October 26, 2005 

Sticks and Stones • The New Math • Senior Alert • Scoot Along

Sticks and Stones

Bill Cope's column (BW, BILL COPE, "P as in Poor," October 19, 2005) strengthens the conservative position. He clearly shows that he knows he is wrong by resorting to name calling and by his statement that "Democrats at least try." A liberal film star made the same statement on the Bill O'Reilly show but he qualified it by adding, "we know it doesn't work." Rewarding bad behavior just encourages more bad behavior.

If we can go to the moon in 10 years, we can come up with a welfare program that encourages good behavior and provides incentives for getting off welfare. His column is a classic bleeding heart liberal full of complaints and short on solutions.

--Ken Trefaller

the new Math

What a shame that Ryan Peck's useful article on Wal-Mart (BW, NEWS, "Revenge of the One-Minute Clock-Out," October 12, 2005) begins with this absurdity: "Wal-Mart is a corporate colossus. The statistics are staggering: It employs 10 percent of the nation's workforce--around 1.5 million employees ..."

If true, the U.S. would have only 15 million workers total. Moreover, we are told that Wal-Mart produces some 2 percent of the national GDP--that would be a very inefficient 10 percent of the workforce.

Someone (Peck? an editor?) should have caught this. Those readers who read past the opening will naturally wonder which other numbers in the article are untrustworthy.

--Ken Sanderson,

Boise

Editor's Note: The most recent statistics from Wal-Mart's own information site says that it has over 1.6 million associates, with 1.2 million in the United States. The Department of Labor says that the total number of employed citizens in September was 142,432,000. This would make Wal-Mart the employer of approximately 1 percent of the available U.S. labor force. A decimal place was off and we should have caught it. Our bad.

senior alert

I live in a senior housing facility in Eagle. Some of our residents here are really going to take a heavy hit if their Medicaid benefits are reduced ... they barely have enough to "get by" as it is.

Please see if you can tell Crapo, Otter, Simpson and Craig that there is a lot of old folks right here in Idaho that don't need to take another cut. (No, I don't get Medicaid and am not writing this for myself!)

--Sidney S. Keith,

Eagle

Scoot along

I ride an electric scooter. Peter Wollheim's article (BW, NEWS, "Caveat Equa-tor," September 28, 2005) warns us to beware of the risks of riding our vehicles, citing statistics that collisions involving mopeds or pedal bicycles had increased 14 percent between 2000-2005. Since motorized bicycles are a recent innovation in technology, that increase can be the result simply of more mopeds on the streets. Frankly, I'm amazed the statistic isn't more like 100 percent since few if any mopeds were on the streets five years ago.

In my experience, riding my eGo cycle is no more risky than riding a bicycle. It is less so, due to its low center of gravity, automatic deceleration, and superior maneuverability.

Furthermore, the current ordinance that prohibits motorized bicycles and scooters in the bike lane is stupid though well intentioned. It makes it illegal for us riders to use the safety of the bike lane, and forces us to possibly impede traffic flow since mopeds typically can't exceed 23-30 mph. What is the reason to probihit us from using the bike lanes? I can understand prohibiting motorized vehicles like mopeds or scooters on the green belt for aesthetic reasons, but not a downtown bike lane. The law needs to change.

--Brent Mathieu, Boise

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