Luxury of an unemployment check
For years, Rand Paul and his cohorts have lambasted President Barack Obama for his weak economic recovery. He sympathizes with the millions of unemployed who can't find a job nor put food on the table. Yet he votes against an extension of unemployment compensation, because there are plenty of jobs out there, the unemployed are just too lazy to go out and find them.
They prefer the luxury of an unemployment check. This is tea party hypocrisy extraordinaire.
Hard to think about festivities
The end of another year is upon us, and I wonder how many people are in the mood to celebrate the holidays. Personally, I find it hard to think about festivities and the Christmas spirit when day after day, month after month, year after year our world seems to become more frightening and dangerous.
When I was raising my children, in the sixties, they had fire drills at school. Would anyone, anywhere have had the remotest thought that we would have to prepare them for someone coming into their schools and shooting, possibly killing them? Of course not. The idea would have been absurd. If I were raising children now, I would be afraid to send them to school. At the time of Columbine, I was working as a librarian at a local school. I had kids asking me if I thought someone would come into the library and kill us. That is horrific. No young child should have to live in fear every day of his or her life, but that's what it is coming to with the decline of safety now. How the parents of the Newtown children can ever recover is beyond me.
Now we have a young girl fighting for her life, survivors of previous shootings still feeling the effects of those, and who knows how many out there, hearing all of the publicity and perhaps thinking they can become media stars. It is a sickening and disheartening situation.
People kill people, guns don't kill people ... yes, we've all heard that over and over again. If those people didn't have guns, many would still be alive today.
Yes, many responsible people have guns, like to hunt, want protection for their families, etc. etc., but can't we reasonably try to come up with some partial solutions to this problem? Shouldn't we all want this awful situation to stop?
It's hard to celebrate, to feel festive and happy, to look with enthusiasm at another year approaching, when life has become so fraught with danger.
The craziness has to stop.
Significant flaw in argumentation
Barry Fagin, citing libertarian principles, says a business owner should be entitled to practice bigotry while serving the public because that preserves his freedom, and curtailing that freedom with "feel-good" anti-discrimination laws is more repugnant than the bigotry itself. ("Judge's decision on forcible cake making is actually freedom taking," Dec. 12).
Fagin goes on more specifically to say that forcing bakery owner Jack Phillips to provide a cake to a gay couple, which Phillips contends violates his religious convictions, contravenes the "freedom of conscience" idea upon which America was founded.
There is one significant flaw and one considerable oversight in this argumentation. First of all, providing a cake to a gay couple in no way requires approval of their lifestyle.
It does not force Phillips to violate his conscience; it merely offends his religious sensibility. Aren't libertarians known for insisting no one in a free society has a right not to be offended?
Secondly, while America was indeed founded on the idea of freedom of conscience, it was just as certainly founded on an ideal of equal treatment. But if a society embraces the purist form of libertarianism Fagin advocates, what becomes of guarantees of equal treatment?
How are those to be protected if there is no rein whatsoever on abuse?
In the arena of providing services to the public, guaranteed equal treatment either has meaning and vitality or it does not. One may take personal offense at having to extend such equal treatment to all, but this does not give license to deny it.
Let's hope Fagin is not saying that being religiously offended is so unique that it constitutes an exception, one so great that the guarantee of equal treatment must defer to it.
Everyone, libertarian or otherwise, should give pause at how such a theocratic-leaning notion debases equality and imperils freedom more than protects it.
'Ball is now in your court'
Congratulations to the City for Champions' applicants for their accomplishment in getting the project partially funded by the RTA. But, be careful of what you ask for. The approval is still contingent on showing a viable financial plan to pay for the projects. Working with a political body who disregarded the recommendations of impartial third party evaluators and their own senior executive is very different from what you will find here. We expect the truth and the whole truth. We expect to see the financial documentation that demonstrates clear and concise expectations of success - not, build it and they will come. We will not allow unproven soccer franchises as anchors to this stadium project. In reality, we know that the RTA funding will not pay the interest on the $250 million for the entire project. Therefore, we had better have a backup plan to cover the first few years of negative profits for these projects. OK gentlemen, pony up to the bar and show us that this is not our tax money going into someone's crystal ball. The ball is now in your court. By the way, don't short change us and forget the stormwater requirements that this City for Champions project is expected to cover.
William 'Bill' Murray