July 3 Mail: E. Coli, Teen Mask-maker, Stand Your Ground and More

Amazing Teen Mask-maker

Great story and pictures of Tyler Pasquale [“Lord of the Masks,” June 19]! Patrick McGill and I are very proud, and we love displaying his work at all our events. As people stop to try our sauces, they always touch a mask or hoodie and ask about them. Tyler is a fascinating young man and has a creative and busy future in store. Keep it up!

Karin Bradshaw

Evil Seed Sauce Company



An Imagined Scenario

If I had a dollar for every time I heard the conversation, either around the water cooler or in the media, about why Jacksonville is still considered a second tier city, I would be able to quit my crappy minimum-wage job and retire.

There were many who believed bringing an NFL football team to town was the answer. I don’t think that 15 years later, anyone still believes that the Jaguars have improved our national standing. In fact, a cynic might have made a good case that the opposite is true, given the Jaguars’ mediocre history.

The answer to the city’s dilemma is actually quite simple. As soon as city leaders, both public and private, begin to put public good over greed, everything else will follow.

A good case in point is the recent debate about how to spend public money. Right now, a debate has been cast in the River City as to whether we should spend $42 million on bigger TV sets for the Gator Bowl or close a handful of public libraries. By the way, before I am corrected for not calling it EverBank Field, as far as I am concerned the football stadium was constructed with taxpayer money, so since I own a small piece of it, I choose to call it by its baptismal name.

Will it surprise anyone if a year from now an announcement comes from City Hall that, miraculously, we have found someone “willing” to buy the now-condemned library buildings, several of which, due to their prime locations, are no doubt worth quite a bit of money.

It will come as no further a shock when it becomes public record that the properties were sold at a cut-rate price because the the new owner of the buildings promised to turn them into fast-food restaurants, which will bring jobs to the area. Of course, these jobs will be of the quality of the one I already have.

Then will come the revelation that the public figures behind the closing of the libraries have a financial relationship with the people who bought them. Further, it will be discovered that the company from whom we bought the new giant TV sets for the Gator Bowl are top contributors to political parties or individual candidates seeking re-election.

Meanwhile, the citizens of our fair city have essentially traded our public libraries for a string of Jamba Juices. Way to go, Cowford.

Eric M. Mongar



Realistic ‘Stand Your Ground’ Story

Wes Denham is to be congratulated on his article on the “stand your ground” law [“Hot Bullets, Cold Truth,” June 19].

He told it as it is and did not spare the reality.

I wish everyone had to read his concise description of what the law does and does not allow.

The addition of the memory card is greatly appreciated.

Browne Altman



Good Job on Topical Story

Thank you, Wes Denham, and also Dale Carson, for one of the best-written, most topical stories in recent times. The title says it all.

Linda Bremer



Headline Was Misleading

I wish Bruce A. Fouraker had not included my name when he stated his case for a national sales tax (known as the Fair Tax) in his letter in the June 19 issue of Folio Weekly.

The title Folio Weekly chose for my May 29 Backpage Editorial [“Remove the IRS from the Equation”] might lead people to believe that I am in favor of eliminating the IRS all together, which is not my position.

When one juxtaposes the title (assigned to my article) with Bruce’s letter to the editor, a reader might misunderstand.

Replacing the federal income tax with a national sales tax is a bad idea. I want to be clear about my position even though there isn’t room in this short letter to make my case to counter Fouraker’s letter.

My article (that Fouraker referenced) was talking about the need to address the voluminous work that it takes to approve nonprofits. There are 1.6 million not-for-profits registered with the IRS. Contributions in 2011 exceeded $298 billion. Total revenues exceeded $2 trillion.

I did not endorse the title Folio Weekly chose to give my article in the May 29 issue. They chose the title to be provocative. My position is not to take the IRS out of the equation (as I define the equation). If anyone actually reads my entire article, hopefully, they will see that.

Susan Aertker



Income Tax Reduces Effort

When will everyone learn? Income taxes are taxes on income, not wealth. Wealth results from the accumulation of unspent income. Thus, one view of income taxes is that they are a cynical way to prevent the poor from becoming wealthy by confiscating their income. Mighty clever of the limousine liberals!

When progressives talk about “fairness,” think George Orwell. If it’s fair to charge people more for government, based on income, then it should also be fair for merchants to charge them more for groceries, clothes, cars, homes, etc. I am sure most would object to that.

To the extent that income taxes expropriate the results of labor, they are partial enslavement to the government. It is no accident that Karl Marx advocated a heavily progressive income tax since it was his goal to enslave all mankind to government and abolish private property. Progressives and liberals will never admit that they are at one with Communism in this matter, as they are in most.

Just about every observer of slavery concluded that it was doomed because it offered no reward for effort. A reward system encourages industriousness and income taxes reduce reward. Progressives, who otherwise blather about the psychological and sociological conditioning of the downtrodden, never accept that those very same poor and downtrodden have the same ambitions as everyone else, which can be, at least partially, destroyed by income taxes. Reduced reward results in reduced effort. This has been demonstrated numerous times.

While the Fair Tax may seem like a good idea, another amendment to the Constitution might be necessary to permit it, as was necessary with the 16th Amendment to permit income taxes. Article I, section 9, paragraph 4 of the Constitution otherwise forbids direct capitation taxes “unless in Proportion to the Census.” Unless the 16th Amendment is repealed first, given the history of government’s appetite for our wallets, we could wind up with both. Proceed with caution!

Roderick T. Beaman



Beware of Barbecued Bugs

What ever happened to the good old days when the worst things we had to fear on the Fourth of July were traffic jams and wayward fireworks?

According to the Department of Agriculture’s Meat & Poultry Hotline, this year’s top threat is food poisoning by nasty E. coli and salmonella bugs lurking in hamburgers and hot dogs at millions of backyard barbecues. The hotline’s advice is to grill them longer and hotter. Of course, they don’t bother to mention that the high-temperature grilling that kills the bugs also forms lots of cancer-causing compounds.

Luckily, a bunch of enterprising U.S. food manufacturers and processors have met this challenge head-on by developing a great variety of healthful, delicious and convenient veggie burgers and soy dogs. These delicious plant-based foods don’t harbor nasty pathogens or cancer-causing compounds. They don’t even carry cholesterol, saturated fats, drugs or pesticides. And they are waiting for us in the frozen food section of our supermarket.

This Fourth of July offers a great opportunity to declare our independence from the meat industry and to share wholesome veggie burgers and soy dogs with our family and friends.

Jonas Glenn