All couples are not equal
David Cook and Chris Anderson should sell used cars: "No, it's not a used car; it's a certified pre-owned vehicle." After all, Anderson says his domestic partnerships proposal "is not a recognition of same-sex marriage." Right. And California's Supreme Court did not strike down Proposition 8 because California gave same-sex couples rights so similar to married couples' rights that it could no longer withhold the name "marriage."
I agree when Cook urges readers to "see legislation for what it is instead of what it isn't." But Anderson's legislation is not what Cook says it is: "Simply -- an issue of workplace fairness and equality."
Domestic partnerships are not commitments equal to marriages, so granting partners the same benefits as spouses is not fairness. And Anderson's proposal still raises the question: Do same-sex couples equal opposite-sex couples? The answer is no. One plus one equals two, but with children, one plus one can equal three or four or more. To equate the two kinds of couples is to value children at zero.
The only things simple here are the minds of people who believe Cook and Anderson are spouting anything but incredibly bad propaganda for an equally bad policy.
DR. BRIAN HALE, Red Bank
Replace all animal tests
One hundred million: this is the estimated number of animals used in testing every year. The estimate does not include animals, especially mice and rats, which are often killed in very violent and inhumane ways because of mutations and defects caused by unintentional breeding. Animals are often deformed or killed in the testing process. Ethics issues related to animal testing can be reduced or completely eliminated by using alternative testing methods! In the European Union, there has been a push for finding and validating alternative methods. Scientists have been able to replace most short-term tests through in vitro methods where they create cultured human cells for testing chemicals. Alternative methods have been proven more accurate and also substantially less expensive than animal tests. However, most companies in the United States still refuse to use any of the available alternatives. If alternative method research is continued, it is estimated that all animal testing can be replaced within 15 years. Help to end the abuse of poor, innocent animals. Look for and choose products that do not use animals in the development of their products!
Common folks get left out
I always get a chuckle from the fever pitch in letters from Red State conservatives, especially tea party members. I worry for them about their short-term memory loss. It was just a few years ago that our economy was humming, everyone that wanted a job had one, government bills were being paid and our federal debt was shrinking. What went wrong? Our supreme court gave the 2000 election to a Republican, and things went downhill fast. But as bad as that Florida decision was for us common folks, I believe "Citizens United" will be even worse. Big money will buy every election until this is overturned. Forget that the golden rule is the right thing to do and consider what will happen when the minority becomes the majority. Their rules and laws will be enacted, and they will govern. Do you want your future generations to be treated like your demanding these "others" be treated now? Stop watching for news. Their only concern is for the money they make stirring up fear and anger. Will they still "lookout for you" when that money comes from a different source?
ALLAN BAGGETT Trion, Ga.
Take violence out of films
According to a survey conducted in both the United States and Norway, both American and Norwegian parents ranked two men kissing as more disturbing for their children to see than the sight of a gory, decomposing head. Over the past few decades, this desensitization to violence has become more and more apparent, with horrific "torture porn" films like the Saw franchise becoming box office sensations. It's just one sign of a larger trend, and major attitude issue in the U.S., where violence is often treated as less disturbing than human sexuality. It's considered perfectly acceptable to air a man torturing and killing another on a prime time network drama, but the second the pants come off and the camera strays a bit too low a program is relegated to the most miserable hours of the night on a low-rent cable channel. I really think it's time the American public took a long, hard look at its entertainment industry. Left to their own devices, the issue will never be resolved. It's time for the American public to let them know that the current situation is simply, utterly, unacceptable.
Times cartoon, unfair, offensive
The cartoon on the Times' Page on Oct. 30 was particularly foolish and silly, not to mention untrue and misleading. Rep. Fleischmann is a very bright, hard-working and conscientious public servant who does his best to represent his constituents, and his best is very good indeed. It continues to amaze me that liberals, the very keystone of whose articulated religion is tolerance and avoiding injury to others' feelings, can be so intolerant and offensive toward those who don't share their views.
SCOTT N. BROWN JR.
Watch TV on the Internet
Why do people pay for both internet and cable when they should be the same thing? EPB now has fiber internet which is fast enough to stream nearly anything without any latency. There are several manufacturers working on a product to bring Internet to the living room. These products will be able to do everything from stream TV episodes and movies to watching YouTube and checking social media sites. One large complaint may be that people want to watch live sports, but this is possible through several websites and could be used with these devices. Companies like Google are making a very cheap device running on Android that will have all of these capabilities. These products are just the beginning for converting older TV sets to this modern era. In the next few years TVs will simply come with an ethernet plug and have these features will be built in. It is only a matter of time until channels will be offered via the internet. The only problem is these devices do not have enough support, but hopefully that will change in the near future.
Cash out welfare
"Why not close down all of the various government welfare services and just give each welfare recipient $100,000?" The question has been asked often, but I've not seen a clear and logical answer. I can't calculate the exact cost/benefit ratio, but it seems obvious that the reduction in tax burden -- even short term -- would be immense. Possibly some of those paid the lump sum might destroy themselves, but that is a moral issue for which the individual must bear his or her own responsibility. Others may be robbed of their "new riches," but that is a crime with which police services deal routinely. Other than a huge loss of bureaucratic jobs and the relaxation of governmental control, what's wrong with the idea?