The United Nations is unaccountable, inefficient, disingenuous, and corrupt. Its member nations no more constitute an international “community” than do gangs of thugs fighting over turf. It is amazing that so many Americans think this sinkhole of foreign intrigue and social engineering is better equipped to lead the world than is the best and last free country on earth.
If I had my druthers, America would sever all its political ties around the world and let other countries sink or swim on their own. Unfortunately, we are entangled with countries that threaten our existence. The current conflict in the Middle East is not a grudge match between George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein, but about competing world views engaged in a fight to the death.
Liberating the Iraqi people is a noble humanitarian venture and necessary to the continued security of America. The notion that bad people will leave us alone if we just “make nice” is self-centered, cowardly, naive, and criminally irresponsible.
The poverty and misery of the Middle East is the product of theocratic tyranny and home-grown despotism, not American profligacy. The persecution of Christians, the subjugation of women, institutional graft, and the torture and murder of rivals are all alive and well in that part of the world. With the exception of Israel, every nation in the region would be better off if it were liberated by the United States.
Those who believe war never accomplishes anything are poor students of both history and human nature. These self-righteous America-haters are willing to sacrifice the oppressed people of Iraq rather than confront their own prissy delusions of moral purity, or risk their comfortable lives of easy denial. As a combat veteran I would willingly fight again for the country, principles, and people who have guaranteed our freedom for 227 years and counting.
Marcy Kaptur has the freedom of speech to say anything she likes about Osama bin Laden and American revolutionaries. Her constituents have the freedom of choice to elect whom they wish to represent them. And, of course, the media have the freedom to blow it all out of proportion. Perhaps, if all goes well, the Iraqi people will enjoy these freedoms as well.
ROBERT BIRNER, JR.
Shifting to a first-strike policy set a dangerous precedent for our nation. We foolishly squander the trust of those we need as allies. We raise the bar of hostility in the Muslim world, and increase distrust of us elsewhere. Replacing the current Iraqi regime with democracy sounds good at first, until we acknowledge that democracy by its very nature must be chosen, not imposed.
As a longtime advocate for children, I am deeply concerned about proposed changes in Ohio's eligibility requirements for low-income parents who receive vouchers for childcare that meets quality standards set by the Department of Jobs and Family Services.
Currently, parents qualify for childcare vouchers if their annual family income is at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level ($34,040 for a family of four), but the state legislature is proposing to reduce eligibility to at or below 150 percent, or $27,600 for that same family.
If it succeeds, 346 families in Lucas County will no longer have access to childcare that enables parents to work or receive job training. An additional 207 families with incomes at exactly 150 percent of the poverty level will lose childcare vouchers if they receive even a dime's raise an hour, or work an hour more each week, a real possibility if the federal government enacts proposed regulations stating that in order to receive help with childcare, the required number of working hours will increase from 32 to 40 hours per week.
Changing Ohio's childcare voucher eligibility requirements will deal a serious blow to working-poor families at a time when many, moving from welfare to work, are experiencing their first taste of self-sufficiency. To remain employed, many parents will have no choice but to settle for a daycare situation that fails to provide the supervision, safety, and developmental activities children need for success in school - and life.
Certainly, Ohio must reduce its budget, but not at the expense of the most vulnerable among us.
SARA JANE DEHOFF
Neither Gov. Bob Taft nor the Ohio General Assembly seems willing to find a sensible answer to the state's budget crisis. Neither has shown any intestinal fortitude, a willingness to bite the bullet, and raise the sales tax to make up for the shortfall.
It's like the kids in an old commercial on television arguing which one of them will be the first to try a new breakfast cereal. “I'm not gonna do it, you do it.” “No, you do it.” They finally get their little brother to do it, “Hey, Mikey!” Mikey tastes it and he likes it.
Like someone once said, nothing spurs politicians to inactivity like the need for activity. The Democrats blame the governor for the mess in Columbus, and the Republicans blame the Democrats.
While Rome burned, Nero played his violin. While the state of Ohio founders, cities go broke, school systems are cut to the bone, and no one in Columbus recognizes the obvious - raise the sales tax.
Sometimes the worst tasting medicine is actually the best. Let's have no more “you do it.” “No, you do it.”
JOHN J. BURKHART
Motorists must heed laws for school bus
I am a school bus driver for Oregon City Schools and have been driving since 1984. Part of my route takes me down State Rt. 2 in Jerusalem Township. I love my job, your children, your grandchildren, and your nieces and nephews. They share a part of my day, five days a week, 180 days a year.
Most motorists I see during my day are considerate and seem to be aware of the state laws regarding student pick-ups and drop-offs.
For those who are not, the flashing amber lights are to warn you that the bus will soon be stopping for a child. This means you should be slowing down preparing to stop, not speeding up to get by me! The red lights flashing and the stop sign that swings out from the side of the bus means just that: STOP! If your vehicle is not stopped, I cannot release my student because I don't know what you are going to do.
This morning I had a near tragedy. Three cars in a row ran my red lights, the fourth slammed on his brakes at the middle of my bus, and the semi behind him went off to the right side of the road, partially into the field, avoiding a rear-end collision. He was obviously going to run my lights, too.
Two of my little boys stood in their driveway petrified by what they had just witnessed.
What's wrong with these people? Are they really in that big a hurry that they can't wait 30 seconds for a child to get safely to the bus or into the driveway?
Isn't the safety of our children worth that little wait?
Look at each of the children as if they were your own. Then decide.
Oregon City Schools
Well, that explains everything
If the March 15 Saturday Essay was an example of Pete Silverman's critical thinking, it definitely explains why the Toledo Public Schools are in the mess they are in.