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WHY I DON'T SHOP AT WAL-MART
I read Jeff Davis' letter about Wal-Mart [Nov. 4], and he is right: Customers ultimately make the decision of whether a business survives. But I try not to shop at Wal-Mart because of its business practices.
It is my understanding that the average wage at Wal-Mart is approximately $13,861 per year. I believe the poverty wage in the U.S. is approximately $18,850 per year. It is my understanding if the price of each item sold at Wal-Mart were increased by about 3 cents, the company could increase the average hourly wage by about $2 per hour. Wal-Mart could also do this if it shared less than 2 percent of the $6.6 billion it makes in profit each year. No one can dispute [the assertion] that Wal-Mart employees have accomplished extraordinary things for their employer, but they have done this while making poverty-level wages and receiving meager benefits.
Wal-Mart has had an awful history in complying with the law -- in fact, they have been charged with racketeering, mail and wire fraud, sex and racial discrimination, failing to pay workers compensation, refusing to give employees rest and bathroom breaks, cheating immigrant janitors out of wages, and locking employees overnight in the store and making them work off the clock. Instead of fairly and justly addressing any of these issues, they treat the matter as a public-relations problem and not an issue of workplace fairness.
Although Wal-Mart claims to give back to the community, it actually takes more away.
If Wal-Mart shoppers would take a little time and investigate the company's business practices, they might choose to shop someplace else.
A NATION OF FLATLINERS
I apologize ahead of time about this letter. Regarding your story on our nation's growing number of Americans unable to afford health care [Solana Pyne, "Losing bet," Nov. 4], judging from this last election, more than half of our country is brain-dead. Who needs health care?
THE MEDIA HAVE BEEN HIJACKED
For more than 30 years, right-wing and corporate interests have conspired to gain control of the media, and they have just about succeeded. They have done this by establishing think tanks funded by corporate money and wealthy right-wing contributors such as Richard Mellon Scaife; eliminating the Fairness Doctrine in the broadcast media, deregulating the media, and spreading the lie that the media are "liberal." If this concerns you, call or write your congressman.
And here in Springfield, if you're tired of listening to Mark Hyman (or the fare on Fox, CNN, and MSNBC), tune to National Public Radio or C-SPAN2. There, you really do get a "fair and balanced" presentation of viewpoints instead of a steady diet of propaganda disguised as news and tabloid fare -- all without commercial interruption.
CHANNEL 20: NO NEED FOR HYMAN
Please inform Channel 20 that the presidential election is over, thereby eliminating the need for Mark Hyman and the rest of the brainwashing commentaries!
Donald E. Palmer
LIBERALS SHOULD HAVE BEEN TOUGHER
There are two powerful groups in America that liberals will not attack. One is the media. Even though every conservative attacks the media on every issue, liberals refuse to. The second group is the evangelicals, who attack liberals every day from their TV and radio forums. They equate liberals with evil. Still, liberals will not return the fire, even though there is plenty of ammunition to use against them.
The "prosperity gospel" sect of right-wing Christianity is the fastest-growing and most politically active sect, or cult, in Christianity.
Disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker said in his last book that the "miracles" cited to get viewers to send money were lies. Jesse Duplantis, who is hawking a tape of his recent visit to heaven, prays for the conversion of liberals. Pat Robertson is an exorcist -- most of them are -- who has conversations with the demons he drives out. We don't need lectures on traditional values from this crop of intolerant con artists.
Failure to attack these two groups is the reason Democrats lost and why these two chickens came home to roost on Election Day.
A SECOND CHANCE TO BE A UNITER
Now that the election is over and the results are all in, our nation remains as deeply divided as it's ever been.
When President George W. Bush first came to office, he claimed that he was "a uniter, not a divider." But after winning a disputed election by a razor-thin margin, he turned around and governed as if he'd won in a landslide. After the attacks of 9/11, he got a second chance to bring us all together. All citizens, no matter their views or party affiliation, rallied around the president, and his approval rating soared to more than 90 percent. But he used his popularity as a club to punish the Democrats and win support for his war against Iraq, dividing our country again.
Now President Bush has a third chance to bring us together. The wounds in the country run deep. It's up to him. Will he be the president of the red states? Or the United States?
Peter J. Thompson