Letters – May 2, 2008

The price of invasion

He wrote a story.

About three kids he met while he was over there.

Over there on a tower…

On a tower guarding a place.

A terrible place where they kept prisoners.

And he remembers those three kids…

Not the names.

Kids he gave candy to.

And he can’t remember how he came across it.

But he had some cash,

in a place with no ATMs.

And he gave it to the kids…

And watched them through binoculars

as they ran and gave their farmer parents the money.

He watched them pack up for the day.

And didn’t see them for a week…

Or ever.

There was a day, when he remembers seeing one kid.

And he didn’t want candy.

He just wanted to look.

Maybe at the guns.

Maybe at the Americans…

Where were the other two he thought.

But he enjoyed the kids so much.

One was better then none.

But then later that night.

No, the next day… Maybe.

Someone had died.

Someone he knew.

To be precise… More then one.

Two people and a boy.

And sometimes things get old when relived.

Or maybe it was just a dream?

Soldier Sal


Soldier Sal served in Iraq and wrote a number of dispatches for the People’s Weekly World.

$4 saved

I just did the calculations on how much money my family would save if Clinton/McCain’s federal tax holiday on gas happens. We’d get to save $4.14. I am so excited. That’s like 4 hours of rent! Yeah!

You can use the calculator here:


Joel Wendland

Ypsilanti MI

Map error

While reading Marilyn Bechtel’s article online entitled “Some background about Tibet,” I noticed something misleading about the map. While Beijing, Shenzhen and Tibet are correctly located, the dot labeled “Xinjiang” indicates not the largest and western most province in China, but an insignificant county in Shanxi Province whose Romanized name is also Xinjiang. Because of Xinjiang Province’s relevance to the article, and Xinjiang County’s total unimportance, I believe this map is in error.

Kannan Puthuval

Via e-mail

What is a good salary?

Real wages have dropped in the U.S. since 1975. The proof lies in the correlation between the minimum wage and the price of the average home in the United States. The price of housing usually takes up a good portion of the average workers earning during her or his lifetime. The minimum wage is the minimum salary paid to a working person in the U.S. In 1975, the minimum wage was $2.00 an hour. The average price of a home in that same year was $42,600. If a person worked a 40-hour work week at the minimum wage then he or she earned $4,160 a year or approximately 10 percent of the average cost of a home in 1975. A person in 2008 earning minimum wage earns $6.55 an hour or approximately $13,624 per year. The average price of a home now is $313,600. The minimum salary is approximately 4.3 percent of the price of the average home in the United States. This is a sharp drop from the 10 percent in 1975. If the minimum wage would have remained 10 percent of the average home price it would be $31,360, which is $13,029 less than the U.S. median salary of $44,389 in 2005.

We are earning less and less money as the cost of housing and other commodities necessary for our daily lining continues to rise. As gas prices continue to soar towards $4.00 a gallon and beyond one wonders if there is any hope in sight for the average U.S. working person.

Irving Jones

Philadelphia PA

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