China may pay a Nobel price
Re "China sets up Nobel boycott," Dec. 8
It occurs to me that all the "missing" representatives at the Nobel ceremony have the potential to create a heck of a political backlash against China.
If the issue of why certain people were not in attendance is noted and continues to be discussed in detail, the world will be reminded about the state of politics in China today.
After all, blackmail is still just blackmail.
Desperate times, desperate actions
Re "Chasen killing appears solved," Dec. 9
The tragic shooting death of Ronni Chasen is, unfortunately, a predictable byproduct of an increasingly divided society.
We now have the greatest concentration of wealth in the upper-income brackets in decades. We have crushing unemployment.
The middle class has been decimated, and it no longer has the disposable income that greases the wheels of the economy.
This act may be a portent of a future in which increasingly desperate people turn to violence to survive.
The Gap Gulch as a tax dodge
Re "(Brand name) here, there, everywhere," Opinion, Dec. 9
Commercial branding of taxpayer-funded public amenities is simply a result of corporations avoiding paying their share of taxes.
By using tax benefits and loopholes, sequestering profits overseas and privatizing profits while socializing losses, corporations have helped starve national, state and city governments of revenue to pay for education, transportation, parks, libraries and so on.
Corporations then move in by "sponsoring" the above while being allowed to market their products, appear benevolent and "earn" more charitable tax deductions.
We need to put a kink in their straw.
At first glance, selling naming rights and having corporate logos in public spaces seem like painless ways to raise much-needed revenue.
After all, how much of a sacrifice is it to have an ad in our field of vision as we walk by a trail marker or enter our kid's school? But we may be giving up more than we realize as our culture surrenders to rampant consumerism.
I fear having ads everywhere will contribute to our forgetting something very important, such as that buying the stuff advertisers are selling is not what makes life worth living.
Stop blaming the Fed chairman
Re "Bernanke's comments put stocks in a funk," Business, Dec. 7
You've got it all wrong. It isn't the honest assessments of Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke that cause the volatility in the stock market. Instead, it's the media's blindness: The recession/depression is not over and won't be for quite some time.
Stop jumping to unrealistic conclusions and misleading us about the economic recovery every time numbers and statistics "exceed analyst's expectations."
Those guys are wrong in their expectations much of the time, whether it's consumer sentiment, jobs data, home sales or profit figures.
Outsourcing our e-waste
Re "State's ban on e-waste sends it overseas," Business, Dec. 7
How delightful it is to read of our sending e-waste to China — the great source of toxic toothpaste, toys, drywall, medicine and clothing. Then there also are tons of counterfeit watches, DVDs and on and on. It's only fitting that we reciprocate in kind.
Just put down your forks
Re "The McVictim syndrome could kill us," Opinion, Dec. 8
Under the guise of taking personal responsibility, David Gratzer gives us a new term, "McVictim" — a caricature to disparage a particular group, the obese. And he's dismissive of those who are addressing the obesity epidemic from the many angles that reflect the complexity of the problem.
This is not to dismiss the importance of taking personal responsibility, but from the studies I've seen, the use of shaming is counterproductive.
This leads me to suggest the root of the problem afflicting our society: the failure of the spirit, a lapse into demoralization and the degeneration into shaming and blaming, and articles that threaten to take us further in the wrong direction.
We should reject caricatures that enable disparagement of others. Perhaps like no other group, the obese are subject to prejudice: They are prejudged by appearance and often disparaged by those who know nothing about their genetic makeup, personal histories or their contributions to causes that promote the greater good.
Gratzer's Op-Ed piece about McVictims hits the nail on the head. As he says, "for the sake of a few daily moments of instant gratification" the victim bends the elbow, shoveling more and more into the gullet.
Bending the elbow creates fat people. No matter how sugarcoated the instructions, the person simply eats too much. Period. Stop eating too much; relate your eating to your activity. It is so simple.
Governments needn't stop restaurants from putting toys in meals; they need to educate people to control bending their elbows. It's so simple.
A possible solution might be my "federal fat tax."
Every household would be required to annually file a form listing each family member's height, weight and age. A table of tax versus height, weight and age would be provided. The taxpayer would calculate and pay the total tax for the family, along with a photo to discourage cheating.
Those below the healthy height/weight ratio would pay no tax. The money collected would be "lock-boxed" into the
federal health budget to help pay the costs due to obesity.
There may be nothing more effective in gaining people's attention than a tax. It is not fair that those who maintain a healthy lifestyle should have to pay for those who do not.
Re "Bush's approval rating begins to rise, poll finds," Dec. 7
Of course it is going up. He has gone from being a dangerous twit to a benign one. No wonder.