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Kirk wrong on unemployment vote

Updated: February 10, 2014 11:48AM

U.S. Sen Mark Kirk a moderate? After his vote Tuesday against extending unemployment insurance assistance to the long-time unemployed, he’s not even a compassionate conservative. Kirk benefited from a taxpayer supported safety net for many months following his stroke — and rightly so. We should not punish people for their illnesses. He continued to receive his full salary (a benefit enjoyed by very few Americans). He received hundreds of thousands of dollars in top-flight rehab treatments. All paid for by us. And yet. Yet, he still feels free to thumb his nose at people thrown out of work through no fault of their own.

His vote was selfish and shameful and impossible to justify.

Mary Solomon, Roscoe Village

Minimum wage isn’t a living wage

A minimum State of Illinois wage of $8.25 an hour is not even close to a living wage. Try taking care of yourself and your family on that wage and see how far you get in life. As hard as it may be to believe, gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner wants to reduce it. For Mr. Rauner to propose rolling back the minimum wage to $7.25 is an insult to hard-working people as well as those scrapping by. Mr. Rauner is clueless about the trials and tribulations faced by Illinois citizens who are earning meager wages.

[Clarification: On Wednesday Rauner told the Sun-Times he misspoke and was “flippant” last month when he appeared to advocate a rollback in Illinois’ minimum wage. He said he supports raising the federal minium wage.]

Richard Flesher, Mokena

Gun ruling all about making money

On Monday, a federal judge ruled that Chicago’s ban on the sale and transfer of guns was unconstitutional. After the ruling, gun industry groups made pronouncements about how the lawsuit was about the constitutional right to buy and own firearms, and shows how the city, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, are out to keep Chicagoans from exercising what they believe is their essentially unfettered right to buy and own guns.

But these pronouncements are just spin. The reality is that the case was all about the profits of the more than $30 billion a year gun industry.

The ruling was made in a case filed by a group called the Illinois Association of Firearms Retailers, a group that lobbies on behalf of Illinois gun dealers and gun range owners whose goal is, in their own words, to “expand the commercial marketplace of the firearms industry.”

Why do the members of the IAFR want to open more gun shops? I don’t think it’s to have gun giveaways for Chicagoans. They admittedly want to “expand the commercial marketplace” for guns. This phrase is the gun industry’s attempt to innocently admit that gun manufacturers, gun dealers and gun range owners really only want to sell more guns and get more members so they can make more money.

These gun groups are not sacred defenders of the Constitution — they are made of and funded by craven profiteers who see only the bottom line, not the chalk outlines of children murdered in Chicago by people wielding one of their guns.

Mayor Emanuel and the City Council are right to stand with the children of Chicago and defy the gun industry and its lawsuits and lobbyists.

Barry Owen,


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