Your excellent May 23 editorial, "Do unto others," along with Ellen Goodman's recent column, "In praise of empathy," helped crystallize a critical difference between conservatives and progressives. The firestorm of ridicule and scorn from the right about President Obama's statement that empathy would be a valued trait in a potential Supreme Court justice is ironic, coming from those who claimed to be "compassionate conservatives" (while espousing policies that are anything but compassionate).
Ms. Goodman defines empathy as "the ability to enter imaginatively into the experience of others," adding, "How else to understand such moral basics as the Golden Rule?" Empathy, as the path to understanding and compassion, may well be the most important trait in the endless struggle to keep human beings human and our societies humane.
When it is lacking, especially among those in power, the result is disastrous: spiraling violence, domestic and global; an overgrown military ensuring endless warfare with massive killing of innocent civilians, torture and degrading treatment of detainees; a government run by the wealthy to benefit themselves at the expense of the rest of the population, with cold-blooded indifference to the suffering their greed cause those millions losing their jobs, homes, and health care. Sound familiar?
Will we learn before it is too late - before we have completely destroyed our economy and democracy - that "Do unto others" is not only the moral high road, but actually the most effective way to run a society that really works for everyone? By offering troubled countries desperately needed humanitarian aid instead of bombing and military occupation, we can remove the major causes of terrorism and make our country more secure.
A better world is possible, but only when we treat others with the respect and justice we desire for ourselves, recognizing our common humanity and equality in God's eyes.
Am I the only Toledo Edison customer who doesn't understand that a purported decrease in my electric bill ("Electric rates to fall 12.6%," May 15) actually meant I would be charged more at first?
My bill dated March 25 showed my standard residential cost at 5.6 cents per kilowatt hour. My next bill on April 23 showed that I was being charged 8.4 cents. On May 26, I was still being charged 8.4 cents.
So, if I calculate this right, Edison raised my rate by 50 percent but eventually will lower it by 12.6 percent. If so, I should end up paying 7.48 cents a kilowatt hour. As I see it, the article should have read: Electric rates will rise by 33 percent when all is said and done.
Do the math.
Try sleeping when dogs are barking at 2:30 in the morning. That's what I have to put up with from dogs at the zoo.
Yes, the zoo has dogs, two of which seem to want to bark at all hours. I cannot keep my windows open because they wake my wife and me at 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 a.m. Their barking goes on sometimes for 30 minutes or more.
I have contacted the zoo and was told that they would see what could be done. Well, that's been well over two months and the noise continues. The zoo says it wants to be a good neighbor to those of us who live next to it. Does this sound like being a good neighbor?
A few weeks ago, I took a trip to Forest Cemetery in Toledo to find the graves of my great-grandmother and several of my ancestors.
I was not impressed with what I found.
I was stunned to discover Forest Cemetery neglected and unkempt. To my dismay, I saw countless overgrown shrubs, branches, whole trees needing to be trimmed or cut away, large tree roots protruding out of the ground knocking over tombstones, large patches of dead grass, and litter.
I also noticed a large number of broken tombstones, including that of my great-great grandmother. Many tombstones have slid off their bases and are terribly crooked.
I had particular trouble locating my great-great uncle's tombstone because someone else's tombstone had been moved off of its base and laid directly against his. Moreover, the tiny cement row markers are so worn down that it was very difficult finding the rows. I saw years of neglect.
Forest Cemetery is one of Toledo's oldest cemeteries, and I would like to ask Mayor Carty Finkbeiner, "Does anyone monitor this cemetery?"
Despite budget problems, can the city and workers union find a temporary way to care for this cemetery? With so many unemployed, there must be a way to get more individuals and volunteers working on Forest Cemetery. Can we organize local civic/volunteer groups to augment the caretaking by donating time/materials?
Our cemeteries are a sure measure of our society's civility, and Forest Cemetery needs help. This is not about the workers or who pays for it all. It's about respecting those who came before us. One way to show that respect is to take proper care of these grounds.
I'd like Mayor Finkbeiner and his staff to organize a rescue of Forest Cemetery immediately.
I am against increasing the highway speed limit to 70 mph as has been proposed by Ohio lawmakers.
Number one, with the crisis of climate change looming, and burning of fuel being the main culprit, we don't need anything right now that's going to add to the carbon dioxide buildup. Cars get maximum efficiency at 55 to 60 mph. At 70 mph, you decrease your efficiency by 20 percent to 30 percent.
The second issue, and more immediately convincing to most people, is safety. With the added distractions of cell phones, BlackBerries, and GPS systems, on top of our increasingly rushed and hyperconnected culture, increasing the speed limit would seem to increase the risk of serious accidents.
Most motorists already drive the expressway at 70 mph. In fact, you can't be in the left lane for long at 70 mph without someone riding your tailpipe at 80 mph. Logically, if we increase the speed limit, it will in effect increase the speed limit to 80 mph, with some taking it to 90 mph.
Do we really want this added risk to our immediate and long-term safety and well-being?
I'm happy to see that columnist Reg Henry is not fearful of all the "changes" in America. The fact that he could only list three nonsocialist things that President Obama has done would scare rational people to death.
Our hero also seems not to be concerned that the Taliban is taking over northern Pakistan, that Iran is developing nukes at an accelerated pace, and that North Korea is exploding nuclear devices and testing long and short-range missles.
There is an old saying that might be apropos for Mr. Henry: "Ignorance is bliss."
John F. Weber
Just wondering: If it s true that Toledo has the Cadillac of garbage services, does that mean we re the General Motors of city governments?
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