April Stevens: ‘At the sight of Brussels sprouts my husband will dramatically clutch his heart and cry, ‘No, not green balls of death!’ I have learned to measure and cook them for one.’


Jim Petersen: ‘When Harry Truman’s business went bust, he did not declare bankruptcy – instead, he worked hard and lived poorly for many years to pay back his debtors. I respect him for it. This is an uncommon value today. I do wish Congress would find a way to support people whose medical expenses exceed their capacity and pay our troops more, but don’t agree that encouraging them to declare bankruptcy is the answer.’

☞ I think anyone with the talent, charisma, and good health to become President of the United States should be ashamed to go bankrupt. And I agree: providing adequate health care to the uninsured would be a great way to reduce personal bankruptcies.

Ed Biebel: ‘Hearing about the change in the bankruptcy laws and all of the disparagements of the people who file bankruptcy drives me up a wall. Back in July 2003, I wrote you about my brother and his travails with his epilepsy and his hospital bills. You’ll see in that piece that, though hard-working, my brother had incurred a large debt through the despicable behavior of his employer. This company owner led employees to believe that they were insured and was taking premiums from their pay but not sending them to the insurance company. My brother was blocked from filing for bankruptcy by the tenacious lawyers from the hospital. My point in writing you is that many people ask why my brother didn’t pursue a claim against his employer. The answer is that the owner of the company and the company itself filed bankruptcy and were protected. Why do I have a feeling this new bankruptcy law will not one whit to protect people from unscrupulous companies that go into bankruptcy? It is a great time to be rich in America.’

Munch: ‘You link to Paul Krugman on the Administration’s bankruptcy bill – ‘tightening the screws on the least fortunate among us, as we gradually turn the clock back to the 1890s,’ as you put it. With the ascendancy of the religious right and corporatism, I would expect to start seeing quotes like this reappearing.’


Marie Coffin: ‘Slice in half and broil until the outside is nearly black. Eat. Yum. Broiling seems to caramelize the sprouts and make them even sweeter and tastier.’


Doug Jones: ‘I agree with your position on minimum wage in general. However, Washington and Oregon have relatively high minimum wages, $7.35 per hour give or take. Some McDonald’s restaurants now have call in centers for their drive thru windows, eliminating one or two employees. The call-in centers are located in North Dakota! There’s very little stopping McDonald’s from locating these overseas. So, even some of these jobs can be outsourced to a lower cost provider.’

☞ Talk about Yankee ingenuity. You drive up to the window and ask for Chicken McNuggets or Kibbles & Bits and someone in Pakistan enters this order. Even so, the bulk of the work of fast food chains or motel maid staffs is likely to remain in situ. My hope is that the relatively few jobs lost in a minimum wage hike – I agree there surely would be some – would be more than made up for in the increased economic demand those higher wages created.


John Kasley: ‘Place rinsed sprouts in microwave dish. Add a generous slug of ketchup (yes, ketchup). Roll them around in it. Cook for a while. Eat from dish.’

☞ Now you’re Cooking.

Monday: More of Your Minimum Wage Comments, and a Real Dog

color code: sprouts are green; bankrupts, deep in the red; minimum-wage earners, dirt poor


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