The politics of fighting cancer
Regarding Heather Goff's attempt to have the DMV offer license plates with pink ribbons, I'm against it.
It's an insult to every cancer patient who doesn't get the research funding for their cancer. I am one of those cancer patients.
Adenoid cystic carcinoma is a cancer so rare there is scant research for a cure being done. As the American Cancer Society told me, the agency "does not fund research into a cancer that affects such a small portion of the population or is so fatal."
This is from the charity that promotes extending birthdays for everyone: Ha.
It's not fair that only the "major" cancers are recognized or funded for research; don't the rest of us count?
While I deplore all cancers, I think breast cancer is being used as a scare tactic to influence more giving to charities; witness how many more breast cancer charities spring up each year.
We should be as one, fighting every cancer; and we should give directly to institutions that are on the front line fighting cancer, not the charities.
Neither the problem nor solution is hard
The issue of having to pay people for their accumulated sick leave/vacation time is really quite simple. When an employee accrues time off or sick leave it should be credited to an account at it's dollar equivalent. Thus, if a $15-an-hour employee has accrued 10 days of either sick leave or vacation days, $1,200 would be deposited in her account. If she wanted to take time off then she would have $1,200 worth of time coming.
Later when her pay was increased then the amount credited would increase. She would always be able to use that account to take vacation or sick leave. This would end the practice of saving up hours or days until they became worth much more than what they were accrued at.
Car culture's true costs are astronomical
Trying to compare transit costs is difficult. Because public transit is funded by the farebox and public subsidies, it can always appear to be a drain on the economy, especially if we fail to realize that there are opportunity costs in not having automobile-alternative transportation.
We really have two tax systems. One is transparent and upfront, and one is borne privately and paid by us to oil cartels, insurance corporations, automobile manufacturers and, sadly, in the horrendous loss of life that results from our myopic automobile dependence. Anytime we are compelled to use a private solution to a public or social problem, we need to calculate the cost as if it were a tax. If we added up the cost of families having to maintain private motor pools we would have a realistic view of how much not having public transit available really costs. Automobile culture and its illusion of personal freedom is so deeply embedded in American consciousness that we may never really be able to get serious about leveling the transportation playing field.
If the price of oil and the wars fought to maintain its supply, environmental degradation and the dumbing down of drivers caught in endless gridlock don't cause us to reflect on the costs to the human spirit, then we will never be able to climb out of the tar pit that we seem to be slipping into.
Fortunately, there are examples of a common-sense balance to private and public transportation in other developed countries. We just have to take off our cultural blinders.
Walter C. Veit
Pleasanton retired sociology professor Burlington County College, N.J.
It's time to pull the plug on NIF
At Livermore Lab's National Ignition Facility, the countdown went, "3, 2, 1 ... ignition (not, and maybe never)."
The date set for NIF ignition was Sept. 30. It didn't happen, continuing a series of missed ignition deadlines. Now, some lab scientists are saying maybe by 2015 ignition can be achieved. Other scientists say ignition at NIF is unlikely no matter how much time and money is thrown at the project.
There have been more than 1,000 experiments at NIF, and still no ignition. Not even close. If you count the money for NIF construction and related research and development, so far $8 billion tax dollars have been squandered.
An Oct. 6 New York Times editorial notes —... experiments conducted so far have made it clear that the scientists in charge do not fully understand how the process is working ... Congress will need to look hard at whether the project should be continued or scrapped or slowed to help reduce federal spending."
NIF's operating cost exceeds $300 million a year. Can we afford to continue funding failure?
Jo Ann Frisch
Beware of shady charges from AT&T
This letter concerns a problem with the AT&T GoPhone cell phone system. I maintain a bank account with GoPhone that is debited whenever I use the phone. Just recently, after several satisfactory years with GoPhone, I discovered that unauthorized third-party vendors have started tapping my account for services that I have not requested, some $30 worth in the past few weeks (e.g., event-texter, some email options).
How it works? They text my phone with offers to be charged to my account, stating that the charge will stand unless I decline. Failure to respond is taken as approval. Conveniently for the vendors, several of these charges occurred while I was out of the country without cell phone service.
I found it hard to believe (appalling?) that AT&T would market a service that offers so little protection for the user. Fortunately, by calling AT&T, I have been able to reverse the unauthorized charges and request a preventive lock on my account. GoPhone users can check for unauthorized charges at att.com/db.
Robert J. Olness
Real campaign reform law is needed now
It took an emergency California Supreme Court ruling to reveal that the $11 million in secret campaign money spent on Proposition 32 and against Proposition 30 from an obscure Arizona nonprofit was actually laundered from other nonprofits associated with the Koch brothers.
It's more than ironic that the hidden funding by secret Proposition 32 supporters paid for ads that falsely claimed that it was a campaign reform act, when it was really a lethal attack to destroy a political party.
This deception illustrates how badly we need to strengthen our disclosure laws and make sure that political ads have to show, clearly and prominently on the ads themselves, exactly who really pays for them. The California DISCLOSE Act, which will be introduced next year with the support of real reform organizations like the California Clean Money Campaign, California Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of California, is carefully written to let voters see, in real time, where the money is coming from.
Better buckle up, fellow Americans
Four more years!
It's four more years of lies, cover ups, big government, big debts and Godless socialism. I'm scared!
Donald R Merucci