Friday, December 14, 2001

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Dog graphic in Chicago Tribune

Tuesday, December 11, 2001 9:45 AM
From: Arnold Nelson
To: Stacy Sweat, Chicago Tribune graphics editor

Ms. Sweat, that is a fine graphic in today's (Tuesday,December 11, 2001) Tribune explaining why dogs have such a good sense of smell. I always wondered how they did that.

The accompanying text says: "Fron the nasal membrane,the scent is transmitted to the olfactory lobe, which has an area of up to 150 cubic centimeters in dogs and 3 cubic centimeters in humans."

If olfactory lobes, dogs or humans, have areas, they are measured in square centimeters, not cubic centimeters. If they are measured in cubic centimeters, then they have volumes, not areas.

But you have great graphics - keep up the good work.

Arnold H. Nelson

North Marine Drive Chicago

[Ms. Sweat sent me a personal reply to this, but the only point she made was that she completely missed my point. SO then I sent this:

Monday, December 17, 2001 5:42 AM

Chicago Tribune Voice of the People:

A graphic caption "How the nose knows" accompanyingthe article "Demand big for dogs that smell trouble"in the Tuesday, December 11, 2001, Chicago Tribunesays: "From the nasal membrane, the scent istransmitted to the olfactory lobe, which has an areaof up to 150 cubic centimeters in dogs and 3 cubiccentimeters in humans.

I'm no veterinarian, so I wouldn't know a nasal membrane from an olfactory lobe if they bit me, but I do know that an 'area' is measured in square units of length (even an acre is 43,560 square feet,) not cubic units of length. Only if the lobe has a volume is it measured in cubic units of length (cubic centimeters,or even gallons, which are 231 cubic inches.)

If no one at the Tribune is aware of these distinctions, maybe they should have been satisfied with just their opening sentence, "Dogs are able to pick up scents better than most animals because a large part of their head and brain is used exclusivelyfor smell."

Arnold H. Nelson
5056 North Marine Drive]

Saturday, December 8, 2001

Teen response;

Chicago Tribune VOICE OF THE PEOPLE letter 103 words
North Final Edition Saturday Dec 8, 2001. pg. 25

The article "A shadow of uncertainty; Wary students weigh their college options in the wake of Sept. 11" (Health & Family, Dec. 2) includes a quote of a New Trier High School senior: "I'd be really upset if this [the events of Sept. 11 and after] changed the outcome of the next four years of my life."

This opinion I'm sure is rare at New Trier (Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld is a graduate, after all), but I'm much more sure that on this specific case those next four years will not include, in a fit of patriotic fervor, signing up for the Marines.

Arnold H Nelson Chicago

Friday, November 30, 2001

Meigs field

Friday, November 30, 2001 8:12 PM

Mr. Bruce Kamin Architecture critic, Chicago Tribune

Mr. Kamin: When I heard of the 25 year extension Thursday evening on the radio I approached being physically ill. After I got back control, my first thot was your answering article - and there it was,first thing Friday AM, and it was great! What can Daley be thinking???

Thanks so much for your absolutely courageous standson Meigs and Soldier Field, and thanks for all thetime and effort you have invested to express them sowell.

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago.

Wednesday, November 7, 2001

Letter to WSJ on Cut cap & Balance

Chicago PM Friday 1 July 2011

Editors, The Wall Street Journal


The Wall Street Journal OpEd “The Fiscal Pledge We Need” of Tuesday 21 June proposes a clear approach to solving the country's current federal spending problem: First, demand that federal spending is cut; second, demand enforceable statutory caps to return federal spending to 18% of gross domestic product, and last, insist on passage of a balanced budget amendment.

The amendment sure makes a lot of sense, unless you consider the two biggest spending problems we have, Social Security and Medicare, have no justification at all in the US Constitution. Anyone who thinks they're justified by the 'General Welfare Clause' should read the last 647 words of James Madison's Federalist Number 41. Recent Constitution evaders have fallen back on the constitution's Commerce cause, but if you can justify anything you want with the Commerce Clause, why even have a Constitution? Considering all this, what confidence can we have that a Balanced Budget amendment would be followed?

Conundrums like these can often be solved by looking at ther sources, and also at all the tools available to solve them:

The primary source of federal income since the passage of the 16th amendment has been the personal income tax. For its first 30 years of existence it required citizen voters to annually compute how much their tax would be, and sending a personal check to DC to pay it. Voters' choices for federal office were directly influenced by the size of that personal check.

The 1943 passage of the Current Tax Payment act permenently broke this crucial link. The checks were written on employer bank accounts, not citizen voters'. The employee gets a printed statement from the employer saying “you earned and your employer paid” but that's the closest they ever get to actually writing a check to the feds to pay it. If the checks don't reach the feds, the employer goes to jail, never the wage-earner.

The employer does have an out not available to the wage earner: since all employers must send in this money, there is no competitive reason to do anything other than pass on the cost to customers in higher product prices. Thus 90% of personal income taxes end up as an invisible national sales tax. To see the significance of this look at the 2011 Statistical Abstract of the United States table 478 showing 37% of the total 2009 federal income of $2.345 trillion coming from employer bank accounts, not wage earner's.

Fixing this scam would not need a Constitutional Amendment, only a majority of the House of reps, 60 Senators, and a President with backbone enough to change the US Tax code from "every employer making payment of wages shall deduct and withhold upon such wages a tax..." to "every employer making payment of wages shall pay all of those wages to the employee...." The employer would still calculate the tax, including a note: "Here is how much the feds are expecting you personally to send in within 30 days"

The OpEd admits that ratification of a Balanced Budget amendment “will take time” and moving the actual direct paying of federal income taxes from employers back to employees could not be done overnite. Randomly choosing a single letter every quarter, and requiring all voters with names beginning with that letter to submit to the new pay as you go tax system would get the whole thing done in 9 years. This period would include two Presidential elections, 4 house elections, and a complete rebuild of the Senate.

Returning the responsibility of actually writing checks to the federal government to fund it to voters would force them to face how much all these entitlements are actually costing and encourage election of legislators who would be less likely to support federal vote-buying giveaways. Also, what would employers do with all that money they are sending in now? Stop adding it to their prices? Hire more workers? Recovery, here we come!

Arnold H Nelson in Chicago

Thursday, November 1, 2001

Topeka, KS public library...

...where I am now (Thursday, November 1, 2001 3:37 PM) typing away, doesn't charge anything, doesn't even ask you to sign in. They have them all over the place: "Use anyone you want."

Took a side trip today to Lindsburg, KS. A really nice town - very Swedish. The chamber of commerce ladies were glad to see me. Town has one tavern - today was the first day of the season they served chili - very good.

Easy drive. I'm signed in to the Ramada, they'll take me to the train tomorrow 4AM (2 blocks away.) Now to turn in the car.

Sunday, October 21, 2001

Customer Service, Osco style

Sunday night, October 21, 2001 7PM

Chicago Tribune, Voice of the People


This was a new one: Tonight, at about 6PM, I stopped by my Osco at 5345 North Broadway, Chicago to buy an item I buy often. It has totaled $2.82 for years. I gave the young male clerk a $5 bill. He was apparently very low on pennys, so instead of the usual $2.18 in change, I got $2.17, and the comment: "I owe you a penny."

I'm in too much of a hurry to argue, so I pay the 1cent premium. I did wonder, is this part of the Osconew employee indoctrination course: "Every penny counts, so if you can do a customer out of one, go for it!"

I must admit, I usually try to save everyone trouble,and have the exact change. Maybe that's why this has never happened to me before.

Anyway, I hope if this happens to someone else, they have quicker wits than I did, so they can answer: "How about you give me $2.20, and I owe you 2 cents"or "Why not put the penny in yourself, and I'll owe you one cent (I suppose the last is way too much to expect from an employee.)

There is far more likelihood that I'll come back and pay the one or two cents, than that this clerk or Osco will look me up to pay me the penny. I know I can't handle the guilt, but I wonder if they can even spell "guilt".

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago 60640

[Update: Reading this on Wednesday nite 11 February 2009, reminds me of when I was in high school in the early 1950s in my home town of South Haven Michigan: I had the best job a 17-year-old could have in town, working in a store w/ 3 big rooms: Men's and women's shoes, sporting goods, and Men's clothes, where I worked.

One day the 2nd leading citizen of the town (the 1st was the owner of the store, 80+ year-old Tom McKimmie,) who was also my dentist, came in and bought some stuff. He dug for his money and came up one cent short, of maybe a $3 or $4 order. He was a good guy, but he gave me a look that said: "You aren't gonna give me an argument, are you? Tom McKimmie is my best friend and fishing partner."

I nodded, went back to the register, put the sales slip on the spike, put the money in the register, reached in my pocket and put a penny more in the register.

When I got back to the Doctor, he glared at me, and said: "I saw that!" I just told him that he knew I'd never put a $3.51 sale on the spike and only put $3.50 in Tom McKimmie's cash register. He sighed, and said: "Yeah, I knew."

He never did give me the penny back.]

Tuesday, October 2, 2001

Senator Byrd, Debater

Tuesday, October 2, 2001 7:56 AM

Rush[Limbaugh], I'm sure you saw the following headline (andread the article) in this AM's New York Times:

"Senator Byrd Scolds Colleagues for Lack of Debate After Attack"

Byrd is miffed because he didn't get a chance to quote"my dog Billie" and point out that he knows "white you-know-whats", etc.

Byrd the debater makes Strom Thurmond sound like William F. Buckley Jr.

How about a quick recap of some classic Byrd soundbites?

Arn Nelson, from the democratic occupied west bank ofLake Michigan
(Illinois 9th CD)

Friday, September 7, 2001

Waterloo & Elba


Andy["Andy Serwer" <>]:

In the Friday 9/6 column you quote Deep Blue onHP/Compaq: "... this could be Carly's Waterloo....Elba is supposed to be nice in the spring."

Napoleon went to Elba after retreating from Moscow - After Waterloo he was sent to St. Helena.

Never miss your column.

Arn Nelson at Foster Beach in Chicago

Friday, August 31, 2001

Great job w/ Soldier Field column

Chicago Friday 8/31/2001 1030

David Greising, Chicago Tribune

Mr. Greising:

Thanks so much for your column of Wednesday, August29, 2001,"Soldier Field in need of civic intervention". It'seven better than Blair Kamin's. Your two-worddescription of the Bears/Soldier Field monstrosity("disastrous decision") is the best I've seen.

Wasn't the main reason for subjecting the ParkDistrict to state legislative oversight in 1934 was tominimize local political mistakes in managingChicago's park system? And now the Legislature can'twait to jump on the worst parks decision since 1934.

I just hope your column can help fix things beforeit's too late.

Arnold H. Nelson


Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Knots and miles per hour

Chicago August 28, 2001 Tuesday, 0900

Tom Skilling, chief meteorologist at WGN-TV

Dear Tom,

Your column today (Tuesday, August 28, 2001,)answering a reader's question about the relationshipof knots and miles per hour says:

"One knot means one nautical mile per hour and isequivalent to 1.1508 statute miles, our common unit ofmeasurement."

One knot certainly means one nautical mile per hour,and one nautical mile means 1.1508 statute miles, butone knot is not equivalent to 1.1508 statute miles;one knot is equivalent to 1.1508 statute miles perhour.

Your column is just about the first thing I read inthe Tribune every day. Keep up the good work.
Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago 60640

Saturday, August 4, 2001

Chicago Tribune 'L' train graphic

Saturday, August 4, 2001 10:52 AM

Stacy SweatAssoc. Managing Editor/Design and Graphics
Chicago Tribune

Ms. Sweat: In another outstanding Tribune graphic(this one on the front page of the Saturday, August 4,edition on the Brown/Purple line elevated train accident Friday morning) there is a problem: The drawing shows two sets of tracks (quite clearly on thebottom of the drawing, very clearly on the top) but according to the 'direction of travel' indicator arrow, the trains are shown to be proceeding on the left hand track. Was the illustrator simultaneously working on a drawing of the Union Pacific Northwestline car/train accident on the same morning? UP commuter trains in the Chicago area do run on the left(an obscure, but interesting, reason for that,) but CTA trains run on the right.

You and your staff do a great job. I always lookforward to the graphics.

Arn Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive Chicago 60640 773-728-0047

Sunday, June 24, 2001

Not you, Matt....


I know the possessive apostrophe is taking a beatingfrom the modern relaxation of english standards, but you too?

Arn Nelson

from the democrat occiupied west bank of Lake MichiganIllinois 9th CD

Saturday, June 23, 2001

Almanac error

Chicago Saturday, June 23, 2001

Chicago Tribune:

The Almanac column of Saturday, June 23, 2001 says: "In 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt and VicePresident Charles Fairbanks were nominated byacclamation for another term by Republicans meeting inChicago."

Charles Fairbanks was not Vice President onJune 23, 1904, since there was no vice president from September 14, 1901, when Theodore Roosevelt became president on the death of William McKinley, until Fairbanks was inaugurated on March 4, 1905.

Fairbankswas never nominated for another term as vicepresident.

Arnold H. Nelson 5056 North Marine Drive B-8 Chicago 60640