Chance to clean up our act

May 1, 2007 

America has progressed from musical lyrics such as "Annie had a baby, she can't work no more," when Little Richard was the king of rock, to hip-hop, where young men, primarily black, abuse nameless women in songs receive millions. Little Richard's song was taken off the air almost as soon as it hit the airwaves. Today, profanity and vulgar slurs have found an in-line into mainstream America. and it took a Don Imus to awaken us.

He, being a Caucasian icon, touched not only a chord in mainstream America but the heart of a very pitying and tender God of mercy. What was intended to be another slur in order to get a laugh got a notice from his employers informing him that his career with them had ended.

God made men and women in his image, but men have lost sight of the God that is in us. I personally believe Mr. Imus is a nice man and he is doing good things for children, but the Judge of the Universe said that he went too far.

The good news is that America, known for its righteous acts towards other nations, has been awakened to how far away from the image of God we have fallen. Various individuals and groups have made efforts in the past urging us to clean up our act, but God chose Mr Imus to wake us up. He has also chosen two ministers of the gospel to help spearhead this effort — the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton (as imperfect as they are).

Jesus says a tree is known by the fruit it bears. We need to thank God for his mercy that all of America has not been consumed. We have enjoyed a freedom that has gone far, far, beyond what our founding fathers envisioned. It is "righteousness that exalts a nation." Right now, America has an opportunity to become a righteous nation before it is too late.

WESLEY B. JONES, Columbus

A teachable moment

As a civics teacher in Muscogee County School District, I teach ninth-graders the U.S. Constitution and the laws of the state and nation providing that no one is above the law. I guess I am going to have to change that. Obviously the case of Judge Haywood Turner shows that in this area, favoritism is acceptable.

The handling of the supplemental report and the resistance to the Georgia Open Records Act show to any fair-minded evaluation that special treatment was given. Denial of the facts only insults our intelligence! Had an ordinary citizen of any color done what Judge Turner did, he or she would have been arrested immediately. This was not reckless driving — it was reckless behavior. I guess we have a new class of crime — "use a gun, go to anger management class."

There has been a steady decline in ethics and integrity within our society, and with that decline has come a tragic decay of our moral values. It's time to take a stand. Judge Turner needs to resign due to his actions on the day in question and his attempt to explain away what he did. His conduct was outrageous and inappropriate for anyone — especially a sitting judge. Had a teacher done the same thing, removal from the classroom would have been swift and sure. Remember, don't do the crime if you can't do the time. It is time to resign, Judge Hollywood.

ROBERT A. HUTCHINSON, Columbus

Steps toward tyranny

Alan Dershowitz, noted lawyer, law professor and author, has said "When rights are subordinated to government power, the first steps toward tyranny are taken."

Who among us can honestly claim that our rights are not constantly being usurped by an insatiable government appetite for power?

The Connecticut eminent domain case ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, enabling condemners both government and private industry, by way of delegation, to seize private property for a vast range of uses, was a giant step away from liberty toward tyranny.

Eminent domain abuse is widespread across the nation and locally in our own state of Georgia.

In a local case being heard now, utility company lawyers seem to be attempting to limit the freedom of speech or the freedom of the press when they strike from the jury pool anyone who has read articles concerning eminent domain abuse that I or others may have written, or anyone who has firsthand knowledge of such abuse.

After all, what potential juror has not seen or heard numerous commercial advertisements extolling upon the virtues of Georgia's predominant electrical power supplier both on television and radio?

The just compensation clause of the Fifth Amendment is violated every time a condemner is able to intimidate a property owner into agreeing to accepting less than he really would normally want to sell their property for.

Public necessity, due process, just compensation, a level playing field — this is not what a condemnation proceeding is all about.

It is about violating property rights; it is about greed, money, corporate profit, political influence and loss of freedom.

DON JOHNSON, Dawsonville

Grateful for help

It has been almost two years since Katrina hit New Orleans. A lot of lives changed that day — even mine and my family's.

I was born and raised in North Highland on Oates Avenue. For the past 35 years, I lived in New Orleans. I lived in the Ninth Ward right across the street from the levee. My grandchildren lost a lot of friends. A total of 238 people died in my neighborhood because they chose not to leave.

What I want to say is thanks to all the people who helped us get our lives back. Most of all, I want to thank Open House, Valley Rescue — I was lucky. We didn't get any help from FEMA because I couldn't show a light bill. I had everything else. My sister has a restaurant called the Hidden Gill. She put a jar out for me, gave me a job, and everyone helped us with everything we needed. So, to those people, I say thank you. May God bless all of you. Thanks for being there in our time of need. SANDRA COOPER, New Orleans

Indoctrination

Listing the similarities and differences in various translations of the Bible, as on the front page of the April 16 Ledger-Enquirer, does not change the fact that offering to teach the Bible in public schools is very much like Martin Luther's translation of the Bible. Luther's translation was written into German so that German citizens would no longer be dependent upon the Roman Catholic Church, but they could each decide upon their own faith.

It is Protestantism — not Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism or Islam. It is a clever, if scholarly, way to smuggle creationism and intelligent design into the school curriculum. It is a violation of the First Amendment's protection of religions' freedom through the separation of church and state. It will be demeaning to all students from non-Protestant families who will not have an alternative elective course in which to enroll. It exalts Western Christianity at the expense of Catholicism, Judaism, and other important world religions, and also at the expense of agnosticism and atheism.

DONALD VANDENBERG, Eufaula

Only one earth

Industry and internal combustion engine exhaust gases are destroying our atmosphere. Once our protective atmosphere is gone to let in deadly cosmic rays, we die.

Park the car and walk into the grocery store to bring home a small bag of food that can be easily carried. Walking is good exercise for a change. Leave your car keys on the table and buy a bicycle to pedal away to your destination. We have no spaceship to escape from earth when we have no atmosphere to find a new home world.

DENNIS ROBERTS, Columbus

Help in a crisis

On Monday, April 16, our son was involved in an accident. Upon arriving at the scene, which looked like something out of a disaster movie, we thought the worst. Fortunately, he will make a full recovery.

There are so many people to thank. The first person to call us, Private Demry, used our son’s phone to let us know about the accident. The personnel at the scene did a remarkable job with the situation and helped us get to our son. The EMTs who took care of our son made us feel better right away. The staff at The Medical Center Emergency Room provided excellent care and concern.

Thanks to everyone who came to see him or called at the hospital. We could not believe how many Pacelli soccer players left their game and came straight to the hospital, as well as the Athletic Director Coach Battles. Wimmer’s Wrecker towed his car and helped us get his belongings. The people we work with, who had to shoulder our burdens at work, were a great comfort to us with their gifts of food and their prayers, as was everyone who has helped us since.

Thank you again to everyone. We can never say it enough.

PETER and KIM HOFFMAN, Columbus

You’re welcome

have to admit I got pretty steamed when I read the comments titled "Shabby treatment" regarding the Muscogee County Humane Society, but knowing human beings and their ability to blame others for their actions or inactions, I guess it makes more sense.

The writer was upset because the Humane Society was in possession of what she claimed was her friend’s cat. She should have been grateful that we had rescued the cat. Had it not been for the Humane Society, it would be in the landfill now.

Yes, we charge adoption fees. All of our animals are spayed or neutered and have wellness checks and appropriate shots, and we estimate $250 of vet services for only $85. We have up to 400 animals in our care at any given time. Yes, it takes money, and people like the writer’s friend, instead of being thankful, can only find fault at a rescue organization that saves about 2,000 animals a year.

That lovely cat now has a new loving home with people who love him with one eye. Another great ending to what could have been tragedy. TOM BRYAN, MCHS Board of Directors

Get a clue, Al

Local viewers were treated to another warmongering rant by Al Fleming reacting to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's statement that the "war" in Iraq was lost.

Perhaps it would have been more accurate if Harry had made the distinction between the war, which was won handily by the greatest fighting force on earth, and the occupation, which is being fouled with the blood of the innocent and treated by this "administration" as an opportunity to line the pockets of companies dear to the hearts of our oilmen-in-chief.

Fleming defamed those of us who opposed this disaster before it even started. His parroting of Republican talking points included the cynical hand-wringing about how the troops will feel when they hear Harry's assessment.

I wonder how they felt when they heard about the Walter Reed Hospital scandal, or the triple-deployment scandal, or the tour extension scandal, or the lack of armor scandal, or when their comrades with brain and spinal injuries are sent back to Iraq.

Fleming and other demogogues never tire of repeating the lie that our troops are "protecting our freedoms" by being in the middle of a civil war. Just for the record, Al, our freedoms are secured by the Constitution, which is under assault by your bloodstained heroes, Bush, Cheney and Gonzales. C.L. MARTIN, Columbus

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