Controversy swirls around schools and civic groups that bring prayer to their activities. A cradle Catholic, I am always a bit puzzled and amused by Christians who are angered when told they must dispense with "official" prayers. To be perfectly frank, since I view most other Christians as my beloved brothers and sisters who have, unfortunately, gone astray, (are thus heretical,) I agree that your prayers, and those of Buddhists, Islamists, Wiccans, etc., should be left out of public organs for which we all pay. Isn't that what our Constitution says?
Regarding school prayer: Why not operate your own religious schools, where your children may pray freely? Then you must, of course, pay for two school systems. We Catholics pay for public schools because we believe that every child deserves a good education. We pay for our own because we know that public schools are incompetent to teach religion.
I had to listen to the speech delivered by Gov. Chris Christie again to make sure I heard what I thought he said as a spokesperson for his party. I was shocked as I listened. The "real" truth was twisted as usual. Misinformation dominated the message. The message was one of selfish intent and selfishness. I believe it was offensive and demeaning to the elderly, poor and others.
Criticism of teachers' unions and the "lifetime employment" for "bad" teachers was way, way off base. Teachers' unions only provide their members with due process if a problem arises. "Fundamentally reducing government" means a more dangerous workplace and "no benefits." Quite a deal for corporations! The "take it or leave it" mentality of insensitive corporate management will prevail as it did before government stepped in to halt their unspeakable practices if the Republican Party regains control of the White House.
The most compelling theme was "Choosing respect over love." That's the part that made me go back and listen to the speech again. After hearing these words, I am more convinced than ever before that the Republican Party and their presidential team of Romney and Ryan are definitely "not my kind of guys!"
Why would Wilkins Research build another parking lot when they admit they can't get their employees to use the extra parking lot they already have? Why would they then say they only plan to use it occasionally "for special events," but -- and here's the kicker -- they are going to spend $275,000 to build it?
Why did planning commission members quickly agree to approve the business' request and go beyond the city recommendations by allowing a through-way onto our dead-end street? Why did they not give any consideration that business expanse would increase traffic in one of the most congested areas in the city?
Furthermore, there are only two ways to leave our neighborhood. If they don't exit by Gunbarrel, they must drive down Joiner to East Brainerd Road, a path that would have them driving past East Brainerd Elementary School. Lynn Wilkins said she didn't want her employees to make left turns onto Gunbarrel. What about the safety concerns of increased traffic past an elementary school?
The proposed zoning change isn't needed to build a parking lot, and Wilkins Research owns other homes on Joiner directly behind their building. Some have speculated a zoning change will open the doors to additional expanse.
An assault rifle is only useful to (a) intimidate human beings, (b) injure human beings, (c) kill human beings. It is unlikely that this is included in "the right to bear arms."
Handguns have exactly the same functions and no more. The argument can be made that handguns are useful to kill rats and other vermin. Perhaps so, but vermin don't justify large-caliber handguns. Another argument is that handguns can be used to develop the skill of target shooting. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
The standard argument for civil ownership of these guns is "people kill people, guns don't." If these weapons were not readily available, people would have to find some other not-so-convenient or easy way to kill people.
The solution to his problem is the prohibition of any gun other than full-sized military machine guns that have a barrels shorter than, say, 11 inches that can fire more than one bullet for each pull on the trigger. Military and the police could wear spring clip holsters.
ROBERT F. CAHILL
I am so disappointed in our president -- I cry daily. I had such hopes for our country when he said he would shut down Guantanamo prison, and I was sure he would make Bush and his mob pay for their crimes and stop these insane wars, as he promised.
G.W. Bush's last year as president launched 46 Hellfire missiles, one every 40 days. Obama has fired 320; that's one every four days. I'm talking "drones" that our Congress has just appropriated $20 billion to surveil us.
Our tax money just bought a drone for a police station in Texas (of course); cost, $300,000! And there was a protest demonstration Aug. 27 where the towns-people want to prevent the City Council from spending their scarce money on a tank!
Our first drone attack was in Yemen 2004, where 14 mothers and 21 children were vaporized. The total now is over 2,000 innocent civilians. I know, in good conscience, I can't support the murder of these precious people, so I won't be selecting a president. I don't cotton to serial killers, no matter which party rules.
May God forgive us our brutality. My country tears of thee.
ROBERT LEE BROWN
Republican candidates and GOP stars tried hard to run away from their schizophrenic and mind-boggling party platform.
Republicans say, "Get government out of our lives." Cut regulations on corporations and the financial industry. Fix Medicare/Medicaid with vouchers for insurance companies that may not accept them for any number of reasons. Give grants for Social Security for investment firms -- the same firms that decry less regulations than before 2008's financial crisis.
Contrast that with a platform that outlaws abortions for any reason -- rape, incest, a woman's health; supports vaginal probes; suppresses voter rights with overblown fraud claims; promotes self-deportation; and shamelessly panders to the religious right to substitute constitutional law with the Bible. Paul Ryan says, "Our rights come from nature and God, not the government!" Really? This platform is the most government-intrusive, draconian and frightening in America's history.
Economies are cyclical. Little can be done by politicians to affect them except negatively by four years of Republican obstructionism. No new revenues from the wealthy to balance the budget, but plenty of taxes to burden the middle class. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said, "Respect over love." Respect for big money, no love for the people.
Dig out the facts and vote smart!