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We’ve got mail

Marketplace Staff Oct 10, 2006

KAI RYSSDAL: And speaking of your letters . . . here we are.

We aired a commentary last week from professional gambler Lee Aaron Blair. He supports a proposed ban on online gambling. He said making it quick and easy for gambling addicts to lose their money wasn’t right. Some of you wrote us about the dark sides of the gambling industry and the ways it attracts players.

Others, like Chris Toliver from New York, don’t quite agree a ban is the solution:

CHRIS TOLIVER: Not only is the ban a horrible idea, but it will do nothing to curb gambling addiction except to drive it underground. Banning online gambling because some people are addicts is the same as banning alcohol because some people are alcoholics. Hint: it doesn’t work. Also, don’t you find it funny that horse racing, an industry in decline for the past 50 years somehow managed to escape the ban?

RYSSDAL: WalMart made the news earlier this month. I spoke with New York Times reporter Steve Greenhouse. He had had a story in the paper about Wal-Mart using more part-time workers and scheduling more workers for nights and weekends. Chris Weeldreyer from San Carlos, California, didn’t care for my questions.

CHRIS WEELDREYER: In the “Building a Cheaper Workforce” segment, Greenhouse describes how Wal-Mart is pressuring its employees to earn less, work onerous hours, and take less benefits. Kai asks “Isn’t that what companies are supposed to do?” as if the answer is obvious. Sure enough, the answer he receives is “Yes.” Since when are companies supposed to exploit their workers? Are they not members of our community, with no responsibilities at all to promote the greater good? Or at least to build a sustainable environment for the workforce they depend on? That is a sad commentary of our times.

RYSSDAL: Don Lotter of El Centro, California, had another language complaint. From a story about software piracy:

DON LOTTER: Could you please not refer to the illegal copying of software as “stealing?” The digital age demands some nuance, some language skill here. Stealing should be reserved for when you take something away from someone. Illegal or unlicensed copying of software does not deny the owner of that object; it may deny profit, but not the object itself.

RYSSDAL: And finally, a correction. In an interview about Airbus and the delays of its new A380 jumbo jet, I said Emirates Airlines would be the first carrier to take delivery. Mea culpa. Singapore Airlines actually gets it first. Still, though, two years late.

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