Fight gangs with words of Jesus
A recent series of articles describing the history and growth of the gang problem in Chattanooga appears to be well done and informative.
However, no real solutions are offered.
The way to deal with this is to teach the words of Jesus in our families, churches, communities and schools.
He said, "... Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
City officials have been too busy annexing property, raising taxes and closing down outreach ministries to deal effectively with gangs. What gangs do is not just crime but a sin against God and fellow humans. The job of government is to deal effectively with violence so that others can live in peace. Our sheriff has the correct view on this.
Until we take the words of Jesus seriously and ignore tyrants on the judicial bench and whiners in "civil liberties" groups, we will not solve the gang problem in Chattanooga.
PHILIP W.HAYMAKER SR., Hixson
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Health directive acts selectively
It's hard to believe that anyone could defend the Obama administration's discrimination against Catholic medical institutions. The decision would force Catholic medical providers to offer reproductive services that directly violate their religious and moral beliefs.
This is not, as some claim, a matter of public health. It is a matter of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.
President Obama is saying, in essence, that Catholic doctors can only be Catholic when he deems it acceptable. A government that will impose "selective conscience" is a government that will impose almost anything.
President Obama has repeatedly displayed a demeaning attitude toward the American people. This coercive act is simply the latest and most egregious example of his contempt.
BEN M. WOLK, Fort Oglethorpe
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Romney can't see nation's inequality
"Democracy is incompatible with inequality."
I read that statement last week in an article or book. I'm not sure which one, but it stuck with me all week.
I think it sums up, in five words, how out of touch Mitt Romney's statement about his unconcern for the poor really is.
His failure to recognize inequality in its many forms as the danger to our system at its most basic level shows a naiveté that would make him a poor replacement for the current administration.
His remark about the "safety net" was laughable.
Conservatives seek to destroy what little is left of it.
In his defense, I do believe the statement was taken a little out of context, and I would say the most damaging part of the statement was his concern for what he called the "90 percent to 95 percent of America in the middle class."
What I mean by this is his notion that there is a middle class that large. I doubt it's much more than 60 percent of our population, and I wouldn't put the "comfortably middle class" at more than 30 percent.
I certainly don't feel very comfortable, less so thinking of a Romney White House to go along with our dysfunctional Congress.
JOSEPH S. HODGIN, Cleveland, Tenn.
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Israel can bury bomb facilities
Iran's decision to put its nuclear bomb-making operations under ground, no matter how deep, is fatally flawed. There must be shafts going to the surface for ventilation and elevators. Regardless of how well Iran thinks that the openings are hidden, there is no doubt that Israel knows exactly where they are located.
Israel can at any time entomb technicians, equipment and materials with bombs and rockets sealing the openings, thus freeing themselves and the United States from Iranian nuclear threats just like Israel did with Iraq in a single strike before our military got involved in Iraq.
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Let states decide representative rules
"E Pluribus Unum" no longer refers to 50 states working as one nation to solve problems. It does mean a set of elected "leaders" who get together but each one benefits from lust for power, greed, and the ability to get re-elected. The clamoring minority and lobbyists furnishing monetary benefits for re-election gain power as the majority remains silent or barely audible and ignored.
Each state might establish new rules for representatives of the state. Think about possibilities:
1. Decide annual salaries of each representative and senator based on average middle class salaries of state; anything above to the state Treasury.
2. Require Medicare availability by age requirements and/or self-purchased supplementary/main insurance policy.
3. Disallow position as a full-time occupation.
4. Require that at least half of the term be spent in the state with an office in the state Capitol, making use of collaborative technologies.
5. Monitor emails; require documentation of discussions, both state and national, for public transparency
6. Require state report of activities, vote and rationale, of all work focus to state, posted on state website.
7. Allow no congressional retirement benefits except Social Security.
Meanwhile, study legalities, constitutionality, an official amendment for state vote.
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Pfizer must take 'mix-up' seriously
In response to the Feb. 2 article, "Pfizer recalls 1 million birth control packs after mix-up," by Tom Murphy, I suggest the drug giant Pfizer take this "mix-up" more seriously.
The response on their part after realizing they had to recall 1 million of their birth control packs is too casual for such a serious issue.
I appreciate that the drug company recalled the packs, but if the root of the problem is "mechanical and visual inspection failures" as suggested by their spokeswoman, I strongly believe measures should be taken to assure this does not happen again. It's mentioned that the problem has been corrected? How?
I believe every woman should have access to reliable, safe contraception. If trusted companies like this don't take better precautions to package the right dosage in every birth control packet, women are set up for unwanted pregnancy.
As a result of this serious mistake, Pfizer should take corrective action, inform the public as to what is being done to prevent this in the future, and express concern for the women who rely on their products daily.
Surely Pfizer would remain as prominent and progressive as they've always been.
INGRID HERNANDEZ, Collegedale
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Roberts uses language well
Because I came late to my interest in Chattanooga and to the Times Free Press, I don't know Dalton Roberts' background. That's just as well, because my comments are a reaction to his column (Feb. 7), uncolored by his history.
Somehow "I Learned to love the rain" is a priceless piece of writing. Roberts understands the rhythm and music of the English language and uses that gift to touch memories that lie sleeping in all of us.
Thank you, Dalton, for reviving my own walk in the rain.
DAN HUTH, Jasper, Ga.
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Underemployment causes problems
I hear everyone talking about the high rate of unemployment. What may be worse and have a more long- term effect is underemployment.
I have worked at a large company for almost 30 years. I made a good middle-class salary. We could afford to allow my wife to stay home for many years and raise our kids.
Now, employees who have been hired within the past five or so years are on the low end of a two-tiered pay system. They can never reach the level that I was fortunate to reach doing the same job.
Not so long ago, auto employees could earn $28 to $35 or more an hour. Now at the new local assembly plant the same type work pays just over half as much.
There also are less benefits and often rotating shifts.
The CEOs have not suffered from lower salaries and in most cases have lavish bonuses and golden parachutes.
I worry what the future will be like for my son. We are focusing on living within our means, paying off debt and settling in for the long haul.
RICHARD MOORE, Apison, Tenn.