The bankruptcy reform legislation that President Bush will sign is an ongoing, disturbing trend in America. It places all of its burdens on our working class and small businesses. It punishes consumers in crushing debt due to medical bills, high-interest first and second mortgages that far surpass the value of the home, and those who fall prey to aggressive marketing of credit cards. It places no burden on the credit card companies and there are no real predatory lending laws in our nation. There is no one protecting the poor and wage-earning middle class.
At a time when America's jobs are lost to cheaper overseas labor due to the unabashed greed of corporate America and its dismantling of the American working middle class, our conservative right-wing legislature and President again take away the power of the judiciary to interpret the law. In this case to reward big business.
The bankruptcy laws that we have now are fair. They protect those in need by giving honest debtors a fresh start, while giving the system and aggrieved creditors protective rights against abuse. The judge or the U. S. Trustee can file a motion to dismiss any case that in its opinion represents a substantial abuse. Further, any creditor can file a complaint to determine dischargeability of a debt, if it believes that it was incurred by running up the balance close to the filing of the bankruptcy.
This law was bought and paid for by the credit card and lending industry. It is an example of the true goal of this Republican Party: to keep issues important to its base out of the hands of judges, whose constitutional job it is to decide these matters on the facts of each case within the law.
Elliot H. Feit
Last year when the City of Toledo was considering instituting a fee for refuse collection, I sent a letter to the Readers' Forum concerning my expectations in return for the fee. Even though the fee was not assessed, I must now commend the refuse collectors in my area.
Since the time of that letter, my garbage cans have been returned upright to the corner of my driveway or on the street near the curb. This has allowed neighbors with cars parked on the street to see them, thus preventing damage by being run over. During the same time period, I have not needed to replace my garbage cans. And last, there has been almost no accidental spillage left to litter the streets.
Thus it is time to give thanks to the City of Toledo refuse collectors for the improvement in their collection efforts.
Just when you think you couldn't possibly bear any more stupidity from our "representatives" in Washington, this little gem comes along:
Lighters have now been added to the list of items that cannot be carried onto an airplane. This wondrous regulation is in response to the 2001 incident in which Richard Reid attempted to light an explosive embedded in his shoes.
To quote the Associated Press story, "The ban does not include matches passengers may carry aboard a plane up to four books of safety matches." The story then details the 2001 incident, saying, quote, "He [Richard Reid] used matches."
Oh, there is not a day goes by that I don't drop to my knees and praise the Lord that the most enlightened among us are standing guard and shielding us from the evils of the world.
That same day, another article detailed the battle in Washington over the proposed elimination of the estate tax. This jewel quoted House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) as saying, "Do we want to continue reckless Republican tax policies or return to a fair system of taxation?" Forgive me, but at 35 years old, I cannot remember any point in my adult life when I participated in a "fair system of taxation." Did I miss it?
Every time election season rolls around, I swear to myself that I should run for office, only to talk myself out of it by reasoning that only the most intelligent and well educated among us are fit to represent our voice in Congress.
Perhaps I am not the only one who is finally letting go of such illusions, for many words can be used to describe our current representatives.
"Fit," however, is not one of them.
Although your article about the potential show-down between Jack Ford and Carty Finkbeiner for mayor covered many interesting topics, I was struck by one in particular. I noticed both men are "voracious" readers of newspapers. Great!
What concerned me was your report that Mr. Finkbeiner "does not own a computer." You truly cannot be serious? A possible mayoral candidate who wants to lead Toledo into the future who does not own a computer seems to me to be a candidate that does not own an appreciation of what is needed to move Toledo forward.
At the very least, Mayor Ford seems to grasp obvious benefits of computers and information technology. If you need proof, you can look him up on the Internet. Search for Carty, and you will only find others speaking for him or about him.
Daniel J. Eble
A recent letter writer contrasted the deaths of Pope John Paul II and Terri Schiavo, and described the Pope's death as one of dignity and included the sentence "Consistent with his faith, the Pope refused life support."
It would be difficult for his letter to be more in error. The Pope did not refuse life support. Had he, it would be inconsistent both with his faith and his public statements. A 1980 Vatican document discusses the difference between "proportionate" and "disproportionate" means of prolonging life. It allows refusal of some forms of aggressive medical intervention for terminally ill patients, but insists that "normal care" not be interrupted. In point of fact, shortly before his death he had a tube that delivered water and food, much the same as the one that sustained Terri Schiavo.
In this polarizing situation he was on the side of Terri's parents. He urged continuation of her feeding tube. In a speech in 2004 he said "I should like particularly to underline how the administration of water and food, even when provided by artificial means, always represents a natural means of preserving life, not a medical act. Its use, furthermore, should be considered, in principle, ordinary and proportionate, and as such morally obligatory."
He spoke repeatedly in defense of life, from conception to natural death. He warned against what he and others call the culture of death, which includes both abortion and euthanasia.
A very important item was contained in The Blade's excellent coverage on the death of Pope John Paul II. It was reported that the Pope, working with Lech Walesa and the Polish unions, did much to undermine the Communists and Soviet influence in Poland and Eastern Europe. When President Reagan was being eulogized we were reminded about his famous quote: "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall," but the work of the Pope was overlooked. It was as if the President achieved the destruction of the Iron Curtain all by himself.
Edward J. Nussel
Glaston Oaks Court
Words cannot sufficiently express my gratitude for your excellent coverage of the last days and death of our Holy Father, John Paul II. Your articles were outstanding and most perceptive of the sacredness and meaning of the events that occurred within the past weeks. The special editorials, editorial cartoons, and articles that spoke so well of this great leader were thought-provoking and evidence of excellent journalism within your staff. God bless you for your fine work!
Sister Myra Ciesielski
Sisters of St. Francis