published Saturday, March 1st, 2014

Fight human trafficking and other letters to the editors

Fight human trafficking

As citizens and Christians, we feel compelled to advocate for the right to freedom and full life for victims of human trafficking. Through International Justice Mission and first-hand overseas experience, we speak on behalf of those exploited worldwide. It's a civic gift and spiritual calling to take advantage of every effective opportunity available for achieving real progress in combating this horrific crime. Today, there's a small U.S. Senate bill, S. 1249, that would prioritize our government's commitment to fighting human trafficking by elevating the status of the State Department's Trafficking in Persons Office -- the nerve center of U.S. anti-trafficking efforts worldwide. Since the bill was introduced last summer, several senators have signed on with strong bipartisan backing. Sen. Bob Corker has not prioritized this issue with his co-sponsorship yet, though now he has heard from a multitude of Tennesseans urging his support -- students, pastors, Tennessee Titans and many more. It's time for Sen. Corker to get on board -- if not for the moral imperative of its content, then at least in response to the large number of constituent voices asking him to on behalf of those trapped in slavery.


Power grid is vulnerable

Saw "Justice with Judge Jeanine" on Fox Saturday night talking about the vulnerability of the U.S. power grid. The dire consequences she pointed out in the show are very real, but the experts she presented are overthinking the methods that could be used to take down the grid. It would not take an electro-magnetic pulse detonated 20 miles over the East Coast, nor would it take several well-placed nuclear weapons. All it would take to put Atlanta offline for a week is four people armed with chain saws, hammers, screwdrivers and pipe wrenches. And it would take as little as 15 minutes. One-quarter of the state of New Mexico was taken off line for over 10 hours in 1999 by a single tree falling into a transmission line.

ALBERT A. BACA, Ringgold, Ga.

What about Congress?

News organizations constantly give the results of polls. The most popular polls are the ones that give the approval ratings of politicians. I, like most readers, follow the polls closely. They are interesting. As a Democrat, I read with a great deal of chagrin that the president's approval rating is 43 percent when at one time it was 75 percent. Then I read that his approval rating is comparable to other presidents in their second term. It is ironic to read where Republican House Speaker John Boehner says it is impossible to lead this country with this low approval rating. This is the leader of the most do-nothing Congress in history. Sen. John McCain said of the Republicans' support that it consists mostly of family and staff. So please, Mr. Editor, when you criticize President Obama's low approval rating please point out that President Obama's rating is 43 percent while the do-nothing Republican Congress is a whopping 11 percent, right down there with "head lice and hemorrhoids."

DON MYER, Hixson

In praise of workers

I have no idea what a reasonable minimum wage is. I do know that many of the people who yell the loudest against raising it have no sense of what it is like to work in fast-food or other minimum wage jobs; nor do they know the struggle for many who are the family breadwinners on those wages. (Only 12 percent of minimum wage earners are teenagers). I am grateful every time an employee is pleasant when I go through the drive-through. I'm not sure I would be pleasant, working in what are often less than ideal conditions for low pay, struggling to make ends meet. Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit has been floated as a solution, but one that is borne by taxpayers. Employers need to be part of the solution as well and pay higher wages. I add this: "Kudos" to the two young men at the Burger King at Highway 153 and Lee Highway who were at the drive-through windows the afternoon of Feb. 25. They were the most friendly, courteous, well-mannered employees I have ever encountered in a drive-through. I hope a raise is in their future.


Stand up for free speech

We all should be so glad that Sen. Todd Gardenhire is our moral compass. Let's face it. Students at our state universities and colleges are not capable of making moral decisions when presented with varying viewpoints. They need someone like Sen. Gardenhire and other legislators to make those decisions for them by cutting funding for speakers and events that do not agree with his ideology. A good dose of censorship and suppression of academic freedom and free speech would do them good. In fact, this issue is so important that Sen. Gardenhire should leave the state Senate chamber, drop "the hammer," and travel gratis to each Tennessee university campus to grab the bully pulpit for his moral crusade. I'm sure he would be well-received. Never forget. It's God, guns and Gardenhire that will make our state great.

GREG WILLIAMS, Signal Mountain

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riverman said...

You are correct Kate, you don't have any idea what a "reasonable," minimum wage is. First time I have ever agreed with you.

March 1, 2014 at 10:09 a.m.
conservative said...


Higher wages means higher prices and often higher automation.

If you were to give it some thought you might realize that it doesn't take a whole lot of skill to hand someone a bag of food through a drive through window.

If employers were allowed to pay less than minimum wage, a lot more youth, especially black youth could experience getting up out of bed and meeting their responsibility to get to work on time, be somewhat productive, earn money, budget money, learn getting along with others, treating others with respect etc. instead of getting in trouble in their idle time.

March 1, 2014 at 11:18 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

"If you were to give it some thought you might realize that it doesn't take a whole lot of skill to hand someone a bag of food through a drive through window." - conservative

As far as a minimum wage is concerned skill is not the issue. The fact that it is WORK, period, that is being done that the owner and customer benefit from is sufficient reason to pay said worker a reasonable wage. And reasonable is not just whatever the owner deems reasonable within his own context of profit margin but what is reasonable within the context of the cost of living in today's society. If a business owner cannot sustain his/her business without paying their workers a reasonable wage then they have no business being in business.

It is obvious that con-man has never worked in a fast food place. Or if he has, he is lying to insinuate that it is easy and that someone can just sleep-walk through it. Actually, unskilled labor is almost always the hardest kind of work. It doesn't take a lot of skill but it is extremely tedious, dirty, and stressful. And that in itself should be sufficient reason for a person to be paid a decent wage, something far more than the current rate. While it might seem like a lot to pay a fast-food worker or a cashier at a big-box store $10/hr. or $12/hr., that is only because we have lost sight of the true value of work by failing to adjust the minimum wage with the ever rising rate of inflation over the years. While CEOS and business executives and congress members have given themselves raises each and every year without fail, the minimum wage worker has been stubbornly ignored time and again, as if their work doesn't count. It doesn't matter what the job is, whether it's flipping burgers, mopping floors, parking cars, or cashiering at Walmart, if it is a job that fills a need in our society, for the owner and customers alike, then it is a job that deserves to be paid a living wage.

As far as skill is concerned, it is only right that a person with advanced skills and training and knowledge should be paid more, but in the meantime even mundane unskilled labor serves a purpose and fills a need and as such should be dignified by paying that worker a reasonable living wage.

March 1, 2014 at 12:41 p.m.
Plato said...

The policy Conservative supports is a great deal for McDonals and Wal-Mart - they pay an employee $8.00 and the government provides them with food stamps and free health insurance to make up the difference. For those of us that pay taxes that means every time we buy a Big Mac or a George Forman Grill from Wal-Mart we are paying twice - once at the register and again at tax time.

Conservative and his ilk are all about carrying the water for the mega-corps even when it isn't in their own interest.

March 1, 2014 at 4:51 p.m.
conservative said...

The policies you support provided the food stamps and health insurance to make up the difference and you will continue to support and vote for more programs and will continue to whine and complain no matter how much you and other God hating Socialists impose confiscatory taxes on the hard working producers and workers in America.

It is just tax and spend and then do it again with you Liberals.

March 1, 2014 at 5:43 p.m.
lkeithlu said...

So it IS all about conservative paying taxes, not about what a living wage is or how one builds character working their way up. So conservative, you like paying taxes to provide Walmart employees and military families with SNAP benefits? Just because we can't see a way of paying fair wages for the bottom tier workers?

March 1, 2014 at 8:14 p.m.

The Obama Administration's non-stop expansion of government will cause stock market capitalization to plummet by trillions of dollars. GDP will see little-to-no growth. What will not be so laughable is watching this destruction of our nation's wealth. What will not be so laughable is watching our unemployment rise and talent exiting our country. Who are these economic geniuses of the Obama Administration? kwo

March 2, 2014 at 12:16 p.m.
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