Where Is Data For Studies, Tests Proving
Atheists Are Better Than Christians?
Dear Editor, I just received my Nov. 27th issue of the Tribune down here in the far south, better known to the locals as "The Boro". While digesting your writings I couldn't help but take notice of the "rant" against prayer and Christianity submitted by Roberta James of Decatur. While respecting her opinions and her right to believe as she wishes I must take issue with a couple things. Her second paragraph begins with "By the way, nothing fails like prayer." She ends the same paragraph with "Prayer has not passed any studies or tests as being valid." What "studies"? What "tests"? She goes on in another paragraph to say that "Statistically, atheists have fewer divorces, fewer out-of-wedlock pregnancies, fewer abortions and they are among the least likely to be in jail." What "statistics"? I'll suffice that I can't prove anything to the contrary of what she says. I have nothing but my belief in God, his son Jesus Christ my savior, my faith, and my experience of having felt divine intervention. On the other hand I don't think she can prove that "Creation" came about by a "lightning strike in a puddle of goo" rather than by the hand of the God I believe in. Many years ago Father Terrance Tracey, Priest at St. Thomas Catholic Church in Decatur explained it best to me. Regarding "the atheist". "Remember, he (atheist) has to acknowledge it before he can deny it." I'm just sad that this lady has nothing to look forward to but six silver handles and a face full of dirt.
Prayer Could Help Meeting Accomplish Its Purpose
Dear Editor, I was interested in the letter from the lady who objected to prayers at meetings. She cited that she thought it was a waste of time. Perhaps, she could either come late or bring a book and go out when they have prayer so her time was not wasted. There is usually a solution to most problems. As for me, I think a word of prayer might help the meeting to better accomplish its purpose.
Why Do People Pray?
Dear Editor: Last week a writer was asking why do people pray. It is true bad things happen. Things like typhoons and tornadoes will always be a threat. It is a part of nature. However, praying can bring comfort to those who find their lives torn apart. It is the same for the sick. There will always be sickness, but prayer can heal. That amputee is still very real, but prayer can help that person deal with the tragedy. There is power in people coming together in prayer to help others. Look within yourself, believe in hope and love, and share it with others. This idea was realized through the life of Christ. As for praying before meetings, I have a thought. If it really bothers someone that much, come to the meetings a little later.
House Bill Provides Funds Owed To
Thousands Of State Employees
Dear Editor, I came to the Capitol to help correct the state’s short-sighted fiscal mistakes that have hurt working families, and recently, I introduced legislation to take action on an issue of great importance to many in our area. In 2011, Gov. Pat Quinn canceled contractually obligated pay raises for over thousands of state employees. Even though the state fell behind in its obligation to them, these workers continued protecting our communities, keeping our families healthy, and providing critical services to those in need. These hard-working individuals upheld their end of the bargain, and I expect Illinois to do the same. My House Bill 3764 appropriates the necessary money to pay these past-due bills owed to Illinois’ hard-working health care workers, law enforcement officials, public service providers and thousands of other state employees. My bill mirrors legislation introduced in the Senate last spring by state Sen. Andy Manar, and it is my hope that efforts in both chambers will spur immediate action on this pressing issue. Besides being fair to the men and women on the front lines, paying these long overdue bills will provide a major boost to families who are working hard to make ends meet. Businesses are charged with the task of paying the bills they owe in order to avoid high interest payments, and the state should be no different. I urge my colleagues to join me in upholding the promises the state has made.
PETA Joins World In Celebrating Life Of
Dear Editor: PETA joins the world in celebrating Nelson Mandela—a man who had his liberty taken away from him for speaking out against an ingrained social injustice. Not only did Mandela risk his life to help end apartheid in South Africa, he also set a powerful example for peaceful activists all over the world. Mandela once famously said, "For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." He illustrated this not only as South Africa's president, but also as an honorary patron for the National Council of SPCAs, which works to improve the standards of animal welfare in communities in South Africa. We at PETA will continue to rattle the "cages," shaking up the inhumane ways of treating animals that society feels are acceptable in order to help those who are suffering in circus chains and on factory farms, and we will continue to do so until animals are no longer abused and killed for food, clothing, experiments, and entertainment. Readers can learn how they can help animals at www.PETA.org.
Ingrid E. Newkirk, President
People for the Ethical
Treatment of Animals
Whatever Happened To The Basics Of Education?
Dear Editor: Concerning education, whatever happened to reading', writin' and ‘rithmetic? Did I get a sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety, or 100 or did I get an F and flunk? And must I study more? What's this Common Core stuff? Is it something out of an apple for the teacher. Also, no child got lost along the way somehow. It's about time something is done about our school system or this country will be lost. I've been around education for a few years now. I loost in two school board elections. However, when I was about to be thrown out of a forum on education, I was saved by a few concerned citizens who wanted to listen to what I had to say. What I said was basically this. First, the children must be taught to read. How is anyone going to get along if they can not read? Then they must know how to figure, reason, or in other words, use numbers. They must then definitely know how to write, putting down their ideas so another can comprehend or learn. I also believe that before a child, teenager, or adult uses a computer they should be taught how this computer works and if at all possible taught the basics of how to program one. Discipline in learning has been lost as I see it. A longer school day would help in my estimation. Schools in Europe and other foreign countries have longer school days and rank far above us in educational standards. The proponents of No Child, Common Core, etc. as I delved into it are just in it for the buck. Back to the basics, fundamentals of education, is the only way scores on the basic 60-100 scoring system are going to improve as this educator sees it. If anyone wants to ask me about what right I have to write about this, I have a degree from a fully accredited college and also a diploma from an Institute of Children's Literature to back me up. I also have studied the true classics and have read extensively on the subject of learning, reasoning, and the psychology of learning. I have learned how to live, sometimes the hard way, sometimes not. As I see it we need a change to the basics, cognitive reasoning, the three R's to start out with and then on to institutions of higher learning, high schools with longer school days, colleges for teachers of the basics, and higher ideals and technological schools. Subjects that teach our adults and children how and why these modern advancements of ours work. As I see it we are lacking in the fundamentals of education. The only way we might attain the higher aspects is a return to them first and then build so our goals and achievements show the higher standards.
Davis Is Part Of The Problem In Congress
Dear Editor: This past Thanksgiving was a time to reflect upon everything we have to be thankful for, our jobs, our friends and families, the clothes on our back and the food we eat. Unfortunately for many Americans, just having a job isn’t enough to put food on the table anymore. Corporate giants like McDonalds and Wal-Mart continue to deprive workers of a livable wage and deny them basic benefits. This is a byproduct of the greed and rising income inequality problem that has been perpetuated by Republicans in Congress for over 30 years. Our current Congressman, Republican Rodney Davis, is part of the problem, and he must be defeated next November. Lots of politicians like to talk the talk. They memorize scripted talking points and act as puppets for Washington insiders and established political gurus who tell voters what they want to hear. George Gollin is not a puppet, and I was pleased to see George at the fight for $15 rally on December 5. This was the third time I have seen Dr. Gollin at a community event. We may not agree on every issue, but Gollin's engagement and responsiveness is exactly what we need in Washington. I’ve written several letters to Rep. Davis, and the responses sound as if they were pulled from a Magic 8 Ball. Davis’ support for the government shutdown proved he is an ideologue first and a Representative only when it serves his interests. Vote Gollin March 18!
President Obama Doesn’t Know What
The American Dream Is About
Dear President Obama: After listening to your income inequality speech, I have concluded you’re trying to cover up unpopular Obamacare and its failures. You certainly don’t know what the American dream is. Income equality doesn't define the American dream; it never has. Please stop trying to redefine the term. There have been many people start out with next to nothing and became successful and wealthy; all because they had an idea and the willingness to work hard. It is your Marxist, freedom stealing, job killing policies that strangle the American dream, not income inequality. The American dream is about opportunity, freedom and the government getting out of the way, instead of crushing opportunity with anti-business socialism. For example, your freedom stealing Obamacare tax is without question killing the American dream for many. As does your discriminatory exemptions to your rich buddies and the unions who helped fill your campaign coffers. Just how do you justify your policy of unequal under the law? There can be no equality when some are exempted by your decree. Please exempt my long time auto mechanic will you, because your Obamacare tax is about to drive him out of business. They were never getting rich but making a decent living and you are stomping on their opportunity to have the American dream. Is it too much to ask that a small businessman be able to provide for his family and maybe save a little for retirement? In case you don't realize it, your unconstitutional power abuse is harming America and killing dreams! Mr. President, you are a leader who gains by manipulating people’s emotions and prejudices with deceptions and lies. It is despicable the way you divide the country.
It’s Time For Change In Government That
Dear Editor: This is our country! We don’t have to accept the trash coming out of Washington DC that’s being presented to us as “the fruit of the government of the greatest nation on earth.” The president’s approval rating is 37% and that of Congress is about 9%. Collectively those we have elected to govern us are unfit to do so. It’s time for “change that really matters.” The president will be replaced no later than 2016. Approximately one third of the senate is elected every two years; some 33 in 2014. The 435 members of the US House of representatives are another matter; they are all elected every two years! So of the 535 members of both chambers of congress, some 468 of them could be replaced in 2014! Everyone gets to vote for one representative and at most one senator. Patriotic citizens must “take care of business” at the 2014 ballot boxes in their state and congressional district for “change that really matters” to occur. Finally, due to the states’ congressional district gerrymandering, effective change will only happen in the primary elections. So, in order to save the republic you must get busy now. Do it for our kids and grandkids.
Glen E Terrell Arlington, TX 76013
Above letters Posted 12/10/13
* * * *
Common Core Education Standards Pose Dangers
Dear Editor: Word has been spreading rapidly among Constitutionalists in recent months about the dangers posed by the Common Core education standards. These standards represent an acceleration of the dumbing down and nationalization processes in effect in our public schools. Since the main national standardized tests, SAT and ACT, would be based on the new educational standards, private and home schools would also be forced to teach according to the Common Core standards. Read "Common Core: Nationalizing of Education Standards." In other words local school boards and parents will have little or no control over what is taught in their schools and how the students are prepared for higher education. From what I have seen and gleaned, the students will need more preparation in order to be ready for college level material.
Dick Wheeler Windsor
Traveling By Car Is The Way To Go This Holiday Season
Dear Editor, The cost of airfares has taken off and the price of gas is steadily declining, making travel by car the way to go this holiday season. According to the a recent Wall Street Journal story, airfares on tickets sold for Thanksgiving and Christmas weeks have risen 9.4 and 7.3 percent, respectively, compared with last year. On the other hand, CNN Money reports that gas prices are falling with nearly 20 percent of gas stations nationwide charging less than $3 per gallon. Going by car to your holiday destination offers a number of practical advantages. You can come and go as you please, pack as much as you want, avoid long ticket counter and security lines, and better enjoy the ride. Because a family of four can travel 1,000 miles round-trip by car for about the cost of one airline ticket, driving is the sensible economic option. The Car Care Council recommends a pre-trip vehicle inspection to avoid the unexpected cost and inconvenience of breaking down miles away from home. For more information, visit www.carcare.org and check out the free digital Car Care Guide.
Rich White Executive Director Car Care Council Bethesda, MD
Above Letters Posted 12/4/13
Response To Editor: Public Or Private
Prayers Have No Power To Do Anything
Dear Editor It is my opinion that government meetings and any secular meetings should not open with a prayer, as prayers are not secular; and some of us see them as a waste of time. What if it became a rule to open meetings with a hard rock song? Some people would love that idea, but for those who do not like hard rock, they would have to sit through it at the start of every meeting, which would take a few minutes of the meeting for something that not everyone appreciates. It is exactly the same with sitting through a prayer. By the way, “nothing fails like prayer.” It does not heal amputees, it does not make sick people well, it does not save people from typhoons or tornadoes, and prayer has not passed any studies or tests as being valid. Why do you even want a prayer before council meetings? Will everyone act barbarically without the prayer? Will they vote differently than if someone gave a prayer first? If you feel that people need a prayer in order to conduct a meeting, then it does not say much for Christians absorbing or putting into practice the morals they have been taught their entire lives. It also reinforces the fact that atheists as a group are much more moralistic than Christians. Perhaps it would be wiser to listen to a short speech by an atheist before the meeting, as atheists as a group are more educated and it actually could be beneficial. Statistically, atheists have fewer divorces, fewer out-of-wedlock pregnancies, fewer abortions and there are among the least likely to be in jail. Perhaps atheists should garner a bit more respect than the clergy who are either deluded or putting one over on the congregation for the sake of revenue. This is not a Christian nation. If a Christian nation were the goal of the founders, that concept would appear in the Constitution. It does not. Before, during and after the writing of the Constitution, there were people just like you, pushing to have religion added and criticizing the founding fathers’ decisions. There was even an amendment proposed to the preamble (that Jefferson said had already been mutilated) to add “Jesus Christ” to it. That was turned down. I find it amusing that you cannot say a prayer to God without mentioning Jesus for the sake of all the various people who may be listening. That does not sound caring, kind or considerate. You said that “praying to the Father through Jesus” gives validity to the prayer. Apparently, you feel that only prayers with the name of Jesus are valid. Prayers of all other religions, therefore, are not valid; prayers to God are not valid. Well, as I said before, prayers are not valid. There would be a simple solution to the prayer situation and you would not have to worry about what name is invoked. You can pray at home, at church, or even have those from the meeting who want to pray in a group meet at your house before the meeting or after the meeting, and have a prayer for that “group effect.” However, I am sure that the suggestion to pray before one attends a meeting has been brought up before and I am sure Christians will continue to ignore the suggestion, because they would rather inflict their Christian beliefs on everyone.
‘The Safe Freight Act’ Should Be Supported
In U. S. Congress
Dear Editor: By now most know the story of what happened in the little town of Lac-Mégantic, Que., on July 6. In the middle of the night an unmanned freight train, seemingly parked for the night a few miles from the city, began to roll on its own and derailed in the heart of town. The result, 47 people lost their lives and the center of town was destroyed. As Canadian and U.S. officials (the incident took place a few miles from American soil) continue to investigate the cause of the accident, one element of that day has become a primary focus, the fact that the train that day was manned by a single person. One person crews in the U.S. are extremely rare. Normally, the trains you see rolling through our community are crewed by an engineer and a conductor, both of whom have specific duties and play a vital role in the safe operations of the train. Yet, as the tragic events in Canada have taught us, there are rogue railroads out there who push the envelope when it comes to employee and public safety. As a result of this tragedy, HR 3040, “The Safe Freight Act”, has been introduced in Congress. HR 3040 would simply mandate all U.S. trains be crewed by at least two people, an engineer and a conductor, preventing a handful of rogue railroads from endangering their workers and the communities through which they pass. As a railroader, I can personally attest to the fact that two sets of eyes, ears and voices are much safer than one. We all enjoy the enhanced safety when we fly of having two crew members in the cockpit of an airplane, shouldn’t the same be true for a train. In the interest of public safety please contact your U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis and ask him to support and co-sponsor HR 3040.
How Much Trouble Has Compelled ‘Politically Correct’
Dear Editor: How much trouble are we in today because we're compelled to speak what is Politically Correct (PC) instead of what we may believe to actually be true? An obvious “terrorist attack” is called workplace violence. Self-defense by a white, is racist if the aggressor was black. Chief Illiniwek abandoned so as not to offend Indians (sorry, I mean native Americans). The issue of PC was described by Voltaire 300 years ago when he said "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize". The U.S. was established as a Constitutional Republic (not a democracy) by design of our forefathers to be ruled by the People. But today the “folks” no longer call the shots as evidenced in Washington where politicians, the biggest abusers of PC, rule instead of represent. The PC decisions they make daily are little by little taking away our free-thinking. Today, the tail is wagging the dog as minorities spurred on by PC are running the sanitarium. Abandoning traditional man/ woman marriage for same-sex...blackboards changed to white boards so as not to offend blacks...being a bigot if you simply criticize actions of a black president...the secular movement fighting organized religion (except Islam)...Globalism and International everything versus U.S. sovereignty and how “bout those Washington 'Redskins”? Many agree that this is insanity. PC is a serious threat to our nation by creating a nebulous brand of censorship. We're encouraged to present a popular form of “facts” and give a distortion of reality instead of what we know to be true. One way to describe PC was stated by Charleton Heston when he said "Political Correctness is tyranny with manners".
Why Did Blagojevich Give Caterpillar
A Half Million Dollar Grant In 2006?
Dear Editor: Blagojevich is in the news again. An appeals court is going to hear arguments next month on granting him a new trial. "It's a f---ing valuable thing…You just don't give it away for nothing…. If I don't get what I want… I'll just take… (it) myself," The Ex-Governor’s words made me wonder, did Caterpillar Inc. ever have dealings with Blagojevich where money was involved? Some research showed that in 2006 Blagojevich awarded Caterpillar Inc. a workforce training grant for $500,000. One wonders why that grant wasn’t awarded to someone else. Caterpillar has “Caterpillar University”, where employees (and if they wish), suppliers, can receive training. They have experts in every field, whom they send to help suppliers. That’s the actual job description of entire departments. So why was a grant this size awarded to a company that has resources and infrastructure to assist suppliers and do training and not to another company which, without those funds, could not do a training program? Given the animosity between Caterpillar and Blagojevich, (IE letters from Oberhelman letting him know that other governors were seeking to have CAT relocate to their states, and Blagojevich’s support for and from unions) it might seem inconceivable that Caterpillar would play the quid pro quo game. But it’s a 2 edged sword. Given the apparent animosity why would Blagojevich award a $500,000 grant to Caterpillar? Maybe he didn’t have say or sway in the matter, but given his history, I doubt that. Half a million dollars is a valuable thing, and we know how Blagojevich feels about valuable things. Caterpillar is no stranger to PAC’s and how to legally donate funds. They are no stranger to tax breaks, and they know the ropes when it comes to using subsidiaries offshore in Switzerland and Bermuda to avoid U.S. taxes. (legal or otherwise) Siwei showed that some people are not above creating misleading documentation, or possibly accepting bribes to do business. Caterpillar Inc. is no stranger to receiving money and assistance from politicians they support. LaHood received more money from Caterpillar than any other donor at $160,200. LaHood obtained $7.8 million to help Caterpillar develop technology for potential future military contracts. LaHood also pushed for $333,000 for a new museum in Peoria that featured the history of Caterpillar. Also, groups stood to benefit from the $2 million LaHood wanted for his district road-paving projects. Blagojevich held the controls on a $6B highway program in 2005. A construction program that could benefit Caterpillar because they produce construction equipment. It is known that Blagojevich awarded Caterpillar a half million dollar grant in 2006. I cannot say Caterpillar did any quid pro quo or shady dealings with Blagojevich’s offices, but given those sources cited above, what Blagojevich was convicted of, and my own experience with Caterpillar conduct, I would not rule it out. I think someone should delve deeper into Blagojevich’s dealings.
(Founder of catscat.net)
Many Have Forgotten The Real Meaning Of Christmas
Dear Editor: I can remember back in the early 60's as a child, when Christmas had more of a meaning. There was no "Black Friday" which is the day after Thanksgiving where shoppers and retailers go berserk, or even "Cyber Monday" where the internet lights up like a Christmas tree. What happened to the word Christmas, which is now abreviated as "X-Mas"? This, in my words, is very disrespectful to the the actual meaning of the birth of Christ, which is the actual meaning of Christmas. The meaning of Christmas yesterday verses today, is where family and friends come together with warm hearts, maybe singing Christmas songs and carols. Today, everyone is too busy being stressed, running here and there, from the retail stores to the post offices, "Oh, I need this, or I need that" etc. Families used to get together and decorate the tree together, or some may still do. Some households may still go to candlelight services to reflect on our Savior's birth, instead of going to bars for a quick drink then coming home to a domestic dispute. Oh, the Real Meaning of Christmas -- The Ray Coniff Singers couldn't have said it better: "It’s the giving of Love, as you're giving your presents, don't forget as you give them away, that the real meaning of Christmas is the giving of Love, and the birth of Jesus Christ.”
Kansas City, Mo.
Beware Of Obamacare
Dear Editor: Beware Obamacare. First, let me sum up my wife's and my need for medical need. When it comes to prescriptions, we both take a total of 30. Yes, that's a lot! I'm 90 and she is mid 80's. Well, anyway we have been on generics to keep the cost down. Most of our medicine runs $5 each -- but that times 30 is still a big hunk of our Social Security checks. Well, Obama said you can keep your medical, and sure enough we can. I got a letter saying we could keep it. Surprise -- the next day we got a book listing our medicine. Every one was raised from $5 each to $10 each starting February 14. Just wanted to tell how Obamacare works.
Obama Administration Misses The Mark
In Controlling Gun Violence
Dear Editor: At the swearing-in ceremony at the White House on August 29 of Todd Jones as the director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (still known as ATF), Vice-President Joe Biden announced that the ATF was issuing new rules concerning the re-importation of U.S. military surplus weapons. Where such importation was previously allowed only with government approval, now all requests for such importation will be denied altogether (except for museums and the government itself). Biden announced another executive order that eliminates registration of firearms to trusts or to corporations unless an individual associated with those entities undergoes a background check. This has been, according to Biden, "an artful dodge to get around people who are not capable, constitutionally or legally, of owning a weapon." Last year the ATF received only 39,000 requests to register guns to corporations and trusts. To put that into perspective, the NRA said, "The Obama administration has once again missed the mark when it comes to stopping violent crime. This administration should be serious about prosecuting violent criminals who misuse guns and stop focusing its efforts on law-abiding gun owners." The actions by the Obama administration also fly in the face of a 2007 study published by Harvard University that concludes that countries with more gun control have higher rates of violence, not lower. The action announced by the White House on August 29 was the clear intent to continue to ignore reality and to press forward with its agenda. Even as Congress fails to act on common-sense proposals the president and VP remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make progress toward reducing gun violence.
Letters Above Posted On Nov. 26, 2013
* * * *
Some Facts To Know About The Tea Party
Dear Editor T.E.A. Party is defined as "Taxed Enough Already", using the first letter of each word. The first tea party was called the Boston Tea Party. It was a political protest by the Sons of Liberty in Boston. It was against the British, involving "Taxation Without Representation". This grew into the American Revolution. The crisis escalated and the American Revolutionary War Began near Boston in 1775. Fast forward and emerging in 2008-2009, was the rise of the Tea Party Movement across America. People understood the ideology of Barack Obama to Fundamentally Change America. I wonder: Did anyone in Decatur and surrounding towns figure out what he wanted to do to our beloved America? Grassroots folks across America, calmly, began protesting with rallies, marches but never arrests. Decatur started a tea party movement named "Restore Our Constitution". Decatur people and some from surrounding towns joined thousands of grass-roots people across America to march down Pa. Ave. in Washington D.C.. to protest the government's Socialists beliefs. The Tea Parties and the Congressional politicians, who were elected by the tea party groups, have been called Nazis, terrorists, racists, arsonists, murderers, hostage takers by the President, his Administration and our U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, the Senator from Illinois. The core values of the Tea Party Movement and the tea party politicians are: 1. Fiscal Responsibility
Respect our debt, sovereignty and economic liberty. 2. Constitutionally Limited Gov-ernment We, members of the tea parties, are inspired by our founding documents and regard the Constitution of the United States to be Supreme Law of the Land. 3. Free Markets A free market is the economic consequence of personal liberty and economic freedom. This government's interference distorts the free market and inhibits the individual and economic liberty. As with the Boston Tea Party in 1773, taxes are a problem. --"That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government"-- The Declaration of Independence, in Congress, July 4, 1776
Restore our Constitution’s website is at www.roc-usa.net
Don’t Replace Chandler Park Trees With Condos
Dear Editor: I was parked in St Mary's Hospital parking lot this morning and could not help notice the wonderful fall colors of the trees in Chandler Park. To replace them with condos would be unbelievable stupidity.
Don L Custin
Growing Discontent About Schools And
What’s Being Taught In Them
Dear Editor: There is a growing discontent among us about our schools and what is being taught in them. We see all sorts of stories on the news about Common Core, data mining, regimentation of lessons and tests, tests, tests. It is hard to decipher what is true and what is not. However, it is easy to blame the teachers, the superintendent and the school board but who really is responsible for this mess? Here are some facts that I encourage you to check out. First, Illinois is one of the forty-six states that have adopted the Common Core Standards. They have replaced the Standards that Illinois has spent millions and millions of dollars writing and rewriting, the testing and retesting since 1985 when this began. The Common Core Standards were written by two Washington DC trade based organizations - The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. They worked with a progressive non-profit organization known as Achieve. Their report is entitled Bench Marking for Success. This effort was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (Think Apple). These two facts are enough to make me begin questioning this process. You see as far as I can tell not one NOT ONE of these well educated important people have ever taught a five year old his numbers or letters. Not one has actually faced twenty-five little six year olds and taught them to read. So why does every kindergarten and first grade teacher in forty-six states have to teach to the standards they came up with? What makes anyone think that these people know what a five year old should be taught? They have titles but no experience. Interestingly, all the tests that have been developed to test the Common Core Standards have to be done on a computer (think Apple) and most of the curriculum material resources for teaching to test are provided by Achieve Inc. Someone is getting very, very rich and powerful in this scheme. Illinois adopted the Common Core Standards before they were completely written. Why? Money. The federal government allocated $4.35 billion dollars for states that adopted the standards and participated in Race to the Top. Race to the Top replaced No Child Left Behind which wasn't working either. Illinois did not get any money from Race to the Top, but, what they did get was the Common Core Standards. Now your children from kindergarten through high school are being taught based on a nationalized standardized curriculum written by a bunch of inexperienced strangers in Washington DC. Your school, your teachers, your principals, your superintendent and your school board have nothing to say about what's being taught to your children. They had nothing to do with the implementation of this curriculum. Neither did your legislators. Your voice was never heard. They sold your children's education. Now what are you going to do about it?
Jean Crosby Pana
Above "Letters To The Editor" Posted 11/19/13
Permanent Solution To Fiscal Crisis
Dear Editor, We must write our elected officials about a more permanent solution to the fiscal crises, (which have merely been postponed for a couple months): We should sell, to the world’s tropical rainforest owners, the expertise to create supply of--and demand for--the harvesting of their land much more profitably and sustainably. This is discussed at www.rain-tree.com/facts.htm, which has links to various rainforest organizations who might supply the experts. If we take a quarter of the increased profits for a certain number of years, it would yield $1.4 trillion a year—twice the federal deficit. It might mean temporarily raising the debt limit, but only for the last time in awhile. Then with the surplus it could shift some of the onus for Obamacare from individuals and businesses onto the government, at least for awhile. The deficit reduction, the pay-down, and the shifting of Obamacare could all be more permanent, however, if we take 20% leases and/or invest some of the surplus. (As for the issue of subsistence farmers, there is a discussion of this at www.rainforestsaver.org. Regarding the cutting down of trees for firewood , one can contact Solar Cookers International.) There is also an online petition—for you, your family and friends to sign--to President Obama and Speaker Boehner at www.thepetitionsite.com/764/197/074/solving-the-fiscal-crises-with-rainforests.
Alexander Michael Sokolow
Santa Monica, CA
Consider Rebuilt Engine Before Winter Hits
Dear Editor, Before severe winter weather arrives, it’s a good idea to make sure your vehicle’s engine is running effectively and efficiently. If you find that your car or truck is experiencing major engine damage, but is in relatively good shape otherwise, consider repowering it with a rebuilt engine so you know you can count on it when the temperatures drop. With rebuilding, a vehicle’s engine or an identical one from another like-vehicle is completely disassembled, cleaned, machined and remanufactured/rebuilt. Unlike used or junk yard engines with an unknown performance and maintenance history, remanufactured/rebuilt engines are dependable, reliable and backed by excellent warranty programs. In addition to making your vehicle more dependable, a rebuilt engine gets better gas mileage and emits fewer pollutants than a worn out engine. It’s a sensible solution and much more cost effective than purchasing a new or used car. To learn more, visit the Engine Rebuilders Council website at www.enginerebuilder.org or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
Rick Simko, Chairman
Engine Rebuilders Council
Vote To Ban Drive-Up Liquor Window Sales
Now that an advisory referndum on a drive-up liquor window ban will be on the Decatur Township primary ballot, voters should familiarize themselves with the issue.
The most important reason to support a drive-up liquor window ban, is because drive-up clerks simply cannot tell if their customers are too intoxicated to get out of their vehicle and stand up and/or walk.
While drive-through owners/clerks will swear up and down they can tell if their customer is already too intoxicated to be served, they'll be whistling a different tune in court, if they get sued for damages caused by a drunken driver who purchased alcohol at their window prior to an accident.
The tune they'll be whistling, is that they can't be held liable for damages, because they just didn't have a reasonable opportunity to evaluate the customers level of intoxication. Add to that the fact there won't be any witnesses to the drive-up transaction, they'll most likely be found not guilty of knowingly selling alcohol to an already intoxicated person. In other words, the perfect loophole through the Dram Shop laws of this state.
The ugly truth about whether a drive-up liquor window clerk can tell if a customer is already too intoxicated to be served, depends on who the clerk is talking to.....the public, or the jury. But now you, the voters, are in the jury box.
Unless you think it's okay to sell beer to motorists who may already be too drunk to get out of their vehicles and walk into a store and purchase it themselves, please vote to ban drive-up liquor window sales on March 18th.
Thanks To Those Who Donated To Help Kids Crusade
Dear Editor: The Shriners Hospital for Children, Ansar Temple and the Decatur Shrine Club wish to thank everyone who donated to our annual Shriners Help Kids Paper Crusade on Oct. 5th and 12th. Our thanks also goes to Walmart North and East and Kroger South Shores for letting us use their locations for our Paper Crusade. The Shriners support 22 hospitals for kids under the age of 18 years of age with orthopedic or burn problems. We provide care "regardless of the patients ability to pay". All Shriners and Shrine kids again says thank you for your support.
Decatur Shrine Club
Paper Crusade Chairman
Letters Above Posted 11/12/13
Opportune Time For City Council To Keep Word, Repeal Temporary Taxes After Eleven Years
Dear Editor: This November we celebrate the eleventh anniversary of the temporary one and 1/4% Utility Tax, the 2% Food and Beverage Tax, the 6% Telecommunicatons Tax and the 1/4% Sales Tax. I don’t think that too many people are celebrating though. The water rates were rasied by 1/3 a few years ago and are now in the process of being doubled and a new storm water fee is now being proposed. The City is now in the process of preparing their proposed budget for next year with the City expenses being less than expected as expressed by Mr. McCrady at the last city council meeting. This seems like the opportune time for the city council to keep its word and repeal the 11-year-old temporary taxes, or at the very least, start by revealing a portion of it. I’m sure that would give many of the citizens of Decatur, especially all the many unemployed citizens, something to celebrate and be thankful for. I’m sure they would be thrilled to see the city council giving them a little relief for a change instead of trying to get their hand in their pocket again.
James J. Madell
Nation Needs New People In Congress
Dear Editor: For many Americans like myself, the recent government shutdown symbolized the complete failure of our elected officials to compromise, work together and put country before political party. Washington D.C. is full of career politicians and political insiders who vote the way someone tells them to instead of what is best for their constituents. I think we need new people in Congress, and that is why I am voting for George Gollin next March. George is the best candidate to unseat Rodney Davis in 2014. George is not a politician. He is an educator who has been teaching physics at UIUC for over 25 years. But, George Gollin is much more than just a teacher and a scientist. He is a fighter. About ten years ago, George uncovered a criminal conspiracy that involved a diploma mill in the western US where a group of individuals were selling fake college degrees across the globe. The conspiracy also involved diplomatic corruption and child pornography. George published a report about these individuals, and they came after him and his family with threats of lawsuits, arson and gunfire. They also attacked him with slanderous lies and false accusations. But George fought back with steadfast persistence because it was the right thing to do. We need people in Congress who will fight for what is right regardless of political repercussions. George will listen to the people, not the political insiders, and that is why he has my vote.
Eliot Thompson, Urbana
Article Failed To Mention Schock's Vote To
Fund Obamacare In HR 2775
Dear Editor, The Tribune's article reporting on Rep. Aaron Schock's statements in a Ways & Means Committee hearing about a person who lost their health insurance due to ObamaCare failed to mention Aaron Schock's vote to fund ObamaCare in HR 2775. Both Aaron Schock and Rodney Davis voted with the Democrats to defeat the Tea Party Republican's attempt to defund ObamaCare. In doing so both Aaron Schock and Rodney Davis have joined Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to save ObamaCare. I think Rodney Davis and Aaron Schock should sit in front of the voters of Central Illinois to answer questions as to why they voted for ObamaCare. If Aaron Schock really thought it was bad that people in his district were loosing their health insurance, then he should have stood by the Tea Party Republicans and voted against HR 2775. For the record, also add to the list of ObamaCare supporters, Republicans Rep. John Shimkus and Sen Mark Kirk. A vote to re-elect Schock, Davis, Shimkus, and Kirk is the same as a vote for ObamaCare. John Hauge Mount Zion
Above Letters Posted 11/5/13
Have Decatur’s Leaders Considered Consequence Of Possible Storm Water Fee Decision?
Dear Editor: I believe that our current mayor, city council, and city manager are dedicated to doing what they believe is the best for Decatur. There have been many improvements, and many solutions to problems. Each have devoted a great deal of time and energy in the administration of the city affairs, and I thank them for all they do. Their recent decision to add a new tax to solve a serious and damaging water problem is probably the best move at this time. However, I have two concerns which I bring to their attention. The estimate at about $4.00 per month on the average for homeowners. In my home, that is the amount I budget for daily meals. I will manage it. But for many people in Decatur, that may be the equivalent of skipping meals per one day in order to pay the new monthly tax. Have the leaders of Decatur considered that consequence? Also, in view of all the improvements made in the downtown area, Central Park, etc, the city has somehow found money for those works. How is it that money for necessities like the infrastructure requires an increase in taxes?
Some Of The Pillars Of U.S. Government Are
Dysfunctional Because Of ‘State Capture’
Dear Editor: Who controls news that circulates on the national and international media outlets? A former insider at the World Bank, ex-Senior Counsel Karen Hudes, says the global financial system is dominated by a small group of corrupt, power-hungry figures centered around the privately owned U.S. Federal Reserve. The network has seized control of the media to cover up its crimes, too, she explained. In an interview in May she explained that when she tried to blow the whistle on multiple problems at the World Bank, she was fired for efforts. Now, along with a network of fellow whistleblowers, Hudes is determined to expose and end the corruption. And she is confident of success. Hudes, an attorney who spent some two decades working in the World Bank's legal department, has observed the machinations of the network up close. "I realized we were now dealing with something known as state capture, which is where the institutions of government are co-opted by the group that's corrupt," she said. "The pillars of the U.S. government - some of them - are dysfunctional because of state capture; this is a big story, this is a big coverup!" says Hudes.
Proposed Storm Sewer Fee Is Not Equitable Solution
Dear Editor: I just finished reading the Clark Dietz report (online) given to the city council in 2009 on Decatur's storm sewer needs. Forty-six locations were identified as “problem areas” that needed attention to the tune of $50 million dollars. These were documented from citizen complaints of flooding or sewer back-ups reported to city officials. The total number of complaints received was from 162 residents. The highest number was 15 in the 32nd & Fulton Ave area, which is the largest area listed and also the most expensive to repair . I believe that this area has been “fixed” twice before by the city . Evidently, it has not solved the problem, as of 2009. This 2009 study also noted that past city budgets had appropriated an average of $200,000 annually to address these infrastructure issues. It went on to state that a user fee was the most equitable way of paying for these improvements to be calculated by the amount of storm-water generated in the areas listed as problematical. It is my understanding that this proposal coming to the council would impose this rate hike on ALL property owners in Decatur whether they have storm sewers or not. The fee would be imposed on future water bills even if no extensions of the current storm sewer system are being planned in the future into the multiple areas of the city that currently have no storm sewers. In my humble opinion, this is not an equitable solution at all. I do not mind paying taxes for municipal services that I have access to, whether I use them or choose not to: streets, sanitary sewers, fire, police, water, schools , etc. But, perhaps being told soon to pay higher taxes for storm sewers that do not exist in our neighborhood now or ever will in the next several years, makes no sense to me.
Terry Howley Decatur
United Nations: Good Or Bad For U.S.?
Dear Editor: 68 years ago on Oct. 24, 1945 the United Nations replaced the League of Nations on the international scene. Its mission was to eliminate war, safeguard human rights, establish international law and promote social progress. Its successes are notable but few, ,mostly centering around providing humanitarian aid to needy and starving countries. Its failures are more notable. Today, 63 countries are involved in conflicts involving 459 different militias, guerrillas and/or separatists. So much for eliminating war. If its mission is split between peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts, at best it is a 50% failure. We often hear of U.N. troops raping and pillaging the very people they were sent to protect. It's also reported that millions of dollars worth of humanitarian aid is confiscated by dictators and never received by the repressed. Today, I cringe when I hear the words Globalism, social progress and International anything. Each one is ultimately a challenge to our U.S. sovereignty either economically, militarily or constitutionally. Too bad we couldn't have heeded George Washington's warning that the United States should "steer clear" of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world. As early as 1958 there has been resistance to our involvement with the U.N.. In 2004 a Rasmussen poll reported that 44% of Americans had a favorable view of the U.N. a mere 2 years later, that number dwindled to 26%. In 1997, Senator Ron Paul introduced HR 1146 labeled the "American Sovereignty Restoration Act". It allowed for the U.S. to leave the U.N. and relocate the U.N. headquarters out of N.Y.C. During his presidential bid, Senator John Kerry received a great deal of political heat when he stated that American national security actions must pass a "global test" Our President recently signed a U.N. Small Arms Treaty. If ratified by Congress it will subvert our constitution by opening the back door to nullifying our 2nd Amendment and gun confiscation in the U.S. Why would America want to continue participating in a group, many of which want to see our demise. Any downside to leaving? We can continue our humanitarian aid more effectively without lining the pockets of the U.N. despots and tyrants. We can continue our support of Israel and possibly even add to it with our U.N. savings. We can continue being a generous country without being dictated to by some U.N. committee. If you love our freedom, individual rights and liberty, you'll agree that our participation in the U.N. at this point in history is counter-productive to our National interests and we should withdraw now and regain our national pride. America should be first in our minds and not minimalized as a second rate has-been country Bob Kimmons, Warrensburg
Above Letters posted 10/29/13
* * * *
Democratic Candidate Told To Not Go On Byers Show
Like Sen. Andy Manar, I too was told not to go on WSOY’s Byers & Co. when I ran in the Democratic primary for State Representative in the Decatur-Springfield District in 2012. However, I have never shied away from the press and I wasn't about to start with Brian Byers.
I found Byers, and for that matter most of the press in Decatur, to be very professional and fair. Byers, to his credit, did ask tough questions, but as one of the greatest Democrats ever said: "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." (Harry S Truman)
Without the press, our democracy could not function. As an Alderman in the city of Springfield, I represent approximately 11,700 people. I can't talk to each one individually every time a city issue comes up. The same goes even more so for a State Representative, who represents about 110,000 , and a State Senator, who represents about 220,000. In my view, it is an elected official's duty to talk to the press, so long as the journalist is fair and respectful. Byers in my experience has always been both.
Alderman, City of Springfield
David Daker Is At It Again
Dear Editor: Looks like David Daker is at it again. No life of his own and wants to take jobs from people and perhaps closing places of businesses down. Because he had a problem with his consuming of alcohol, doesn’t mean that everyone else does. He has been shut off at places because of his drinking and non-stop questions about their drive-ups. Does this mean he still hasn't learned? Hasn't he written in not long ago that if he didn't get different things passed, he'd not harp on it anymore, letting it drop? Looks like he can't control himself on that either. Don't blame everyone else or place that may have served you for your past. Only you can make your own decisions and live the way you do. I'd say most places knew when a person has had enough, rather they walk in or drive up, not serving them. Not everyone is stupid like he wants people to believe. Hope you own your own business so when there are people out of a job, you can put them to work, food on their table and pay their bills. Once again David, as I've told you before - Get a Life.
Don’t Let the ‘Fine Print’ Rob You
Dear Editor: I didn't read it; I just signed. When Barbara Keeton, an Army veteran, urgently needed a new car, she went to a car dealer that advertised on TV. Well, the new Mazda soon had lots of problems: transmission, oil leak, electronics. Then one day it stopped dead in traffic. Barbara felt so angry that she sued the dealer. But when she got to court the judge dismissed her case because the contract said she could not sue in court. Instead she must go to arbitration. Corporations like arbitration because they know an arbitrator will not hurt them as a jury of angry citizens might. But arbitration is unfair to the little guy. The place for arbitration might be miles away - like New York City and the arbitrator's fees can be costly. The Sixth Amendment to the U .S. Constitution guarantees the right to trial by jury. Yet courts say that if you sign a contract, that waive your right to sue in court, whether you realized it or not. Yet, the little guy has no choice but to sign. What to do? Congress must pass laws making mandatory arbitration illegal in all consumer and nursing home contracts. Contact Senator Durbin (492-4062) and Senator Kirk (492-5089). Don't let the fine print rob you.
William C. Faber, Jr.
Response To ‘Profiling’
Dear Editor: A guest on a radio talk show recently was asked for his view about SB 1070 which is the Arizona law featured in headlines around the nation. He replied that he approved what the Arizonans had done because the federal government wasn't doing its job and the people were simply demanding relief from the flood of illegal immigrants who had poured into their state.One of the talk show co-hosts was aghast at the response, and when asked why, she replied, "It's profiling!" When the guest asked, "So you don't like profiling?" host's response was, "Not at all." The guest then countered with, "Then you must be opposed to affirmative action, which is profiling on steroids." This response brought silence, no response! The host moved on to another topic.
Refreshing To Be Reminded Of The Good In Most People
Dear Editor: At a time when there is much turmoil and uncertainty in the country it is refreshing to be reminded of the good in most people. Our daughter was visiting from Colorado and during an outing she lost her billfold. It contained cash, credit card, driver's license and insurance ID. We backtracked to all the places we had been. She called the Clinton Antique Mall. An employee called back after she and checked the parking lot and the restroom areas (Being two females we definitely made a stop there). Unfortunately with no good news. We had stopped at the truck stop at the interchange of 72/48 where a return stop did not prove any better. Linet made a trip back to Clinton to the mall to walk through the shop. Again, no luck. What a surprise when my husband received a call from the Triple A who told him that the billfold had been turned into the McDonalds at the truck stop by a couple who found it in the parking lot. Hurray! We want to thank the ladies at the antique mall for taking time to look and calling back, to the staff of McDonalds who saw that it was returned intact. The manager had called the AAA having found a card we had given to her to carry (My husband said you would want to know that.) figuring that the out-of-towner was long gone. Most of all we want to thank the couple who found it and turned it into McDonalds. We do not know their names but hope that they will see this. There are many good and caring people in the world and it was our good fortune to have come in contact with many of them.
Everett and Linda Schroat
How Is Raising The Debt Ceiling The Right Thing To Do?
Dear Editor: So they settled something in Washington today? Yeah, right! I wish somebody would explain how raising the debt ceiling is the right thing to do. Our government can’t pay its debt now and the ante keeps going up everyday. How many trillions is it now? So now we can borrow trillions more. How can we make sense out of a philosophy of economics that says we can “borrow our way out of debt”? What bank would loan me money on that basis? All that has been accomplished today is that we managed to kick the can down the road a little further again. And most people don’t care as long as they continue to get what they think they are “entitled” to receive. I don’t have a solution for this uncontrolled governmental spending, but our grandchildren and great grandchildren will be the ones to suffer if the USA still exists when they take over the reins of government. Payday is coming, no matter what they did in DC. That's my opinion.
Thanks For Generous Donations Of Food And Financial Support
Dear Editor: This letter is written to the incredible communities of Decatur and Macon County. On behalf of all those families we serve at The Salvation Army Food Pantry, thank you. We appreciate your generous donations of food and financial support at the recent WSOY Community Food Drive. As you may be aware, many needy families and individuals in our community suffer the hardships of food insecurity, adequate shelter, and the basic essentials of life due to a variety of factors including unemployment, under-employment, injury and/or illness, age, domestic violence, or divorce. While all of us are susceptible to hard times, children and the elderly are most at risk, and they make up a large number of persons that come to The Salvation Army for services. As a result of your generous support, The Salvation Army will be in a position to meet the material, emotional, and spiritual needs of those coming for assistance. Through you, your neighbors, friends, and family who may find themselves facing difficult times can find a hand up and hope going forward. For more information on how your donation is helping to make a difference in our community, we invite you to visit our website at www.sadecatur.org. You will also find information there about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities. Thank you again for your kindness. “Our cup runs over with blessings,” thanks to you. God Bless you.
Captains Wes and Susan Dalberg
The Salvation Army
Replace Income Tax, Abolish IRS With FairTax
Dear Editor: The FairTax is a plan whose time has come. It would replace the income tax and abolish the IRS shortly after being adopted. It’s a national sales tax and would be collected by the states at the cash register when you check out. No more federal with holdings from your pay check! No more FICA. No more hidden taxes. No more record keeping and no more reporting to the government. Prices of goods at the store will remain about the same even thought those shelf prices include the tax! Best of all, everyone will pay the tax and everyone is treated exactly the same. The FairTax is nonpartisan. It’s not a democrat or republican idea; it’s strictly an American idea consist with our founding fathers ideas on taxation. Google FairTax to learn more. Most important; contact your representative and senators. Tell them to get the FairTax legislation out of the House Ways and Means committee and onto the floor of the House for consideration by the full congress and the American people. If your congressmen don’t support the FairTax, well… the 2014 primaries are only months away.
Glen E Terrell
Some ‘Letters To The Editor’ Writers Are
Using The Writings Of Others
Dear Editor, It looks like the STWPS (Shelbyville – Toledo – Westervelt Plagiarism Society) rides again and appears to have outdone themselves with one of their charter member’s harangue in an article titled “Demands Being Made For Global Regulatory Regime Be Imposed Over The Internet” as published by the Tribune on September 24, 2013. Almost every word in that epistle was not written by the stated author but was actually lifted from two articles previously published in the New American. Those articles were “UN Seeking Global Internet Surveillance for Terror, Propaganda” authored by Alex Newman on October 24, 2012 and “The Surveillance State of America” written by Jack Kenny on July 22, 2013. The definition of plagiarism, as most students learn by the time they leave Junior High School, is the copying of someone’s writings or ideas and making the claim or insinuation that it is your own original thought(s). We encourage the STWPS members to continue to freely express their ideas and feelings in a public way but encourage them to at least write their own articles.
Mt. Juliet, TN
Letters Above Posted 10/22/13
Letters Are Printed With The Most Recent Submissions First
Send your letter to
the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org
or to: Decatur Tribune,
P. O. Box 1490,
Decatur, IL 62525-1490.
* * * * Looking southwest from the editor's office in the Millikin Court Bldg. downtown