All I keep hearing about is what's wrong with Food and Drug Administration food inspection techniques. But according to workers at Peanut Corp. of America, unsanitary conditions had existed in its peanut butter processing operation for a very long time.
Why did they not report it? It's a no-brainer: Whistle-blowers often lose their jobs and sometimes are blacklisted for future employment.
Workers in any organization affecting public health should be the first line of defense in the guarantee of health safety. Congress should pass a law requiring that when a company mistreats a legitimate whistle-blower, it must pay the worker's pay and Social Security contributions through age 65. Simple as that. This would prevent a lot of illness and deaths.
Congress shares the blame
I find it ironic that members of Congress investigating the peanut-related salmonella outbreak would vent so much anger at the Food and Drug Administration.
In fact, these very same legislators have been complicit in promoting one of the greatest fallacies in modern times: the merit of deregulation and the evils of governmental oversight.
Americans would do well to remember that markets unchecked, financial or otherwise, will almost always go astray. The responsibility of government is to protect and preserve the greater good of the many over the selfishness and greed of the powerful few.
A 'crisis' a child could understand
A "subprime surprise" followed by a "credit crunch" and a "global financial crisis."
Sounds like me a few years back. I didn't do my chores -- I was 11 and had better things to do. This led to a no-allowance surprise, also followed by a "credit crunch": My dad declined my request for a loan so I could join my friends at Raging Waters. And "crisis"? Oh my, you don't even want to know.
Do we really need a Harvard economist to tell us the dangers of spending what was never earned? At least my dad knew money doesn't grow on trees. That's more than I can say for Congress.
We are governed by a bunch of spoiled children. I was given a "stimulus package" at age 11. It was a very painful and effective stimulus. It was the word "no." Maybe Harvard could study it.
I agree that lowering mortgage payments is terrific stimulus. However, Niall Ferguson's observation that shareholders "should have kept a more vigilant eye" on bank heads doesn't wash.
Firms are incorporated in Delaware in part because its laws help companies ignore shareholders.
Our problem is ultimately more political than economic. You can't run a nation via spats between parties.
Is it a rescue or a wreck?
This is the season for fast-water rescues in storm channels -- which in some ways resemble the current economic rescue effort. Too many senators delaying the rescue by arguing about exactly how much rope is needed and insisting that they supply not an inch more.
They may have enough faith in their ideology to make that decision, but the people depending on them for rescue might see it differently. There may be economic penalties for overestimating how much rope is needed, but the price for underestimation is far, far worse.
With such limited ability to predict the effects of rescue efforts, it is far better to err on the side of caution. In the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Depression, "This nation asks for action, and action now."
Back then, members of Congress had the wisdom and integrity to do it.
Congratulations to President Obama!
It took George W. Bush eight years to create our economic crisis, but in only two weeks and one piece of legislation -- the proposed stimulus package -- Obama has destroyed our economy for years to come.
Joseph J. Martino
Questioning the faith-based effort
Thank you for getting it right in your coverage of President Obama's new faith-based program.
His aides and spokespeople are trying to convince Americans that creating "mechanisms" for legal review and allowing "consideration" of difficult issues amount to improvement of a program that was constitutionally flawed and corrupt under President Bush. But the fact is, in unveiling his White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships on Thursday, Obama punted.
As your story noted, candidate Obama was crystal clear in a speech last year that taxpayer dollars would not go to religious groups that discriminate in hiring, or that evangelize when delivering social services. Nothing, however, in his program as introduced will ensure those promises are kept.
Until a thorough review of constitutional issues is complete, the faith-based funding program should be suspended.
The writer is acting
director of the Secular
Coalition for America.
Good 'Slumdog' Bad 'Slumdog'
Thank you a thousand times, Chitra Divakaruni, for putting "Slumdog Millionaire" in correct perspective for its Indian critics.
Unfortunately, accustomed to low-quality Bollywood movies with their dancing girls and fancy mansions, many such critics are divorced from the reality that about 300 million of their brethren in India live in poverty.
When will these better-off Indians ask themselves why such a shameful state exists after 60 years of independence, so it can be corrected?
And for heaven's sake, "Slumdog" is a feature film -- an excellent work of art -- and not a documentary about the slums of Mumbai.
La Cañada Flintridge
I take issue with this Op-Ed article. Divakaruni argues, among other things, that the film is being judged as "poverty porn" and not as art.
Where I differ with her is on this question of art. "Slumdog Millionaire" doesn't deal with the subject of rags-to-riches in an artful way. It offers a fantasy solution to the horrors of children's exploitation -- a poor boy winning millions by being a TV contestant.
Art should offer new ways of seeing, not just present graphic images of an old vision of poverty.
Too often, Hollywood movies offer us sensation instead of moving and insightful material.
Peggy Aylsworth Levine
What a great message to send to gang members who may be considering changing their ways: Get out of the gang, go to school, acquire a taste for literature, get a master's degree, aspire to be a teacher and, oh, by the way, you might still get deported.
I can't believe that an immigration hearing is being held for Juan Obed Silva. Deporting Obed would be an example of vengeance, not justice.
What incentive would that offer any other gang member to reform?
David S. Berry
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