Letters

Held captive by cars

RE: “The Solution to Rising Gas Prices: Antitrust Action

07/14/00

I think that travel by automobile is a transportation monopoly. It should be written in our Constitution that gas taxes fund our transit and pedestrian infrastructure. Otherwise, auto and oil companies can gouge all they please. Through their influence on land use policies over the last century, they have built a captive market and a crass US society.

Art Lewellan
Portland, Ore.

 



It just doesn’t matter

RE: “Losing Ground

07/14/00

It does not matter what the color of elected officials is; what matters is that those officials be honest and do a good job serving the public interest. Period.

Dan Raphael
Seattle, Wash.

 



Smokers line lawyers’ pockets

RE: “Tobacco Money Flows Both Ways

07/14/00

Smokers are currently having more and more trouble paying their bills and feeding their kids because of the lawyers who are raking in billions. Tobacco companies aren’t having problems; they’re just raising their prices to meet their costs. Anti-tobacco fanatics aren’t having problems; they’re laughing all the way to the bank. And the lawyers are somberly telling the world how awful Big Tobacco is to fatten their own pockets.

Georgia Gates
Aurora, Colo.

 



Coalition time

RE: “Losing Ground

07/13/00

Yes! It is coalition time. Latinos and African-Americans in California and throughout this nation are begining to wake up and work together. We need more Latino and African-American coalition building examples.

We are still playing the system’s politics of divide and conquer. The only way to defeat the system is to borrow from the experience of Third World struggles by creating a united front of Latinos and blacks to maintain and expand political power and to rescue our economic power.

Guillermo Barreto-Vega
Kansas City, Mo.

 



Gas article all wrong

RE: “The Solution to Rising Gas Prices: Antitrust Action

07/13/00

I was quite disappointed with the article calling for further regulation of the oil industry, which in all likelihood would help no consumer in the long run. The article argues that the recent hike in gas prices is a result of price gouging on the part of the oil industry, while in reality there are very different reasons for the price increases — which are, at any rate, likely to be largely temporary.

One of the largest reasons is the policy of OPEC that has led the price of oil to increase from $10 a barrel in late 1998 to the more recent $30 a barrel.

Muness Al-Rubaie
Columbus, Ohio

 



Just like Agent Orange

RE: “Drug Control or Biowarfare?

07/12/00

It seems clear to me that with all of the potential consequences of Fusarium it definitely should not be used in Colombia. While I realize that our foreign policy (particularly in Latin America) is often misguided, I still can’t believe that we would even consider the use of this toxic fungus when research has shown how destructive it will be to the vegetation, people, and animals. While the US goes to great lengths to protect its own natural resources, it obviously has not given a thought to the fate of the Colombian population.

I have read testimonials concerning the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam and they are heart-wrenching. Taking into consideration the embarrassment that the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam has become, I am surprised that our government is so eager to get itself involved in such a similar situation.

Michele Murphy
Newton, Mass.

 



Gas prices: Look on the bright side

RE: “The Solution to Rising Gas Prices: Antitrust Action

07/12/00

Whatever the cause, higher gas prices are good for the environment. People will buy more fuel-efficient cars, attempt to shorten their commutes, and start thinking about alternatives.

All of these positives will come about despite where the profits are going. True, it would be more just for the government to distribute the profits. In this situation, however, those who favor a clean environment shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.

Jon-Erik G. Storm

 



07/12/00

Coming from Britain, the debate seems somewhat esoteric, considering our prices are 400 percent higher than in the US. Here government only pays lip service to reducing the high (84 percent) tax load on gas as it needs every penny of the revenue for social policies.

But this does not detract from the fact that prices in the UK are artificially high. The only solution is social action by individuals in boycotts and usage reduction to show governments they are required to act to reduce pump prices at once.

C. Geoffrey Clarke

 



Lawyers’ money came from consumers, not Big Tobacco

RE: “Tobacco Money Flows Both Ways

07/11/00

Let the law firms representing the poor working class work for cost. Then let’s see how many class action suits are brought against industry. The working class that the Democrats claim to help continues to pay for class action suits in increased prices. Look at the cost of cigarettes. Who really paid the states all that money? The consumer.

Fred Toenniges

 



Are Americans just “stupid gringos?”

RE: “Border Hospitals on the Brink

07/11/00

Nice loophole for Mexico. How many Americans are risking their lives to cross the border to live there? If it wasn’t such a lousy place to live we would not be flooded with these desparate souls seeking a better life. Mexico needs to take responsibility for the welfare of its own citizens. There are reasons we are considered to be stupid “gringos.” They believe we can handle the money drain better than they can, and it’s true. There needs to be some serious re-negotiating with our neighbor. Having a new president at long last is not going to create an about-face.

Katherine Morrin

 



Price gouging is good for the Earth

RE: “The Solution to Rising Gas Prices: Antitrust Action

07/10/00

The price of gas in the US remains very low compared with other industrial countries. We know well the detrimental environmental consequences of low gas prices and how they have promoted urban sprawl. The problem with this article is that it confuses low gas prices with the public interest, when we know that the reverse is true. I am certainly saddened that the “high” price Americans now have to pay for gas goes to swell the pockets of corporate America instead of being used to finance environmental actions. However, if it leads to fewer SUVs, better public transportation, and more sustainable forms of urbanization, I shall be the first to rejoice, regardless of where the profit goes.

Christian Arandel
Cairo, Egypt

 



07/10/00

Although price gouging by corporations is despicable, I have been cheering on the price hikes from the oil industry. With old cars being junked that get better gas mileage than new cars, high gas prices are a wake-up call to all. It is time these people making 100-mile commutes to work start thinking of better solutions.

Amy Frank
Kirkland, Wash.

 



The Anti-Education Act

RE: “Online Free Speech on the Line

07/10/00

After reading about the Methamphetamine Anti-Proliferation Act, I cannot help wonder if the government wants us to stay uneducated and addicted to drugs. As long as there are drugs, people will use them. Hence, it only makes sense to give people credible and accurate sources of information about drugs.

Eliza Sultan

 



07/10/00

As a physician, I can say that information never kills people. It would be unfortunate for Congress to impose restraints on information about drug use, which is often provided with noble intentions.

Joel Oosterlinck

 



Rapists welcome, stoners need not apply

RE: “Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Loan

07/10/00

The “Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Loan” article is a typical example of the draconian extremes of our national drug policy. Convicted robbers, murders, and rapists are welcomed at our universities, but not an 18-year-old student with a minor drug conviction.

Also, once again we see that justice depends on how much money you have. Punishing someone for smoking a joint is far more important to these people than helping a young, economically disadvantaged student progress out of poverty.

Jean Esplin