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Letters: Big Oil, spying and the law

Letters in a computer with red mailbox flag

Tess Vigeland: It's Wednesday, time of the week to hear from you.

Last week we reported on record oil company profits and calls from politicians to cut subsidies to those corporations. Michael Meyers-Jouan of Wanaque, N.J., says we let Big Oil off too easy. He says American consumers are being gouged, plain and simple.

Michael Meyers-Jouan: The cost of transportation, refining, labor and all the other costs of doing business have either remained the same or gone down as American wages have been steadily reduced in terms of purchasing power. So there's nothing preventing the American oil companies from reducing their retail prices, and maintaining a more or less constant profit per gallon, except greed.

We also reported that as some states strip public employee unions of bargaining rights, workers are opting to retire early to save their pension benefits. Kathy Hagen of Wayzata, Minn., works with companies afraid of losing decades of knowledge along with those older workers.

Kathy Hagen: This is a huge issue for companies from a cost standpoint. And with four generations in the workplace, transferring knowledge is critical, but must be done in a way learners can take charge of their learning as well.

Also on the program, how cheap new gadgets help people spy on others. Michael Levy is chief of the computer crimes section at the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia. And he wrote in with a reminder that there are laws against that sort of thing.

Michael Levy: Intercepting the wire and electronic communications of another person is a felony, carrying up to five years in prison. Entering the email account or private parts of a social networking site account of another person is also a crime, carrying anywhere from one to 10 years in prison, depending upon what one does once inside the account.

Finally, a correction on pronouncing a word. Last week we talked chilies, and how climate change might affect consumption of the hot peppers. Michael Sulis of Portland, Ore., wrote to sat that we mispronounced "haba-nyero." It's actually just "habanero." Unlike jalapeno, there's no squiggly line over the "n."

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