DULL ATHIEST REALISM
Attacking the lack of scientific rigor in Sasquatch research, ranting on religion, and labeling the Bible a fable, Rick Levin’s “Desperately Seeking Sasquatch” (cover story, 6/24) fails to expound on the mystery of faith or the bigfoot.
Neither faith nor bigfoot exists based solely on logical proof or material evidence. But then neither does “reality.” As Albert Einstein said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
The sasquatch illusion, persistent through human history, deserves wonder. And the faithful of the world, outnumbering atheists six to one, deserve at least as much respect as Levin’s atheism.
Judaism, Christianity and Islam base their reality on the first five books of the Bible. Revered by billions of people over thousands of years, including many great scholars and mystics, a rational person would consider the Bible more than a “fable.”
It’s in Genesis that the first sasquatch-type humanoid is reported. “The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men.” And, again, in Numbers: “We saw the Nephilim and became like grasshoppers in our own sight.”
This earliest written record of large humanoids — half angel, half human — says they live “afterward.” Afterward into our times? Could these beings be sasquatch? Do they disguise themselves with animal skins and inhabit wild areas where they can control chance encounters?
As a woodsman who roams isolated forest areas, I’ve had surprise encounters with large beings — big bears, lions and half-ton elk exploding from thickets. The sound of heavy breathing at night or waking to find a large, smooth nesting spot next to where I slept may be less explainable, but no less real.
Personally, I enjoy phenomena and environments I can’t entirely explain. A little faith and the possibility of sasquatch make both my life and the forest more magically diverse. Levin’s rigorous realism is, for me, too monotonous.
Roy Keene, Eugene
I can’t imagine a more human, actionable feature than “The Dispossessed” (cover story, 7/1). Instead of “Your Ad Here,” maybe EW could spare a couple column inches every other week to remind readers of our own homeless aid organizations.
Lee Walker, Eugene
I am glad that EW contained a news article July 1 titled “Budget Blues” in which a panel discussed the problems resulting from Gov. Kulongoski’s ordering Oregon’s public agencies to cut spending by 9 percent. I agree with Rep. Nathanson that 93 percent of the state’s general fund is spent on education, public safety and human services. Nathanson is Lane County’s only representative on the Joint Ways and Means sub-committee on both public safety and on human services while Rep. Barnhart is chair of the Revenue Committee and serves as a member of the Joint Ways and Means Education sub-committee.
The panel put together by EW and the Bus Project could not have chosen two better panelists to represent the Lane County delegation in Salem. I also agree that the best future solution is to have Oregon voters repeal the kicker law. However, I want to discuss a very specific program, which has been eliminated as of August, which is the Oregon Project Independence (OPI).
The OPI enables about 2,000 seniors in Oregon to stay in their homes by providing a small amount of in-home help to them. Why should the rest of us care? It isn’t just a matter of kicking granny under the bus. It’s a matter of increasing costs to the taxpayers. These 2,000 seniors will be forced to move into nursing homes and other high-cost alternatives that will add to costs of Medicaid.
If this program saves taxpayers money, why is it being eliminated? One theory is it that it has no federal matching funds that would be lost because of its elimination. I would suggest that EW readers contact firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com for more information about OPI.
G. Dennis Shine, Springfield
If all the world’s a stage, it’s theaters of war that create the most drama. The executive producers are in the White House. The directors are generals who parade on TV flashing their stars. The cast and crew are soldiers and sub-contractors. Promoters saturate the media beating the drums of war and profit.
Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s command unit was called Team USA. In Michael Hasting’s recent story (in Rolling Stone) the general said President Obama appeared uneasy in a room full of brass. Seymour Hersh was more scathing when he spoke here in February. He said high-level racists in the military see Obama as “a frightened colored boy in a white man’s war.”
Tom Hayden spoke at the LCC Peace Conference about the new long war doctrine. It’s an undeclared war in Muslim regions slated to run into mid-century, now in its third presidential term. It smacks of militant and persistent Judeo-Christian capitalism.
A few suggestions: Find a source of civilian war casualties in Afghanistan for your “War Dead” column. Add Pakistan as the next country to face this imperial crusade. Palestinian and Israeli casualties should also be included in your stats. That war of colonization is 62 years old and supported by our Mideast policy. It already spans 15 presidential terms and helps lay the foundation for Team USA’s perpetual warfare state.
Chris Piché, Eugene
EDITOR’S NOTE: We have not yet found a reliable source that tracks civilian war casualties week by week in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Many areas are remote and communication is sketchy. Wikipedia sources put the total civilian death toll at somewhere between 13,372 and 32,969.
A GOOD BOD
Body image is not a just a women’s issue (Viewpoint, 7/1). Having a good body is as simple as eating right and getting enough exercise. Cut out refined sugars and don’t ride in vehicles deriving their energy from fossil fuels. It really is just that simple.
Gregg Ferry, Corvallis
Rep. Peter DeFazio’s criticisms of the Afghanistan war featured in the July 1 EW were highly misleading, considering that he voted for the war funding supplemental that same evening.
The vote was carefully structured by the House Democratic leadership to confuse the public. What happened is thoroughly explained by David Swanson in his WarIsACrime.org essay “Democrats Forced to Cheat to Fund War.”
First they passed a “self-executing rule” which said that if any one of four amendments passed, so would the supplemental — without requiring a vote on the supplemental. DeFazio and the majority of the Democrats voted for the rule.
Three antiwar amendments were then defeated, as everyone knew they would be, with DeFazio voting for two of them. Then they passed the fourth amendment, tacking on money for domestic programs, with DeFazio voting yes, and the supplement was passed.
Although I benefit from various government programs, I don’t want blood money. But morality has never seemed to bother DeFazio, when it comes to foreign policy. I wonder if it bothers anyone in Eugene, aside from a handful of peace activists?
Lynn Porter, Eugene
Scott Zeppa (“Indisputable,” 7/8) doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Period. Fact.
Michael E. Stamm, Eugene
MORNING AFTER ILLS
The morning after July 4th my family went to visit the popular Friendly Neighborhood Park located on Monroe and 27th Streets in Eugene. As our toddler began to play we discovered a broken necked glass bottle and spikes of bottle rocket sticks littering the children’s sand play area and numerous sharp shards of broken beer bottle glass strewn around the playground. Many children enjoy this playground on a daily basis. We are highly disappointed and angered by the lack of respect the 4th of July party demonstrated to the children of our neighborhood by rendering the Friendly Neighborhood Park too dangerous for our children to use.
Please show respect for our community’s children and their right to safe places to play.
Michelle Edwards, Eugene
I BELIEVED HIM
Words do have consequences. When the last administration, from Powell on up to Bush, lied about WMD mushroom cloud threats, it resulted in $732 billion spent to have more than 4,000 of our troops killed, 100,000 wounded and 320,000 brain injured.
When Bush mockingly said “Those WMD have got to be somewhere … nope, no weapons over there,” he showed a total disregard for the crime he had committed.
Obama ran on a pledge of hope and change. When he said “I want you to hold our government accountable. I want you to hold me accountable,” I believed him.
After Obama was sworn into office, pledging to uphold the laws of our nation, he told us, “I don’t believe that anybody is above the law. On the other hand I also believe that we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards,” revealing his real mission of allowing those who mockingly break our laws to continue unpunished.
Words do have consequences, and if the consequences of calling for Obama’s impeachment result in our nation returning to a nation of law, so be it.
Michael T. Hinojosa, Drain
On July 4 Americans should recall and recommit to the declarations by Thomas Jefferson that all people (not just Americans) are entitled to life, liberty and “pursuit of happiness” and that governments “derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
For Palestinians, their right to life means not being killed by Israeli F-16 and drone launched missiles, Apache attack helicopters, naval, tank and artillery shelling, or rifle fire (see www.ifamericansknew.org and www.rememberthesechildren.org). Their right to liberty means not being occupied by the Israeli military. Their right to pursue happiness means not having the institutional and economic infrastructure upon which the pursuit of individual and collective wellbeing depends destroyed by Israeli bombs and bulldozers, land confiscation, suffocating blockades and police state restrictions.
Half the population of historic Palestine is now ruled or controlled by a government to which they did not consent, which violates not only Jefferson’s declaration but the principle of self-determination enshrined in the U.N. Charter to which Israel is bound as a U.N. member state.
July 4 is a day when all Americans loyal to our founding principles should demand an end to all military, financial, and diplomatic protection for this nation that flagrantly and relentlessly violates our values and legal principles, and should join the growing international boycott, divestment and sanctions movement (www.bdsmovement.net and www.pacbi.org) to establish the rule of law through application of non-violent power by international civil society.
The same principles apply to the Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis subjected to U.S. invasion and occupation, both illegal under international laws compliance with which is required by Article VI of our Constitution. We must grant to all peoples the same rights we demand for ourselves. As stated by the Mississippi Freedom School in 1964, “No man is free until all men are free.”
Jack Dresser, Ph.D., Eugene
THE OREGON COUNTRY FAIR
By Kathryn Ridall
So many wings,
feathered, gossamer, glittering,
fairies everywhere — fat and thin,
young and old.
Over there — the Butterfly King,
a man of sturdy middle age,
black robes flowing around
his crowned body, his orange
wings unfurling behind him
like flags for the nation
I have never met this one
before in fairy tales or my own
nightly wanderings but know
him at once, make a low
Young women stroll by
on the wooded paths, their
wings peaking from behind
white shoulders, their breasts
naked and firm as newly ripened
fruit, stars painted around
I hear one say, I have been here
every year since I was four.
I imagine her growing taller
and fuller each year, suckled
on the champagne milk
The day heats up, the crowd
thickens. Sinewy men on stilts
rise above the press of moist bodies,
the cooking meat and stewing garbage.
A woman, heavy with child,
displays purple and blue
designs on her bare
Beating drums, bass lines
reverbing from the main stage.
Bodies glisten with sweat beneath
trees that house unseen
For just these few hours
we are cut loose from our narrowing
ways, like the gnomes one artist
has chiseled from shafts of wood —
gnarled faces and ancient eyes
freed from a prison of
EDITOR’S NOTE: Kathryn Ridall, Ph.D., is a San Francisco Bay Area psychotherapist and poet who moved to Eugene just a few weeks ago. This was her first time at the Fair.
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