With respect to the second of your "17th annual Golden Sleaze Awards" (cover story, March 30), someone should ask Reps. Tommy Benton and Terry England the following question:
In the discussions surrounding a monument to, or display of, the Ten Commandments, why is there no one who realizes that such a sculpture or display of the Ten Commandments is itself a violation of the Second Commandment ("Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image," Exodus 20:4)?
-- Bob Zaslavsky, Atlanta
I take great exception to your article "The Arnie Awards" (March 30) suggesting that the "women of the Senate" stuck up for Georgia mothers by amending a bill that was backed by Rep. Earl Ehrhart.
"The original bill sought to reduce payments for non-custodial parents -- usually fathers -- for spending weekends and vacations with their kids, but the amendment called for an extra month of quality time before dad gets his break."
If you look at the above, sir, can you tell me what, if anything, is wrong? If you said, "non-custodial parents -- usually fathers‚" and then "an extra month of quality time before dad gets a break," I would say congratulations. It appears that you have hit on the core of the real issues driving the new child support guidelines.
Just in case you or your readers do not know: Fathers cry for their children, also. We do not cry like their mothers because we are men, but we do cry, and hurt, and miss our children and need and want our children just as much as their mother.
Yes, fathers do want a break and that extra month without interference would be wonderful; however, just as children have needs that require money at their mother's house, they have the same needs at their dad's house. Sounds reasonable, right? Children have needs at both houses. Child support is supposed to meet those needs, right? So why is there all this resistance from the "sisters" at giving both parents a portion of that financial responsibility based on their income? What could the "sisters" possibly be thinking about?
Mothers are now becoming non-custodial parents at a greater rate than fathers. By the time our children have children, the position of non-custodial parent may be an equal opportunity for both men and women. Today, as you so eloquently pointed out, non-custodial parents are usually fathers. I, a father, ask why?
If you are going to punish someone for doing a good deed, please consider Rep. Earl Ehrhart. Making sure that the money is available to meet the needs of a child at both of the parents' homes is a good deed.
-- Michael W. Whelan, Snellville
What do you expect?
If you close your business or do not show up for work for questionable reasons, do you expect to have a job or business the next day (News & Views, "Power in numbers," March 30)?
So a couple of landscaping companies and diners shut down for the day. Big deal. The great Red State of Georgia went rolling along.
So much for the point the organizers wanted to make. All it did was re-enforce people's view of the situation, which wasn't too positive to begin with.
The next time "organizers" or "community activists" want to help, don't. You have done quite enough as it is.
-- Dominic Simao, Roswell
They have big hearts
In response to Jack Franco Handmacher's letter (Going Postal, "It's not automatic," March 23) about "Health care tricky for legal children of illegal parents" (March 16), his statement, "Illegal Mexicans are the most selfish creatures on earth," prompted my response:
As a longtime public health professional, I have worked around countless Mexican immigrants, many of whom were no doubt undocumented, and some of these very hard-working individuals who had next to nothing readily offered to share what little they did have. And speaking of selfish, many of us know Americans who have 16,000-square-foot houses with seven bathrooms, two SUVs, and three other cars and trucks, snowmobiles and watercraft. Such persons often hoard what they have, do not share, and are self-centered, self-absorbed bigots.
America is an amazing and great country. It is also far from perfect. The undocumented Mexican immigrants, as well as those who are here with work permits and green cards, often do work that 99.9 percent of Americans will not do.
I do recognize that this country can't take in everyone who wants to come, and that there are people who wait years on lists trying to come in legally. But, if I were a 19-year-old Mexican male from a large family with a mother and younger siblings who were hungry and living in poverty in a village in my country where, through no fault of my own, there were no jobs, and if I were told there were jobs in the U.S. that would allow me to work hard and be able to send maybe $300 a month home to my mother, I can tell you what I would do.
I would attempt to cross the border, which in itself is often life-threatening, to try and help out my family, even if Jack called me one of the most selfish creatures on earth. I wonder what Jack would do if he was in the above 19-year-old's shoes?
-- S. Coulter, Atlanta
Y'all should be grateful
You are hopelessly politically correct in your attack on Dixie (Flicks, "Forget, hell," Feb. 23). You are racist against whites since political correctness is the newest American racism.
You refuse to accept the fact that slavery was sanctioned by the Bible, legal according to the U.S. Constitution, and practiced for thousands of years by numerous cultures in many parts of the world. It was perfectly logical for Southerners to make use of slavery in the hot, humid climate of the South, in contrast to the cold North. Southerners are innocent because of the geographic determinism of the climate.
Here's why your piece on slavery is so evil. Being guilt-ridden and consumed with American slavery, which ended 150 years ago, you criminally ignore the slavery that exists in Africa today. Which is more urgently evil: the slavery of 150 years ago or the slavery of today? The slavery that exists today cries out for far more attention than the slavery that ended 150 years ago.
Slavery was the best thing to happen to today's black Americans. Without slavery, there would be virtually no blacks or African-Americans in America. Without the worldwide institution of slavery, blacks would not have been allowed into America. Instead of whites paying reparations to blacks, blacks should be grateful they just live in America. Billions of people around the world are dying to come to America. American blacks should be grateful that slavery brought them here. Finally, if the Colonies could secede from Britain, why couldn't the South secede from the Union?
-- Keith Watkins, Atlanta
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