It is past time to address the broken process of filing for unemployment insurance in Tennessee. The process has been failing residents for two years. The stories of citizens who have endured the disappointment of losing their jobs and struggled simply to contact the agency responsible for assisting them in filing a claim are beginning to be told.
The stories accurately depict the hours and often days it takes to access the unemployment hotline. Reaching the hotline number is only the beginning of the process, not the end. Wait times are as long as three to four hours. This is the process the Department of Labor and Workforce Development is asking residents of Tennessee to accept. The alternative to calling the hotline is completing your claim online. However, that choice is only an option if your employer is listed on the website. If you are able to complete your online claim, your first payment can be delayed as long as 12 weeks. The process is unacceptable.
Residents should urge the governor, state representatives and state senators to act on their behalf. Businesses have paid their unemployment insurance premiums in the event they must close or layoff employees, and these employees are entitled to receive their payments in a timely manner. We must not stand by and watch as thousands of families endure heartbreaking choices while caught up in this broken process.
It's time to speak up.
Gays in the Boy Scouts is not a moral issue. It is a human issue. God says love thy neighbor as thyself. Thy neighbors are straight and gay. Gay people did not ask to be born gay. Blind people did not ask to be born blind. Nor did disabled people ask to be born disabled. Their lot in life is what it is, yet they are our neighbors.
I am not gay, but I love gay people just as much as I do straight people. Why? Because I believe in God. I am not a Christian because I have seen the ugliness of the majority of Christians as I have other religious people. (The majority, not all.)
To love the Lord thy God with all your heart and soul, and love thy neighbor as thyself are the greatest commandments written.
It's not immoral to let gays join the Boy Scouts. It's immoral not to.
Considering the poor turnout in the recent city elections, I think when the Times Free Press receives letters complaining and critical of our city government, the TFP should make a quick check of the voter rolls. If the signer of the letter did not vote, their letter does not get printed.
If lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activists cannot get what they want out of government, they will get government out of what they want. Having so far lost 31-9 in the states, they embrace libertarian arguments that government should stay out of marriage.
However, American government cannot do so without radical revision of the enlightenment-era social contract theory upon which it was founded.
The father of social contract theory is Thomas Hobbes, who in his book "Leviathan" (1651) says men naturally live in a state of war in which civilization cannot be created because no reasonable man would build, trade or invest in anything he believed others would destroy. Only with a ruling power to maintain order and enforce contracts can civilization grow.
And marriage is a contract. The libertarian core idea is "I own myself." The marriage corollary is two self-owners can agree to own each other. But what happens when one person breaks the contract, reclaiming total self-ownership? The couple then needs a ruling power to arbitrate the dispute. Thus, government cannot stay out of marriage.
So should government recognize same sex marriage? As I own myself, I say, "No." And no principled libertarian government could make me say, "Yes."
DR. BRIAN HALE, Ph.D., Red Bank
To all of you who have worked in my campaign so diligently the past several months, I cannot thank you enough. The time you have given, the advice you have shared, the support you have provided to me and my family has been enormous, and we are so very grateful for all you have done. Please know that I will work very hard to repay your trust and belief in me. I am humbled by your efforts and unwavering support.
To all of you who supported another candidate in this District 1 campaign, please know that I will work very hard to earn your trust and support. We all have a stake in making our entire district productive, efficient and responsive in meeting the needs in our community and making Chattanooga an even better place to live, work and play.
Please continue to keep me and my family in your thoughts and prayers, and I pledge to you that I will do my very best for this district. Again, my sincere thanks to you all.
CHIP HENDERSON, District I, Chattanooga City Councilman elect
Recently I talked politics with some tea party friends. But I am a liberal. The sparks fly -- like rubbing two match heads together.
Yes, I like social programs, and tea parties want to pay minimal taxes. But other than the usual differences, it is our cultural difference, I think, that explains the reason for our differences. To wit, I was raised in the Chicago area, and I did not go to church as a child. I am college educated; my father was an engineer. I went to public schools and served in the military.
My friends of the tea party were raised in the South. They are Evangelical and deeply religious. Some, not all, have some college. But they are middle class like me, and they receive Social Security and Medicare. We are children of the sixties and veterans alike.
My conclusion? We have mostly everything in common except religion. Ergo, this reminds one of Richard Nixon's celebrated "southern strategy" in which he sought for political gain to divide the electorate along racial and ethnic lines. So I bet this has more to do than anything with the rift between me and the tea party and little to do with taxation and the deficit.
MIKE C. BODINE, East Ridge