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Archive for Tuesday, January 20, 2009

One Wal-Mart enough for Lawrence

January 20, 2009

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Editor's note: Today's letters to the editor are from Southwest Junior High students learning about persuasive writing.

To the editor:

Lawrence has a problem; we aren’t a big city, why do we need two Wal-Marts? Many people seem blind to how awful Wal-Mart treats their employees.

Do you know how badly Wal-Mart pays their workers? In 2001 the most common Wal-Mart employee was paid on average $8.23 an hour. That means they annually $13,861, the 2001 poverty line for a three-person family was $14,630.

You can’t deny the fact that there are people in the Far East working long hours and being treated unfairly just so your kid can play with cheap plastic toy. Take these true examples, clothing workers in China filed a class action law suit against Wal-Mart in September. They claimed their employer kept the first three months of pay and they were not paid the legal minimum wage. Workers making toys said they have to meet a quota of 8900 painted toys in an eight hour shift, if they did not meet the quota they would be paid $1.23 instead of their regular pay $3.45.

Health care for their employees is also an issue. In January 2006, Wal-Mart said their health insurance covers 43 percent of employees. The average full-time employee would need to spend 7 to 25 percent of their pay check just to get the premiums and medical deductibles and wait six months to get it.

So stop buying products at Wal-Mart and maybe they will treat their employees better and improve the quality of their products.

Kathleen Nesbitt-Daly,

Southwest Junior High

Comments

labmonkey 5 years, 9 months ago

Kathleen-You are awesome. If you haven't already, read "The Wal-Mart Effect" by Bill Fishman. It will provide more ammo for your argument. Great Letter.

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Michael Capra 5 years, 9 months ago

back away from the bong.I hate to burst your bubble ITS ALLREADY BUILT

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gr 5 years, 9 months ago

Is this a really, really late homework assignment?Kathleen, if the wages are so low, what would happen to the workers if Wal-mart closed? Do workers at other places make less?Does Wal-mart sell anything besides cheap plastic toys from China?Do some non Wal-mart employees not have ANY insurance at ANY cost?Could you explain how not being a customer of Wal-Mart will ensure work for the employees and result in increased wages?Kathleen, before you hand in your homework assignment, maybe you had better do your homework.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

kids, like goats, should ignore trolls

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Eddie Muñoz 5 years, 9 months ago

I like how after the first sentence the letter completely changes subjects.

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ksmax 5 years, 9 months ago

Not to mention, the one Walmart we have is so busy 24/7 that it is a nightmare to shop at. We live in Baldwin and we prefer to go to the Gardner store over the Lawrence one. Shopping should not be a cluster of rude people thinking only of themselves. There is a huge lack of consideration for others when there are such high numbers of people in one place. I tend to spend far less time shopping, becuase of the frustration level. Lawrence NEEDS a relief store! Not to mention the traffic in south Lawrence is just as big of a nightmare as the store its self. As far as the wages, maybe you need to check at stats of other jobs!! I think you would be surprised to see that many jobs are just like that. Low wages and unaffordable healthcare! This is where others who are watching thiers budgets go to get a fair deal on everyday items. You can go to others store and pay more, then where would you be....none the better off!

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canyon_wren 5 years, 9 months ago

labmonkey--thanks for the reference! I want to read that book. But I looked it up in our local library's online catalog which indicates the author's name is Charles Fishman, rather than Bill. So unless Bill is a nickname, probably the writer of the letter needs to know the difference. I plan to check it out soon.

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oldvet 5 years, 9 months ago

ya reckon that mommy is doing Kathleen's homework?

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CLARKKENT 5 years, 9 months ago

WHILE NOT A FAN OF THE "STUFF" WALMART CARRIES, I HAVE A WALMART STORY ALSO.MY SISTER IN LAW WORKS FOR THIS CO., HAS FOR 7 YEARS, MAKES 19.00 HR., HAS FULL INSURANCE COVERAGE, AND A REALLY NICE RETIREMENT PACKAGE.OH YES, SHE IS NOT IN MANAGEMENT!!!!!!!!

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kef104 5 years, 9 months ago

Kathleen,If you feel so strongly about not giving business to companies that pay low level employees less than $17120 (your original math is incorrect), that is fine. Realize that means you will no longer be able to spend any money at most downtown establishments or at other businesses either. Heck, $17,000 may be management pay for some downtown retail/dining establishments. There is nothing wrong with having a standard, just be sure to apply it fairly. Otherwise, you will appear to be a hypocrite.

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Eric Neuteboom 5 years, 9 months ago

Kathleen, this is an excellent letter and you should be very proud of your argument. Kudos to you!__To the rest of the posters on here, please keep in mind this is a young woman writing this letter. Constructive criticisms only, please. There are plenty other stories for you to troll and be negative on. This is not the time nor the place.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

If we're going to protest Wally world for low wages we better not patronize any restaurant known to man. Those poor waiters and waitresses make minimum wage with no guarantee of tips. Certainly their baseline salaries are below poverty as well. We better not buy a car from a dealership. Their salesperson base salary is usually below poverty and commission-based. In this economy, how in the world can they make it?You see how idiotic the argument is? This is a typical myopic view of an indoctrinated skull full of mush. Our public education system has succeeded once again. Within a generation we'll have a statue of Lenin on the Mall in D.C. and a hammer and sickle flying above the capitol building.

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WWoftheW 5 years, 9 months ago

Jason;You obviously don't care about anyone or you would keep your comments this time constructive and aware of the age of the these students. So no wonder you don't care about people trying to survive on the bad wages you even acknowledge. What do you pay?

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@Coach_Eric: Give me a break. The writer, even though young, submitted a persuasive argument basically saying that one of our most successful companies is evil and that we should economically cripple the company by not patronizing the establishment. Sorry...fair game for criticism especially when the argument fails under the weight of logic.

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budwhysir 5 years, 9 months ago

Isnt it great how in todays world we are forced to work in jobs with making not enough money while at the same time forced to buy things at stores we go to? I do not believe you would keep a job if you did not believe you are making enough money. I also believe that in todays job market, there should be many applications placed at the the new wal mart. Do not get me wrong, I am not a patron of wal mart. However I am a believer in free enterprize and the ability to obtain business. So,, if Walmart opens a new store and it survives, there is no real issue with the size of our town or the wages of our jobs, the real problem lies within our choice of shopping and our lack of drive towards working at a higher paying job. Just one mans opinion from main street America that might be ready for change but realizes that change may never come.

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Eric Neuteboom 5 years, 9 months ago

Jason, take it somewhere else. You certainly have the right to voice your opinion, but calling this child names is really low brow.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@WW: This isn't about me...Very typical: When someone responds to an argument, change the subject.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@Coach_Eric: Sorry...I don't mean to call anyone names. That was not my intent and I do apologize for that. My point was intended to be directed at the content of the message and not the writer. It is apparent that indoctrination has occurred in this case.

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WWoftheW 5 years, 9 months ago

Some of you bloggers - a very important quote comes to mind, I think (he) doth protest to much. In others words you are guilty of the same thing.

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WWoftheW 5 years, 9 months ago

Jason;You weren't responding you were making it personal with you name calling an extra comments.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

To some of you quoting Shakespeare. Another quote comes to mind: "To be or not to be, that is the question." In other words, is the next generation going to drive this country further down the road to socialism or are we going to cling to our originalist roots?

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@WW: Sorry...I keep forgetting how sensitive you guys are.

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monkeyhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

My next letter to the editor:One progressive liberal in Lawrence enough. Shall I continue with my persuasive writing?

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SMe 5 years, 9 months ago

Kathleen ignore the nay-sayers here and keep thinking for yourself.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

jason2007: "Very typical: When someone responds to an argument, change the subject."How about accuse someone of skirting the issue because they didn't respond to an over-generalization that was simply inapplicable, and then when they do respond, you run away and ignore the thread, never to respond again?http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2009/jan/15/co2-trend/#c787878You have absolutely no room, at this point, to pull any sort of morally superior stance.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@Jonas: Sorry...I have a life and was busy for the remainder of that day. I don't ever run from a good debate.Once again, this isn't about me (you seem to have some sort of fixation with my "morally superior" stance the last couple of weeks).How about responding to my point that if we extrapolate this writer's arguments to their logical ends, we should be boycotting a vast majority of businesses out there? Where does it end? Last time I checked, we were still a free-market economy and as long as a business operates within a set of laws they can choose their benefits to their employees.

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mom_of_three 5 years, 9 months ago

I try to shop at Wally world as little as possible, (sometimes it is unavoidable) and definitely, never take my car there again. Broke our oil pan, admitted it, took it back, refused responsibility, refused to pay for the repair. AND they aren't a member of the BBB, so no one could help us. I think the student has a good point, and has made a good effort in trying. And people, these students are in junior high, so lets be nice.

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jaywalker 5 years, 9 months ago

I'm shocked. Shocked I say, that this LTE would start a string that would blow up so quickly.

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fu7il3 5 years, 9 months ago

Would it though? Wal-Mart is one of the largest employers in the U.S. and a spending staple of our capitalist economy. Dissolve Wal-Mart and you'll really start to see a recession.

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kidicarus 5 years, 9 months ago

Dear LJ World - When running letters you know are written by middle schoolers, perhaps you should consider disabling the comments thread or at least monitoring it a bit more closely. I'm sure Kathleen and her friends and family are excited that she has a letter in the paper. I hope they don't scroll down too far when they sign on to read it.

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Dale Stringer 5 years, 9 months ago

Low-paying jobs VS. No paying jobs. What do the people of Lawrence want?

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@BuddhaDude: They want utopia where check-out clerks make $60,000 per year, full benefits and a funded 401(k). Wonder if they'd be willing to pay for that via a 50-80% increase in all of the cheap stuff they buy at WalMart or would they migrate to another retailer? Answer: They'd go elsewhere and so, WalMart would fail.Ultimately we, the consumer, pay for the salaries through the price we pay for goods. Would the bleeding hearts on this board be willing to fork over such a huge increase to pay for a "living wage", whatever that is? I doubt it.

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rlmtyco 5 years, 9 months ago

Well I am glad our schools are doing so well in teaching simple math to students. You were off a great number on your math, its over $17000 an employee will make working full time at that rate. At a time with such high unemployment I dont think people will complain about $8 something an hour. If Lawrence is not big enough for 2 Walmarts, let that be their problem, if its not big enough it will hurt them, I dont agree with everything or anything that Walmart stands for but they like every other company are free to operate as they see fit.

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rlmtyco 5 years, 9 months ago

I just became aware that the student is a 7th grader, I apologize for making the math comment. Everyone is free to a persuasive essay and I too at that age made some arguments that were very different then how I feel now. I am happy she has an opinion in general about things going on in our community, that is all we can ask for from our youth.

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missmia 5 years, 9 months ago

I agree with both the author of the letter as well as kidicarus. it's pretty horrible that people are writing such harsh comments toward a 7th grader. a simple "agree" or "disagree" would suffice.

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budwhysir 5 years, 9 months ago

A very well written letter if you ask me. It appears that the points in this letter have been well thought out and the letter was well written without alot of "party bashing" you might find in a normal letter to the editor that is written by older citizens of our fine city.As with any point of view, this letter has brought out both sides of the issue. I believe this student has been exposed to the truth of opinion being that everyone has one and we must stick to our grounds when making a point. Be proud of your position, right or wrong, agreed or diagreed. The point of this section of the paper is to share your view with others so we might make decisions in the American Democratic way.Way to go, maybe everyone could ease up and think prior to posting. Have a great day.

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OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 9 months ago

I guess some of us figure it's OK to beat up on courageous little girls. Buttholes.There is a simple explanation for why we have to keep building WalMart stores in Lawrence. There are still a few locally-owned stores that refuse to close. So, it seems we will have to find yet a third location - preferably near an already congested area of town - and build another WalMart store. Hopefully we will won't have to build more than 4 or 5 before the hold-outs cave in.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@OldEnuf2BYurDad: Ah, now you're a paragon of virtue calling people sphincters. Your name should be changed to "CrassEnuf2BBanned".

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madameX 5 years, 9 months ago

My problem with Wal-Mart (and other business of its ilk, I know they're not the only ones) is not simply that they treat their employees poorly, it's that they treat their employees poorly while posting huge profits. They could afford to do at least a little better by them without jacking up prices but apparently choose not to, as opposed to small business in general which in my experience pay what they can afford to pay. Is it their right to do that if they want to? Of course, but it's my right to not approve and to not encourage it by shopping there.

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Confrontation 5 years, 9 months ago

Wal-Mart is actually paying quite a bit more than Enron or Circuit City. Also, I'm willing to bet that many unemployed workers will be okay with $8.23 per hour. From what I know, no one is being forced to work there.

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jehovah_bob 5 years, 9 months ago

To all the math snobs out there, Kathleen never reported the total hours worked. You assumed 40hrs/wk. When was the last time you heard of a full time Walmart employee? Though almost 32.5hrs/wk still seems high for an average Walmart work week it would still be a more accurate calculation than 40.That said, bring on the Walmart.

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gr 5 years, 9 months ago

"but calling this child names is really low brow."Coach_Eric, I could not find where Jason called anyone names.While saying, "You see how idiotic the argument is?", does seem rather harsh to a teenager, that was an adjective. So, could you enlighten us where he called her a name?Some object to the harsh criticism. Like some have said, if they are going to participate where responses come back, they have to be willing to accept both kinds of critics. Ever think part of their grade could be based upon the feedback? Besides, unless this is the first time a teenager has ventured into the world of forums, I bet most could keep up with anyone here.

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formerlawrenceres 5 years, 9 months ago

I wonder how many of you have actually worked at Walmart and know what it is like to be an employee there. I started at a Walmart in my hometown my senior year of high school working 27 hours a week. I started out at $8.15 an hour and had full benefits. How many companies do you know that offer part time workers benefits? I continued to work there for the next three years while going to KU and being a single parent. They were always flexible with my hours and understanding when I had to stay home or rearrange my schedule for my son. During my time there I enjoyed many company paid events to show appreciation for employees, a check at the end of each year from their profit sharing program, and opportunity to learn different aspects of the retail business. Through my time at Walmart I started out as a cashier and left it as the manager of the photo center making almost $14 an hour. For those complaining about the amount of money that employees there make, that amount is generally their starting wage based on experience and job title. Its just like any company, if you want to make more money you have to work harder and prove that you are worthy of a raise and/or promotion.

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Kyle Reed 5 years, 9 months ago

formerlawrenceres (Anonymous) says… "if you want to make more money you have to work harder and prove that you are worthy of a raise and/or promotion."For the love of GOD!!! Where have you been hearing this from? You had better watch what you say around here. This type of talk is simply not tolerated in this day and age, especially that work harder part. Now...back to staring at my mailbox waiting for my bailout check...

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@gr: Thanks for watching my back. I even apologized for any sort of misunderstanding in that regard but it didn't matter.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@Akreed: That's right! Did you hear the part today in the Inaugural that called for "personal sacrifice" and "the cost of citizenship"? Those are heretical words!More bread and circuses please.

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ralphralph 5 years, 9 months ago

Wal*Mart is simply taking full advantage of a system that allows it to thrive. If we don't want to compete with nations who allow producers to function with no child-labor standards, no workplace safety rules, no product safety rules, no environmental protection rules, etc., then we need to refuse as a nation to do so, and stop the goods from those countries from entering our market. Unless and until we do that, The Mart will roll on, and we can look forward to lead in our toys and melamine in our baby formula.Question - If we change this, and stop the flow of Chinese goods, will Bill Clinton have to give back the money?

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Kyle Reed 5 years, 9 months ago

I was at work (I know imagine that) so I didn't actually catch the festivities. "Personal sacrifice" and "cost of citizenship" sound like code for suck it up if you're gonna live here because we need your tax money to "save the economy".

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elsie745 5 years, 9 months ago

I am sure there are several employers in Lawrence that pay around $8.75 per hour. I think LJ World is one of thoes.

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lucky7brand 5 years, 9 months ago

All the people who are criticizing this kid for her opinion, and maybe a miscalculation on wages, are just wrong. i bet if your child (those posting who have any) got her opinion posted in the paper you would be livid at these adults (acting like jr kids) crticizing they way you are. This child posted her name where most of you are annomous posters bashing her and her efforts. I have a child in jr high and if she wrote an opinion and it was posted in the paper i would be going crazy at the attacks made on my childs work. Grow up and act like adults. Big deal if her research may have not been perfect. These kids are our future and if adults are treating the next generations with criticisim like this how do you think the world will be in 10-20 years.

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budwhysir 5 years, 9 months ago

I believe one poster in the LJW comment section may be to many. Come on people, do we criticize the letter, the ideas, or the writer??? I believe you all have missed the point. This is a chance for one to write in a position on a subject. Even if this written article is a class project or not. Battle your position not writter or the intent or the reason. Get a life people. And by the way, Im getting ready to write a letter to the editor on ones etiquite on sharing opinions in the LJW. I believe these letters should only be written by people in school. they seem to have it together.

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jengaman 5 years, 9 months ago

You may have been able to convince me to protest against building another Wal-Mart here...well, until they decided to build it about 4 blocks from my house. Too late! Location, location, location.

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budwhysir 5 years, 9 months ago

Sure, blame the teacher for our grownups inability to understand the minds of our younger citizens. Good for you for finding the problems of our world. Perhaps a letter to the editor could be submitted by you. I would love to share my thinking of your ability to have a mind of your own. I would say the teacher should get an A for teaching how the adults of our fine town are able to attempt to express themselves in a grown up way. (the target has been placed on me now right???)

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gsxr600 5 years, 9 months ago

Blah blah blah same crap.If you don't like WalMart because you think it takes away from small towns and treats their employees like crap, suck it up. Their employees chose to work there; they are not slaves. If they cannot find a better job then that is their fault for not having the power or education to search for another job.In the case that you think WalMart is a huge powerhouse, yes it is. It has more economic power than some countries throughout the world. But guess what? Everyday you, America, contributes to big business such as WalMart. The gas you use to drive to work, the credit cards you use to put you into even more debt, everyday you support big business. So don't just blame WalMart for everything, blame yourselves.

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Bladerunner 5 years, 9 months ago

OMG Rantor! Could I get his email address? I have the same requests!

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

Good job !Take into consideration one other important issue equally as important as the ones you presented. In any community there are only so many retail dollars available to spread among our retailers. Lawrence is a small town with fewer retail dollars of course. Negative impacts on existing retailers is a huge potential in small markets.Some stores at 31st and Iowa may well feel the impact because fewer drivers will venture into that market = loss of impulse shopping from drive by consumers. This might be another area of study for you to consider. What is the effect of over retailing a small town market? Why doesn't local gov't do more extensive economic impact research before giving any new retail project the green light?Great source for local data: http://lawrencesmartgrowth.blogspot.com/To many Wal-Marts = fewer choices?http://action.walmartwatch.com/page/speakout/communityOur family does not shop Wal-Mart and have not done so for a few years. We tend to shop Cottin's Hardware Store, Weavers housewares and Weavers online because of good service and very competitive pricing. Checkers is outstanding. The Merc is our produce choice by far and away not to mention their lower price program on staple items. Hy-Vee offers a wide selection of products. The point here is Lawrence has many local or small business choices.The bottom line is Wal-Mart is not that great a value across the board. Keeping more dollars in Lawrence is better for local community investment. As demonstrated Lawrence offers many competitive choices. Thanks for taking the time to express yourself... hats off.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

Lucky7Brand wrote:"These kids are our future and if adults are treating the next generations with criticisim like this how do you think the world will be in 10-20 years."You're actually missing the point...if we have kids who are being so obviously indoctrinated (Walmart is bad, they treat their employees horribly, capitalism is evil, blah blah blah) THAT is going to negatively impact the world in 10-20 years.My point originally yesterday was to call out that the writer's argument doesn't hold up to its logical end point when applied not only to Wal Mart but any company paying minimum wage. We need kids to think beyond the tunnel vision focus that is being fed to them by the media/parents/teachers and think for themselves.

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jafs 5 years, 9 months ago

Perhaps you are the one with tunnel vision focus.Problems with Wal-Mart have been extensively documented in numerous ways - I recommend the book "Wal-Mart: The Bully of Bentonville".Also, if you don't see the current and obvious evils in our system which have been demonstrated by the financial crisis, then you're simply not paying attention.Why isn't Wal-Mart subject to anti-trust regulation? In other words, how has it been allowed to grow into a virtual monopoly?When large-scale greed results in outsourcing jobs to other countries to find cheap labor without any consideration of working conditions/basic human rights, something is dreadfully wrong with our society.I would say the indoctrination in our society runs in the opposite direction - self-interest is good, capitalism is good, socialism/communism are bad. Those seem to be the widely held points of view.

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madameX 5 years, 9 months ago

Why are so many folks so quick to assume that this girl has been indoctrinated by her parents to believe that Wal-Mart is evil? Just because they disagree with her? When I was four years old I got royally ticked off that the Catholic church did not allow women to become priests. I did not come from a femi-nazi family, both my parents were Catholic at the time; there was nothing in my upbringing thus far that would have sent the message that I should be angry. I drew the conclusion that that was wrong all by myself. Kids are not always as programmable as we think. It's possible that her parents told her Wal-Mart is bad, but it's just as possible that she decided that for herself. Can't we give her the benefit of the doubt?Also, Checkers really is great.

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monkfellow 5 years, 9 months ago

I admire the young lady's efforts, misguided though they may be.As to the points:Wal Mart is a big target for the iron-fist of big labor because they haven't been able to unionize stores as yet.They're pushing for the "card check" nonsense and I have no doubt Target and Costco have been shoveling loads of money tio democrat candidates to keep organized labor away, and are cheering them on until...until the labor thugs arrive at THEIR front door with a fistful of"free choice" cards and they have eight months to "negotiate' a contract...or else.I am amazed at the two-faced brazeness of big labor.They push for secret ballots in union elections in Mexico,but they say "it's different here" when it comes to giving workers that precious right.

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redmoonrising 5 years, 9 months ago

The poor Walton children, they only control 39% of the company's weath, a measly 19.2 billion for the majority of them as of Sept, 2008. Two have died. One's spouse took his place on the top 10 of Forbes 400 after his death. One daughter, Helen, actually gave a large portion of hers to charity and the rest will go there over the next few years since her death in 2007. Even Sam's brother's kids, the poor ones in the family, have a couple of billion each.Walmart, like all other major corporations has it's postives and negatives. They are ruthless in that they don't care at all about what local businesses suffer at their expense. Hey, even their prices aren't always the best. They have enough money to bully their way into anywhere. They do offer some great deals on prescription drugs, if those are the ones you use. And I'm sure they offer better prices on a lot of items because of their buying power. And their have always been those stories about how they treat their employees, some of whom would most likely agree, some not.There is a strange loyalty to a lot of shoppers to Walmart. They wouldn't dream of shopping any place else. There's nothing wrong with Walmart, it's just not the only place. Still, if I buy a tee shirt from Walmart for $12 and wear it for one year before it falls apart as compared to $20 from a company using better materials and wear it for 3-4 years, which is the better deal? I will even spend a few cents more for items rather than go through the hassle of shopping at Walmart. And sometimes those items are even cheaper someplace else. I even use a local pharmacy who, other than the $4 prescriptions (most of which are not what I take), charges me very little more and sometimes less than Walmart and even delivers for free. As to the original letter, I think a junior high student making this effort is commendable. She is not repeating things we have all not heard before about Walmart. So her math was off. She's just a kid and who knows what her sources were for these figures. From what I've heard from a friend who applied for a job there, the stated wage is about right. I'm sure there are others who have been there for some time who make more. And the assumption by one other poster that employees are covered by their spouses' policies is just that. How do we know that some of the Walmart employees aren't the major wage earners in a family, or single parent families who can't afford it. I give the writer credit for taking the time to research a company and find out more about it and how business works. Maybe it would have been better had she researched how the world's largest corporation affects the economy of local communities.

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Eric Neuteboom 5 years, 9 months ago

Jason, How is it you draw the conclusion that the writer is so obviously indoctrinated? Because she fails to see the issue as you do?Or do you just get your kicks by breaking apart the letter of a 7thh grader. You must feel very proud of yourself.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@Coach_Eric: Ah yes, I wake up each morning and look for kids to abuse. You have me pinned.This is a case of indoctrination because the writer raises a solution (boycotts) to a problem that, if applied to every situation where "employee abuse" is happening via low wages, terrible benefits, etc. the entire retail service economy of Lawrence would fail. It wasn't well thought out so therefore, she's hearing this propaganda from somewhere -- MSNBC, HuffingtonPost, MTV, -- I don't care but this was not a well-thought out conclusion.I said it yesterday and I'll say it again -- this isn't about me, Coach. Get over it and address the issues.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

MadameX wrote:"It's possible that her parents told her Wal-Mart is bad, but it's just as possible that she decided that for herself. Can't we give her the benefit of the doubt?"Ok, let's say she wasn't indoctrinated by some entity -- then the argument is delusion, here's why:If someone wants to say that one company is "bad", what makes that company "bad"? What is bad for me is good for someone else. Moral relativism rules if we're going to allow people to simply pick and choose what is good and evil. I thought the business and commerce laws of this country were the framework for operating -- maybe I'm way off base there.If something truly is bad, in an empirical sense, then everything else that follows the same model/behavior of said entity is also bad. In this case, every business in America which pays its workers minimum wage, paltry benefits, but generates a huge profit for its shareholders is bad. The writer can't have it both ways -- so it's delusion to throw out the solution which she offers without thinking through the natural consequences and endpoint of that solution.That's why I said indoctrination is going on here but you may be right -- she may have come up with this on her own which means that broadening her understanding of how interconnected everything is is so important to her growth.

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sourpuss 5 years, 9 months ago

I have no shopped at Wal-Mart in about seven or eight years. Sure, losing my business hasn't affected them, but I don't agree with their polices, so I am not going to support them. I wish other people would stop shopping there and put them out of business, but we're selfish, we want the lowest prices, so I know Wal-Mart will always be around. I just prefer to help businesses that are doing the right thing (or at least a better thing) by us all. Just my choice.But sure, I feel superior to all those pour souls packing into the Wal-Mart. Sheep toward the low-low prices.

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evergreen 5 years, 9 months ago

Congratulations to all the posters who are so vehemently in support of Wal-Mart that you were able to suspend your compassion and disregard the feelings of the author of the LTE, who apparently is just a young girl. Collectively you have been able to persuade aproximately zero people that Lawrence needs another Wal-Mart. Rather than pointing out flaws in what is obviously nothing more than an educational exercise in persuasive writing and quibbling over semantics with other posters (name calling vs. insensitive insults), try constructing your own argument as to why you think Lawrence needs another Wal-Mart. So far, Kathleen remains the most persuasive. That is correct, assuming you were subject to the same time restraint and word limits, as a group (you know who you are), you just lost an argument to a 12-year-old girl. Bravo.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@Evergreen: Actually, the ability to parse an argument's logical points is limited by the readers level of intellect. I believe that an inward retrospection is needed on your part before declaring someone a winner.The headline, reads "One Wal-Mart enough for Lawrence" but the closing argument is essentially "boycott Walmart". I never addressed why or why not another Wal-Mart is needed but rather the overarching and more potentially damaging argument of an economic boycott. Perhaps you need to re-read the LTE. It starts on Point A but moves to its real point which is Point B. You're stuck on Point A.

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evergreen 5 years, 9 months ago

Liberty_[for no ]One and jason[ GED Class of ]2007,Congratulations once again. This time it is for having thinner skin than a 12-year-old girl. Sorry I hurt your feelings just to prove a point. It's not that I'm opposed to the substance of your arguments, but rather your approach. Just a little tact wouldn't hurt, would it?Consider the courage it took for a junior high student to allow her school assignment to be published online. Posting anonymous comments that do little more than disparage the author simply because she has an opposing view do nothing to further your own argument. Rather, such tactics presuppose that she is your intellectual equal and detract from the merits of your argument. If you find her argument so unpersuasive, is an economic boycott of Wal-Mart really a legitimate concern?

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lucky7brand 5 years, 9 months ago

All those who are posting about Kathleen's opinion on Wal-mart. Hanging this child and picking apart her typo errors and math. But did any of you read the very top of the opinion? So far I see that no on has. "Editor's note: Today's letters to the editor are from Southwest Junior High students learning about persuasive writing." How about you haters and criticizers educate yourselves and do a google search on persuasive writing. That is the whole point of her opinion and assignment. It's not really about walmart. You all are doing exactly what she wanted you to do. Good job Kathleen.

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Clickker 5 years, 9 months ago

"Collectively you have been able to persuade aproximately zero people that Lawrence needs another Wal-Mart."Does Lawrence "need" another Walmart? Well, maybe or maybe not. If two Walmarts cant survive, then one will likely be shut down, and it will likely be shown that we didnt "need" another Walmart. As far as I know, there is no "need" czar out there telling us what we "need".Now I feel the need for a store such as this by me so that I dont have to inconvenience myself and drive across town. Plain and simple, if you dont, then dont shop there, and the collective nonshoppers will show that we dont "need" the new Walmart.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"Why are so many folks so quick to assume that this girl has been indoctrinated by her parents to believe that Wal-Mart is evil? Just because they disagree with her?"Yes.

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Godot 5 years, 9 months ago

Good example of research culled only from biased sources.I have to pay more than 25% of my income for health insurance. Does that mean my local employer should be boycotted?

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@Evergreen: Just because you failed the GED three times now doesn't mean you need to harbor hard feelings. I'm sure you'll pass eventually.

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local_support 5 years, 9 months ago

"Just a little tact wouldn't hurt, would it?"As if that exists anywhere in this glorified peanut gallery...

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

"(you seem to have some sort of fixation with my “morally superior” stance the last couple of weeks)."Yes, that's because you really are quite vile in your behavior on here. That would be fine by itself, but you are also frequently judgmental or detrimental with others who do the same, even to a lesser degree. Mostly, I find it fascinating that you seem to not be aware of it."How about responding to my point that if we extrapolate this writer's arguments to their logical ends, we should be boycotting a vast majority of businesses out there?"Well, I suppose I could go on and on about some of the argumentative flaws in a middle-schoolers argumentative delivery, but suffice it to say that I find your assumption of a "vast majority" to be rather questionable. I don't however, feel any need myself to defend the writer's position, past noting that all she gave was a synopsis of facts, with only one suggestion: that we not buy things there. I do, of course, buy things there, of particular type or quality, and I myself have no issue with utilizing help and labor from sources not limited to the United States, as not just our citizens are deserving of the chance for a livelihood. It is true, however, that Walmart is frequently guilty of taking advantage of, well, everybody. "Where does it end?"Somewhere beyond black and white and all or nothing, hopefully."Last time I checked, we were still a free-market economy and as long as a business operates within a set of laws they can choose their benefits to their employees."And thinking people can choose to respond. Again, all the letter writer is suggesting is that we should encourage intelligent consumer spending. It is true that if enough people protested, Walmart might be forced to make some changes. I would say its naive to think this can happen, but again, she's in 7th grade.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@Jonas: I'm vile? I had no idea and was ignorant of it as you rightly said.Actually, I believe that writing should be entertaining, engaging, and thought-provoking. If I can instigate a debate then I've done my job. At the end of the day, I believe my posts are simply an inverse parody of the lunacy that the left has unleashed the past 8 years. I'm illustrating the absurd by being absurd. Get it?And you can believe I'm judgmental...that's your prerogative but I just call a spade a spade.

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Mark Daly 5 years, 9 months ago

I can state that the letter writer enjoyed the volley of criticisms expressed in this thread. While there is no doubt, people could have tailored their comments to a 7th grader, she was neither crushed nor discouraged by what was written. She is quite an independent thinker and in fact based her opinions in part on (insider knowledge) what she knows from her 75 year old grandfather who has worked at Walmart for seven years.

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jonas_opines 5 years, 9 months ago

If you say so. At least now I know where you stand on the matter.

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katsmom 5 years, 9 months ago

As one of the writer's "looney left-wing parents," let me assure you that the writer would have NEVER let me write about a topic so important to her using her name, nor have I ever "indoctrinated" her about Walmart. Believe it or not, some 12 year old kids are able to form their own opinions and ideas about topics....even when they are not the same as some of the opinions of the people posting here---or, sometimes, even her parent's. Go figure!

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Linda Aikins 5 years, 9 months ago

I guarantee that she picked a subject that will get lots of comments - for that I say good job! Pursuaded? This is a no-win argument, sadly, but I'm proud of you for trying. And kids having their parents' opinions? I seem to remember mine having the opposite opinion just because it was mine! I do agree that the comments and nastiness could have taken into consideration the age of the writer. Would you talk to your own 12-year old child like this? Or that of a friend? Try to be constructive.

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purplesage 5 years, 9 months ago

Have you tried to get near the 1 Wal-Mart Lawrence has? Evidently social consciousness is ignored in favor of low prices. I'm no fan but I still end up shopping with at the Bentonville behemouth. So, I guess I'd like to see one on the N side.

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FMT6488 5 years, 9 months ago

I work 32+ hours a week at a LOCALLY owned business.I make slightly more than $9/Hr., The business has reduced the requirements for "full time" status to 32hrs/week. While this does make it easier for the employees to get benefits(insurance, time off, etc.), it greatly reduces the chances of any employee ever receiving overtime pay. (Many employees used to count on the overtime for end of year expenses.) Now, the employees have to work 8 hours past their scheduled time to receive O.T. This happens very rarely. In addition, this company recently placed a wage freeze on ALL employees for at least one year. They did this roughly 4 months after we had a opportunity to increase some of our benefits(which adds to the money taken from our paychecks).Many employees that work for this company have a second job or alternate income sources. My benefits cost me over $90/ month. Since I'm being vague with my wage lets assume I make $9.50/hr. Math time - $9.50/hr x 32 hrs = $304/week $304/wk x 52wks = $15808.00/yr (gross) $90/month(benefit costs) x 12 = $1080$15808 - $1080 = $14,728/yr (before the guberment gets at my money too . . .) Figure another $1500 for taxes, FICA, etc. --- $14,728 - $1500 = $13,228/yr net (thats' take-home pay) My rent in liberal Larryville is $400 a month. $400 x 12 = $4800/yr. My >LIVING< fund for one year is: $13,228(net wages) - $4800 = $8428 for the year! I have (very roughly) $8428 to pay utilities, buy food, pay doctor bills, etc... Oh the glorious pay one gets by working at a LOCALLY owned company!Think on that. . .

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FMT6488 5 years, 9 months ago

If you want to sting this out more: Utilities(electricity, gas, phone) cost me about $130/month So - $8428 - $1560 = $6868 for food, doctor bills, etc. $6868 per Year to live on . . . Oh yeah, working for a locally owned business has me rolling in dough!

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nwbearcat02 5 years, 9 months ago

Kudos to Kathleen for picking a topic that shows social consciousness! I hope that I can raise a child who at the age of 12 has the ability to recognize that low income and healthcare concerns face hundreds of thousands of Americans every day! Most 12 year olds I know are almost exclusively focused on Xbox games or if orange is the new pink. Perhaps the math was off, but the fact that her letter elicited so many responses and created such a heated dialogue between "adults" shows she chose a topic that is relevant and well worth writing about in a persuasive essay.Did her parents do her assignment or brainwash her? I doubt it- take some time and actually talk to a junior high student you might be surprised at how opinionated they can be without any help from their parents.

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Dashkova 5 years, 9 months ago

Congratulations Kathleen! Your letter has encouraged discussion of important issues in our lives--fairness of wages, monopolies, unions, health care--to name a few. You've obviously touched a (very sore) nerve. Good job. And to the responders: I see it as a good sign that a 7th grade writer makes a case that individuals and corporations should be held to high ethical standards regarding the care and treatment of people. She sets a standard that we'd all be wise to follow...looking out for each other. Thanks to those who support an emerging writer. Laughs and sad head shakes to those who feel the need to be childish in the face of a brave child being mature.PS: While I'm quite certain that Ms. Nesbitt-Daly did her own research and thinking for this project, I'd be willing to bet that there are a couple of Walmart "ringers" who responded anonymously/cowardly. And then there are the people who are curmudgeons with nothing better to do than watch Fox News and other paid-for-indoctrinators and allow themselves to be persuaded by appeals to hate, judgment and other things that make small minds feel big while not requiring honest discussion or love enough for this world to support open, honest, democratic discussion of pressing world issues facing us all by a 7th grader, or anyone else for that matter. Easy to hide in your cave and allow your fearful self to be led to do the bidding of corporations and the 1% in this country who control 90+% of the wealth who laugh at your gullibility and lack of critical thinking. Change is hard, but inevitable. Thank goodness for Kathleen and other brave youth. We might turn out to be a nice, caring, thinking country after all.

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jafs 5 years, 9 months ago

Is using child labor in order to reduce wages "imaginary"?Is laying off workers and closing plants while CEO's walk away with huge severance packages "imaginary".Is corporate restructuring (ie. bankruptcy) that protects the company, enriches banks and lawyers, and hurts faithful employees "imaginary"?Is the huge disparity in wages between the higher levels and lower levels "imaginary"?Is consolidation of ownership into the hands of a very few companies "imaginary"?Is taking advantage of those that need work by providing low-wage and low-benefit jobs "imaginary"?

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Linda Aikins 5 years, 9 months ago

I'd like to see her post her further thoughts and research on here - perhaps extra credit?

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TopJayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

aw yes the wonderful "mom and pop shop". The only person to ever make money at a mom and pop is........(drum roll)...Mom and Pop. No insurance there either.Dumb.Who started $4.00 generics? I used to sell floor covering. Sold to several asst. Mgrs. All bright kids in their twenties. All making at least 40 K. Not bad in my book.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

Wal-Mart foes detail costs to community Public subsidizes workers, study sayshttp://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/02/17/WALMART.TMPWal-Mart Watch | What does Wal-Mart cost your community?http://walmartwatch.com/issues/Facts About Wal-Marthttp://www.wakeupwalmart.com/facts/Welcome to Wal-Mart: Always Low Prices, Always Low Wagesby Stephanie Lucehttp://www.monthlyreview.org/0405luce.htmWal-Mart: Low-Low Prices, Crushing Impact By Clyde Weisshttp://www.politicalaffairs.net/article/view/556/1/68

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erinduffyhall 5 years, 9 months ago

I find it amazing and inspiring that a 7th grader, armed with only words, can create such heated debate. Kathleen should be proud because it is voices like hers that raise the real issues and create discussions that change the world. Keep voicing your opinion, Kathleen, that is the beauty of freedom, and keep sharing your thoughts and encourage debate because that is only way for collective thoughts to create the changes that will continue to improve our world. I'm proud of you and hopeful for the future seeing such insight and bravery from our youth.

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

Erinduffyhall wrote:"I'm proud of you and hopeful for the future seeing such insight and bravery from our youth."I'm scared to death for the future because of thinking like the writer. Can we please have logical thought beyond the visceral appearances? The solution, as presented by the LTE, makes no sense if extrapolated to its logical end points. That makes me shudder that these are the future leaders of our nation and businesses (maybe even Wal-Mart, who knows?) and they are apparently not even being shown that their debate has flaws. They continue blissfully ignorant that their "Solution" is not as air-tight as they believe because the teachers are either a) as unable to think logically as their students, or b) not wanting to crush fragile self-esteems.

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dani36921 5 years, 9 months ago

jason2007 wrote:"That makes me shudder that these are the future leaders of our nation and businesses (maybe even Wal-Mart, who knows?) and they are apparently not even being shown that their debate has flaws."Are you freaking serious?!?

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Jason Bailey 5 years, 9 months ago

@Dani: Serious about which part of my eloquent and perfectly structured prose? I'm always serious.

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DN96 5 years, 9 months ago

Thank you, Kathleen, for your very important statement on this issue. Bottom line, Walmart as a corporation is not a good community member. While some individuals benefit from working for Walmart, overall, we all subsidize this huge corporation that generates great profit for a few. I am so hopeful to hear that bright, young people like you are learning about issues like these. Here's to our educational system that encourages Kathleen and her fellow students to learn about critical issues facing our communities!

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yoornotmee 5 years, 9 months ago

"Same argument can be made for the bus systems… and I'll bet she voted for the empT."I bet she didn't, since she's in JUNIOR HIGH. Idiot.

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jafs 5 years, 9 months ago

Liberty,I don't see how your post refutes my comments at all.All of my examples seem evil to me - care to share how they're not?And, pilgrim, I have no class envy - I have never wanted/needed to be rich, and have always had enough for my needs/wants.It's interesting how often that sort of comment is made when someone points out the inequities of our system.I guess the implication is that there aren't any other reasons for being concerned about the structure/function of our country.

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jafs 5 years, 9 months ago

And, Liberty, I doubt that the proprietors of mom/pop stores are making the same kinds of relative salaries as CEO's of major corporations - the multiplier is undoubtedly much lower.Finally, if you think that some sort of benign or positive "free market" is setting CEO salaries/benefit packages, then you are a moron.

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Richard Heckler 5 years, 9 months ago

What Free Market activity? The only business that are subject to the stress and pressures of the free market is the world of small business many times known as "Mom and Pop". Who, by the way, is bailing out the Mom and Pop's in America? NOT the taxpayers!! Big time corp america is not subject to the free market theory. Local politicians and corp executives like to throw that term at people as a means to stop the questioning of authority. Remember this when tax abatements surface which it would seem violates the theory of the Free Market. Our local politicians constantly subsidize corporate and local big business. Why? USA Socialism = financial support to multi-billion dollar industries and golden parachutes: = by the taxpayersIraq War Profiteers - http://www.corpwatch.org/section.php?id=176 = by the taxpayersSupporting China with american jobs = by the taxpayersSub Prime Lendor Bailout = support of bad management = by the taxpayersWall Street Bailouts which support mismanaged business = by the taxpayersBear Stearn Bailout = by the taxpayersMilitary Industrial Complex = by the taxpayersUSA Oil Cartel Subsidies = support for a trillion dollar enterprise & golden prarchutes = by the taxpayersNuclear Power Subsidies = support for a multi billion dollar enterprise & golden parachutes = by the taxpayersCoal Power Subsidies = support for a multi billion dollar enterprise & golden parachutes = by the taxpayersBig 3 Auto Bailouts = support for multi billion dollar industry & golden parachutes = by the taxpayersUSA Airlines Subsidies and Bailouts = by the taxpayersUSA Health Insurance Subsidies = by the taxpayersGovernment Employees Health Coverage = 60% of all medical health insurance coverage - by the taxpayer = corporate welfarePharmaceutical Reseach and Development = by the taxpayerCorporate America Welfare = by the taxpayer*Tax breaks for industries that send jobs abroad = dumb and irresponsible

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dani36921 5 years, 9 months ago

jason2007--I just think you are overreacting a bit. You are not only insulting students, but teachers as well which I find completely irrelevant. What you are saying is neither helpful nor going to improve anything. All you are doing is simply pointing fingers which solves nothing. Now if you would, please stick to the issue the article is addressing (Walmart if you forgot) or turn off your computer.

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Be_Ethical_and_Logical 5 years, 8 months ago

I am glad that we have young people like Kathleen in Lawrence. She seems to be someone who thinks about the effects of her actions on other people and on the world, rather than just doing whatever is easiest and cheapest. Plus, she seems articulate and courageous, willing to speak out about what she believes in. I am more optimistic about the future knowing that there are young people like her in our town.

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Cindy Yulich 5 years, 8 months ago

I may not agree with her perspective but this student wrote the letter, stated her case and had the guts to sign her name to the letter and then have it published. That deserves kudos and respect.

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maxcrabb 5 years, 6 months ago

...is it safe now?

Ok.. good. Way to go Kathleen! Great letter. You should go into debate in high school.

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