Let's look at pay, workload of Congress

Now that sequestration is in effect, a few questions remain unanswered.

First, when will Congress take furlough days and pay cuts?

Second, when did their jobs become so illustrious?

Third, when will the American public gain control of how much these people make, and whether or not they get a raise?

Fourth, when will these people have to work as many days as the average American worker?

Rick Phanton


Churchill's argument against democracy

Re: the March 13 editorial "Civil, substantive discourse vital for democracy."

In response, I would cite Winston Churchill: "The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."

Edward Jeska

Retired, Green Valley

TSA banned-items list makes little sense

Re: the March 6 article "Small knives, bats, clubs to be OK on planes."

The long-overdue decision by the Transportation Security Administration to permit small pocketknives and other previously banned items has resulted in a semihysterical response by flight attendants and others.

Is my tiny multitool with a 1 1/2 inch blade more dangerous than a sharpened lead pencil, a ball point pen barrel or the hard plastic handle of a fast-food utensil, any of which can be used as a lethal weapon?

To illustrate the inanity of the former policy, I had the aforementioned pocketknife confiscated a few years ago, before the TSA began offering a mail-it-home service.

After boarding, imagine my surprise to see a woman sitting across the aisle from me happily knitting using a pair of 10-inch knitting needles, which were not on the banned list.

Go figure.

Ron Lent

Property management, Tucson

Just shut departments of Education, Energy

Re: the March 8 guest column "Congress needs to end the sequester before it causes serious pain."

In one respect, Mayor Jonathan Rothschild is correct. The vindictive Democratic approach to cutting a paltry $80 or so billion from the federal budget - the sequester - by making our military families suffer, schoolchildren suffer, etc., when all one has to do is to get rid of the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, et cetera, is shameful.

And if they do not have the stomach for that, how about requiring each department to reduce spending a little, through attrition, for example, or, better yet, by simply taking President Obama's Air Force One away from him for just a year. That would just about cover the $80 billion.

I can't count the number of ways to reduce government waste, both here (choo-choo trains) and in Washington - they are too numerous.

H. Bradley Toland Jr.

Sonora Investment Management, Tucson

Protecting children must be a top priority

Re: the Feb. 24 article "Tucson a 'dumping ground' for abusive Calif. priests."

This article describes the "use the child, then hide/deny" approach used by the Catholic leadership in parishes over the world, including my hometown - St. Joseph, Minn.

Since 1960, credible allegations of sexual abuse have been reported against 10 out of 26 parish priests (40 percent)! The St. John's Abbey down the road - more than twice this many.

I was one of several young girls around 1960-61 who was sexually abused by a parish priest. See BishopAccountability.org and Snapnetwork.org for more general info.

The church's need to protect its power/wealth took priority over vulnerable children as horrible crimes were committed.

It is vital to respect and protect children. Contact your local bishop and the cardinals and let them know that creating and maintaining open, honest policies that respect and protect the vulnerable need to be a top priority of the church and the new pope.

Patricia Meyer

Retired, Green Valley

Hoping for a day when no one 'comes out'

Re: the March 10 Leonard J. Pitts Jr. column "Some gay athlete needs to kick down the closet door."

I am grateful for straight allies like Baltimore Ravens linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, especially when those allies are athletes.

As an openly gay man who was an athlete most of his life, I am pleased that he and folks like Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe and former rugby player Ben Cohen are standing up for their gay brothers and sisters.

I would just ask them to stop telling gay people what they "need" to do.

When I came out to my parents at 27, it was such a positive experience I thought everyone needed to come out. But I forgot we are each at a different place in our personal journeys. 

More people are coming out, and at younger ages. LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning) are portrayed in the media in positive and many times less stereotypical ways. It doesn't mean it is easier or that everyone is accepting. 

I hope one day no one will need to "come out."

Until then, let's remember that each of us makes his or her own choices, and as long as we are not doing damage, we are doing the "right" thing.

Thom Melendez

Board member, LGBTQ&S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and straight) Alliance Fund