Letters to the Editor – January 6, 2010

RE: Fair Trade coffee, a great way to make a difference (Dec. 2, 2009)

Thank you for your recent article on Fair Trade. It’s always good to see people advocating for coffee-farming families. Fair Trade is a great way for consumers to get involved and address the historic problems associated with the coffee trade.

Though Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance, organic and other certification schemes go a long way to providing a more equitable price for coffee, they do not answer the biggest challenge many of these families confront ­ the singular reliance on coffee for income.

The economy in most coffee communities is completely dependent on the coffee trade. In addition to providing a more equitable price, emphasis must be put on providing families with alternatives to coffee that provide for more stable income so that families can weather fluctuations in the volatile coffee market.

Coffee Kids is a nonprofit organization that works with coffee-farming families to create programs in microcredit and economic diversification, education and training, health awareness, and food security. We partner 15 local organizations who manage 24 projects in five coffee-growing countries.

We receive most of our support from coffee companies and concerned individuals who recognize that the long term sustainability of the coffee industry depends on the sustainability of coffee communities. Without viable alternatives, quality of life suffers and so does the quality of coffee.

Best regards,

Kyle Freund
Communications Manager
Coffee Kids

RE: A dismissal of ski jumpers’ rights a dismissal to us all

Lawrence Lau’s article “A Dismissal of Ski Jumpers’ Right is a Dismissal to Us All” is completely contradictory and the article’s argument ends up making no sense. Lawrence Lau stated the reason why women ski jumpers are not allowed in Olympic Games has nothing to do with their sex, their gender whatever term you want to use, it has solely to do with the fact they did not comply with IOC rules and regulations. You even managed to state that fact yourself but ignore the real with a fake one of “apparent discrimination”, I don’t see apparent discrimination I see a group of women who failed to fulfill everything that is laid out quite clearly by the IOC and now want to blame their own sports mistake on an inequality issue that does not exist.

Matt Carvell

Happy Holidays from the U of M Parking Staff

For the last 2 out of 3 years of my university life, I have faced the elements head on and have chosen to ride public transit to and from the university. I am satisfied with transits service, something I unfortunately cannot say about our campus parking services. Today (Dec 21st) marked the first day I had driven to school in over a year, due the fact that the last of my 5 exams was today and i was very excited to be finished. I return to my vehicle (in the very back of a very empty U lot) to find a parking ticket for $40 tucked underneath my wiper. I am astounded to find out that the university takes no breaks in issuing fines to already financially struggling students. Even a few days before Christmas! I would like to congratulate all the parking staff in assuring that my holidays become as financially difficult as possible.

Sincerely, Kevin Henderson

RE: Sex and the creative world”

In “Sex and the Creative World” features article by Rhea Majewski I would like to say that, as a practicing PhD Philosophy older person, it is so encouraging to see an intellectually well written piece about what people generally tend to talk about in short phrases or in dogmatic tones, or, simply in saying, “who cares, you think what you want and I will do the same”, etc.

In this noted article, we find a true attempt to understand gender in creativity. I would only stress, that there no way that any person can work at completing themselves by themselves.

In this physical world we have the beautiful advantage of usually being made of both genders, one usually dominate and in the other part of ourselves we have others of the opposite sex to assist us and we them.

It in the end does not matter essentially that the work of realization is recognized or not, nor which side of an equation at any time it is more popular to recognize, in any society, in any given time and/or period. If anything this latter is a distraction, for true creativity, it seems to me, comes from going forward with enough ego to see the broadd scope rather than just ourselves; this is when sex becomes creative, be female or male. This is what in the end what all these individuals Majewski mentions, that I am very familiar with, where all about.

George S. Osicki