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Letters to the Editor: 8-29-2013

HAIL TO THE QUEEN

Like many things in life and art, what one person finds boring, many others find fun and interesting. I completely enjoyed the Professor Doctor’s talent show portion in the SLUG Queen Coronation, and the people around me seemed to as well. 

Last year, she and her minions did a wonderful bit about optics and how different fluids bend light, and this year, they had two separate experiments happening side by side around fire and ice. The engaging show focused on young women having fun with science, to a danceable soundtrack, all within the 3-minute time limit imposed by the judges. 

I salute our new queen and her efforts to make science enjoyable and accessible and am proud to live in a city that finds that worthy of recognition and celebration. And while song parodies and lip syncing/flash mobs are also entertaining, after attending the last 13 coronations, I loved this new take on showmanship for the event. Maybe if more people found science (and math, engineering and technology!) exciting, we wouldn’t be facing a national shortage of people entering those fields of study — especially girls/women and other underrepresented groups. 

I say rock on, Professor Doctor, and keep bringing us more science awesomeness for the year of your rain and beyond! Keep it SPICEy!

All hail the queen!

Jennifer Wyld, Eugene

 

RESPONSIVE FELLOW HUMANS

Thank you, Brenton Gicker, for your enlightenment on the attitude of White Bird Clinic and CAHOOTS toward the behavior of your most recalcitrant clients [Viewpoint, 8/15]. It is too easy to dismiss and deny some of those with the most unfortunate backgrounds in life, to resort to the utmost dismissive catchphrase, “They’ve made their own bed; let them lie in it.” I’ve long abhorred that attitude yet cannot boast I’ve never turned to it when put to the test.

Having relied solely on bus transportation in Los Angeles for many years, I had to fend off the well-meaning who insisted on picking me up in their cars so I wouldn’t have to (ugh!) ride those smelly buses with all the crazies. Yes, there were seemingly demented passengers, often seated next to me, and I could not help wondering, why are they mumbling or telling me about nighttime evil ones killing horses at the racetrack under a full moon? It was something of a surprise to discover that if, instead of ignoring them, I replied respectfully, before long they began to talk rationally and with unexpected intelligence, clearly longing for just a few moments with a responsive fellow human.

Mr. Gicker reminds me what I should not forget.

 Jim Wood, Eugene

 

RE: IT’S A CRUDE WORLD

LOL!

Beverley Mowery, Eugene

 

TRANSFORMATIVE POTENTIAL

I admire the radical concept of kindness offered by Brenton Gicker in his Viewpoint [8/15] “Rooting for the Underdog.” His perspective on the lives of the “problem clients” he encounters in working with the CAHOOTS program displays unusual insight. I believe that, while judgment without understanding is a dead end, compassion applied skillfully, even sometimes fiercely, has transformative potential for the giver, the receiver and the rest of us. I appreciate his bravery and tenacity on behalf of our community.

 Mia Coltrane,  Eugene

 

EXPOSING THE TRUTH

Eugene Weekly and Camilla Mortensen: You rock!

Last Saturday I was driving south on Highway 99 after dropping my daughter off in Monmouth. As I neared the Eugene airport, I was struck with an intense smell of bleach/chlorine! Very strange! Now I understand, per your article “Train Wreck” [8/15] — it was in all likelihood chlorine leakage from a train car!

I’ve taken CREDO’s “Pledge of Resistance” (nokxl.org) to protect our beloved and beautiful West Coast natural resources. Let’s not become the latest fossil fuel corridor where profits trump public health and safety. We can stop this if we know what big energy has planned and we all pull together!

Thanks for exposing the truth!

Deb McGee, Eugene

 

A SINGLE OBJECTIVE

Thanks for the “Small Farms vs. GMO and Canola” [8/15] story on the Local Food System Ordinance of Lane County. The article correctly states that the Lane County Circuit Court is currently reviewing the county clerk’s determination that the initiative did not comply with the single-subject requirement. However, the four “subjects” or issues identified in the article are the grounds stated by the clerk to support her determination of noncompliance, and not the stated subject of the initiative. 

The initiative’s single subject is the protection of our local food system. As such, all of the four issues cited clearly address the initiative’s single subject as required by the Oregon Constitution. First, healthy natural communities are essential to a farmer’s ability to grow and harvest nutritious food. They are defined by the initiative as part of a local food system, and therefore must be protected. Second, the right of self-government is the authority under which the Lane County community can assert its right to pass this initiative into law, and therefore is basic to creating a law to protect the local food system. Lastly, corporate rights and seed patents are two of the largest threats to our local food system, and must be frontally challenged to protect our local farmers’ ability to grow food free from corporate interference.

Unless Lane County and other Willamette Valley communities claim their right to local self-government in order to dismantle rampant corporate rights that now take precedent over our well-being, we are simply powerless to protect our local food system. Industrial agriculture and its accompanying GMO seed patents threaten our local farmers’ ability to grow local food that relies on uncontaminated natural systems to flourish.

The proposed ordinance protects our local food system. Our existing natural and legal systems require a complex initiative to meet this single objective.

Ann B. Kneeland, Eugene

 

OUR NATURAL DEBT

Aug. 20 marked an event of global importance that was not covered by local media. It was Earth Overshoot Day 2013. It’s the date, estimated every year by the Global Footprint Network, by which the human species “consumes all the renewable resources and the CO2 sequestration that this planet can supply for an entire year.” This means that the current human demands on our environment are not sustainable. Each generation of us is not leaving the world a better place for our children. We are not even leaving it the same. We are constantly degrading and eliminating the natural resources that will provide the standard of living for future generations. 

Earth Overshoot Day has occurred about three days earlier each year for the past 20 years. The GFN estimates that “our demand for renewable ecological resources and the services they provide are now equivalent to that of more than 1.5 Earths.” This demand will increase to two Earths by mid-century. 

Some folks rant about the “national debt” and how it’s a shame and disgrace to burden future generations with it. Much more real and urgent is the natural debt. You can’t print more water or grow the atmosphere.

Jere C. Rosemeyer, Eugene

 

WRONG DIRECTION

We Oregonians have a responsibility to care for our forests now and into the future. Today we face the daunting challenges of climate change, pollution and species extinction. The plans put forward by Rep. Peter DeFazio and Sen. Ron Wyden to clearcut 1.5 million acres of our public forests without essential protections are the exact opposite direction to go. There is misleading information that all the old-growth forests will be protected. This is not true; old growth will be cut and these older trees sequester more carbon than younger trees. Six of the top 10 carbon-storing forests in the U.S. are in Oregon. Privately owned forests are carbon neutral, which means they do not sequester more carbon than the carbon released by the massive clearcutting. We should increase the timber harvest tax to raise revenue. 

What do the best independently funded forest biologists say about these plans? A recent bipartisan Pew poll found Oregonian’s top priorities are to protect public lands and water. It would be nice for our representatives to work for the citizens. It seem to me this clearcut legislation is a payback to Big Timber.

Pamela Driscoll, Dexter

 

WHAT’S THAT SMELL?

The good ol’ boys crowned Liane, an agenda for pursuing/ Any that opposed them, had lawsuits soon ensuing.

Investigations, backroom deals, the costs just kept accruing/ The cronies got the favors, taxpayers got the screwing.

Liane was ruled by hubris, it proved as her undoing/ The county gov. has a stench that did not come from pooing.

Scott Fife, Eugene

 

SPLICE OF LIFE

In response to Jeff Holiday’s letter [8/15] about the destruction of a plot of GMO Golden Rice, I have to say that yes, Golden Rice may be an answer to Vitamin A deficiency in poor countries. But people are scared of the GMO industry because of the Frankenstein tactics of companies like Monsanto, which have used genetic modification to make corn and soybeans resistant to herbicides so they can spray Roundup over their entire acreage so that it kills everything except the crop. Or how about splicing the gene from Bt, a soil fungus, into corn so that anything that eats the corn dies? Sorry, but I really don’t like having poisons introduced into my food. 

GMO labeling and a little integrity in the scientific field would go a long way in using genetic modification to save lives instead of just making unscrupulous companies like Monsanto richer.

Cenya Eichengreen, Eugene

 

BAN THEM ALL

I think that banning Native American mascots on the grounds that they’re not politically correct is ridiculous considering the fact that we’re not banning all other racially themed mascots. If you look around Eugene alone, we have The Highlanders, and Sheldon High School is “The Home of the Fighting Irish.” Can we just take a second to recognize that the term “Fighting Irish” is actually a slur that was used against Catholic immigrants in the 19th century?

I don’t see anything blatantly offensive about a sports team being called “The Braves.” If we’re going to ban one group of mascots for being rooted in the culture of others, let’s ban all of them. 

Kati Dawalt, Eugene 

 

AREA BEAUTIFICATION

Kudos to the Eugene city workers who keep the downtown planters looking so beautiful!

Beverley Mowery, Eugene

 

GIVE THE COP A BREAK

I just finished reading the news [8/15] about the EPD officer who allegedly “slapped” this 10-year-old boy in the face as he was escorting the child to the custody of another parent by court order. Curious, I checked out the entire YouTube video and noticed that while the officer was leading the child by the wrist, the boy bit the officer. The officer responded by tapping the child on the forehead in a reactive effort to stop the boy from continuing to bite him. I saw nothing that would indicate that the officer slapped this child in the face. He apparently didn’t hurt the boy, and I doubt he will suffer any damaging issues from this alleged “slap in the face.”

I am not one who generally sides with authority, as it is oftentimes misused and abused, but could this have been handled in another fashion? Maybe! After all, according to defense attorney, Laura Fine Moro, police receive hours and hours of training about restraining and subduing individuals. She also blamed the officer for creating the circumstance that led to the officer being bitten by the boy. I see this as a lawyer’s tactic to incriminate this officer by making a huge mountain out of a molehill. This slant also fuels the already strained relations between the public and law enforcement.

The boy bit the officer, the officer reacted to the stinging surprise of a bite and stopped the biting by lightly tapping the boy in the forehead. How many of you would have used discussion, active listening or tapped in to your inner peace to advise and counsel this boy while his teeth were sinking into your finger?

The sad part remains with the emotionally common and sad fact that another family is in crisis, but in this instance, I don’t think the EPD is at fault.

Jay Greenspan, Corvallis

 

LIFT THE CURTAIN

In a world clouded by the doom and gloom naysayers of newspapers and TV, it was refreshing to see a few rays of hope this month. “Ironman” Elon Musk, CEO of Paypal, Space X, Tesla motors, Solar City, Hyperloop, and his brilliant engineering skills have not only produced the world’s best and safest car, his all-electric cars have paved the way to make gasoline powered transportation obsolete. Anyone who buys his cars will never have to pay for charging at his solar-powered, nationwide network of super-fast charging stations. 

Big Prison and Big Pharma had their world threatened by glimpses of sanity against the “reefer madness” status quo. A.G. Eric Holder proposed letting low-level drug offenders out of the prison since they pose no risk to the public and crowd the overflowing prisons. 

Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Gov. Chris Christie, thanks to the ground breaking marijuana research of the Israeli government, are now proposing allowing [sick] children to receive the proven healing benefits of marijuana. Research is now progressing on using marijuana to cure cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. The only thing holding back these brave new world innovations is the paid-for influence that Big Oil, Big Prison and Big Pharma has upon our elected leaders. Rip back the curtain and let the light of the brave new future shine through.

Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain

 

MLK & ANIMALS

This week’s 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington is being observed with marches, speeches, and speculation on what causes Dr. King would embrace today. 

He would certainly continue to work for racial equality. But he would also likely advocate for a rapid withdrawal from Afghanistan, workers’ rights, gay rights and animal rights.

Yes, animal rights. Although he is best known for advocacy of racial equality, King opposed all violence, like the Vietnam War. And there is no greater violence than that perpetrated each day against billions of cows, pigs and other sentient animals in America’s factory farms and slaughterhouses.

The day before his assassination in 1968, King came to Memphis to champion the most oppressed human beings in America — African-American sanitation workers. Today, it would also be about the most oppressed living beings in America -- animals raised for food, experiments, and entertainment.

Although King never lived long enough to extend his circle of compassion, justice, and nonviolence to non-human animals, his wife, Coretta Scott King, and his son Dexter Scott King did, by embracing the vegan lifestyle. A great way for us to honor the King legacy is to follow their lead.

Edward Newland, Eugene

 

UNLIMITED BUDGET

What I find amazing is that whenever the government wants to get involved in a war, no one asks the question, "How are we going to pay for it?" There's always an unlimited budget when it comes to going to war. We don't even bother to try to figure out if we are on the right side. For example, in Egypt we helped overthrow the government just to elect the Muslim Brotherhood which turned out to be worse than their former dictator. We invaded Iraq for no reason at all. And we're in the middle of Afghanistan where both sides are the bad guys and bin Laden was in Pakistan.

Now Obama wants to get involved in Syria because nerve gas is being used. And we're going to go in and overthrow the government and give it to who? Do we really need yet another war just for the sake of looking like we're involved? Maybe we need to take the time to think things through this time rather than do something just for the sake of looking tough.

Marc Perkel, Gilroy, Calif.