Letters for May 1, 2014
Where is the drive?
In my view, America has missed an opportunity to lead by telling itself it is the best in every competitive field without doing the work. America has grown lazy. In the days of my youth, I can remember watching Bruce Jenner and other athletic greats breaking records and achieving Gold medals in the Olympics. This year, I didn’t hear much about the Olympics. I didn’t watch the Olympics. All I heard about was Russia’s anti-gay policies. Kids used to dream of the Olympics as a final destination, like the climber dreams of reaching the top of Mount Everest. This is one example of how America settles in and accepts mediocre.
Part of what makes greatness is the drive, the hunger within a person to achieve. It drives them in obsessive compulsive ways to overcome the everyday mediocre and stand among the select few icons in America. I have read books written by American writers, watched American athletes, and listened to American educators, but I have not heard that resounding voice coming from our nation that lifts spirits and produces greatness. I have heard complaints about working conditions, living conditions, hours, pay, lack of jobs, health care, benefits, overspending, gluttony etc.
When I was growing up, we did things because they were expected, because they were the right thing to do, because that is what we are supposed to do. We couldn’t afford much and didn’t expect much. We never owned $100 video games. We knew if we wanted something we would have to work for it. All my clothes came from Goodwill. I can remember the first pair of Levi’s I purchased new for $20. To this day, that is burned in my memory. Doing good things, doing the right things, is what makes us great. It isn’t the pay that makes us great. Every day that I wake up, I look down at the quilt my grandmother made from scraps of material she collected. She hand-stitched every little square into place. She did not use a sewing machine for any of it. She had arthritis, but she was determined to make something great for my mom, and she did. She didn’t do it for pay. This blanket is a treasure. Some people may see it as a waste of time, because they can buy a blanket. But, it wouldn’t be the quality of my grandmother’s quilt. She was from the generation of hard workers. Is it a lost talent?
North Las Vegas
Winners don’t pay
Time magazine published an article this week exposing the fact that $1 million dollars in bonuses was paid out to IRS employees who owed back taxes. I’m pretty sure if I owed back taxes the IRS would be knocking on my door and threatening to garnish my wages.
Why are IRS employees treated differently? It seems the all too familiar reason is that they work for the government and the government treats “their own” differently. If you are ever audited by the IRS—you are guilty until proven innocent and often the best course of action is to simply roll over and pay whatever they ask. That’s state sponsored extortion. It doesn’t matter if you are right or not—it will cost you more in time and money to try to prove you are right. With a tax code approaching 80,000 pages that’s pretty much impossible.
It is time to eliminate the IRS and the oppressive income tax and switch to something that is simple, fair and visible. Something that is easy to administer, easy to comply with and difficult to cheat. That solution is the FairTax. A national retail sales tax with no tax on the basic necessities of life. No IRS, no income tax and millions of new jobs.
James R. Donnell
Cameron Park, Calif.
Home is where the heart is
Re “For the pets” (Letters to the Editor, April 24):
If homeless people have pets, are their pets also considered homeless? I thought the goal is “no more homeless pets.”
That’s irony, right?
Dear All Members of The Law Enforcement Community: I want to inform you that I have seen every past, present and future personal and commercial vehicle driving in an erratic and dangerous manner. Further, I recorded every past, present and future vehicle’s license plate. Rather than list every license plate number here, to save time I will freely tell you that the license plates I saw fell in between ‘1’ and ‘ZZZZZZZ.’ Please print this for your records Officer, Deputy, Patrolman or Trooper, for I have given you the gift of now having probable cause to suspect every man, woman and child in the United States who ever touched a vehicle. You’re welcome! Anonymous.
Editor’s note: For those who don’t get the joke, this letter is a reference to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that an anonymous accusation is enough reason for police to search your property.
Re “Take me out” (Foodfinds, April 17):
I love their chicken salad. It’s always made with fresh avocado, cucumbers, tomatoes, bacon, chicken. I’ve never had a bad meal there, and I have had plenty of their avocado cheeseburgers.
It’s the end of the world
Re “Two degrees of devastation” (Letters to the Editor, Jan. 24):
Jan Freed stated in her letter to the editor that “many of us know the bitter taste of the weird weather out there, with just current warming of .8 deg C.” The many sources of panicking agencies you listed are disputed by other climatologists and other scientists. In the 1970s, the prediction was for another ice age, which didn’t arrive just as the predictions for an increase in temperature are predictions not likely to arrive. However, the most important point she is trying to make by tying the Keystone pipeline to subsequent increases in the Earth’s temperature is flawed in a major way by assuming that if the pipeline can be stopped then all will be well. The simple fact is that whether the pipeline is built or not, the oil that would be transported through it will simply be transported in another fashion. Trucks and railroad tank cars will be used and they are certainly more dangerous. The truth is that no matter what is done, the oil will be burned somewhere in the world, and no change it possible pollution will occur. Pipelines have always been safer than any other form of oil transportation.
Re “Nuke advocate attacks Obama” (Upfront, April 17):
I am a supporter of President Obama, but I am very unhappy with the political move on his part to shut down the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Repository project. Not only unhappy for throwing away the mountain of taxpayer money, but to ignore the scientific validity of this incredibly needed site, for what looks to me as a very poor political agreement that has not born much fruit, if any! The non-action on this one noble effort is as bad as our Congress not getting anything done in a world that needs much “fixing.” We have lost our respect from most of the world on issues like this, and for our propensity to kill thousands of innocent people with unnecessary war.
Rt. Rev. James A. Zinzow