His time's up! Kenny Be's "As the world-class city turns,'' his February 28 Worst-Case Scenario, had this world-class "cityzen'' laughing his ass off. So sad this story is based on real events. Too bad our "world-class-city politicians'' play more Marco Polo in Denver than they do on their vacations, er, "humanitarian missions."
When can we expect a chapter on "Radarman" and the tossed-out speeding tickets?
Old McMorris had a farm: If you think of an urban cowboy as John Travolta and his mechanical bull, think again. The urban cowboy has more than just a pocketful of dough; he has his own baseball field, his own wine cellar, his own shoeshine boy, and he owns significant land somewhere over the rainbow that receives enough federal subsidies to make it all worthwhile. Ah, the American dream.
Thank you, Eric Dexheimer and Westword, for allowing us "poor" people in on the rich man's secret to robbing the masses once again with the February 28 "Farmer on the Dole," a fine piece of research and writing. As we suspected, the government's idea of consumer protection usually ends in deceit, with the pockets of the rich man becoming more and more cumbersome and wicked. Was I naive to believe that federal subsidies salvage the "farmers" from going under, when the net income of most of these "farmers" arrives in the form of government assistance? After reading the article, the image of a defeated farmer holding a pitchfork is merely a distant relic; the idea of modern farming is truly another broken wing of the American "McDonaldization." And it breaks my heart to think the true American farmer is now actually that guy who arrives at Coors Field in a limo and heads into his private suite to have a glass of wine, only to ask a few innings later, "Who's winning?"
Who's winning? The man with the most land, that's who. The government assistance program must do what it was intended to do: help the poor farmers who rightfully need the assistance, and nothing more. Shame on you, Mr. McMorris, for attempting to gain additional taxpayer support for the federal disaster-relief grant when you know damned well your income more than surpassed the limits. Screw you! It is the rich man's manipulative dream to twist the rules in his profitable favor when government assistance is designed merely to help those in need.
I have to wonder how much of this dirty money is falling into the laps of organic farming? Am I naive to think that the American diet changed sufficiently to support the organic industry, or is it, too, a recipient of irresponsible and misplaced federal assistance? The federal assistance programs everywhere are designed with the best of intentions, but it is usually the ones who don't really need the assistance that end up receiving the majority of it. Now, I'd like to be a farmer.
via the Internet
Crying fowl: Eric Dexheimer's story reminds me of a segment I heard on Jim Hightower one morning. He was ranting about Charles Schwab (yes, that Charles Schwab) owning a good chunk of land in northern California that he grows rice on. He receives a good bit in taxpayer-funded subsidies for this venture.
Here's the hitch: He planted rice to attract ducks, as this land is a hunting reserve for his other very wealthy buddies. Just thought you might like to know.
Clearing out the dead Woody: Regarding Michael Roberts's "Woody Goes Limp," in the February 21 issue:
Anyone with any brains at all knows that Woody Paige is that guy slumped over the bar stool with the crack of his ass exposed. You want to tap him on the shoulder and inform him, but you're having too much fun laughing at him!
Out to lonchera: As a resident of Athmar Park, I read Harrison Fletcher's article about Raul Cabral's loncheras with great interest ("The Truck Stops Here," February 7). El Tacazo has quickly become an institution in this neighborhood. Anyone who doesn't appreciate this need only stop by for a few tacos or a burrito con carne asada. They'll never want Taco Bell again! El Tacazo is a boon to West Alameda, and the idea of it closing down because of a few complaints is tragic and unfair.
While I agree that the loncheras bring certain problems with them, I feel that these problems are being exaggerated and are certainly solvable. I've visited El Tacazo many times, and I don't feel that the clientele is a big problem -- maybe a small one. I'm positive that most people are willing to abide by reasonable rules. And Mr. Cabral seems willing to do whatever it takes to make his business work. Why is it necessary to impose such harsh restrictions on his legitimate enterprise? We don't shut down other businesses that have undesirable side effects. Often, we don't do anything at all about them. Is McDonald's held responsible for its garbage, which I often clean up out of my own yard? Why go after Cabral?
Ms. Campbell's assertion that "the ordinance is fair to both sides" is naive at best and disingenuous at worst. She should (and possibly does) understand that the four-hour time limit will put loncheras out of business. Yet she calls it fair.
I am not quick to accuse people or institutions of racism, and I don't think that active racism is at work here. But to me and to my students -- Mexican immigrants who are also writing to Westword -- this smacks of racism. Here's a simple, hardworking guy with a dynamite product. Why do we have to crush it? Let's work together to find a solution -- and severely restricting his hours of operation is no solution.
We brake for free enterprise: In his February 21 letter discussing "The Truck Stops Here," Richard Myers writes: "So this is capitalism, the so-called free enterprise system...." Indeed. Capitalism and free enterprise are sworn enemies.
Every capitalist (or his or her grandaddy) started out as a free-enterpriser, but the instant they became successful, they began looking for ways to eliminate the competition. Elimination of competition is essential for success as a capitalist. There are parallels in biological evolution: Two species cannot occupy the same ecological niche indefinitely; one will be exterminated, or one will evolve to avoid the competition.
Until Americans understand that free enterprise will always fall prey to capitalism and that we must have institutional "checks and balances" to prevent this from happening, we will suffer the excesses of unfettered capitalism -- up to and including events like the Enron obscenity.
Capitalism, like all things, should be enjoyed in moderation.
Model citizens: Richard Myers seems to have his definitions confused. The mobile food vendors would seem to be the free-enterprise capitalists if they have a more efficient and popular business model. If government attempts to unfairly sabotage these capitalists through unreasonable regulation, this would be socialism.
Healing the health-care system: When I was working with Health Policy Watch in '97, the number of uninsured Coloradans was 500,000. Now, in Stuart Steers's February 14 "Cutting Edge," it's 700,000. That's as clear a failure as you'd need to have in order to prove the need for some kind of reform.
These articles always talk about the rise in health care from medical developments, but they leave out the largest sources of revenue that are locked away in the very structure of the capitalist health-care system: the total of all the marketing departments, all the billing departments, and the line item for shareholder profits in each corporate budget. If there were one health-care system with one billing department, no marketing budget and no corporate profits to consider, there'd be tons o' funds to take care of people.
Taking health care off the profiteering grid would still leave ample opportunity to exploit people for money. It wouldn't crash capitalism to socialize medicine.
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Risky business: Bravo to Alicia Munder for calling a spade a spade in her Patriot Games" letter printed in the February 21 issue, you omitted a word and rendered a sentence senseless. It should have read: "throw 'patriot' into the dustbunny bin of herstory."
Of course, "bunny bin" (a good strip-club name) owes much to "loony bin." The early-twentieth-century communist prediction that capitalism would be in the "dustbin of history" was wrong: Fascism won. One evil empire down, one to go.