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Sun-Times forgets about Constitution

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan | Sun-Times files

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan | Sun-Times files

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Updated: June 16, 2013 6:15AM

I find it incredible that the Sun-Times Editorial Board would ignore the Illinois Constitution in addressing pension reform.

The bottom line is that we cannot pick and choose only those parts of our Illinois Constitution that meet our own special needs, or in this case, the needs of the Chicago Sun-Times and the politicians. By doing this, the Chicago Sun-Times is giving the impression to the citizens of this state that the Illinois Constitution and the rule of law are no longer viable in guaranteeing the protection of the rights of all Illinois citizens, or for example, in the case of The Sun-Times, the right of a free press. I also find it incredible that the Sun-Times Editorial Board also did not address the morality, if not the legality, of current and past elected officials skipping required payments to the public pension funds in order to spend the money elsewhere. The editorial Board also did not address the moral and financial impact that slashing COLAs will have on retirees’ household finances.

Even though I have issues with Cullerton’s pension legislation, I think comparing it to the Madigan legislation, it is legislation that would have a better chance of meeting constitutional requirements. It would also have a less draconian impact on households.

In summary, I do think that the Sun-Times Editorial Board is wrong when it implied that the Cullerton bill would “continue the outrageous pass-the-buck behavior that got us into trouble in the first place.” But I do think the Madigan pension legislation would continue pass-the-buck behavior — but in this case to the Illinois employees who deserve better from our elected officials.

Earl Shumaker, Sycamore

GOP tries to invent a scandal

Benghazi is the new Whitewater. The Republicans wasted $66 million in the ’90s trying to bring down Bill Clinton through Whitewater and came up with nothing. Now, they’re trying the same with Obama through Benghazi. We have lots of issues that require leadership in Congress: unemployment, the economy and immigration, to name a few. That Congress is spending valuable time on this non-issue is a pretty good indication of why their approval rating is at an historic low.

David McGowan, Ravenswood

Huntley wrong chastises president

I’m responding to the Tuesday column, “Dig Deeper on IRS, Benghazi Scandals” by Steve Huntley.

Mr. Huntley states that the “administration, then in the middle of a re-election campaign, was committed to showing the Libyan intervention was a success as well as claiming to have al-Qaida “on the run.”

I believe Mr. Huntley is suggesting that Mr. Obama and others were trying to whitewash the problem to make it easier for Mr. Obama to get re-elected. If Mr. Huntley would dig a little deeper and think about what would have happened if Mr. Obama had gone into Libya even if he couldn’t have stopped the killings in time.

By sending in helicopters, fighter jets and Marines to go after the perpetrators who killed our ambassador, Mr. Obama could have left no doubt that we have al-Qaida “on the run.” It would be short and sweet, no need for a full-blown war. They killed our ambassador and the American people would have loved to settle the score. Who do you think people would vote for at this point? Instead, he chose to save lives, Americans and innocents, and decided to stalk the killers as he did with Osama bin Laden. Like the saying goes, “speak softly but carry a big stick.” He and his people handled the situation beautifully.

Richard Glogowski, River Grove

Benefits of medical marijuana

Peter Bensinger’s Tuesday letter to the editor about the medical marijuana bill gives the impression that passing the bill would result in cancer patients taking marijuana and immediately jumping behind the wheel of a car and “endangering children,” as he puts it. Does he really think that medical marijuana, which will be prescribed by doctors, is somehow more dangerous than other medications for illnesses? We see ads everyday for medications that can cause death, blindness, heart attacks, serious allergic response, sleep walking, driving while sleeping, etc. Mr. Bensinger states that the FDA has not approved of medical marijuana. Can we trust the FDA when they have approved of medications that have caused the serious as results listed above? Can we trust the FDA when they have approved genetically modified foods when the fact is that absolutely no one knows the long-term results of eating these types of foods?

Marijuana is a plant. Most people would rather use plant-based medications than chemicals from a laboratory with questionable long-term results. Mr. Bensinger may have experience in the criminal aspects of drugs, but he does not have experience in the medical aspects. In addition, if marijuana was legal it would certainly help reduce the problem of drug cartels and violence because of illegal drugs crossing our borders. I’m surprised that Mr. Bensinger hasn’t considered that very important fact.

Peggy Zabicki, West Lawn

Hoarders need help

On May 22, after 13 years of revisions, the new DSM-5 will add “hoarding” as an official disorder. The addition to “psychiatry’s Bible” will likely lead to increased treatment options for hoarders, since insurance companies often grant coverage based off DSM “codes.”As the 31-year-old daughter of a hoarder, it has taken me 19 years —­ more than 1,600 hours — of quality psychoanalysis to recover from my childhood experiences. The homes that we see on shows like A&E’s “Hoarders” and TLC’s “Buried Alive” should not be viewed as “entertainment.” They are crime scenes when children are involved.

No one knows for sure how many children of hoarders there are, but studies consistently show that as many as 15 million Americans compulsively hoard. Who’s speaking up for their children; the many millions who remain voiceless and silent out of shame? Where’s our voice in the dialogue about the new DSM-V?

Tricia Parker,

Advocate for Children of Hoarders,

South Loop

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