium was transformed into a banquet center as 500 eager and hungry people shared a Thanksgiving meal together. This was an opportunity to share a meal together before our break and give our students something to remember. The students were excited and many expressed their appreciation for the event. I believe a new tradition has begun all due to employees wanting to serve students.
This kind of event cannot take place without many individuals and groups working together for the common good. I would like to thank the following groups for their role in the meal. Mike’s Market delivered 250 pounds of turkey. This insured that anyone wanting seconds could enjoy more of the delicious turkey. The VCSC general service department delivered 50 tables and 300 chairs.
The VCSC food service department and the Sarah Scott cafeteria staff prepared and organized all other food and drinks for the meal and kept the food coming to the servers.
Tim Ramsier organized 25 volunteers which helped serve the meal. Many of the volunteers stayed after students were dismissed for the dreaded clean up. Our volunteers represent many area churches and business. Thank you for taking time out of your day to help us provide this event. The Sarah Scott teaching staff decorated tables to make the event festive.
The servant’s heart that Superintendent Tanoos speaks of is a part of the family fabric at Sarah Scott Middle School. It is enjoyable to be a part of a culture that embraces working with students and parents. I’m sure the students will remember this event for a long time. There were many compliments about the idea of the Thanksgiving meal and how it was presented. We are looking forward to next year when we can take some time to celebrate with the students of Sarah Scott.
— Dr. Bruce Lautenschlager
Sarah Scott Middle School
NSA’s mandate is to protect us
One, the National Security Agency’s mission mandate is to protect you, America, against attack by foreign terrorists or by forces otherwise hostile to the United States. NSA is not an evil, nefarious agency determined to invade your Fourth Amendment safeguards or your American rights. These NSA people are your hard-working fellow Americans who do their jobs, go home, dine at local restaurants, enjoy sports and have personal relationships. Just like you.
Two, what the agency does is simply this: It tracks telephone numbers, determines locations, times, dates and lengths of times of these calls. If these calls connect to suspicious parties, then the FBI is called in to check things out. The same is applicable to email transmissions. The agency does not listen to your conversations, does not read your emails, nor does it invade your bedroom.
Three, the federal court system is devised of 94 federal district courts (trial courts), 11 circuit courts of appeals, and one Supreme Court. What a federal district court judge opines in a legal opinion in one’s indigenous district applies to and establishes a precedent only for the jurisdiction of that federal district. Such, as is the case here involving Richard Leon’s opinion involving plaintiff action against the NSA in an alleged privacy rights violation issue. Leon’s preliminary injunction, now on hold subject to appeal, applies only to this plaintiff party’s action.
But, the way the media offers this story renders a misleading impression this injunctive action would shut down NSA’s surveillance program in its entirety.
Four, Leon, asserts in his opinion NSA has yet to cite any instance which its data collection and surveillance activities have stopped an imminent attack on the United States. Since what the NSA does is highly secret and classified, do you expect them to manifest their previous successes given such disclosures would compromise the agency’s sources and methods related to such previous successes?
Five, two options are at play here. One, a terrorist group detonating a one megaton nuclear device, a radioactive non-nuclear weapon, or a biological or chemical discharge in either Washington or New York decimating half of those cities, killing and injuring thousands of people and bringing this economy to its knees. Or, two, keeping federal courts out of the National Security Agency’s business, thereby allowing this agency to continue to protect the American people and the national security interests of the United States.
— Earl Beal
Native Americans deserve attention
I read the letter of R. Abhyankar of Dec. 4 and support his idea of observing a certain month every year as the Native American Heritage Month, to honor the Native Americans, just as February is observed as the African American History Month.
On the same lines, it will be appropriate to start a Native American Studies Department at Indiana State University. Also, it is about time that the United States elected a Native American as president — just as Benito Juarez, a Native American, was elected president of Mexico, not once, but five times.
I feel these things are long overdue and will be a healing process to a small degree to compensate for the centuries of atrocities, negligence and inhumane treatment of Native Americans.
— Karanam S. Rao