Letters to the Editor
Readers write about the need to cut US spending, environmental impact of charity, airline policy, and Facebook.
The US must cut spending to avoid inflation
In response to your Jan. 14 editorial, "A perfect storm door against a US recession?": This editorial correctly calls for more across-the-aisle compromise in stimulating our economy to grow at a proper pace.
I worry, though, that the discussion was mostly about tax rebates and relief without talking about cutting spending. That is an omission that will lead to inflation. The war in Iraq has the highest profile in the spending department, yet you say nary a word about that or other high-cost areas in federal spending and borrowing.
I would like to suggest some respect be given to the inflation-limiting results of Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker (1979-87) and President Reagan (1981-89) as Congress and the president navigate the coming storm. There are some useful lessons to be learned there.
Does education outweigh environment?
Regarding the Jan. 11 article, "Nonprofits slip in race for cheap laptop": While One Laptop Per Child and Intel are haggling over whose chip will be in the millions of cheap laptops planned to be distributed to children around the world, I think about what will happen when those inexpensive laptops get the inevitable hardware or software glitches or when they become obsolete.
Will the benefits of increased educational opportunity outweigh the environmental impact of discarding these cheaply made machines in a relatively short time? Are we Americans going to pass on our habits of mindless consumption to those in the far corners of the world?
I hope we can make technology available to those in poor and rural parts of the globe without replacing altruism with for-profit exploitation and without adding unresolved disposal issues as a bonus.
Treat airline passengers with respect
Regarding the Jan. 8 article, "More states try to model N.Y.'s passenger bill of rights," this really struck a chord with me. I have been feeling that any correspondence with an airline company is probably fruitless. I am heartened to see that some humane actions are being forced on the airlines by some states, and that passengers will once again be treated as they should be. It is bad enough that airline companies treat economy-section travelers as though they were cattle, but then to threaten travelers with more cancellations if they have to provide water and clean facilities is unconscionable to me. Smaller and smaller seats, less and less legroom, being crushed against strangers are bad enough. We are people, not just numbers.
Facebook behavior matters
Regarding the Jan. 10 essay, "A total failure on Facebook": While Joe Lavin is not wholly Victorian or he wouldn't be on Facebook, he does appear to subscribe to a rather old-fashioned set of social mores. If he only acknowledges as friends those with whom he is already well connected, one wonders how he behaves at parties. Does he only interact with those he already knows?
Similarly, his plaint that he has only four friends after having left his account dormant for years, suggests he may seek dates by retiring to his apartment and waiting for someone to come knocking at his door. This is clearly a civilized strategy, but one unlikely to succeed. And this need not be a reflection of his age. I am 30 years Mr. Lavin's senior, have been on Facebook far longer, and have more than 70 "friends."
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