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September 18, 2013 at 6:32 PM
Priorities need to change
It is true that everyone looks for more, bigger, faster — fill in your own blank. [“Column: America, land of the overeaters,” Opinion, Sept. 18.]
What we cannot seem to have is safer, kinder, gentler, more loving. So we substitute; we drown our anxieties in huge meals, incessant use of cellphones while avoiding actual human contact, in spending wads of money on “smarter” phones and computers and televisions.
What would happen if in America today all those who overeat started eating sensibly; if all those who watch TV were suddenly satisfied with the sets they have now; if all cell users decided they did not need to upgrade every two years; if cars were kept for 20 years instead of three?
Our economy would collapse. The stock market would tank. Apple and Microsoft would become irrelevant. Costco would offer smaller packages of stuff.
The top 1 percent, who make lots more money because they have learned how to fuel our quest for completeness and satisfaction in life by pushing more, bigger, faster products would see their incomes disappear. The bottom 99 percent would have a little more disposable income to spend on improvements to the way of life that leads to more safe, kind, gentle and loving environments for all of us.
Will it ever happen here? Not in my lifetime, not as long as Americans have their priorities so screwed up. Greed, sloth, gluttony; as long as they win, we all lose.
Frank Mitchell, Seattle
July 11, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Congress has failed
News coverage of the spending cuts mandated by the sequester will continue on into 2014, and perhaps longer. [“Bill Clinton: States need to be better budgeters,” seattletimes.com, June 25.]
Each time an article appears about the effects of the sequester, it would be helpful to include a sidebar reminding readers of why this has come to be. Congress failed to act to reduce our nation’s deficit by thoughtfully and carefully cutting expenses and/or increasing tax revenue.
A specially selected group of 12 experienced and accomplished lawmakers, six senators and six representatives comprised equally of both major parties, failed to agree on how to accomplish what most other Americans manage to do on a monthly basis.
This news coverage sometimes takes on the tone of a sad joke: the beatings will continue until morale improves. Are we to understand that the sequester will continue until the economy improves?
With the power of my vote, I helped hire some of those people in Congress. With that same power, I will work to fire them, or replace them.
Jeff Greek, Seattle
July 7, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Unsustainability is unreported
Why is it the media often miss what most needs reporting?
There was little effort to find what was behind the claim that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Now, what is happening in Egypt may reflect what is happening around the world, and could happen here in the U.S. ["Islamists seized in Egyptian sweep," page one, July 5.]
Egypt’s population has grown well beyond the means of the state to support its needs, and even a strong state will struggle to ensure sufficient supplies of basic staples, particularly fuel and wheat.
Why isn’t this trend toward unsustainability reported in the media?
Richard Pelto, Kenmore
July 4, 2013 at 7:00 AM
The Endangered Species Act is a great American success
As the impending celebration of our nation’s independence provides the opportunity to reflect on the great merits of our country, one piece of legislation stands as a shining example of what makes America so special.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a uniquely American law, and this year, it turns 40. It is a testament to the idea that the protection of our native species and their ecosystems is, by its very nature, one that bridges the partisan divide and brings both sides together as human beings for the purpose of conserving the world that they live in.
Richard Nixon recognized this when he signed the law in 1973, and his belief in the cause has been vindicated by its success in the last 40 years. One must look no further than the dramatic recovery of the bald eagle in the Pacific Northwest to see its merits.
There are, however, those in Congress that would seek to gut the ESA and render it powerless. It would be foolish to turn our backs on such a unique and successful law, and I hope that my fellow Seattleites agree with me, and let their representatives know this.
Carl Crow, Mercer Island
Veterans deserve better treatment
I don’t go to Independence Day parades anymore. The hypocrisy is beyond the pale. When I see veterans march by, even though they are required to do heroic things on a daily basis, I don’t see heroes; I see victims.
There is a myth that troops returning home from deployment in the Middle East are treated better than returning Vietnam veterans were. Not true. I’ve received much better care in my day than returning troops today.
Oh sure, we thank them for their service when we see them shopping at Walmart, but today, men and women with families are deployed again and again. Many are on food stamps to make ends meet.
As the troops march by this year, we should hang our heads in shame. We are not the people we like to believe we are. But we could be.
Jeff Curtis, Edmonds
July 3, 2013 at 11:30 AM
A note to the NSA
If you’re considering celebrating an old fashioned Fourth of July, please feel free to help yourself to this “All-American Reclamation of Independence.”
“Unless we consent, it’s none of your bee’s wax!”
Maureen O’Brien O’Reilly, Seattle
Fireworks should be banned
We have already been subjected to the booms and concussion of fireworks as early as June 29. I say, ban all fireworks.
Change the Fourth of July back to what it was in the beginning. I am sick of the firework “shows.” They are not exciting or entertaining; instead, they are plain old tired and dumb. It is a waste of public or private funds in a time where everyone does not have a job. Cut it out!
Stop feeding the frenzied search for the bigger boom. Make the Fourth into a “help others” celebration, where people pitch in to help those less fortunate. Put the fireworks factories out of business.
Marietta Alexander, Everett
Declare independence from the meat industry
Whatever happened to the good-old days, when the worst things we had to fear on the Fourth of July were traffic jams and wayward fireworks?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the threat of food poisoning by nasty E. coli and salmonella bugs increases during the summer months, likely because of improperly cooked hamburgers and hot dogs at millions of backyard barbecues. The USDA’s advice is to grill them longer and hotter. Of course, it doesn’t bother to mention that the high-temperature grilling that kills the bugs can form lots of cancer-causing compounds.
Luckily, a bunch of enterprising U.S. food manufacturers and processors have met this challenge head-on by developing a great variety of healthy, delicious and convenient veggie-burgers and soy-dogs.
These delicious plant-based foods don’t harbor nasty pathogens or cancer-causing compounds. They don’t even contain cholesterol, saturated fats, drugs, or pesticides. They are waiting for us in the frozen food section of our supermarkets.
This Fourth of July offers a great opportunity to declare our independence from the meat industry and to share wholesome veggie-burgers and soy-dogs with our family and friends.
Sal Sucher, Seattle
July 3, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Education should maintain American values
David Brooks cites persuasive research indicating that “we are witnessing the end of the old ethnic-racial order,” and that “soon there will be no dominant block, just complex networks of fluid streams.” [“Column: A nation of mutts,” Opinion, June 30.]
Brooks concludes, “the challenge will be to create a global civilization that is, at the same time, distinctly American.”
Social studies and humanities courses in American schools can be a major force in performing this crucial task. Our schoolchildren need to study our founding documents, history and arts.
Yet the day before Brooks’ column appeared in The Seattle Times, the lead editorial on education stated that Washington’s education system must emphasize science, technology, engineering and math to meet the needs of state employers. [“Lawmakers get it right on education funding,” editorial, June 29.]
These are important, but not more important than subjects that introduce our schoolchildren to civic knowledge and the values on which our nation rests.
Michael and Beret Kischner, Seattle
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