Letters to the Editor

Readers write about the United Way, Congress and baseball, bureaucracy, and online photo-sharing.

In defense of United Way's 'Pennies for Change'

In response to Rick Cohen's Jan. 10 Opinion piece, "How a charity can hurt its cause": The United Way of America's "Pennies for Change" enables Americans to donate a penny to the United Way when using either a debit or credit card. The program's ingenuity lies in its simplicity. As people make purchases, whether big or small, they are helping to make a difference in the lives of those in need. Like contributing to a Salvation Army red kettle, financial literacy isn't required to affect a community. Just spare change.

Mr. Cohen's assertion that "Pennies for Change" undermines the United Way's efforts to enhance financial literacy is simply wrong. People can make missteps by spending big dollars on unneeded things, but not by donating pennies to people in need.

"Pennies for Change" removes barriers to philanthropy and underscores the fact that any donation, even one penny, is valuable. The average participant will give 20 cents per month, totaling $2.40 per year. Therefore, if only 1 percent of the $40 billion annual credit-card transactions go to "Pennies for Change," millions of dollars will be donated to communities throughout America.

The goal of United Way of America's "Pennies for Change" is not only to encourage philanthropy, but to provide a simple way to make a difference where you live and work.

Alexander M. Sanchez
Alexandria, Va.

Senior vice president of Community Impact Leadership, United Way of America

Baseball's antidrug policies

Regarding the Jan. 16 article, "Pro baseball is urged to keep focus on antidrug policies": Wouldn't it be wonderful if we used the vast resources of the United States of America's legislative branch for something other than monitoring the use – or more correctly the reported use – of steroids by professional athletes? Put a law in place if you must, and ensure that drug tests are done and that the consequences and a controlling agency are named, and be done with it! All this rumor-as-fact business is just ridiculous. If players can't pass a drug test, they are out of the game. No drug test, no discussion. Let's get back to the real business of running the country, shall we?

Cathleen Rollins
Santa Cruz, Calif.

Validity of 'libertarian paternalism'

In response to the Jan. 17 article, "New way to get procrastinators with the program": I must strenuously object to the use of the term libertarian in this way. It is hardly a libertarian principle to allow the government to make some sort of default decision for me. Making it possible for me to opt out only means that I have to jump through some sort of government hoop in order to exercise my individual rights.

The primary principle of libertarianism is free will and choice. I don't need a government nanny. I can take care of myself, thank you.

Howard Cornett
Syracuse, N.Y.

Photo-sharing user beware

In response to the Jan. 16 article "Help! My picture's been 'photonapped' online!": Almost all these sites state explicitly, in the fine print of the end-user license agreement, that the site reserves the right to republish, reprint, and otherwise use any content posted.

No one has any right to complain. You agreed to the terms, so you'll have to put up with the consequences.

Marilyn Zavitz
Toronto

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com. Mail letters to Readers Write and Opinion pieces to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115. E-mail letters to Letters and Opinion pieces to OpEd.

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