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Eugene Weekly : Letters : 8.13.09




A BAD DREAM

Where or where did democracy go in Eugene? Wasn't three times voting against a police station enough to let the city know the public does not support spending money on a new police building? I guess we only have two City Council members, Betty Taylor and George Brown, who believe that it is important to represent the voters. 

We really don't mean it when we say we want the downtown revitalized. This is all a bad dream. Thank you Alan Pittman for this very informative but discouraging article (7/30), and along with the Camilla Mortensen article about Seneca and more smog for Eugene, one could almost think about moving.

Ruth Duemler, Eugene



MOVING DAY

A few days ago, as I prepared to move back to Portland after eight years in Eugene, I discovered yet another indicator of this town's economic distress. At two-thirty in the morning, I posted an ad on Craig's List asking for up to five people to work for three hours to load heavy boxes, furniture, and other items into a truck. Five hours later, I received my first call in response to the ad, then another call every few minutes. By the end of the day, I had received 71 calls and seven email messages, for a $30 job! The next day, the calls continued, until I deleted the ad. I selected the first five callers and, when they showed up four days later for the job, it turned out that they ranged in age from 53 to 63. Very sad.

Matteo Luccio, Eugene



DOG GONE IT

In response to the article "No Dogs Allowed" in your last issue (7/30):

It took me two months to find a place in Eugene that would rent to me with my large dog. But now, a few weeks later, I am beginning to understand. The economy and its repercussions aside, I have a beef with dog owners and understand why landlords might.

I walk my dog every day and meet lots of dogs. The problem? Only one in 10 seems to have any training or manners. Nine out of 10 dogs we see bark uncontrollably, snarl and growl. If I see a dog down the block, even on a leash, I cross the street. Now, I might be biased — I have been training dogs for 14 years — but I think all dog owners should be training and socializing their dog. If you don’t know how, find someone who does. You have a responsibility to your dog and your community. And just because your dog is the size of a Dixie cup doesn’t mean it’s cute if it has a conniption fit every time someone walks by.

Kudos to you if your dog is the one in 10 — I salute you. To everyone else, find a trainer or keep your dog at home. Knowing how poorly most of these dogs behave when the owner is standing three feet away, I can only imagine what they do in their owner’s absence. I can’t really fault the landlords of Eugene for refusing residency. I only feel sorry for the good dogs whose reputations have been tarnished.

Taralynn Carter, Eugene



A NEW JOB SECTOR

As you mentioned in “Demystifying Oregon’s High Jobless Ranking” (8/6) Oregon should take advantage of the federal recovery package. The potential for new jobs flowing into Oregon is huge — especially green jobs. We can create a new job sector in Oregon, one that isn’t dependent on seasonal work and can create jobs in rural communities. 

Right now Congress is considering a bill that can put three million Americans to work — including Oregonians. The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 is a game-shifting piece of legislation. Not only will it create new jobs, it is a huge investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. This translates to a dramatic reduction in our global warming pollution. What we need is a total economic transformation and this bill will put us on the right track. 

No surprise Big Oil and Dirty Coal are fighting hard to make sure that doesn’t happen. The same folks that allowed Michigan to tank are preventing our country from turning over a new leaf. Big Oil and Dirty Coal are demanding freebies and giant loopholes so that they can keep on polluting and shift the costs to ordinary citizens. 

We can be Green Ducks and Sustainable Beavers if we can support this piece of legislation and let our Congress members and local legislators know that we want the American Clean Energy and Security Act to pass. It is a good piece of legislation that can lead to more investment, create new jobs, now and in the long-term.

Jocelyn Orr, Portland



NO WAY OUT

I found this cover story (8/6) incredibly naive especially the quote, "Many in the state who have lost their jobs stay put rather than look elsewhere for work." DUH! Could it possibly be that if you lose your low-paying local job you then simply do not have enough money to move?

And are these clearly neophyte writers unaware of the relocation Catch-22? Very few employers will hire you for the average job (I'm not talking corporate relos here) if you do not already live in their area, yet the vast majority of landlords will not rent to you if you are unemployed. For the average worker, relocation expenses are not an employer-paid benefit.

Wishing for Oregon to have more flexible and adaptive policies is an utterly futile waste of brain cells. I have lived here the worse part of two decades and things have not gotten better but much, much worse especially in terms of public policy in everything from Oregon's attitude toward higher education to its barbaric treatment of its poorest citizens, the homeless, mentally ill and destitute.

Frankly most people I know who have moved here from elsewhere are desperate to leave, but the vortex of bust-and-deeper-bust (haven't yet seen a boom or even a boomlet) keeps them economically captive, without any viable choice in the matter.

A.J.B. Baldwin, Coburg



GUESS WHO’S COMING?

Authors Margheim & Ordonez’ essay on Oregon’s jobless ranking (8/6) was well written but omitted some key facts.

They point out that Oregon’s labor force is increasing. They don’t mention that much of this is due to the influx of illegal aliens into California and Oregon. These people are not Oregonians, but they are taking Oregonians’ jobs. They are also bringing in most of the state’s methamphetamine.

The authors list actions Oregon’s legislature could take to mitigate high unemployment. They say nothing about the appalling lack of courage in Salem to deal with the illegal alien problem.

Oregon is a sanctuary state for illegals. Unlike Arizona lawmakers, our legislature is too afraid of the Chamber of Commerce, CAUSA, La Raza, ACORN and the rest of the pro-illegal immigrant camp. They refuse to even consider common sense measures such as requiring employers to use the highly effective federal E-Verify program or requiring proof of residency to receive non-federally mandated public benefits.

The cowardice extends to our two senators in Washington. Jeff Merkley made a huge deal of Gordon Smith’s alleged non-use of E-Verify and then voted twice to kill the program. Ron Wyden’s voting record has shown that he is more interested in protecting illegals than protecting American workers.

Yeah, I know I’ll be branded a racist, xenophobe and worse for raising the issue. But this has nothing to do with race: it’s about numbers — unsustainable numbers that are going to overwhelm us if our “leaders” don’t grow backbones and soon. Otherwise, that hallowed mantra of the left, “sustainability,” will never be realized.

Jerry Ritter, Springfield



SAVE YOUR VIRGIN EARS

I liked Greg Hume's Aug. 6 “pubic” letter about the Oregon Country Fair. I don't go to fairs of any kind because I can't stand the loud ear-busting "music" and wall-to-wall people, many doing goofy things. 

The best thing about fairs is that they are so optional — go if you like, stay home if you don't like, and shit is all in the eyes and ears and mouths of individual taste. But beware, for you will catch deafness in fairs or at home when the volume is cranked up too high. Save your virgin ears.

Bob Saxton, Eugene



MINDFUL ABOUT MINING

Firstly, I would like to congratulate you on featuring Roy Keene's article on gold mining (7/23) as a way to earn money while living simply. I'm guessing that the sidebar article by Camilla Mortensen was your effort to keep your activist credibility intact. But one interview and a Google search is no way to write anything but a misrepresentation of the facts.

In the first place, suction dredgers do not "often" run into mercury. When they do, 98 percent or more of it is taken OUT of the water by the dredge; what little bit that goes through will sink back to the bottom since mercury is so much heavier than water. This mercury, along with the arsenic and cyanide referenced, is already in the water, whether from natural deposits or from mining done a century ago. No new chemicals are put in the water. Water quality from sediment resuspension is only affected for a short distance below the dredge, and then it dissipates to background levels.

And there is plenty of compliance monitoring of mining — each miner must submit an operating plan and post a bond to ensure cleanup, and the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management keep a close eye on claims. The 1872 mining law only gives the right to people to mine on public land. Subsequent laws have mandated environmental controls.

Finally, the 1872 law says nothing about having to be 18 years old to file a mining claim. Try not to rely on Wikipedia as a source.

Brian Alexander, Eugene



PEAK MONEY

The writer Ed Abbey said, “Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.”

Democratic politicians from the city of Eugene to Washington, D.C., shed crocodile tears over climate change yet push plans for highway expansion. Rep. Peter DeFazio’s highway committee is shepherding a half trillion-dollar transportation bill, mostly dedicated to road construction. Gov. Kulongoski is pushing a long-term goal of $18 billion for highway expansion. Eugene, Springfield and Lane County want about a billion dollars for bigger roads.

DeFazio and Mayor Kitty Piercy feign interest in mitigating climate change while supporting burning trees for electricity. Oregon’s Democratic Party establishment supports clearcutting our state forests and allowing corporate timber barons to clearcut and spray herbicides.

Greenwash is more dangerous than denying environmental problems since it lulls people to sleep thinking the crises are being addressed when they are not.

Proposals for “cap and trade” are scientifically illiterate. A great parody is at www.CheatNeutral.com

Both political parties are subservient to Wall Street and the monetary system’s requirement for continued endless growth. Money is made the old fashioned way — it is loaned into existence based on the promise of future economic expansion. Now that we are passing peak oil, the economy will be smaller in the future, not bigger. The pretense that we are merely in a cyclical recession is dangerous disinformation that obscures root causes.

James Howard Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency, states, "This is not so much financial bad weather as financial climate change."

Mark Robinowitz, Eugene



SURLY SERVICE

In response to Rigel Ross' (7/30) letter offering tips on how customers can help keep their favorite restaurants going during tough times: As someone who likes to eat out, it struck an odd chord in me. Eugene has many restaurants with great food and ambiance, but the service in general is pretty deplorable. Uninspired, inept waiters who don’t know jack about the food they serve can ruin an otherwise great meal. I might be more critical than most because I worked in food service for years in a state where less than minimum wage was paid to tipped employees, and so I lived and died by my tips. The servers I worked with took pride in providing a great experience for the guests at their tables. 

Of course there are exceptions in Eugene, but they are far too rare. (A shout out to the awesome bartender at Bar 201 who made a $9 cocktail seem like bargain.) It's all well and good to encourage people to keep eating out, but restaurant owners need to pay attention to more than just the food. Otherwise I’d rather stay home and cook it myself.

Mitch Moore, Eugene



SPAY IT DON’T SAY IT

It’s disappointing that in your pet issue, you fail to mention that the reason “shelters are overflowing” is because of the simple fact that not enough people are spaying/neutering their pets. In the U.S., seven times more cats and dogs are born than people, meaning that more pets are entering shelters than there are people able to provide homes for them. When shelters get too full, innocent animals are killed to make room for new ones. It’s conservatively estimated that of the 6-8 million cats and dogs that enter shelters every year in this country, half of them (3-4 million) are killed. These animals are often the offspring of family pets, and a quarter of them are purebred. While most owners have good intentions, few are prepared for the work and financial strain involved with caring for a new litter. Even if you find homes for all of your pet's puppies or kittens, it means there are now fewer homes available for shelter pets.

Contrary to popular belief, letting your pet have even one litter will not improve its behavior. In fact, the mating instinct in both females and males may lead to undesirable behaviors that could cause frustrated owners to relinquish the pets to shelters. Intact animals are more likely to “mark,” and those looking for mates can become aggressive and may injure themselves, other animals and even people.

A spay/neuter surgery is a one-time expense that can dramatically improve your pet’s quality of life. Altered animals are generally more affectionate and have significantly lower risks of developing certain cancers. Neutered males have a reduced breeding instinct, making them less inclined to roam and fight.

Luckily, there are several options for Low Cost spays and neuters. At the WAG Clinic (345-3566) surgeries for male cats are only $37, and females are $47. Dogs start at $75. Or, call the city of Eugene Spay and Neuter clinic at 682-3643.

Jessica Berg, Melinda McCormick, Nicole West, Shelter Animal Resource Alliance

EDITOR’S NOTE: Our story on spay and neuter did not make it into our print version of the July 30 Pets issue, but can be found on our website.

 

 

POWER TO THE PEOPLE

What part of “of the people, by the people, and for the people” includes lobbyists? What part of the oath of office to the Senate includes swearing an allegiance to uphold the profits and growth of corporations? The manner in which the Senate has been approaching health care reform would appear that although elected by the people to represent the people and paid for by the people, senators feel it necessary to put the interests and well-being of inanimate corporations before that of human beings. When did corporations become citizens of this country? Why is the physical well being of insurance companies more important and more valuable than that of the human beings that live in this country? 

This country was founded by people, not corporations. We need to remind our elected officials that the definition of “materialism” includes physical well being along with worldly possessions that constitute the greatest good and highest value in life. To deny health care from cradle to grave seems to diminish our claim to being a free country that is not controlled by a select few. 

To refer to health care reform as “socialized medicine” is nothing but pure propaganda! Should we abolish Veteran’s Administration hospitals and Medicare too?

Linda Jiler, Eugene

 

FAIR THEE WELL

I was glad to see the positive responses to Ms. Cienfuegos' letter of July 16. I, too, am sorry she has had a bad experience at the Oregon Country Fair. I agree that she should give her miracle passes to someone for whom the Fair has a positive meaning. For me, the whole experience is not just the three-day event but a year-round opportunity to be involved in a caring community whose main objective is to educate and support issues of education and environmental concerns, and to entertain as we do it. Along the way we also manage to help some basic community needs for the less fortunate.

I didn't see any diapers or trash and I know many volunteers who spend hours before, during and after the Fair to sort, recycle and compost the refuse. I am very impressed with their passion and learned expertise. We serve as a model for the greater community. Have you seen Autzen Stadium after a game?

The storm on Sunday was interactive with smiling children splashing barefooted through the puddles and the claps of thunder were greeted with cheers. The opera on Friday evening was an incredible and inspiring event that contrasted and complemented the performance of the Beatles's White Album (also celebrating it's 40th anniversary).

This was a great Fair for me this year and I appreciate being an elder and receiving good caring respect from the Fair community. I, too, was a hippie in the '60s and contrary to some beliefs, it was about being “hip” to the real values of community, such as letting go of our addiction to material possessions and caring for the land we were leaving for our children.

Peggy Day Fitzgerald, Eugene

 

CAN DO CANNABIS?

Ten years after Oregon’s voters overwhelmingly approved allowing doctors to recommend cannabis (marijuana) to people who could benefit from its use, 26,000 state registered patients still don’t have a legal way to purchase their medicine.

Because of concerns about how the federal government would react, the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act didn’t originally create a supply system — it merely exempts patients from arrest for growing marijuana. This works for some patients, but not the sickest.

Colorado, New Mexico, Rhode Island and California’s legislators realize that it’s an undue hardship on the critically ill to force them into growing marijuana when they are in the worst physical condition in their life. Even if they did, some patients would die before they harvested their first successful crop. It takes a lot of time to master the art of growing medical quality cannabis.

SB812 creates a vital regulated medical marijuana supply system of nonprofit operated dispensaries and licensed producers. The Obama administration has indicated they would not interfere with such state regulation. A similar bill passed Rhode Island’s Legislature with enough votes to override the governor’s veto. Oregon’s version added generating revenue for our health department.

Why didn’t Oregon’s Legislature take the lead and pass this needed fix to our medical marijuana law? Do they really think it’s fair to leave it up to patients to petition for an initiative so they can have safe access to their medicine?

And why pass up the estimated $100 million in revenue over five years?

Jim Greig, Americans for Safe Access, Eugene

 

MONEY DOWN THE TOILET

KEZI opened up a can of worms in my mind. They asked recently for suggestions of how we could pay for health care.

My first thought was Bush's wars have cost us to date more than $891,805,000,000. Only the Lord knows how many years of health care this would have paid for, but that's irrelevant — the money’s gone.

So I thought why not just stop the wars and bring our boys home. But wait, bringing home more than 300,000 men, half of who have PTSD, to a country with no jobs but plenty of guns, doesn't make sense. We can't do that.

We could start with the cost of building the International Space Station, $100 billion (U.S cost including Space Shuttle) and $150 billion (total cost to date). Do I really need a space station, how does it benefit me or does it just benefit the military?

Do I really care of there is water on Mars? Not for the $104 million it has cost already and another $20 million for the fifth mission.

The latest published economic analysis concludes that U.S. support for the state of Israel has cost American taxpayer $3 trillion. That's $3 billion a year. How does that benefit all of us?

Bush's tax cut for the very rich cost $1.35 trillion that was added to the deficit. Let’s go after that money and let the very rich pay for it.

Add it up, friends. It's your health care down the big toilet.

Philip Dietz, Springfield

 

SURE PLAYS A MEAN PINBALL

I was thinking about President Obama's many extraordinary skills and accomplishments as a community organizer, law professor, legislator, author, president, and — one more: pinball wizard. His wizardry is evident in the health care reform game now being played in Washington, D.C. 

Like Pete Townshend's Tommy, Obama has a supple wrist. He adroitly guides the health care reform pinball around all obstacles by compromising with obstructionist Republicans, heel-nipping Blue Dog Democrats, and the medical-industrial complex with its lobbyists and their money, in an effort to rack up points. But in the end, is this a game worth winning?

Going ... a public option to "keep the private insurers honest" (now a watered down co-option at best). Going ... an employer mandate to provide health insurance (an individual mandate to purchase it remains). Gone ... a single-payer system with the proven ability to dramatically reduce costs and improve outcomes (actually, single-payer never even made it to the table). 

According to pollsters, 72 percent of the American people favor "offering everyone a government administered plan like Medicare that would compete with private plans." That isn't what we're getting. Tilt. Game over.

Benton Elliott, Eugene

 

SINKING THE WORSHIP

While I agree with Gerald Morsello (letters, 7/2) that it is tragic Dr. George Tiller died, I do think he has it all wrong. The man was not Malcolm X or Gandhi. He did not liberate an oppressed people or cure some epidemic that was gripping the planet. People love to make people like Tiller as some martyr because of some inherent kneejerk reaction to go against seemingly conservative forces. Morsello would have you believe that he was near to the status of Moses freeing the slaves from Pharaoh. Let's face it, whether you agree with Tiller or not, he was a doctor simply doing a procedure. Let's save the hero worship for people who actually deserve it.

On that note Tiller performed an extremely dangerous procedure. It would be one thing if he was a rank and file abortion doctor, but he performed LATE-TERM abortions — abortions AFTER the third trimester. Now I can understand someone having a regular abortion whether it be for an unplanned pregnancy or rape, but when it comes to the third trimester you should have already made up your mind by this point. What about the rights of the fetus? Yes the woman has rights, but so does EVERY life. I think it's tragic Tiller died and I fail to see the point in killing to prevent more killing. But it's not like he wasn't walking the razor's edge to begin with.

James Ready, Springfield

 

HIGH STAKES GAMBLING

I know that many people are worried about having their lives ruined in the current economic disaster. Well, since we’ve become a nation of lottery and casino gamblers, perhaps our salvation could be found in a national office pool.

Let’s make the betting questions interesting, such as: Which industry will pay the most outrageous bonuses for corporate crime next year — financial, banking, military contractor, insurance or pharmaceutical? Gosh, it’s hard to tell. Another question: The U.S. war industry gets 54 percent of our overall income taxes. How soon before they get 75 percent of our income taxes? Hmm, challenging, eh? How about: Currently, 65 percent of U.S. senators are millionaires. How soon before 90 percent of senators are millionaires? Now there’s a head-scratcher.

There’s more: Which taxpayer bailout-receiving banking firm will throw the most families out of their homes this year? Gosh, who knows? And: Which U.S. industry will receive the most taxpayer money to move all of their jobs outside of the U.S.? Wow, tough question.

Here’s another: The U.S. military has 761 (known) military bases around the world. How soon before they have 1,000 bases? Gee, it’s difficult to say. Then there’s: When will the U.S. have a health care system as fair as, say, Portugal’s? Hey, it’s hard telling.

There’s more: The top 5 percent control 70 percent of all U.S. financial wealth. How long before they control all of it? Wow, now that’s a real tough question. Finally: How long are we going to put up with this?

Roscoe Caron, Eugene

 

RAGING THE ROADS

These thoughts, held on the tip of my tongue after most outings in Eugene, cannot be held in any longer. I am astonished at the amount of rude, lazy, just-don't-give-a-damn drivers in this town. I am a well-seasoned driver of cities and for years navigated the streets of Washington D.C. Likewise I have driven in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and Miami, and I have never, ever seen the amount of bad driving as I see here in Eugene on any typical day: cars that just can't wait their turn in line, cutting in front of bikers and pedestrians, manic lane changers, and just plain impatience! It is embarrassing to witness such stupid behavior. 

I exclaim to others that Eugene is a more relaxed place, filled with friendly people. You know, the kind of small town vibe where you can pass on a smile without someone thinking you are up to something. We have got our heads in the clouds and our logic out the door. 

I feel a lot of the bad driving in Eugene is due to spoiled rotten drivers, those who take on the streets as if they own them — and wait, we do own them! So let's straighten up and drive right! I am starting to feel the 'aggressive driving syndrome' creep up on me and I thought for sure I had left that on the East Coast.

Jennifer Langus, Eugene

 

POETIC POLITICS

I want a single-payer health plan for myself and all Americans.

I believe 70 percent of Americans want this.

Therefore, 70 percent of Americans are socialists.

At first I felt sorry for the Republicans because they are surrounded by socialists.

There are socialists at the grocery store, there are socialists at your church. We are everywhere.

But then I remembered that Republicans love to be the victim.

So it’s a win-win!

Republicans get to be the victim surrounded by socialists and maybe I'll get some health care.

All we need now is a Congress based on democracy.

Chris Pender, Eugene

 

POISON CONTROL

What’s up with all the government talk about forced inoculations? Iatrogenic causes are the number three killer in this country, and you’re going to let them tell you that they know what they are doing by forcing people to take vaccinations? I mean these “scientists” still tell their children that the sun sets and rises!

It’s looking like our health monitors are monitoring profit potential as a major factor in their priorities as they continue to find answers in fear and drug dealing instead of creating a healthy environment. If the CDC and WHO were anything more than fronts for Big Pharma, they’d be doing more about the causes of staph infection, where more than 90,000 Americans get potentially deadly infections each year from a drug-resistant staph "superbug." 

Deadly strains of bacteria now exist because of the insane overuse of antibiotics, but taking antibiotics out of the food chain would mess up their economic model, where you eat poison, give them all of your money when it makes you sick, and then get out of their way by dying.

One big example of their insanity is the statement that pregnant women need to get that vaccine's cocktail of disease, aluminum and preservatives before anyone else, when most over-the-counter drugs warn of danger to pregnant women.

Wake up folks and look at all of the information surrounding this idea before submitting to direct injection of their “safe” poison, past your natural defenses and directly into your blood stream.

Greg Daugherty, Eugene

 

LOGGED DIALOGUE

It was “One-eyed Jacks” night at the Ems game and I was surprised to find myself sitting next to a stout fellow wearing a “World's Greatest Ophthalmologist!” name tag and sipping a frosty peach margarita. Eyeing him through my monocle, I asked: “What’s an ‘ophthalmologist?’”

He replied that he did profitable work with insurance companies and eyed people with lots of cash. 

“So you’re a banker?” I ventured.

“Well, mainly, yes. I create cash where it’s needed, One-eyed.”

“So you help the poor!” I exclaimed, sipping my lite beer.

“No, not quite. What I do is create cash where I need it — in my pockets.” He smiled and asked: “What’s with that monocle, anyway?”

“I swiped it from Mr. Peanut because I couldn’t afford one. I need one for the other eye but can’t get it because an eye doctor here in Eugene convinced Obama that even a million bucks a year couldn’t cover his costs if everyone has monocles for both eyes.”

 He frowned. “Is that the best you can do?”

“The monocle?” I asked.

 “No, you fool — that lite beer! I could give a toot about your eyes.”

 “But lite is all I can afford. I’m saving for my other monocle.” 

 “Really? Why? One eye is all you need to follow a fly ball to deep center!”

“True. It’s the American way!”

“Yes! As is squinting so you can see!”

 “God bless America! Can I taste your margarita?”

“Sure, One-eyed! But first, let me explain my tasting fees ...”

Tom Erwinm Springfield

 

ON THE GATES ARREST

One can set your watch by white liberals being outraged by the cruel myth of black crime. In reality, half of the murder victims in the U.S. are black and nine out of 10 times, their assailant is also black. But, here’s the real surprise, black people know that. Many black groups and notable personalities — such as Bill Cosby — have been doing everything in their power to create awareness about black crime, to increase educational opportunities in inner cities, and stop the proliferation of music that glorifies violence and gangbanging. 

Their efforts are continually undermined by the “civil rights industrial complex.” This is Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the NAACP, who make vast sums of money from discrimination suits and play the race card for a living, to convince the American public that no black crime exists and every arrest is a case of police brutality. White liberals can be counted on to unquestionably agree. After all, anyone who disagrees with Al Sharpton is an inveterate racist. In Chicago, home to 10 of the top 25 worst neighborhoods in America, one out of four dollars in the police budget goes to defending officers against lawsuits. 

Nobody of any color wants their children to be innocent bystanders killed in a drive-by, or the color clothes you dress your kids in to go to school to determine if they live or die. White liberals, get over yourselves, get your facts straight or stay out of the discussion. You’re not helping. 

Warren Weisman, Eugene

 

THE EFFICIENCY QUANDARY

Your review of Food, Inc. (7/23) contains the phrase “despite tenfold increases in efficiency, our food is less safe than ever.” The assumption that there should be a positive correlation between “efficient” food production and food safety requires serious reconsideration.

The core problem is that we are treating biological organisms as if they were machine parts. In industrial production, computerization has enabled the mantra of more-cheaper-faster. One can put inanimate objects into tight quarters and move them around at high speeds. They don't get sick or infect each other. But biology has its own rules and requirements. Cramming too many organisms into too little space requires too many fixes to offset the negative effects. Processing them in the same quarters from slaughter through grocery-ready packaging guarantees fecal-contamination incidents.

“Efficiency” is the problem.

Karen Carlson, Eugene

 

FORETELLING FEVER

Is climate warming or cooling?

There is still a lot of skepticism about global warming even though the vast majority of scientists agree that global warming is fact. If you look at the short-term temperature average trends such as the one that the earth is in now — from 1998 to the present day — climate change is flat or cooling. According to an article on the NASA website, this temperature trend is being caused by a net cooling in the surface layers of the oceans. The short-term heating or cooling trends are insignificant and not meaningful in the context of long-term climate. If there is a decade of cooling, it is not possible to predict that there will follow a decade of warmer temperatures to compensate for the cooler temperatures.

It seems reasonable to assume that as concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere increase, so should the temperature, like in a linier equation. No, this is not necessarily the case either. There are too many other factors that control short-term weather such as ocean currents and wind patterns. Both short-term warming and cooling trends are common in the history of the weather, and scientists do not pay much attention to them.

What scientists are predicting through analyzing data, field studies and computer models is that the overall climate trend is towards warmer temperatures caused by manmade greenhouse gases that are trapped in the atmosphere. An indication of this is the measurement of a net loss in the amount of solar radiation that is being trapped in the lower atmosphere and not being reflected back into space.

What scientists are predicting is that sooner or later the rise in temperature is going to catch up to us. They are looking at evidence in the fossil record that whenever the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere reached 900 ppm, there was a massive die-off on the planet. The scientific community is concerned about the rising temperatures in the Artic that has the potential to release massive amounts of methane into the atmosphere that is trapped under the permafrost. Scientists are formulating what would happen if the major ice fields in both the Artic and Antartic were to melt.

Lee Norris, Cheshire 

 

TEAMWORK ON TRUTHS

People thought the Earth was flat. Now we think economic growth is good for us. Both the same: not true. What is true, besides the roundness of the Earth, is economic growth is good for those at the top of the economic ladder (a mere 10 percent controlling the vast majority of the wealth), but not so for the remaining 90 percent who are struggling.

To make matters much worse, the environment is quickly getting trashed in the pursuit of growth. Species are disappearing, like clean water, air and land. Limited oil along with skyrocketing demand, climate changes — it can't go on much longer.

The wealthy, and those who aspire to be, tell us how good and necessary growth is. They control the media, shaping our worldview to their benefit. We are brainwashed into thinking we all deserve more and more economic benefits, and that we can all get rich together.

It looks bleak to me. We are nearing an end to our growth, not because we choose to cooperatively manage our combined impact, but because we overwhelm the Earth's ability to accommodate our massive, destructive growth. We are led by a small percentage of aggressive people who know the benefit of winning.

Together we stand, divided we fall — taking a lot of other life with us. If we don't learn to live in cooperation with each other, and all life on Earth, we will cause our own destruction.

Individualism, capitalism and the free market are not sustainable for our civilization. We need systems based more upon cooperation than competition.

Any ideas?

Patrick Bronson, Eugene