Thank you for The Blade s Aug. 21 editorial on the long road to justice for Jose Padilla and the need to protect and restore the bedrock liberties that have been chiseled away by unchecked abuse of presidential power.
The main tool that government officials have used to deny due process to those accused of involvement with terrorism is the Military Commissions Act. This law was rushed through Congress in October, 2006, and allowed the President unprecedented authority to decide what activities constitute torture, who is or is not an enemy of the state, and revoked habeas corpus for all those housed in Guantanamo Bay. Currently, detainees can be housed indefinitely, with no right to be charged with any crime or to challenge any charge they may have.
The ACLU and other concerned organizations have challenged these provisions, but as cases make their way through the judicial system, Congress has been presented a way to correct its 2006 mistake.
The Restoring the Constitution Act (House Resolution 1415, Senate Bill 576) presents a comprehensive plan for reversing the dangerous provisions in the MCA.
The bill has received bipartisan support from members of Congress, but more legislators must exhibit leadership and stand up for the Constitution by co-sponsoring this bill.
Ohioans should contact their legislators and urge them to support the Restoring the Constitution Act which is vital to restoring our liberties. The justice system should hold those accountable who have committed crimes, but by circumventing fundamental protections of the Constitution, the government has compromised its ability to stand as a beacon for freedom and democracy.
Congress has a distinct opportunity to do the right thing. Let s hope they do not waste it.
Communications Coordinator American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Cleveland
Though a recent Blade article described changes in Catholic Charities services, I would like to reiterate the many ongoing programs available to the community and our parishes across the Diocese of Toledo.
Catholic Charities continues to offer social ministry, family life/respect life services, and adoption/pregnancy counseling support throughout the 19 counties of the diocese. Toledo-based programs include La Posada family shelter, family emergency guidance, lead paint education, and truancy prevention. Services are also available through Miriam House in Norwalk, adult advocacy programs in Erie, Huron, and Richland counties, and community emergency services in Mansfield.
These services and others continue to support the mission of Catholic Charities to bring the social gospel of Jesus Christ to the people of the Diocese of Toledo.
We will continue to provide referrals to those requesting services that are provided by other community organizations.
Certainly, our shift to support parish-based ministries will help us address the challenges of recent budget reductions. However, this change in focus is also related to listening sessions conducted over the past several months where parishes expressed their need for our support in living out their mission of service and advocacy.
I am proud to work beside so many fine individuals and admire my colleagues for their resolve and professionalism during this time of transition. The employees and volunteers who have served our communities are truly examples of Christ s mission in action.
While reduced funding has hastened the recent changes, our budget challenges are still outweighed by the daily needs of those who rely on the help and hope that Catholic Charities provides.
With Christ s love, spirit, and guidance, we remain committed to providing services that meet the most pressing needs of the people we are called to serve.
Executive Director Catholic Charities
A few weeks ago, I was on my way to Oregon. I drove down Summit Street to get to the new bridge. Just past Manhattan Boulevard, I was stuck because of a train. It was going to be a long one, so I put my car in park. When traffic started again, I was not able to get my car out of park. I got out to direct traffic so no one would hit me and called 911 for assistance. I then called AAA for a tow.
After a half-hour, I called 911 back to see when someone would be out. They told me it might be up to 90 minutes before someone could be there. The whole time, I directed traffic so vehicles could keep moving because they were coming around a curve in my lane.
I sent an e-mail to Mayor Finkbeiner but didn t get a response. Maybe he was too busy checking on how clean the hotels were or planting flowers.
If I had been hit, there would have been more problems. This may have not been a crime but we still need more police in emergency situations.
The good thing about the whole ordeal was that 12 people stopped to ask if they could help. That is saying a lot for the people of Toledo.
Toledo Public schools failed again. This does not surprise most of us. We are used to paying taxes for a school system that continues to fail our children.
TPS accused the Catholic diocese of taking away students with the Ed Choice Program. Thank God for that wonderful program. That program is the only thing that is saving our children. Every school in the central city is in academic emergency.
Parents need to stand up and tell the school board that we want to give our children an education and not a vocation.
Harvard Elementary School has been graded again as a school of excellence. Congratulations to all the students, parents, and staff at Harvard. If anyone has a question as to why our school (where my daughter is entering the fifth grade) is so successful, come to the school picnic today. Get there early. There won t be a parking spot to be found because it will be full of parents and grandparents there to support the school, the educational process, and most importantly, their children.
It s not a mystery why Harvard is a success, so don t make it one. A student can go to the best school on the planet but if there is no support at home, success will be hard to come by.
If those who form coalitions against TPS would use that energy to actually walk into a low-performing school, ask who can I help this semester? and follow through with that student they might just see the difference they are demanding.
Karl Rove has fortitude and stamina and is persistent. He beat the Democrats in two presidential elections. Did he really beat them? I don t think so. In fact, the Democratic candidates were not anywhere near first-rate politicians. But then, the Democrats have to blame someone other than themselves. If you don t believe that, just listen to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Blade columnist Marilou Johanek.
While reading Ms. Johanek s sour grapes, beat the dead horse, spread the conjured Democrat gossip, lack of any solution to anything Aug. 17 column about Mr. Rove, all I could think was: When Ms. Johanek steps down, I doubt that any Republican anywhere will write anything about her.
I am haunted by the injured Iraqi woman and the pitifully sad face of the injured Iraqi child on the front page of the Aug. 16 Blade. That woman could be my beloved daughter and that child could be my precious grandson or granddaughter.
When will we learn that violence is not the answer, that it only breeds more violence? Nonviolence is the only path to the end of this killing and injuring.