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A NEED FOR VIGILENCE
After reading Dusty Rhodes' article "The Incident" [March 18], my blood boiled.
Women have to understand that they are the primary and most reliable agent of their own personal protection. The police are usually called once a crime has been committed -- they cannot protect us 24/7. With officials like [State's Attorney John] Schmidt, the crimes are continued by the lack of prosecutions. This sends a clear message to perpetrators: Choose someone you know, leave no marks.
As a Registered Nurse, working all different shifts of the day and night, I have become proactive in my own protection. Unfortunately, this came after my brother-in-law assaulted me in my own kitchen in 1997. Although there was enough evidence for a two-year order of protection (in Christian County), no charges were ever filed.
So what is the message here? Women need to be careful in any part of any town, at any time of the day or night. But they need to be especially careful not to get into situations where they may be alone with someone they know, perhaps someone they think they know well. Even if you don't go to dinner with your rapist, without gross injuries or witnesses, it is unlikely that your attacker will ever be brought to any kind of justice.
Name withheld by request
TWELVE GREAT CAUSES
In the next week, millions of Illinois taxpayers will be filling out their income tax returns. Twenty years ago, voluntary check-offs appeared for the first time on Illinois tax forms, with three causes benefiting. This year, we have 12 great causes to support. I plan to donate to all 12 and encourage every taxpayer to do likewise.
Preventing child abuse. Breast cancer research. Building a World War II Veterans' Memorial. The tax check-off is a convenient and voluntary way to lend a hand. The contribution is deducted from your refund or added to the amount due.
Curing Lou Gehrig's Disease. Asthma and lung research. Assisting the homeless. Each one of these 12 great causes is special. Each cause lends a hand as neighbors do. Any one of us could some day benefit individually from any one of these causes, but we all benefit now as a community.
Alzheimer's research. Treating leukemia. Aiding families of National Guard members and reservists called to active duty. For a check-off to remain on next year's tax form, it must generate at least $100,000 from Illinois taxpayers this year. Unless this threshold is met, any one of these dozen great causes could be removed from next year's tax form, so widespread support is crucial.
Helping Multiple Sclerosis victims. Prostate cancer research. Preserving Illinois wildlife. The people of the Land of Lincoln are generous and caring. If everyone gives just a dollar to each one of these dozen great causes, we'll be making a meaningful difference in the lives of the victims, the veterans, the children, the military families, and the wildlife who benefit from these funds.
Visit our Web site -- www.twelvegreatcauses.il.gov -- for links to and background about these not-for-profit causes. And remember, when you get to "Line 28" on your Illinois Income Tax Form, please consider donating a dollar to each of the 12 great causes.
Lieutenant Governor, Illinois
WONDER OF WONDERS
I noted with alarm that the Pentagon has won control of the $18.4 billion Iraq aid package provided by American taxpayers. The purpose is to provide funds for rebuilding what was destroyed when we went to war with this small, poor country whose infrastructure was in bad shape anyway . . . thus, it is more than "rebuilding." Now it is apparent our mission was to destroy Saddam and his small group of thugs, not actually protect ourselves. The price tag is phenomenal!
The most senior accountant at the Pentagon has revealed that they have failed to give an accounting of the funds given them by Congress for the past five years. They simply can't say where the money went. The IRS and apparently the congressional oversight committees have simply "excused them" from this responsibility. (Don't we wish we could be "excused" for our lack of records?)
So, wonder of wonders, how can it be that the decision has been made to drop $18.4 billion more of our money into this hole -- an organization that is incapable of managing its own enormous budget?
A further consequence of this arrangement is that the military will not be solely responsible for "peacekeeping" as we have been led to believe, but will control Iraq for a presently projected four years and no one can say how much longer.
In the meantime, our own schools, medical facilities, infrastructure, social services and national security needs are in dire straits because of cuts in state and local budgets.
I applaud U.S. Sen. John Kerry for calling a spade a spade. He couldn't have chosen his words more accurately -- and thank goodness they were picked up by that microphone and subsequently broadcast throughout the world. I only wish he had the courage to say it openly.
And I'm so glad shots are finally being fired at a vital part of the so-called Republican attack machine -- the army of right-wing radio brownshirts who obsequiously praise the virtuousness and saviorlike attributes of President George W. Bush and his administration while viciously attacking all who dissent.
Just listen to Michael Savage, the big dog of the pack. And listen to any of the rest: Rush Limbaugh, Mike Reagan, Bill O'Reilly, Mike Shaughnessy, Michael Medved, Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy, Oliver North, Laura Ingraham, Dr. James Dobson, Rusty Humphries, ad nauseam.
If the men and women in this administration were honorable and decent, they would have long ago distanced themselves from and castigated this bunch of hatemongers.
I would add to John Kerry's cogent description that these people are such colossal crooks and liars, they'd make lesser crooks and liars blush.
MEDIA GIVE KERRY A PASS
The changing attitudes of the media reports go beyond acceptance of John Kerry as a viable candidate. The mainstream media are supporting his liberal economic and military agenda. It simply is wrong for America.
President Bush has taken important steps to secure our homeland, including a new Homeland Security Department, focused on protecting the American people. America is safer as a result.
I hope our local media see the important and vital distinction between these candidates and endorse our president.
Keith D. Errett
MEDIA GIVE BUSH A PASS
With all of the high-profile investigations and court cases going on recently in this country, it is amazing that important issues go unchecked in the media.
While Martha Stewart, Kobe Bryant and Scott Peterson mop up so much of the cable news industry's time, it seems that little is left for the most important issue facing our nation.
What are the facts behind President Bush's alleged manipulation of intelligence to justify the Iraq war?
Americans should call for Congress to censure George Bush and further investigate his role in using shoddy intelligence to support an ill-conceived and tragic war.
Norma J. Nelson