So the double-dippers and the double-dipper wannabes argue that the second-income pension money is really theirs because they paid into it, and the state paid into it (really, us saps, the taxpayers). Well, you know what? I have the same situation. Mine is called Social Security.
The problem is that even though I paid into Social Security for more than 35 years, and my employers had to pay a matching amount (which was much less than the state pays for these public employees), I must wait until I am 62 years old to receive a reduced benefit, and 66 to receive a full benefit. In addition, if between the ages of 62 and 66, I would happen to work and earn more than the allowed amount, my Social Security benefit will be reduced. All the while, the Social Security Administration is hoping that I die, so that it won't have to pay me anything.
What's wrong with this picture? Well, the problem in Ohio is that the very people who make the rules are among the groups that stand to benefit. This loophole should be closed immediately, and those who have collected should be made to repay the pension amounts received. In addition, the voters need to keep in mind the names of those elected officials who have double-dipped and boot them out of office at the first opportunity. Then, they can collect those pensions, and only those pensions, that they keep telling us they so richly deserve.
Is this “loophole” really any different from what we have seen at Enron, Worldcom, and Imclone? I think not.
Poor taste and a lack of respect for human dignity were reflected in the recent political cartoon of County Commissioner Sandy Isenberg. The image of a respected public official being administered a “stress test” reflects the same lack of sensitivity radio “shock jocks” adhere to. The mocking of public figures' personal travails and tragedies (see the recent Blade article, “Jocks' schlock gets 'em sacked”) has finally reached the point of outrage. Perhaps the Blade cartoonist should learn by example that poor taste in ridiculing someone's illness is not appreciated, and that good satire need not be insensitive and tasteless.
MARILYN F. SMITH
West Central Avenue
We at Planned Parenthood of Northwest Ohio, and every other Planned Parenthood, agree completely with Readers' Forum writer Matthew Palicki that parents should educate their children about sex. And they need to do that without being asked by the child.
Unfortunately, that often does not happen, and our society does not encourage open communication about sex. We at Planned Parenthood shudder when a teenager walks into our clinic and relates a sexual history of nine partners in the last six months with no contraception or protection of any kind. Where has the parent been?
Where is our educational system? Abstinence-only programs have become common where contraception is only described by its failure rates, and a child is a bad person if they engage. Why would children who have been trained by their school that they are bad talk to their parents? Why are parents so closed to a discussion of sex that they expose their offspring to potentially deadly infection?
The scary part of the study was the 99 percent of the kids who said they would continue to engage in sex without contraception rather than talk to their parents. This is not a Planned Parenthood problem, this is a parent and societal problem.
Executive Director Planned Parenthood of Northwest Ohio
Imagine a situation where a dictator has territorial ambitions, brutally eliminates any opposition, as well as any ethnic minorities, tells his followers that their country is being mistreated, and all he wishes for is peace. If only the world would treat us right.
Further imagine the world community finds no compelling reason to oppose him because they want no conflict, no war. After all, he is not doing anything threatening.
Never mind the build-up of offensive weapons. The world found out in World War II the price of appeasement. Our collective memory has forgotten the horror of poison gas and nuclear weapons. We've had only a slight taste of a biological attack. I fear the sacrifice in lives if we wait for another dictator to make the first move. To wait is to give the dictator more time to arm himself.
JOHN F. MILZ
From a recent Blade: “Mr. Rumsfeld said, `The President has made no such decision that we should go into a war with Iraq.' With a chuckle, Mr. Rumsfeld then added, `He's thinking about it,' which brought laughter and murmuring from the soldiers.”
I can understand nervous laughter and murmuring from the soldiers at the prospect of war, but a “chuckle” from our Defense secretary?
I think I have a good sense of humor, but I fail to see anything to chuckle about.
JOHN C. SCARLETT
A heartless teenager savagely rapes and murders an elderly woman in her own home. He is sentenced to life in prison without parole. Only his age at the time of the murder keeps him from being sentenced to death. Now two judges determine that this animal's sentence must be reduced because his “rights” were violated when three family members of the victim were allowed to speak at the sentencing. They tell us state law dictates that only one family member is allowed to speak. If this doesn't constitute an example of one of the most ghastly of legal loopholes, I don't know what does.
The evidence presented in trial established guilt. Why, then, are judges allowed to use “legalese” to reduce sentences of people like him? Common sense dictates that none of these family members would have been there in the first place, or had a statement to make, if the victim wasn't viciously murdered. So why then shouldn't more than one family member be allowed to make a statement after a trial like this? Putting a murderer's rights before the rights of a and his or her family is the most appalling example of a legal system gone awry.
In a recent column Thomas Sowell wrote, “There are no qualifications or requirements to be an environmentalist or a consumer advocate.”
The Bush Administration wants to thin the forest to avoid massive forest fires. This idea is criticized by the so-called environmentalists. It seems the only species the “environmentalists” don't mind endangering is the human species.
How many “endangered” species were destroyed by the massive fires in the west?