Mike Ferner spray-paints an anti-war message on an overpass, defacing public property. There are vilifications, indignation, shock, and awe. The public order is disturbed. Protest is one thing, but he defaced public property. How sophomoric. How inappropriate!
The Bush Administration pre-emptively attacks the sovereign nation of Iraq based upon selective and equivocal intelligence. Some 160,000 American soldiers are mired in a bloody political and factional quagmire. The liberators have become occupiers.
The United States has gained the enmity of almost a third of the planet.
Almost 2,200 American soldiers have been killed in armed conflict. Depending upon whose figures you use, 30,000 to 100,000 Iraqis have been killed. The conflict has resulted in the destruction of a considerable amount of private and public property.
Placing these crimes on the grand scale of propriety, which one tips the balance?
Which crime defaces public property, which crime defiles human beings? Which crime messes up public property, which crime destroys people's lives? Which crime deserves our attention? Which crime deserves our indignation?
You tell me. You be the judge.
STEVEN R. MILLER
The first time I met Mike Ferner was when a union was being organized for caseworkers. It was a freezing January night and he just showed up to give his support.
When I lived in Ohio I knew him always to stand up for what was right and just. What I remember about Toledo are him and my ex-husband, who never backed down from protesting wars that were wrong or rights that were taken away from people who deserved them.
I wish Mike well. There are many here in Maine who believe in all he is doing.
Peaks Island, Maine
Some tips for the logic-impaired followers of Bush Administration demagogues:
Fighting terrorists in other countries does not prevent other terrorists from attacking our country (especially since President Bush has done little to seal our borders, monitor shipping containers, or enhance chemical and nuclear plant security). Did you know that people "Other-Than-Mexicans" caught crossing our southern border illegally are given a court date and then freed - into our country?
Just because America has not been attacked in four years does not prove that Mr. Bush's policies are working. The World Trade Center was bombed in 1993 and no foreign terrorist attacks occurred in the United States for more than eight years. Does that mean Bill Clinton's policies (or lack thereof, as the righties suggest) worked?
One cold spell in northern Ohio does not disprove global warming. One does not need to have something to hide in order to feel that Mr. Bush has gone too far in spying on Americans without a warrant. The fundamental liberties guaranteed by our Constitution were not designed to protect the guilty.
George Bush is not promoting Mexican immigration and amnesty to fill jobs that "Americans don't want" as much as he is trying to flood the labor pool to drive wages down for everyone. Illegal or not, migrants to our country are not likely to remain content working menial jobs very long. They did not come to the U.S. because they want to pick vegetables all their lives. They are upwardly mobile just like the rest of us and they are already taking jobs Americans do want and for a lot less money. Look no further than the home-building industry in California and North Carolina for proof.
In the Jan. 5 Another Opinion, "Accountability is democracy's saving grace," the author noted that some experiments in democratic governance end up better than others and opined that " what makes democracy superior is that it forces leaders to be accountable to the people they serve - and, in turn, makes the people accountable to themselves."
The logical conclusion is that it is ultimately the people who can save themselves politically through democratic grace.
What a contrast to the founders of the United States, who concluded their Declaration of Independence by " appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions " "And with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor."
Is there yet the opportunity to live in a republic ultimately accountable to the Supreme Judge of the world for its actions, or must we now live in a superior democracy accountable only to ourselves? Wasn't that tried in Europe some 70 years ago and found to be a catastrophic failure?
If Pogo is right that "We have met the enemy, and he is us," then may the Supreme Judge of the world, by His grace, save us from ourselves.
A recent article reported that a Florida county election supervisor said tests on the Diebold optical-scan voting system used around the country showed it is vulnerable to hacking that can change the outcome of races without leaving evidence of fraud.
The article said that Diebold sent a response that questioned the test results and said the test was "a very foolish and irresponsible act" that may have violated licensing agreements.
Americans who still question the results of the 2004 election, based upon their divergence from the exit polls, are not surprised to learn that such hacking is possible. Perhaps it was the exit polls, showing defeat for President Bush, that were the more truthful representation of the will of the people.
No matter what one's point of view, potential for hacking of optical scanners begs a thorough neutral investigation at the highest levels with the cooperation of Diebold. In addition, such equipment should be outlawed at the polls until it is proven to be secure and accurate without a doubt.
Meanwhile, Americans should insist upon using pencils to mark paper ballots. Precincts are not so large that the votes cannot be counted, agreed upon, recorded, and made public by teams representing both parties. This would give an accurate vote, would not require "licensing agreements," and would remove any possibility of manipulating the vote from afar.
Kudos to the Florida county election supervisor who had the courage to commit the "foolish and irresponsible act" of reporting potential election fraud that can affect every citizen of the world. He is a true patriot.
I'd like to suggest a few minor changes to a Jan. 5 Forum letter. As an intelligent and caring person, what he really meant to say was: The smoking issue is all about health.
I'm happy that the American Cancer Society, the American Health Association, the American Lung Association, and others have joined together with so many volunteers across the state to finally protect Ohioans from the dangers of being exposed to tobacco smoke.
For years we didn't know how dangerous it was, but now we do. Clearly, with so much well documented research available, action is long overdue.
And although smoking is a serious addiction, mainly begun in childhood, no one is telling adults they can't smoke. Those who do are simply being asked to step outside so others won't be harmed.
Thank goodness, all employees will finally be protected and thanks, SmokeFreeOhio.
We have some good news and some sad news. The good news: It was reported that the Detroit Lions are looking for a new coach. The sad news is that they are only interviewing pallbearers because they are the only ones who will be able to carry the team next year.