Kudos to Eugene's mayor and the majority of our city councilors who showed broad vision and strong leadership by adopting a resolution urging Congress to vote against further funding of the Iraq occupation by U.S. forces — except for funds necessary to carry out a safe, rapid and orderly withdrawal of American troops and to support Iraqi reconstruction efforts.
In adopting this resolution, our mayor and most councilors looked beyond Eugene potholes to Iraq foxholes where our soldiers lie in harm's way. They offered a way out of this misdirected neo-conservative adventure — tagged on The Daily Show With Jon Stewart as the "Mess in Mesopotamia" — which has cost more than 3,000 American lives and 23,000 wounded over the past four years. It has also cost our nation over $400 billion dollars and our city more than $100 million dollars to date. Enough!
A message for the minority of councilors who chose to stay high-centered in Eugene potholes and keep their heads buried in Iraqi sands: The train left the station on this issue last November. Next time heed the call: "All aboard!"
Benton Elliott, Eugene
JUST SAY LOCAL
I moved to Eugene eight years ago because of the unique community that encompasses thousands of creative local businesses and individuals in addition to our precious environment that offers much diversity. I didn't move here to live in a condo, view films in a megaplex theater or be concerned about which parking garage I could park in.
We don't need any outside developer telling Eugene how or what to develop. We have extremely dedicated, educated, skilled individuals in our community who have made thousands of suggestions to our city council through the years on how we envision our downtown.
It's time for the city council not only to listen to the citizens of Eugene but to control our own development. Local government can provide a much needed boost to relocalization efforts by removing obstacles such as zoning ordinances, subsidies to corporations and home owner association restrictions. Local government can buy land and still require energy conservation. Our local government can use zoning and land use policies to have a thriving downtown. Our local government needs to drive change.
We can build a resilient economy with solar and wind power, use renewable energy and prevent pollution. Landholdings are appraised for their cash value, not for their value in preserving community and enhancing education.
Our city council must avoid crossing irreversible thresholds that damage the life systems of Earth while creating long-term economic, political and moral arrangements that secure the well being of present and future generations.
Planet Glassberg, Eugene
Last month I attended "Forests, Carbon, and Climate Change," a conference sponsored by Oregon Forest Resources Institute. Instead of proposing genuine solutions such as conservation, the conference enabled the timber industry to strengthen its grip on our native forests. The conference should have been called "How the Timber Industry Can Profit from Global Warming."
Most presentations were based on the myth that forests' capacity to store carbon is threatened by wildfire. This myth opens the floodgates to aggressive forest management, which conveniently implies necessary logging and thus an anticipated timber supply. For example, one presenter favored wood over steel as a "green" building material because fewer fossil fuels are used in the manufacture of wood. However, the speaker failed to address the source of wood (our forests), present one of many truly sustainable building materials or acknowledge disastrous effects of logging.
One panelist said, "In an ideal society we'd have enough money to fix global warming." But throwing money at our current predicament won't heal years of planetary neglect. The most obvious solution — consume less — wasn't mentioned by even a single speaker. Instead we were pitched "deliberate forest management" as the only remedy. Changing our lifestyle to consume less isn't a compromise, but a gift that keeps giving.
In the words of Masanobu Fukuoka, "We have come to the point at which there is no other way than to bring about a 'movement' not to bring anything about." In other words, stop the manipulations, and please stop cutting our forests.
Jaclyn Weber, Eugene
Misogyny is a synoym for Dan Savage's column. He tells women (3/15) that they must be "prostitutes" for their husbands in order to keep them. They must give them intercourse, oral sex, all kinds of sex, and pretend that they like it, or their men will stray. Remind you of the 1950s? Either Savage missed the feminist movement of the 1970s, or he's too young to remember it.
"Savage Love" encourages oppression, lying, cheating, using. I know that this is what our government does every day, but is this how we want to treat each other? Good sex is about openness, honesty, imagination, creativity. Add spirituality, and you can shoot to the moon!
How about contracting a real sex therapist who treats people with dignity and respect?! I bet you could even find one here in Eugene! Maybe then we could all learn something and be a little bit closer to the kind of world we long for.
Lauren Angel, Eugene
CONNECT THE DOTS
Four years after the invasion of Iraq, most U.S. citizens now oppose the occupation. However, the violence continues to escalate, and there is the potential for a much larger regional war. Understanding why the war was triggered and the ultimate goal of the oil empire is important if there is a chance for a cease-fire and shift toward sanity.
Dick Cheney calls the "War on Terror" a war that will not end in our lifetimes because it will take decades to use up the oil in the Middle East. The neo-conservatives call this conflict World War IV — in their view, World War III was the Cold War from 1945 to 2001.
In June 2006, Armed Forces Journal published an article by Ralph Peters, a pro-war neo-conservative strategist. Peters drew a map of the Middle East showing a redrawing of the borders of many Middle Eastern countries, especially Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Most of the region's oil would be in a new "Arab Shia State" — since the oil is largely concentrated along the Persian Gulf and the Iraq-Iran boder. The Sunni Iraq, Saudi Homeland, Islamic Sacred State (around Mecca and Medina) and the bulk of Iran (which is not Arab) would be left without much oil — which is why Team Bush is exacerbating ethnic and religious tensions throughout the region. A copy of this incriminating map is at www.oilempire.us/new-map.htmlIf the war on Iraq expands into a war on Iran, the escalation could make the situation far worse. Nearly half of the world's oil supplies float through the narrow Strait of Hormuz, and a U.S. attack on Iran could trigger global economic meltdown as oil shipments are reduced or cut off by naval conflict.
Oil we are saying is give impeachment a chance!
Mark Robinowitz, Eugene
BRING THEM HOME
Rallies to bring the troops home were held all over the nation, including Eugene, on March 17. As usual, the media, the president, and Congress ignored us while America's loved ones are in a death trap in Iraq.
In a few weeks, Congress will vote on an appropriations request from Bush. Calls to my legislators inform me that many are unwilling to vote against the request or set any deadline for bringing troops home. I don't accept their reasons/excuses.
There is a letter written by three groups asking for Congress to "support our troops, de-fund the war, and bring them home now." Find the letter online at www.pdamerica.org under the section "Military Families and Vets." I have made copies to send to Oregon legislators, House and Senate leaders and mainstream media outlets. I will add my signature and anyone else's and then send it by snail mail to each one. I will hand it out to anyone who tells me we can't de-fund the war because the troops will suffer. They are suffering needlessly now.
It's time for Americans to say that if Congress can't do the job, we commit to meeting a million strong in D.C. to peacefully occupy the White House and halls of Congress until troops are on their way home and Bush, Cheney and their cabinet step down. That's something the media, Bush and Congress can't ignore.
Judi Ivy, Eugene
WHAT KIND OF PRESS?
In his March 2 article on the UO Law School's Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, Register-Guard reporter Lewis Taylor quoted Robert F. Kennedy Jr. as referring to the failure of the "negligent and indignant press."
What Mr. Kennedy actually said was "negligent and indolent press." For those of us who have still not quite recovered from the deaths of Mr. Kennedy's uncle, father and cousin in 1963, 1968 and 1999 respectively, this "couldn't have said it better myself!" gift from the R-G to Mr. Kennedy offers a glimmer of hope.
Deborah Frisch, Eugene
Pu-leez. Dan Savage? What is all the hoo-haw about? Here we are: We send our kids to school in lingerie fashion, we support a culture of violence by allowing our children to play military-style computer games, and by wearing camouflage and fatigues, we support, by not protesting, the gun lobby. We remain politically silent in the face of gun control and gun violence as school shootings occur across the nation; our kids watch, night after night, American Idol judges shame and humiliate young adult contestants — and we lash out at Dan Savage and how he might harm our children? Uh, I don't get it. Dan Savage, at the most, is frank and humorous in his talk about sex, sexual preferences, sexual acts and oh, by the way, how to do it all safely and respectfully.
I wish no disrespect, but this energy feels misplaced to me. Why isn't it placed where our kids are really affected? Toward programming that is directed to them. The computer games that are packaged and marketed to them. The unreality-based abstinent sex education that is worming its way into our schools, the growing body of laws that are quickly illegalizing abortion throughout our nation? Toward gun control and against the powerful gun lobby? All of this has to do with our adolescents, a lot more than a Dan Savage column at the back of EW.
I have problems with this disconnect. EW seems like an easy target, Savage an easy place to focus this frustration. I have a feeling no child or adolescent is interested in the EW and the Savage column except for the fact that adults are having problems with it. Personally, I support publication of his column. He is refreshing and a voice of reason in this disconnected culture.
Elizabeth Pownall, Eugene