Cameras would be welcome at dangerous intersection
While many are bemoaning the fact that Girard may soon have those surveillance cameras perched at intersections to pick up those persons who "run" the red lights, I am one who would like to see one installed at what has been called the most dangerous intersection in northeastern Ohio: state Route 82 at Howland-Wilson Road.
Having lived in the near neighborhood for five years, I am required to sit at the intersection on Route 82 west, awaiting the left turn arrow that permits me to cross the eastbound lane. I do that approximately 15 times per week. As I sit there, I find that there are numerous occasions when westbound traffic runs the red traffic signal. I have also seen that similar infractions occur in the eastbound lane as well, while I wait on Howland-Wilson Road to enter Route 82. Many of those red light runners are large semis, 18 wheelers that barrel down on that intersection and could broadside a vehicle pulling out on the green from Howland-Wilson Road.
The effects of such a collision are too obvious to state. If a surveillance camera is not installed, the least the Highway Patrol could do would be to move the officer up from Route 82/Market Street split, where one often sits, to monitor a much more dangerous area.
Currently the department of highways is in the process of widening Howland-Wilson on each side of Route 82. That will do nothing to improve the dangerous redlight-running, but it will expand the traffic that will be entering Route 82, ever increasing the chance of yet another fatal accident. I would urge those persons responsible for decision making on such matters to give a strong consideration to this suggestion. What will it be, cameras or more collisions?
CHARLES H. McGOWEN, M.D.
What it means to adoptthe Judeo-Christian ethic
The United States of America is the only country in history to have defined itself as Judeo-Christian. While the Western world has consisted of many Christian countries and consists today of many secular countries, only America has called itself Judeo-Christian. America is also unique in that it has always combined secular government with a society based on religious values.
But what does "Judeo-Christian" mean? We need to know. Along with the belief in liberty -- as opposed to, for example, the European belief in equality, the Muslim belief in theocracy, and the Eastern belief in social conformity -- Judeo-Christian values are what distinguish America from all other countries. That is why American coins feature these two messages: "In God we trust" and & quot;Liberty." Yet, for all its importance and its repeated mention, the term is not widely understood. It urgently needs to be because it is under ferocious assault, and if we do not understand it, we will be unable to defend it. And if we cannot defend it, America will become as amoral as France, Germany, Russia, et al.
First, Judeo-Christian America has differed from Christian countries in Europe in at least two important ways. One is that the Christians who founded America saw themselves as heirs to the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible, as much as to the New. And even more importantly, they strongly identified with the Jews. For example, Thomas Jefferson wanted the design of the seal of the United States to depict the Jews leaving Egypt. Just as the Hebrews left Egypt and its values, Americans left Europe and its values. A strong Old Testament view of the world means, in part, a strong sense of fighting for earthly justice, an emphasis on laws, a belief in a judging, as well as a loving and forgiving, God, and a belief in the chosenness of the Jews which America identified with.
This belief accounts for the mission that Americans have uniquely felt called to -- to spread liberty in the world. This sense of mission is why more Americans have died for the liberty of others than any other nation's soldiers. It is why those who today most identify with the Judeo-Christian essence of America are more likely to believe in the moral worthiness of dying to liberate countries -- not only Europe, but Korea, Vietnam and Iraq. That is why America stands alone in protecting two little countries threatened with extinction, Israel and Taiwan.
The second meaning of Judeo-Christian is a belief in the biblical God of Israel, in His Ten Commandments and His biblical moral laws. It is a belief in universal, not relative, morality. It is a belief that America must answer morally to this God, not to the mortal, usually venal, governments of the world.
President has the answer
Congress has been charged with the goal of reforming one of America's greatest moral successes of the 20th century, Social Security. President Bush has empowered Congress with a plan to put the system on sound financial footing while giving workers access to greater returns on their investment. It is imperative that we preserve and strengthen Social Security, something that President Bush has promised to champion in his second term.
Current projections by the Social Security trustees estimate that the system will begin paying out more than it takes in by 2017 and that it will be insolvent by 2041. These startling projections emphasize the need for swift and sweeping reform. With each passing year, over $600 billion in additional costs are added. We cannot afford to let the system continue down this path any longer.
President Bush has offered an effective plan to deal with this growing problem. Specifically, he has proposed allowing workers to place a portion of their payroll tax into a voluntary personal retirement account. Instead of raising taxes or severely cutting benefits, these accounts will allow workers to invest in a conservative mix of stocks and bonds to help defray the program's benefit obligations.
Voluntary personal retirement accounts will allow workers the opportunity to secure a nest egg for the future, while helping the system remain solvent. We must urge Democrats and Republicans to put aside their partisan differences and work together to solve this problem.
Look past the smokescreen
The present state of our economy disturbs me greatly. I feel that if we continue with President Bush's plans for our economy we are going to wind up in what could easily be the Great Depression of the early 1930s revisited. Alan Greenspan's observations of the state of the U.S. economy is turning into a gigantic blunder. There are millions of Americans still unemployed while the president and Mr. Greenspan's spin on the economy is turning into a smoke screen. The jobs that have been created are low paying jobs for the most part. Prices continue to skyrocket. Medical costs are unaffordable. Fuel costs are at all time highs. Food prices are also out of reach for the average blue collar worker.
The robust economy that Mr. Greenspan speaks about is unattainable in many states, but especially so in our part of the country. The Ohio economy is faltering badly. Gov. Taft continues to cut funding in vitally needed programs. Prisoners who have been convicted of heinous crimes are being released because the prisons are over crowded and under staffed.
In my opinion, many of these problems can directly be attributed to the failed attempts of President Bush's to run the country. His legacy as president has completely missed the mark. He showers money on ungrateful foreign countries while our country is floundering on the brink of disaster.
The stock market's performance is a prime example of an economy out of control. The recent 500-point plunge was a very sobering development. We have been getting warning signals that the stock market was far from healthy. We need a bit of help from Divine Providence.
I do not want to see the early years of the 1930's repeated. I believe that the young Americans who have experienced a bonanza of material goods and the good life would have an extremely difficult time regressing to those dark days of yore.