In reading the letter in the Readers' Forum from Eddie Robinson, I couldn't help but wonder where this 10-year veteran of Jeep was in December, 2003. At the SeaGate Centre before 3,500 other workers, I explained that the new contract created a "supplier park" concept. This concept was completely and thoroughly explained to the Jeep membership at that time.
Had we not negotiated this concept, the two new Wrangler versions currently in initial production stages would have been built in Mexico or Canada. This would have been devastating to Jeep and reduced the work force by at least one half. In addition, by agreeing to this concept, we were able to negotiate the Dodge Nitro and a third shift for the Liberty line.
Fortunately, the vast majority of Jeep veterans saw the benefit of increasing the number of models and vehicles we build while maintaining plant manpower numbers. Consequently, the members overwhelmingly approved the contract. Had that not happened, many current Jeep workers would most certainly be working elsewhere for the state minimum wage.
The writer was incorrect concerning the wages and benefits of the "on site suppliers." The contract provides that the Wrangler body and paint operations are required through 2011 to pay wages and benefits equivalent to Jeep workers. Jeep workers are also being offered first opportunity to work in these facilities.
The "supplier park" work, which includes chassis and sub-assembly of parts such as instrument panels and seats, to name a few, was already being done outside Ohio. This concept has brought those jobs back to the Toledo community that helped us secure the additional vehicles we will build. The assembly of all of these parts to the Wrangler (the highest concentration of employees) remains the responsibility of Jeep.
Had the Jeep work force not had the foresight to be innovative and secured additional work in 2003, we would find ourselves faced with a potential plant closing as some GM and Ford plants now face. If the Jeep work force (including Mr. Robinson) and its current UAW union leadership continue to work on innovative ways of bringing additional products to the Jeep facility, as was done in the past, Eddie will get to be the "proud retired veteran" I am.
Former UAW Jeep Chairman
Your article "Snooping called 'legal, necessary'●" noted that President Bush claims that it is "necessary" and "legal" to listen to the conversations of U.S. citizens without a court order, even though the special FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court allows warrants to be obtained 72 hours after the wiretapping has begun.
As Americans weigh the wisdom and justice of this policy, I think we should consider the examples of leaders who have been confronted with this decision in the past. For example, according to the newly discovered Soviet report on Hitler's life, The Hitler Book (recently translated into English), which was compiled from interviews with members of Hitler's personal household, Hitler claimed that investigating and arresting citizens without due process was necessary "for the protection of the people and the Fatherland," explaining, "We would have far too much to do if we wasted our time with legal processes. I can't rely on the Mr. Justices of this world. It is therefore far more practical to arrest people without the sticklers for legal niceties getting wind of it This right I claim for myself. I am my own minister of justice!"
Lisa G. Robeson
The reason we must stop government officials from "no-warrant domestic spying" is that wiretapping begins as a patriotic "terrorist surveillance program" but continues as a tool for controlling political adversaries.
Not too long ago, the alleged cross-dressing homosexual and FBI founding director, J. Edgar Hoover, made domestic wiretaps an art form, using personal information to control his enemies and maintain his job security. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act oversight is the minimum protection we need to protect our long-term freedom and democracy. I wonder how Mr. Hoover would have felt about having his phone tapped.
Federal tax revenue under the current Bush Administration has averaged $17,500 per household per year, slightly less than under the Clinton administration. For comparison, his father's administration made do with only $14,788 and the allegedly profligate Reagan administration subsisted on a mere $13,632 (in inflation-adjusted 2005 dollars). How can the government be taking so much of our money and still run up $400 billion annual deficits? Runaway spending.
So how do the two parties propose to deal with the situation? On the left, the Democrats can't find any spending to cut; apparently they need more than $17,500 per family. They propose repealing Mr. Bush's first-term "tax cuts for the wealthy," a phrase I find peculiar as they save my decidedly not wealthy family almost $2,000 per year.
On the right we have congressional Republicans who use earmarks to load spending bills up with pork and a President who has yet to veto a single bill. Rep. Tom DeLay recently made the incredible statement that there is nothing in the budget left to cut but "bone and marrow."
Finally a glimmer of hope as the Republicans passed a bill that pares a mere $39 billion out of the $14.2 trillion in spending planned over the next five years. This cut, well under a half percent, is so small that a typical family could save proportionally five times more just by canceling its subscription to The Blade! Unfortunately newspaper editorial boards are already ranting, and Sen. Ted Kennedy yesterday called the bill "draconian." We are doomed to continued high taxes and even higher spending.
Bill Clinton could not have been more wrong when he declared in the State of the Union Address 10 years ago that "the era of big government is over."
Life is hard enough without walking into a pharmacy and having the pharmacist refuse to fill your birth control prescription given to you by a doctor. Or you are refused treatment at a hospital because you are gay. Or your health insurer won't cover an operation because of religious beliefs.
It's Friday and I walk into a restaurant and order a steak. The waitress refuses to serve me because she doesn't believe in eating meat on Fridays. Doesn't that sound silly?
The world is a confused and scary place. All I can say is that I'm glad I'm not on birth control, I'm not gay, and I don't need a operation that my insurance company doesn't believe in.
Laugh and enjoy and don't let the little things bother you. Easier said than done.
I find it morally repugnant that doctors, nurses, aides, technicians, and pharmacists believe they can be the judge, jury, and executioner in other people's lives. If they are unwilling to follow the wishes of their patients or objectively do what is in their patient's best interest, then they should leave the profession. Health-care professionals do not have the right to deny or give medical care or refuse to fill prescriptions based on their religious beliefs.
I am sick and tired of Christian fundamentalists forcing their narrow views upon our country, which is constitutionally secular. The medical profession should be above the religious clamor and do its job.
Sally J. Keller
I do not agree with the spray painting of bridges to get a message across. However this war we are stuck in is much more destructive than a little spray paint and it will cost a lot more to repair that damage. There should be better ways to protest a wrongful war. Unfortunately our leaders are not listening - except, perhaps, to our telephone conversations.