Real corporate evil
The word “corporation” is legal fiction that allows a large business to operate without opening up the senior management to personal liability for losses or debts. Many “small businesses” are incorporated. In addition, while they represent the well-being of millions around the globe, their only recourse for political activity is in publicly reported donations.
Corporations cannot “buy” elections; people must still elect these candidates to public office. Money is a potent force in politics, but let’s not confuse money with votes. The real evil in corporate spending is that this money should be hiring more employees, not making forgettable attack ads.
Brighton Hushing-Kline Atascadero
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Health insurance companies, with their first priority on profits in lieu of patient care, siphon nearly one-third of the dollars spent on America’s health care. This money (in the billions) could all be used to provide better health care service to all Americans (both currently insured and uninsured) under a single-payer system.
James Thomas Arroyo Grande
Investing in jobs
In these troubled economic times, California needs to make smart investments in work-force training to compete in an increasingly global and green economy. We must do everything in our power to create new jobs, avert additional layoffs and recruit and retain employers.
Most job training programs strive to direct trainees into jobs after they have upgraded their skills, but results can vary. One program, however, comes with an assurance that job training funds will result in a job for someone who is out of work, or higher wages for a trainee who is lucky enough to already have a job.
That is why Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is wisely proposing to expand the successful labor-management-run Employment Training Panel to create 100,000 new jobs in all industries, enhance business recruitment and avert additional layoffs and boost wages by providing job training for 140,000 incumbent workers.
Under the California Jobs Initiative, $200 million will be available to employers for customized job training. This program is performance-based, meaning that reimbursement for training is based on job retention and improved wages.
An additional $300 million will be available to businesses that hire unemployed individuals in the form of a rebate of $3,000 per employee. This incentive — which is the equivalent of the state portion of payroll taxes for an employee in the first year — is crucial to spur new hiring.
It’s only fair that all businesses participate fully in this training program. Thousands of new jobs and California’s continued competitiveness demand it.
Victoria Bradshaw Secretary, California Labor and Workforce Development Agency
As a resident of Nipomo, I read with interest that a dispensary for medical marijuana is in the planning phase for our community (“Marijuana clinic still possible in Nipomo,” Jan. 28). Having watched dispensaries be voted down by all the cities in this county until now, I’m wondering what governing board will have the final say for Nipomo. We are an unincorporated area with no city council, so who will have the final vote?
It could be a real advantage for Nipomo to allow the opening of a dispensary and tax all the sales made. The money generated should be allocated to stay in Nipomo and not be shared by the rest of the county, since all the other cities have voted it down anyway.
We need a wider bridge at Tefft Street and another freeway on- and off-ramps. How about allocating all taxes generated at the dispensary for those projects?
Lastly, there is already a steady flow of marijuana to this county. It’s just not the legal flow. If the dispensary becomes a problem, there are many ways to close it, so what’s the risk?
Roberto Guerrero Nipomo
Two different wars
I’m afraid that Richard Placak (“Where are protesters?” Feb. 1) has drawn unwarranted parallels between the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. On Sept. 11, the U.S. was attacked by a group of men whose leader and organization was based in Afghanistan, and we suitably initiated action against them.
Unfortunately, the Bush administration then took its eye off the ball, which was the elimination of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, and pursued a war of choice in Iraq, which has proved to be costly and pointless.
We are now trying to extricate ourselves from Iraq and have returned to our main focus in Afghanistan, where the Iraq misadventure gave time for al-Qaida and the fundamentalist Taliban to reconstitute themselves, notably in the tribal regions of northwest Pakistan.
We worry, justifiably, that Pakistan, which has nuclear weapons, will become a “failed” state, and to prevent this we and our NATO allies are sending more troops to Afghanistan to support the Karzai government and deny its enemies any safe haven, while allowing the Pakistan army to assert control in the areas known to support al-Qaida and the Taliban.
Clement Salvadori Atascadero
Scott Ziering does himself and others a disservice in his letter (“On the Golden Rule,” Jan. 19). The Bible is purposely designed for those who truly hunger to know God. It is layers upon layers.
Ziering quotes Matthew 15:22-28, stating Jesus called the woman a dog. First of all, men didn’t talk to women in public in that day, and the Jews and Canaanites (Arab descent) absolutely avoided each other. The word dog used in that scripture, translated from the original Greek, actually means pet, as in a “beloved pet.”
Jesus stopped in public, talked to a woman and used a term of softness toward her. She begged Jesus to cure her daughter. As Jesus heard her cry out to him, “Lord,” knowing her faith, he had mercy on her, though she was a woman and not a Jew, and healed her daughter.
Jesus’ hesitancy was to draw out her example of faith so that others could see, believe and be saved. Ziering conveniently left out the verse that followed showing Jesus’ mercy and his healing of the woman’s daughter. Clarifications to Ziering’s other assertions can be easily found with a little effort and true study.
Jeri Young Nipomo
Take the train
Regarding Steve Key’s letter about the train, please do not give up on Amtrak (“Train trip too long,” Jan. 22). If he is willing to drive to San Luis Obispo, he can leave his car in the long-term parking lot at the train station and take the afternoon Coast Starlight to the Bay Area; it takes about five and a half hours.
The Starlight doesn’t go right into the city, but Amtrak does have a bus from Jack London Square in Oakland or from Emeryville, the two closest stops to San Francisco.
One needs to have a fairly flexible schedule, a sense of adventure and some patience, as the train can run late due to all sorts of unexpected circumstances. But it can be a relaxing way to travel, and you meet interesting people and enjoy some scenic vistas that can only be seen from the train.
A. Padgett Los Osos
Health reform defeat
Recently, I went to my local pharmacy to get my monthly prescription filled. This is a medication I must have. It took three tries, but I finally found a pharmacy that had the indicated pills in stock. The cost of 90 pills, nongeneric? $900. Luckily for me, I have insurance. My portion was only $281.
Yesterday, I visited my eye doctor because heredity has given me an eye disease that requires a shot in the eye every six weeks. Cost of that little ditty? $1,600. Luckily for me, I have insurance. My portion was only $700.
Can you afford $1,000 per month for two prescriptions while you pay a monthly premium of $500? I work two jobs to afford this excellent care.
People who think we do not need health insurance reform either have excellent health, are insured by the government or state, are on Medicare with reasonable rates for gap insurance or are very rich.
Thanks to all of those Americans who feel they have accomplished a crushing defeat to health insurance reform. The drug companies are grateful for your support.
Kathleen Wafer Atascadero
Regarding Bill O’Reilly’s column (“Brit Hume, Tiger Woods and Buddha,” Jan. 9):
Buddhism may not offer redemption in response to sin per se, but that does not mean that Buddhists lack redemption. Au contraire! The foundational Buddhist concept of karma certainly addresses what most religions might refer to as the cycle of sin and redemption.
Following the precepts of Mahayana Buddhism, we all share both our good and bad karmas equally. We are all in the same boat together; as long as any one of us is suffering, we are all suffering. Unlike some faiths, there is no cherry picking, drop kicking or jettisoning of any person out of the collective process of spiritual progress in Buddhism.
Therefore Tiger Wood’s problems are mine, as are Bill O’Reilly’s, al-Qaida’s and every other person’s on Earth. No matter how bad our karma as individuals, there is only gradual forward movement for us all. One day, we will all be enlightened together. And that is redemption in a nutshell.
Tobey Crockett Los Osos
What’s the cost?
The Chicago Tribune article you reprinted on visiting Puerto Rico (“Puerto Rico’s mild, mild West,” Jan. 31) was tempting; however, it did not include the cost of the listed hotel rooms and restaurants — a considerable disservice to today’s travelers, who are more than ever interested in what a vacation will cost.
Robert Brownson Arroyo Grande