Leave politics out of the dating scene

Regarding the Aug. 6 article "Desperately seeking Mr. Right. Or Left.": This whole debate about politics and dating being interlocked and representing your values is absurd to me.

"Values" are tied to a political party only at the time they are being summoned for a sound bite. The true values of a potential date reside within that person regardless of his or her party affiliation.

There was a time when the topics not to talk about in public (or to air within the realm of general conversation) were money, religion, and politics. The point of the ballot box was a secret ballot - not a "tell all" prior to voting.
Ray Bilodeau
Fremont, Calif.

I think it is sad that people have begun to screen their possible love interests by using political affiliations as a litmus test. It is a sign that the Balkanization of ideas and opinions has invaded every facet of our culture. I think part of the reason for this is the Internet. On the Web, a person has the unprecedented ability to encounter only people who are like-minded. We are headed down a road of closed minds and deep division in our country because of the lack of communication among those holding to different sides of a subject.
Jeremy Petzold
Redford, Mich.

Reducing oil dependence

Regarding your Aug. 6 article "Economic risks of high oil prices": No matter which way the petroleum winds blow, there are two reasons oil continues to sell for more than $44 a barrel: First, the worldwide production of liquid fuels is very unstable; and second, we have been slow to devise alternative ways to power vehicles.

However, there are technologies developed in the US and commercialized around the world that produce ethanol from wood waste, paper, and much of what ends up in sanitary landfills. The production of home-grown ethanol from waste would create billions of gallons of new fuel.

Practically speaking, this means we could extend the life of landfills, create a reliable source of energy, and drop the price of gas at the pump. It seems to me those are all good outcomes that everyone can support.
Arnold R. Klann
Irvine, Calif.
President, Arkenol Fuels

The bleak outlook for oil

Regarding the Aug. 2 article "Why oil prices may stay sky high": Competent estimates suggest that the maximum rate of production of oil has been attained so rates will decrease as reserves dwindle.

In light of this, all vehicles, including SUVs and light trucks, should be required to be much more energy-efficient than they now are. We need to change our lifestyles and become energy-efficient in every reasonable way.
Karl Hartman
Kingston, R.I.

The women's clothing dilemma

Regarding the Aug. 11 article "What did it all cost? Her lips are sealed": Consider this scenario: A woman goes shopping. She selects a blouse and a skirt, both 100 percent polyester, made in a foreign country. On the way to the cashier, she decides to pick up clothing for her man. She chooses a shirt and a pair of pants, both 100 percent cotton, made in the US. At the cash register, her blouse and skirt total $90. The man's shirt and pants total $57.

Women's clothing is notoriously overpriced, regardless of the quality of the materials or workmanship. Price-gouging like this is a profound form of discrimination toward female consumers. This issue affects all women, yet in its enormity, it remains blurred and inseparable from the free-market philosophy.
Stephanie Reid
Sacramento, Calif.

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