World should focus on controlling human population
In regard to the Jan. 29 editorial, "How to feed the hungry billion": This commentary was fine as far as it went. But it needed to go beyond a brief mention of "a global population surge from 6.5 billion to 9 billion" expected by 2050 and call for increased worldwide attention to population control.
We need to focus on giving people the means to stop having so many children, accompanied by an education program about how having fewer children can lead to a better life for everyone. No one wants to give birth to children if they think they may have to watch them die of starvation, but in too many cases they do not know they have alternatives.
There is reason to panic over 401(k)s
Regarding the Jan. 30 Opinion piece, "Don't panic about your 401(k) losses. Here's why": This commentary is an appallingly superficial and unhelpful analysis. The market may recover, but that will not help the millions of people forced into early retirement with pitifully reduced 401(k)s. They do not have time to wait for the market. Neither does this bode well for mid-career people (like myself), who are laid off just short of vesting and forced to rollover 401(k)s reduced both by the market and a withdrawal of matching funds. It is unlikely that any recovery is going to restore that loss before retirement.
Our retirements are starting to look like mirages in the desert.
Unions must demand more from Dems
In regard to the Feb. 2 commentary, "Unions see better days ahead under Obama's leadership": Author David R. Francis's views on the prospects for organized labor under the Obama administration is naive, if not disingenuous.
He reports that the president has promised to push for the Employee Free Choice Act. If President Obama planned to push for the EFCA, he would at least have included it in his agenda posted on the White House website. The EFCA does not even appear in the "Additional Issues" section. Furthermore, The Washington Post reported on Jan. 16 that Mr. Obama "seemed in no hurry to have Congress bring it up."
Passing the EFCA, which is progressive but weak legislation, will take a monumental effort, not by Democratic legislators, but by organized labor itself. For all its support of Democrats over the past 40 years, labor has gained nothing (unless you count NAFTA and the WTO). It will continue to gain nothing if it gives its support unconditionally to Democrats.
If unions fail to make demands on the Democrats while providing no alternative, they will continue their 40-year trend of increasing impotence even if density ticks up.
Their $303 million in campaign donations would go a long way toward building a new party. That prospect might prod the Democrats into action.
A trick for hot cereal in the morning
In regard to the Jan. 28 article, "Hot cereal dressed for the cold": Thanks to author Jeannie McDermott for her wheat berry cereal suggestion. Another trick for hot cereal that my father taught me is to use a small crockpot with a timer. I prepare our steel-cut oats every night before bed and set the timer for about four hours of cooking in the early morning. It is fully cooked and hot upon waking.
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