It's ironic that farm-to-table restaurants are struggling at a time when so many Americans are eating out ["Plates in the Air," April 20]. But perhaps that's the problem. When people eat out a lot, they want their restaurant meals to be cheap. But if they ate out less frequently, they might be more willing and able to afford a meal at a farm-to-table restaurant. Perhaps the best way for Vermonters to support local food in restaurants is to cook more at home, then head out for a rare farm-to-table feast that pays the farmers and chefs what they deserve.
Abels is the editor of Vermont's Local Banquet magazine.
[Re "Plates in the Air," April 20]: It's great to see Skinny Pancake's Adler brothers have "gotten bigger and stronger" and "have more resources to dig deeper to solve problems" at their five facilities. Will this mean they can now pay their staff at the airport Burlington's "living wage," or will they continue to request exemptions? We've watched numerous restaurants fail up here, as when most people have no money, they can't afford eating out. Except for Burlington (more professionals) and Montpelier (legislators and their lobbyists), the rest of the state languishes in a postrecession downward spiral of fewer jobs at less pay — my dad's definition of the last depression. At least they had Franklin Delano Roosevelt and hope; looks like we'll have Hillary Rodham Clinton/Donald Trump and the status quo as even more gets sucked up by the 1 percent.
Ken Picard's "Faux Dough" [April 6] was interesting and informative but didn't go far enough. He could have mentioned that those counterfeit detector pens, which are ubiquitous these days, simply don't often work and are no substitute for carefully feeling the suspect bill or looking for watermarks and other details. (I've only seen one savvy clerk feel a bill and have seen none that looked for those watermarks.) The bad guys know how to foil those pens, and it's a very easy and simple method (which I will not explain). It's also rather easy to doctor a real bill to make the counterfeit detector pen indicate that it's fake. (And I won't explain this, either. Let's just say that if you try it, you will have a store manager exclaim it's the most realistic fake he's ever seen ... and then have to wait for the police to show up and tell him that it is a real bill.)
[Re Poli Psy: "Racism Redux," April 6]: Judith Levine ignored Donald Trump's greatest appeal: his stance against globalization. The inconvenient truth is that progressive ideals are embarrassingly close to Trump's. Both Trump and progressives look to an imaginary time when life in the U.S. was perfect. And both want to return to that time by building barriers to protect us from what they view as the greatest evil in history — the transportation of T-shirts across human-made borders.
In fact, globalization has massively reduced poverty. In 1990, 42 percent of the developing world lived in extreme poverty. Today it's less than 20 percent. Almost a billion people escaped life-threatening poverty in 20 years. Were we to pull out of the globalized economy, the poorest people on the planet would suffer the most. Lower-income Americans would also suffer, as they would pay more for everyday products. The rich would be hurt the least, as they spend smaller portions of their wealth on clothing, furniture, electronics, etc.
Progressives and Trump even seem to agree on Mexico. Progressives say, "NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement] is bad because cheap grain from the U.S. drives Mexican farmers out of business. Now they come here." The implication is that they shouldn't come here. But who cares if Mexicans work here? And Mexico is 80 percent urban. Do you want 80 percent of Mexicans paying more for food?
A xenophobe's opposition to globalization might make sense. But progressives and self-described socialists who oppose globalization are essentially saying that they want the poorest people on the planet staying poor.
[Re "Empire State-ment: Clinton Trounces Sanders in Crucial New York Primary," April 20]: Your story about Sen. Bernie Sanders suddenly flying back on a private flight to Burlington the night of the New York primary makes me realize he lives the Chosen Life, for which he criticizes others. We pay him to be our senator, and he hasn't been to work in a year. He flew back to Burlington, he said, because he needed a day off. It must be nice. He is sick of living in high-class hotels, apparently, while vacationing on our dime as he goes job hunting to be president. We even paid for his vacation to see the Pope. Pity the poor man.
Daniel G. Cohen
[Re "Empire State-ment: Clinton Trounces Sanders in Crucial New York Primary," April 20]: I was surprised that after the headline "Clinton Trounces Sanders," there wasn't an additional "She's on Her Way to the White House." C'mon, gals, please tell it like it is without showing enthusiasm for Sanders' opponent. He's our senator, for crying out loud! What did he ever do to Seven Days to deserve this type of treatment? Clinton had 1,036,196 to Sanders' 752,202 votes with 98 percent precincts reporting — 135 delegates to his 104. "Trounce"? That's an inaccurate description.
[Re Feedback: "Bernie Brain," April 13]: Far from being a "fanatic," I'm tired of voting for people I don't believe in just because I'm afraid of the alternative. This time I'm taking a play from the right wing and voting for who, to me, is clearly the best person to be our president, Sen. Bernie Sanders — even if I have to write in his name on my ballot. He is the only one I trust to be honest. And more and more people are telling me they are going to do the same. Life is about a lot more than merely beating the other side. It's about being true to what we see is the best course for our country. Vote for who you believe in, not against who you are afraid of.