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Letter: The seven deadly sins

Published: Thursday, May 16, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

In conversations with various acquaintances, I often hear them say, “I don’t read the newspaper any more. There’s nothing but bad news day in and day out.”

“If it bleeds, it leads,” is a saying in the news business.

Of course.  No one would rush out to buy a newspaper if there was a headline that read “Nothing noteworthy or untoward happened today.”

There is a certain schadenfreude evident when reading about calamity as it befalls another human being. I remember reading an item about Alice Roosevelt Longworth.  She (allegedly), had a throw pillow on her divan embroidered with a message that read, “If you can’t say anything good about someone, come sit by me.”

Who among us does not read of the misdeeds and antics of celebrities? Many times their good deeds and charity work go unnoticed, if they are even mentioned. The topics must be about the seven deadly sins to capture our interest.

There are various lists as well as opinions on the origin of the seven deadly sins. 

One list dates back to the ancient Babylonians and was matched to the then-known seven heavenly bodies, sun, moon and five planets.

Pope Gregory listed them in 1600 as envy, greed, gluttony, pride, avarice, lust and sloth, and used them as teaching tools. 

There seem to be a lot of examples of one or more of the deadly sins in our daily newspapers.

The story of the women held captive by a sadistic monster for 10 years may be attributed to lust. Even though they are safe now, I wonder about the residual effects on their psyches.The $45 million heist by computer hackers most certainly can be labeled greed and avarice.

Where would you place the bombing of the Boston marathon? Some sins don’t fit into the category of the seven deadly sins.

Shooting of our young people on the streets of Chicago is increasing. To which category does that belong?

I often find myself wondering as I retire at night what story will grip us in the morning. Sadly, there is always a new disaster unfolding.

Catastrophes and disaster are what sell newspapers to a hungry public looking for just that.              

Don’t fault the people who bring us the news.  In other words, don’t blame the messenger. 

Mil Misic


Parallel solutions to pension problem

To the Editor:

I think Shaw Media almost got it right (“Our View: Advantage Madigan on pension plans,” May 14).

They got the percentages right; what they missed was who should pay the bill.

My reasoning? The editorial endorses Madigan’s plan, which puts all the burden on Illinois’ public employees, current and already retired.

However, since the pension funds shortfall was caused entirely by our elected representatives’ decisions not to budget contributions to the pension funds in a timely manner, all those eligible to vote in Illinois – including current public-sector employees and retirees – should share in retiring the debt run up by our representatives.

Interestingly, we can do this by increasing the Illinois income tax in ways parallel to what Shaw Media endorses about the Madigan plan.

For instance, the editorial says, “We think public employees should pay more toward their pensions. Madigan’s plan increases by 2 percent what employees must contribute to their pensions.” An alternative, but parallel solution would be to raise the Illinois income tax by 2 percent.

Likewise, the editorial says, “We like that Madigan’s plan caps the 3 percent cost-of-living adjustment to $1,000 per year of work, but think the percentage increase is too high.”

A parallel solution? Increasing the Illinois income tax by a percentage equivalent to what it will cost public employees in retirement if the salaries to which the COLA is applied is capped at $1,000 per year of work.

Then, of course, we should demand the resignation of Madigan and all the other legislators who caused the problem in the first place requiring these tax increases in order to avoid reneging on the State’s contracts and harming the people who do the state’s work.

Robert Suchner


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