Double standard

The FDIC is suing Charleston area residents who were executives and board members of Atlantic Bank and Trust to recover $9 million in damages for approval of faulty mortgages.

Meanwhile the Wizards of Wall Street, who literally caused the world's economy to crash by issuing billions of dollars in faulty mortgages, repackaging them into funds and fraudulently passing these worthless funds off to investors, have escaped any sort of punishment. Their banks were judged to be too big to fail, and the executives too big to jail. It's easier to pick on the little guys.

It's not just the Republicans who defend the "job creators" protecting these job destroyers. Democrats and the president are too beholden and too afraid of Big Finance.

Meanwhile the economy still staggers, the Wizards are making more money than ever (Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein was paid $19.9 million in salary alone), and probably 99 percent of the readers of this newspaper lost 20 to 40 percent of the value of their homes.

American voters sit idly by distracted by politicians who focus on birth control, school prayer, Benghazi, voter IDs, Second Amendment rights - anything to keep from tackling serious problems like the shrinking middle class, immigration, and plutocrats such as Big Finance, Big Insurance, Big Agriculture et al. controlling Congress.

Michael Griffith

Wappoo Creek Drive

Charleston

Traffic disaster

I'm glad to know Charleston proper does not have alcohol problems on Memorial Day, although I'm curious as to why they feel the need to impose more restrictions on downtown businesses that sell alcohol.

If everything is so hunky-dory there, that could explain the city's decision to secretly come one inch off Folly Beach's doorstep to look for people driving under the influence on Memorial Day. I hope the nine tickets issued were worth it.

In the future, they may want to remember that many people enjoying "alcohol free" Folly Beach are the very same veterans celebrated on that day.

Others trapped in a massive traffic jam, besides locals, were Spoleto ticket holders who might have traveled a long way, spent a bucket of money to get here, dine and enjoy the beach, all before they missed their event thanks to the Charleston Police Department. Lucky for us on Folly, there were no riots or serious emergencies to attend to during the gridlock.

On another subject, why did Charleston County Council have a public hearing about commercial development on James Island and then allow only select people to speak?

Why do they vote against the people they profess to represent? Supposedly, everyone who wants to speak at a public hearing has a chance to do so. Councilman Teddie Pryor is obviously not aware of this.

Other council members protested, but since what the residents wanted was not what he and Anna Johnson wanted to hear, the meeting was abruptly concluded.

Charleston County Council voted against the voters in favor of more commercial development of the last remaining rural (Gullah Geechee corridor) area of Folly Road.

The light at the end of the tunnel for Charleston is that soon they will no longer have to go so far for DUI checkpoints on Folly Road. They will just have to go one inch off their own doorstep.

Christine Wilkerson

West Hudson Avenue

Folly Beach

Jobs well done

I am sure that the caregivers at VA hospitals are excellent people doing the best job that they can for our veterans with the constraints and bureaucracy they have to deal with.

Let's require that the president, U.S. House members, U.S. senators and their families be required to go to VA hospitals for their medical needs. Then let's see what happens.

B.F. Attaway Jr.

Hidden Lake Drive

Mount Pleasant

Minimum wage

The current minimum wage discussion, especially as it pertains to the fast-food industry, is very interesting. In 1960 the minimum wage was $1 per hour. McDonald's at that time paid employees the minimum wage and offered no employee benefits.

Today, McDonald's pays an average hourly wage of $7.90 per hour, excluding benefits and factoring the cost-of-living index, the $1 per hour wage would equal approximately $8 per hour in current wages. Based on this data, McDonald's has been paying its employees at approximately 99 percent of the current cost-of-living index relative to 1960.

These wage facts clearly show that the average hourly wage at McDonald's has been consistent with national wage per hour rates relative to the cost-of-living index, and again this excludes benefits that are now supported or subsidized by McDonald's.

For example, in 2014, and in marked contrast to 1960, McDonald's offers a very extensive benefit system for its employees (e.g., conditional medical insurance, prescription drug coverage, vision and dental benefits, 401(k) benefits, term life insurance, etc). These employee benefits should most clearly be considered part of the McDonald's employee package, in addition to the hourly wage rate.

Given these very concrete facts, it is amazing that some folks think the minimum wage for McDonald's employees should be raised to $15 per hour - a 53 percent increase. Wow!

(Note: I do not work for McDonald's, and I am not affiliated with McDonald's in any way whatsoever.)

Jonathan E. Walker

Coral Reef Drive

Johns Island

Yoga facts

I was stunned at David Quick's article, "Is local yoga too affluent"?

I've taught yoga in Charleston and Mount Pleasant for 10-plus years and never heard a few of the instances he referenced. Certainly anyone going into "long handstands" is a seasoned practitioner. I cannot imagine anyone making snide comments about anything other than what I'm sure is a beautiful pose - never their race.

I have an Indian student who comes to my class twice a week and he's practically the guest of honor as he tweaks my Sanskrit pronunciation and chuckles at my paneer recipe mishaps.

There is free yoga at practically every studio. (I work at one that offers unlimited yoga for $50 a month.) If you cannot find beginner classes in Charleston, you're not looking hard enough.

I can name at least 10 other studios, and I regularly send people to neighboring yoga studios depending on what they're looking for.

It's also possible really tight "yoga cliques" do exist, but I certainly wouldn't call it normal behavior. Thomas Glenn, (my friend and former student) is right about the diamond-studded mat theory - most of us don't have one.

About the clothes: A few weeks ago I walked into Lululemon and told them about a free yoga and Bluegrass music event I was organizing to benefit the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy and their employees stopped what they were doing and happily discussed how they could best help me promote my charity.

I still wear the first pair of Lululemon pants I ever bought because they last forever. Most people have to save for good yoga clothes but I haven't known anyone who's been "pressured" to wear certain clothes to a class.

Everyone leaves the same, usually quite sweaty and happy.

Catherine C. Lipp, RYT

Eco Fitness

Blue Turtle Yoga

Smith Street

Charleston

Veteran care

I retired from the military 48 years ago, and I soon realized that VA hospitals had to function on minimal funds. Therefore I purchased private health insurance. About 30 years later the government passed Tricare for Life.

VA medical staffs did the best they could with what they had, and to this day they continue to serve our veterans.

My heart goes out to all who continue their efforts under such conditions. Yes, I still carry my private insurance.

C.W. Benson

Remberly Boulevard

Summerville