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.
NATHAN AND JENCY SHIRAI
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.
KATE STULCE, Ooltewah
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