Recent reports say that the use of private contractors in the ongoing war in Iraq is costing the American taxpayers billions of dollars. Employees working for these no-bid contractors are pulling in $200,000 per year. Meanwhile, our brave men and women in the military are pulling in closer to $20,000 per year and risking their lives on a daily basis.
The Bush Administration has the power to eliminate this perception of corruption, remove our military from harm's way, win the war in Iraq, and save taxpayers billions of dollars. To make this happen we need to fully embrace President Bush's business ideology. This can be done by going off-shore and outsourcing our war to China.
To make this happen the government should hand over the management of this to Wal-Mart, which is already the world leader in driving down labor costs, organizing efficient supply chains, and dominating their competition.
Perhaps they could create a new subsidiary called "War-Mart." I'm sure they could find hundreds of thousands of Chinese workers who would jump at the chance to work for, say, $4,000 or $5,000 per year without benefits or even body armor!
If it wasn't for Dick Cheney and his deferred compensation from Halliburton, you would wonder why the Bush Administration is not already clamoring for this, given their unflinching assertion that "outsourcing is good for everyone."
Given the cost savings, in a few years we might be able to take over other countries. Iran? North Korea? (Hey, if we did that, we could even get War-Mart to hit the ground running to hire North Koreans to replace the higher cost Chinese workers.)
So, I say, let's start producing those wonderful blue smocks with smiley faces. We've got some wars to run.
In the apple doesn't fall far from the tree category, has anyone wondered whether Westgate Shopping Center's owner once inherited a pavement company from her grandfather?
Did granddad see an opportunity in asphalt futures?
What was 1950s cutting edge is quite new-century problematic. Car-and-asphalt societies, amongst other shared plagues, help create irreparable greenhouse emissions; obese people; stream-polluting run-off; small town, local business destruction; flooded residential basements,and marginalization of elderly and differently abled people. Oh, and wars fought for uninterrupted oil supplies.
Westgate's plan, far from cutting edge, seeks a parking lot so large it will require a special waiver. Besides her foolish plan, the owner defends yet more asphalt, calling Showcase Cinema's forsaken plan on Secor "lovely." It, too, was a monolithic box of concrete block swimming on a blacktop sea.
For the record, the National Amusements monopoly constructed their mega-plex at Westfield mega-mall because there's mega-profit. They closed both their hulking pavement-eaters on Monroe and on Secor, even after misguided officials twice fully OK'd their Secor plans.
Neighborhoods had no voice in either closure decision.
Come on. When was the last time a corporation willingly did anything differently based on citizens' criticism?
The shopping center developer lives in Chicago. She may be unfamiliar with Food Town's Toledo history, closing all stores, not just Secor Road - another decision absent citizens' voices. Perhaps no developer wants to admit market saturation with same old, same old, while citizens tire of development forced down their throats?
She takes cheap shots at Toledo citizens who want a voice in what happens in the Westgate area.
In fact, all of Toledo should be speaking long and loud about $2.5 million tax abatements that she'll be spending in Chicago. Remember who'll be spending our tax revenue in the next round of school levies.
I attended a Westgate Neighbors meeting to hear their stand on the use of $2.5 million of taxpayer money for the "new" Westgate. With about 75 people in attendance, I was shocked how naive and uninformed many were.
Each neighborhood has to be continually aware of what is happening around it. If you do not stand up for your neighborhood, no one else will.
Developers tell you what they want you to hear, but with research you get the "rest of the story," which usually holds many hidden facts.
Harry Ward and Westgate Neighbors are an outstanding group which researches each issue thoroughly before taking a stand. They are very much aware of the status of the area. Residents of the area should be a part of their group because there is no such thing as a silent majority.
Be informed by reading the newspaper, watching the news, attending meetings, and asking questions of your councilperson or department head, but know what is going on in your neighborhood.
The Westgate development can either be a big white elephant or the jewel. There is the 20/20 Plan, the zoning code, and Walk Westgate Plan, which were developed with experts in their field, with citizens and developer input over a period of time, and with care and thought. The Westgate Neighbors only want these regulations complied with to get the most from the $2.5 million of our money.
Fear of requiring items from the big out-of-town developer doesn't have any place in your vocabulary when the future of the quality of your neighborhood is at stake.
Do we really need a Costco gas station? We had a drug store on every corner and that was a disaster, so why do we now want a gas station on every corner?
I definitely agree with a Jan. 15 letter that it is time to encourage critical analysis, but not on the theory of evolution. The more obvious issues that need to be visited are the ones that stare us in the face every day.
Why is health care currently so expensive and full of bureaucracy?
Why are we in a war that has killed 2,200-plus Americans and 30,000 Iraqis when there were no weapons of mass destruction?
Why did the current administration authorize illegal wiretaps on citizens?
Yes, many subjects are in dire need of scrutiny and analysis, but I severely doubt that a high school student has the necessary scientific tools to thoroughly analyze scientific theory.
When an 11th grader starts interpreting 4+4 to equal 9 because he or she critically analyzed the theory of arithmetic, who does that help?
As a retired attorney, I hold the First Amendment to the Constitution with the highest reverence and regard it as the foundation for all other liberties. That is why it is the "first" amendment.
But, as every first-year law student knows, free speech does not permit yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.
Consequently, I object to the making and showing of movies like Hostel and other Eli Roth productions under the guise of free speech. They are nothing but pornography and do not deserve protection.
Torture is not a sport or the type of behavior we need to be teaching.
It is not what children and impressionable young people should consider as entertainment.
I do not know the answer as to how best to teach and protect our children, but I suggest that it is another one of the many parental responsibilities.
Refuse to support these kinds of movies at the box office and starve the profits of the producers and showers of this trash.
It's time to stand up and say: "This kind of stuff is wrong."
REX C. KEENER
A thought about the Judge Alito hearings: Did you notice that those who are so gung ho for abortion have already been born?
It's a good thing for them that their parents weren't gung ho.
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