I read your prestigious paper daily and I have paid considerable attention to the news reporting on Evo Morales as the first native President in Bolivia (Jan. 23).
In fact, to my knowledge there have been two such presidents in the Latin American countries.
We Mexicans are proudly commemorating this year the 200th anniversary of the birth of Benito Juarez (1806 1872), who was president from 1858 to 1872. He was a Zapotec from the state of Oaxaca who at the age of 3 lost his parents. At 12 he began to be educated under the protection of a priest; later he became a lawyer and the governor of his state.
The most important thing his presidential administration did was to proclaim the reform laws that separated the influence of church power from federal policies in a country that was almost 100 percent Catholic.
He also defended the rights of native Mexicans and poor people to be free from discrimination. He combated the French invasion, and in the May 5th battle the Mexican army defeated the powerful French army. Since then, this day is celebrated in Mexico as well in some states of America. Taken literally from the Encyclopedia Britannica impeccably honest, he never used public office for personal gain, his modest way of life reflected his simple tastes.
My opinion is that his life is a good example to follow for many politicians in the Latin American countries, but also to those all over the world. His famous phrase indicates that: Among the men as well between the nations, the respect for the foreign rights means peace; Benito Juarez, Merit of Las Americas.
GERARDO S. CONTRERAS PUENTE
I m sick of the new supplier park at Jeep being touted as great news. Here s the real deal: The suppliers won t be supplying parts or widgets, they ll be building the new Jeep Wrangler. The three new companies will literally be building the body, painting it, then pre-trim will be done by the third. A small number of actual Jeep workers will finish it, call it a Jeep, and out the door.
So what s wrong with that? Well, for starters, every one of those new jobs replaces an existing one, but pays much less. Will they offer health and retirement benefits? Who knows? We don t even know if they ll be union jobs!
I ve been working at Jeep for a decade and that s considered diddly squat for seniority there. So I ll probably be laid off. If I want to work for one of the new companies, I have to quit Jeep, signing paperwork saying I don t want to come back. Then there s no guarantee that one of the new companies will even hire me, and if one of them does, how long is that company even going to be there?
My grandparents, parents, and other family members retired from Jeep. Others plan to retire soon. I grew up thinking I d have the same chance at the American dream: 30 years and you re done. So personally, the new supplier park depresses and terrifies me.
It seems like America s new idea of job creation is to just replace one person for another, who ll do it for less, because they just lost their job.
If none of this seems to scare you, maybe it will when you re working at Wall-Mart with me and the rest of America, wishing there were such a thing as retirement!
EDDIE ROBINSON. JR.
My payment of Lucas County real estate taxes this year leads me to thoughts of oh, no, not again!
I am instructed by the new treasurer s office to pay my portion of the county tax burden not to Lucas County, not even to the Citizens of Lucas County, but, just as in recent years, to an individual.
The City of Toledo accepts tax payments to the Commissioner of Taxation. When you pay your federal taxes, do you make your payment to George Bush? Do you pay your state taxes to Bob Taft? If you get a speeding ticket in Lucas County, do you remit payment to Sheriff Telb?
Payments should be made to an office, not an individual. Is it political posturing, arrogance, or the need to see one s name in print? What s the deal Mr. County Treasurer?
My private check for public obligations is once again made out to the Lucas County Treasurer s Office, not to an individual. And it s always been cashed.
It was interesting to read Jack Lessenberry s column describing how The Blade was published despite a computer crash.
One statement in particular, caught my eye: One hundred and seventy years later, a high-tech criminal tried to do something that civil wars and epidemics have failed to do
That gave the impression that The Blade has never missed an issue. But there have indeed been times when the paper was not on the stands. I have painful recollections of at least two occasions when labor strikes led to temporary cessation of publication.
As a professor at Northwest State Community College, I teach a course on American History. When we study the events of the 1960s, I always bring copies of publications from the terrible time of President Kennedy s assassination.
When I tell my students that I do not have a copy of The Blade from Nov. 23, 1963, I ask them to speculate as to why. I then bring out my now-delicate copy of the Nov. 24, 1963, edition, in which it plainly states on the front page that due to the events in Dallas, the paper, which had suffered an interruption in publishing, would now resume printing.
Even as a third-grader, I remember how angry people were that we were without a newspaper when we most needed one.
A few years later, a second strike occurred. During that walkout, the three Apollo 1 astronauts died on the launch pad. Unlike the JFK murder, Blade personnel did not deem it an important enough story to go back to work.
Daily newspapers are critical to the lives of Americans. Cable news and Internet sites serve their purposes, but nothing can replace holding newsprint. Please remember the past and never let it happen again.
In response to your Jan. 25 editorial, I m sure there are many people besides myself who are upset with President Bush s latest attempt to erode the freedoms and protections we enjoy as Americans.
I m certainly not against reasonable efforts to ensure and protect the security of our citizens and nation, but when those efforts infringe on the very freedoms we are trying to protect, it s time to say, You ve gone far enough.
We have a right to privacy. We have a right to be allowed to read what we want, say what we want, and do what we want as long as what we read, say, or do does not infringe on the rights or freedoms of our fellows.
Our elected officials and their appointed representatives do not have a right to listen in or look over our shoulders so they can judge our innocence or guilt without going to the bother of invoking due process as outlined by the laws we ve created.
I have no idea whether our government officials are within or outside the law when they want to listen to any overseas calls I make or check on what Web sites I visit or what books I choose to read. I m not a lawyer. I really shouldn t have to be.
The notion that our government feels they need to do this goes beyond issues of legality and strikes at the very heart of what America is all about. If it isn t illegal, we as Americans ought to be falling all over ourselves asking why it isn t.
Many of our elected representatives have decided it s acceptable to put the rights and needs of either the state or themselves above the rights and needs of the individual. Our best recourse is to point out this fallacy on Election Day.
Let me say to a recent letter writer that I intended no disrespect by writing on our flag. I was so caught up in the moment when our troops made it home safely that I wanted to welcome them, especially my brother!