Cigarettes: New warning labels are due in 2012. (U.S. Food and Drug Administration)
You've been warned
Re "Tobacco warnings take graphic turn," June 21
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is mandating graphic pictures on each pack of cigarettes showing the realities of smoking.
Can we soon expect pictures of obese people placed on the front door of every fast-food restaurant? Or pictures of people dying of skin cancer at the entrance to the beach?
We should mandate that the FDA change its name to the FNA (Frivolous Nanny Administration).
Of course these new images will help smokers stop, even if the predicted expectation is for a paltry 300,000 quitters out of the more than 40 million smokers. Still, it would be ironic if the images attract more smokers, especially young males who might see carrying a pack as a badge of toughness.
Even I, a non-smoker over 50, had a passing thought of how cool it would be to have the entire collection, like baseball cards. Let's hope smokers are more mature.
Time to man up on the debt
Re "GOP leader gives up on debt negotiations," June 24
The wealthiest Americans have enjoyed healthy dividends from Republican legislation, with benefits that come out of the wallets of the middle class.
Now, the Republicans are refusing to raise the national debt ceiling without deep cuts in programs for the neediest Americans. They don't place any urgency on shouldering some of these sacrifices for the good of the country. Instead, they refuse any compromise that would increase taxes on the wealthy and end subsidies for oil companies.
If Republicans are truly interested in lowering the national debt, they must end corporate welfare and the George W. Bush tax cuts. If they place these two items on the table, a true bipartisan compromise could move our country out of this economic mess.
The day before House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) walked out of talks with Vice President Joe Biden, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office issued a report saying that the nation's growing debt increases the probability of a fiscal crisis in which investors would lose faith in U.S. bonds.
Republicans need to stop playing political games with America's future. The GOP is now in charge in the House, and Cantor needs to man up or step down as majority leader.
The time has come to pay for our military actions. President Bush made unfortunate choices, the most outrageous of which was to not pay for the wars he decided to wage. We need to have a tax to pay our debts. All of us should share in the terrible costs incurred since 9/11.
Tantrums such as Cantor's get attention but don't solve a thing. Taxes are needed to pay for what we are doing.
'Card check' doesn't cut it
Re "Time to fold on 'card check,' " Editorial, June 23
It's not often that I find myself in agreement with one of your editorials, but I must say you're right-on with this piece. I'd like to add one comment on SB 104, which awaits the governor's signature.
The last several years have seen unions aggressively support "card check," which would replace the secret ballot. They're equally aggressive in opposing union members who use card check to leave one union for another. This resistance to what unions claim is a "fair" process is a clear sign that their definition of the word fair is fluid.
In short, Gov. Jerry Brown should veto any bill that places the secret ballot second to any other method.
Geneviève M. Clavreul
I have been a union steward for over 20 years. The Times makes a good point about protecting the workers as opposed to the unions.
A gap has been growing between the workers and their unions, and employers have done a pretty good job of exploiting this. As we have already seen, employers will always look after their bottom lines, and employee organizations are increasingly focused more on dues collection than workers rights.
The problem is worker apathy and the perception that once you've unionized, nothing more needs to be done. Workers don't understand that they are the union and they must also be their own watchdogs.
As a steward, I have increasingly encountered this dilemma: support my co-workers or support the union? This question should never come up.
Re "Data show state families changing," June 23
It was unsettling to behold the new-age wisdom in the article. A family of three mothers, one daughter, another on the way and one sperm donor is presented as "normal." The sperm donor is a "6-foot-1 Harvard grad, who scored a 1580 on the SAT." We are not told of any other anticipated role for the biological father.
A husband and a wife who remain married to each other are "a little weird," according to one person interviewed. Non-nuclear families "do not reflect a weakening of society but a fluidity and complexity that echoes the modern world." That sounds impressive, but it means nothing.