by Inlander Readers

Birds of a Feather... -- I do not believe politicians should buy votes by allowing people to live lives dependent on the government. No humane person wants to see poor people living hand-to-mouth existences, held in duress from their political opinions by fear of losing their government handouts. It is hard for idle people to live pure lives. I am not proud of being a bum on the government dole, but I want to eat and stay warm without staying around a bunch of ex-cons and druggies in the public shelters. I would rather live a life of solitary confinement than be around people like that.

It is not that I feel better than them. I get tired of being judged by the company my poverty has always forced me to keep. President Bush should publicly disassociate himself from firebrands like Michael Savage, Lauri Roth, and Rush Limbaugh if he wants to be reelected. I believe these people are actually liberals out to paint conservatism in a bad light, and the simple masses are not able to comprehend the truth, that true conservatism's aim is honorable and humane. Praise Jesus.

Wesley Storer

Spokane, Wash.

Colin's Been Around -- Apparently Jack Thompson had a class in logic, but he must have slept through history. In reference to his letter, "Lack of Logic," (9/23/04), does he not remember the My Lai incident during the Vietnam War? And does he remember who was supposed to be monitoring civilian loses during the time? No other than Colin Powell. He should also go back and read the Pentagon Papers just for fun.

Leta Horn

Spokane, Wash.

D.C. Is Oz -- In Robert Herold's commentary, "What, Him Worry?" (10/7/04), he suggests that President Bush is a bad wizard or perhaps no wizard at all. I beg to differ. Who but a wizard could have convinced American workers that

1. Republicans have their best interests at heart, and that

2. Democrats are, in the words of that notorious anti-Dean commercial, "tax-hiking, government-expanding, latte-drinking, sushi-eating, Volvo-driving, New York Times-reading, body piercing, Hollywood-loving" elitists.

Wizardry! The Democrats gave those workers Social Security, Medicare, the 40-hour week, overtime pay, federal aid to education and workplace and environmental protection, to name just a few, mostly over Republican cries of "socialism."

Now the Republicans are demolishing workers' safety nets while burying their children in debt, poisoning their young with pollution, wasting their teens in Iraq and Afghanistan, outsourcing their jobs and otherwise keeping corporate contributors happy.

Of course, like most wizardry, what's going on behind the curtain is hidden and classified. Out front we have diversions: gun control, abortion, same-sex marriage, school prayer, "Under God" and metaphoric wars on drugs and terror -- permanent problems all since Republicans don't dare solve them. They're too handy for keeping us from peeking behind the curtain. Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.

Frank Dalton

Spokane, Wash.

Banks Are Predatory, Too -- I am a financial institution employee and after reading your "Shake the Yoke" article, (9/16/04), regarding personal debt and predatory lending, I can see you only got one opinion on the issue. Here is another: overdraft fees, or whatever they are calling them, make the financial institutions lots of fee income. Names like "account protection," or "courtesy pay" is a cute way of saying "overdraft" to make consumer not feel so bad for overdrawing their account and thus making the financial institutions make a bundle off of the fees the consumer pays. They will even tell you that you have "qualified" for this service making you feel special.

Here is an example: If you were to have a checking account at one of the before mentioned financial institutions, and you overdrew that account with an eight dollar check they would charge you a $25 overdraft fee and cover the check in hopes that you would bring your account up to a positive balance within 30 days or face more fees. Now you have a negative $33 in your account. If you have another check, say for $45 and it also comes through your account before you get paid, you will be charged another $25 fee for the privilege of them covering that check. Now you are looking at a negative $128 balance in your checking account with a grand total of $50.00 in overdraft fees. Any other checks that might come through would also earn an additional $25 overdraft fee each.

If you were to have just run down to a payday lender, you could have borrowed the $78 you were going to overdraw your account by for a few days, for a fee of just $12. Now think about this, $12 vs. $50. Who is being the predatory lender here?

Granted, banks/credit unions are notoriously nicer to deal with when they are trying to recover that $50 than payday lenders would be when trying to recover their $12, which would multiply quickly if the check you gave them was bad as well, but as we've just seen, your negative balance can grow just as fast if not considerable faster.

Banks/credit unions like to call payday lenders predatory lenders because they steal a portion of their business. I'd like to make a challenge to both groups to "have a heart" and recognize that good people get in bad situations, and in some cases need extra cash, even if only for a few days, lets not prey on them or situations by making them pay outrageous fees or interest rates.

Cindy Stephens

Spokane, Wash

Publication date: 10/14/04

Juneteenth at Spark Central @ Spark Central

Sat., June 19, 12-7 p.m.
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