The following is what our readers sounded off about this week:
It's not fair
I'm responding to "How is Obamacare fair?" It's not fair. It's not for the average person. If you are making $50,000 or $60,000 a year, you can afford your health insurance, even if you have a family of four or five. But the rest of us who have our own health insurance, since I moved here a very long time ago … we pay our own health insurance. It's not fair at all. We have to cut back on everything else. I guess that's what they want us to do – cut back.
The streets of Geneva
What is going on with the streets department in Geneva? The streets have never looked so bad. Side streets are icy. The plowing is not being done on time. It's unsafe. Geneva was known for the best streets and best maintenance in the area. What has gone wrong?
The snow in Geneva
I'm calling about the snow in Geneva. They want you to shop local. How do they expect, when you park your car, to jump over a pile of snow on a curb and sidewalk? The only way you can get in is to walk past all the parked cars to the far end, where they have it shoveled. I see no reason why they can't keep it open. They keep talking about handicapped people. How do you expect a handicapped person, or even a regular person, to jump over those big snow piles that they have on the sidewalks next to the curb?
They can come after you
Today is the beginning of a brand new year, Jan. 1, 2014. In this year, the citizens of the United States of America are faced with mountainous spy laws and things that we cannot do. And a lot of these people supporting it don't realize that if they support gun laws and support having drones that come into your house or into your schools, and those drones are able to be armed ... someday, they can come after you. Maybe today, just so that the government can get these laws passed, they will say it's only for this protection or for that protection. But remember, for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. And those laws will eventually be used against you. You really need to think about 2014 and protecting all of your freedoms – your freedom of speech, your freedom of religion and your freedom to seek medical care and pay for what you need, not what the government thinks you need. Get your taxes down, and control your government. I hope everyone in 2014 has a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year. And I hope and pray that we have much less, and less intrusive, government.
Batavia and priorities
I would like to know how the city of Batavia has funding to blow up two fireworks displays this year and put up a useless arch, and yet offer no aid to the independent businesses lining Wilson Street that suffered greatly during the lengthy construction project. All of the beautification will mean nothing if there are only empty storefronts lining the street. Batavia, get your priorities straight. A little bit of help will go a long way.
A warped sense of reality
Last week's Sound Off caller went too far, saying our government is the "nastiest government on the face of the Earth. ..." This person needs a reality check. First, Snowden is a traitor, plain and simple. Second, by our government's efforts, we have successfully kept our country safer than most since 9/11. Third, Google most oppressive nations, and you will find 16 nations, 1.6 billion people, or 23 percent of the world's population have no say in their government and face consequences if they do speak out. The irony is that our sons and daughters are fighting for the freedoms, so that this person can say we are the nastiest. We can only hope that a person with this warped sense of reality has a sphere of influence that is very small. Hopefully, he isn't indoctrinating a family with children who would share those values. It is not what made our country as great as it is.
Criminals will obey?
What a brilliant idea. The city of St. Charles, among other places, are posting signs that will prohibit the carrying of firearms on their property. I'm sure criminals, or anyone else bent on illegal activity, will obey those signs. The reasonable thing to do would be for those to allow those who are properly licensed to carry most anywhere.
Prove me wrong
The Illinois State Legislature disrespected and trashed the state constitution with their recent vote on so-called pension reform. The Illinois governor disrespected and trashed the state constitution when he signed it into law. You say, "How did they do this?" Or, "How could they do this?" Simple. They ignored the constitution that clearly states pensions cannot be diminished or impaired. Perhaps these lawmakers haven't read the constitution, or maybe they don't understand it, or maybe that part that state pensions cannot be diminished or impaired was redacted. Or maybe they think it doesn't apply to them. Obviously, that's it. The constitution doesn't apply to state lawmakers. It only applies some of the time, all of the time or never, depending on the whims of the lawmakers. This is a Kleenex constitution, and this is what Illinois has. Illinois Supreme Court, please prove me wrong.
The most precious gift
Christians around the world celebrated the birth of Christ. Many adorned their homes with lights, sang songs about snow, sleigh rides, a playful snowman and a saint, who morphed into a jolly old elf. Many exchanged gifts. Some were expensive. Some were not. Some were overjoyed. Some were disappointed, especially the children who received a used gift or nothing at all. Somehow, in all this frenzy of gift buying and giving, we have mostly lost the true meaning of Christmas, which is the celebration of the birth of Christ. On that occasion, only the Wise Men brought gifts, and the angels sang peace on earth, goodwill to men. It was pretty low-key by comparison about what happens around Christmas and dominates our time and thinking today. If we scaled back our compassion of making Christmas a Bacchanalia, we might take a different view of what scriptures says and the six words the angels sang on that night. This, more than anything we can buy, is the most precious gift we can give to our children and to each other.
The old ways are the best
All of my Christmas gifts were purchased, brought home, wrapped and put under the tree for Christmas Day. Sometimes, the old ways are the best ways.
The Democrats and their standard
Isn't it interesting how the liberal Democrats complain about Bruce Rauner's wealth, to crush the GOP governor opponents with his own money? Nothing is ever mentioned about the wealth of Mayor Emanuel, who has millions of dollars to crush any of his opponents, and he's only running for Chicago mayor. What about the millions of dollars that House Speaker Michael Madigan and Democratic Senate President John Cullerton have to defeat any opponent? It appears that millions for Democrats are OK, but the same standard is not meant for the GOP.
What is harmful?
People have been talking, and the newspapers have been writing, about genetically modified foods. And the news is continually reported that the genetically modified foods are not put on the label that they are genetically modified. While the government is saying that there's no evidence that says these things are harmful to people, I'm going to ask the people to do what I do – all of you should sit down and write down the brand names of the foods that you have been eating. Write down how many times a week you have heartburn, and what you have eaten when you've had heartburn. Talk to the people in your workplace and ask them how much more heartburn they have had over the last couple of years. You see all of these heartburn medications on TV being advertised. You wouldn't have heartburn if the foods weren't causing it. So, why not be proactive and protect your health? Also, a lot of genetic organisms, when they're modified, become deadly. Why do we have such an increase in cancer? So, think about what you eat. A lot of things grow in the environment, and they are basically harmless until they are genetically modified by some quirk of nature to become poisonous. Anthrax is an example.
Where is the common sense?
Can someone tell me why the Oswego School District is holding an institute day on Monday, Jan. 6? That means there is no school for students on that day. Are you kidding me? They just had two weeks off. Where is the common sense? What an inconvenience to parents who have to get sitters for their children. This is the kind of poor planning that causes people to vote against school referendums. By the way, I am a retired educator with 30 years of experience as a principal. I've had plenty of practice when it comes to planning a school calendar. I cannot understand the rationale behind this decision.
• You can sound off, as well, by calling our Sound Off line at 630-845-5240 or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Calls must be limited to 1 minute or less.