NOT THIS GREEN
Glad to see your mention in Slant last week [12/18] of the R-G’s littering — aka the viral green Emerald Valley Shopper every Wednesday — and in a town that actually “likes” green! Sure, it is a micro issue given all the major topics, but we do notice. I walk daily and I espied this hard-copy message on a south Eugene lawn in October. Someone just said NO! But does the R-G read?
Douglas Beauchamp, Eugene
UO is on the right track launching its presidential recruitment to coincide with the Rose Bowl. Any candidate who doesn’t put football as a priority for a career choice shouldn’t be considered. The UO is one of the top self-image obsessed schools in the country and proud of it. If an academic-oriented applicant were somehow to slip through the cracks and be awarded the job it would be mayhem and chaos; it could even lead to the reinstatement of UO’s free community art classes.
Vince Loving, Eugene
LOVING MY LTD
LTD is on my list of top 10 favorites in my community.
Marianna Glenday [Letters, 12/11] wrote she is saving for a car, and once she gets a car, never intends to ride LTD again. I own a vehicle and actually pay insurance on more vehicles than I care to admit. Once she owns a vehicle and pays for the registration, insurance and repairs, she will have a new respect for LTD.
LTD is the best bargain and value for my dollar. A 10-ride ticket book costs me $16! Two tickets give me an all-day pass. That pass allows me to ride all day long. Those passes allow me to donate to locals who struggle to get to doctor appointments or purchase groceries.
I invite you to sit down or perhaps stand up, depending on the time of day, and take a ride. Embrace your local public transportation and give your wallet a rest.
The EmX extension into west Eugene will be wonderful. I look forward to spending money in west Eugene and encourage everyone to support the businesses during the construction project that will transport us into the future.
Shirley Gauthier, Springfield
On Dec. 9, Gov. John Kitzhaber, Secretary of State Kate Brown and Treasurer Ted Wheeler made a tentative decision to proceed with the sale of the 92,000-acre Elliott State Forest. Although the Oregon Land Board stated they prefer to sell the Elliott to a public entity or “public-private combination,” this doesn’t constitute a victory for Oregonians. The state complains that it lost $3 million in 2013 through management costs, although the state continues to auction timber sales while the market value of timber is extremely low.
A 2010 U.S. Fish & Wildlife carbon analysis report estimates that the Elliott captures and stores about 600,000 metric tons of carbon per year. This is roughly equivalent to the annual CO2 emissions of 200,000 cars. The Elliott also captures, filters and naturally regulates hundreds of millions of gallons of rainwater for salmon and wildlife as well as human communities downstream.
The monetary benefits provided by the Elliott in the form of ecosystem services such as clean water, erosion control, salmon and carbon storage dwarfs the $3 million the state claims it has lost.
The only two acceptable options for the Elliott State Forest are maintaining Oregon public ownership and complying with environmental laws or selling it to the U.S. Forest Service.
Shannon Wilson, Eugene
GIVING IS THE BEST GIFT
It’s an oft-heard comment from parents and grandparents: “Our little kids have so much. What can we give them for Christmas?”
There’s an easy answer: Make it something that reminds them of giving more than receiving. Send a donation to a group that tries to provide for needy children who often are overlooked, giving in the name of your child or grandchild. One way is through Heifer International. It gives life-sustaining holiday gifts ranging from chicks, bees, rabbits, sheep and even heifers to children whose families worldwide are in need, and sends your children notes of thank you. It can be done through toll-free phone number 855-848-6437.
As the gift helps the forgotten, it will help your children remember that the act of giving can be the most important gift they receive.
George H. Beres, Eugene
I would like to commend Lane County Commissioner Pete Sorenson for all of the support he has given me in my attempts to help the county reduce its medical costs and improve the employees’ health. He has taken the time to listen whenever I’ve contacted him.
Reginald L. Jensen, Eugene
WHY WE GROW
The Dec. 18 Slant column asks, “Why do we encourage population growth?” It’s an excellent and most relevant question. Most of our problems, from local to global, are either directly caused or exacerbated by uncontrolled population growth.
In the U.S., the greatest contributor to population growth, by far, is immigration, both legal and illegal. Accordingly, the best answer to the foregoing question is, “Because Congress and our president support open borders, amnesty and minimizing corporate payroll costs while refusing to enforce our immigration laws.”
Jerry Ritter, Springfield
THANK GOD FOR SANTA
Oh Christ, it’s Christmas! Where does the time go? First pumpkins, then turkey, now ho-ho. Oh no. Gotta buy presents and send Christmas cards — how come this holiday is so freakin’ hard? It sneaks up behind you, makes you feel so bad that you spend all the money that you’ve never had on trinkets and baubles, on candy and booze, always the wrong thing whatever you choose.
Then tempt all our children with lies ’bout a saint who’s “magic” and “olly” when in fact he ain’t nothing but a fat guy who works once a year, feeling up kiddies while he sits on his rear. Enthroned in our malls from Maine to Shanghai, not Christ at Christmas; no, this other guy. He’s who we worship and ask to answer these prayers, and to do it damn fast. Christmas is coming! We all must get gifts! And make sure we get them by the 25th.
Oh Christ, it’s Christmas! Oh Christ on a crutch! Thank god for Santa! Oh, thank you so much!
Dave Perham, Eugene
The perpetrators of every atrocity in history would defend their actions as justified. The Inquisitions were designed to bring man closer to God. The Crusades were intended to bring Christ to the heathens. The Salem Witch Trials were to eradicate evil and save souls. Our genocidal treatment of the Native Americans was motivated by Manifest Destiny and the advancement of Christian America. The Holocaust was perpetrated to save the Aryan race. The tortures, mutilations and murders by the KKK were intended to protect the white race and enforce racial boundaries.
Blowing up abortion clinics and murdering doctors promotes the right to life. The murderous actions of 9/11 were intended to discourage the American cultural and religious incursion into the world of Islam. The horrors of the American torture of detainees was designed to save American lives. Additionally, every assassin in history felt his or her actions were for the good of the cause (whatever that cause) and the world was a better place as a result of their action.
Put simply, evil done for a good cause is not evil. It’s just very important to be the ones who decide what qualifies as evil or a good cause. Dick Cheney tells us it’s not torture, so it can’t be evil. Charles Krauthammer tells us it has worked to keep us safe, so it’s not evil.
I feel so much better about this torture issue now that these two gentlemen have clarified the moral implications for me.
Gary Crum, Junction City
People Against the National Defense Authorization Act (PANDA) testified in front of the Lane County Commissioners Dec. 16. What was requested was the assurance that if the feds tried to enforce this distasteful act, called the NDAA, our local law enforcement, far from cooperating, would go as far as impeding federal cops from “kidnapping” Lane County residents.
Yes, state and federal laws already prohibit features of the NDAA such as the indefinite detention, rendition, torture and possible execution of American citizens unequivocally. That the NDAA was approved at all by Obama’s administration proves even more clearly that 9/11, although carried out mostly by foreign Saudis, was done with the complicity of the Bush-Cheney administration and the corporate-military apparatus with the intent to implement what Naomi Klein calls the “shock doctrine”: During times of upheaval the state will pass laws so odious that the citizenry normally would not tolerate them.
My own personal experience living in totalitarian Argentina from 1968 to 1985 can attest to the fear of a government that gives itself powers over life and death, freedom and torture. During my childhood, doors would be kicked down by police and people would be taken away, never to be heard from again — all for “crimes” such as having long hair and a beard or for one’s choice of books and music.
These people expressed opposition to a military dictatorship that took over power undemocratically, by force. The victims became los desaparecidos (the disappeared).
David Ivan Piccioni, Eugene
I understand the state has rejected 4,600 ballots for signature problems. If 4,600 ballots have signatures that do not match their registration cards, isn’t the implication that someone other than the registered voter forged a ballot? Isn’t that illegal, as a serious crime? Why doesn’t the state investigate? The investigation would begin by interviewing the person listed as the legitimate voter. If the state really thinks voter fraud is going on, then aren’t they avoiding their responsibility to investigate and prosecute a serious crime?
Please pose my questions to election officials. I would love to hear their response.
Jan Nelson, Crow
THE REIGN OF FLUFF
In recognition of Scott Martinez’s and Mark Robinowitz’s letters Dec. 11 regarding oppression and journalist Gary Webb:
The other day I happened to catch that lying fool, Bill O’Reilly, state drably that people “have no interest in what’s going on in the rest of the world,” which is true to a degree, because he is the face and voice-piece of a media that no longer is interested in world news, only fluff that’s “First, Live and Loco.”
There was a time when foreign desks thrived, along with good journalism. Now it’s corporate consolidation and the government’s unabashed contempt for the people to hear and see what shock economics has wrought onto the world. In the absence of foreign desks, what reporting is left are AP snippets quoting anonymous sources from the Pentagon or officials, leaving any semblance of honesty invalid.
When a courageous journalist like Gary Webb exposed the government/CIA as the true drug criminals of the world, not the pimps and users they created in order to demonize and incarcerate, he highly threatened the power of government and industry to operate with impunity — so kill the messenger.
That is a message a coward like Bill O’Reilly respects if he’s to keep his job. Gary Webb respected the message — and honest reporting — enough to bravely lose his job, and his life, for it.
Sean S. Doyle, Corvallis
CLAMORING FOR MORE
The graduate teaching fellows who recently went on strike at the UO did not elicit much sympathy from me. Like the GTFs, I teach part-time at the university. Unlike the GTFs — many of whom are first-time teachers — I have more than 30 years of experience teaching at the university level.
But, at least in my department, GTFs are paid more than I am — thanks to both a generous stipend as well as a tuition waiver — and even before the strike, they received many benefits, including excellent health insurance. I receive no benefits whatsoever, not even a bus pass.
I live very comfortably, however, on about $10,000 per year. I own my home, I eat well, I wear nicely ironed shirts, and I can even afford to get a haircut every couple of months or so. It’s a good life.
I’m puzzled by the behavior of those who already have so much, yet clamor for more. And now I read that the university’s trustees are considering raising the president’s salary from $544,000 to as much as $800,000 — just keeping up with the Joneses, we’re told.
Every other organism on this wonderful planet lives within limits. What is it that makes human beings different, and so unwilling to be content with “enough”?
Whitey Lueck, Eugene
THE SMELL OF SULFUR
In the chambers of House Speaker John Boehner:
“When is that demon due to arrive?” Speaker Boehner’s aide said.
“You’ll hear the dragging of the chains and axes soon enough,” another aid said.
“We’ve got to get him cleaned up, he’s been crying all morning.”
“What do you mean we? I did it last time, your turn.”
The Speaker stumbled into his ceremonial office with a puffy face and a mean temper. Last’s nights’ meeting at the Capitol Hill Club didn’t reach sine die until 3 am. The Speaker took one look at his aides and burst into tears.
“How could this happen,” he wailed. “We’ve got that usurper Obama cornered and here I am violating the Hastert rule. Again!”
“There, there, Mr. Speaker, it’s only a temporary setback.”
Wet, beady, bloodshot eyes glared at them. “It’s all your fault. You said that Scalise would get the Tea Partiers back in line. Idiots!” The Speakers’ lower lip began to tremble.
The aide took a bottle of the Liquid Courage that seemed to buck up the Speaker at times like these and poured two fingers full.
Taking the glass into shaking hands, the Speaker downed it in one gulp. Wiping his gooey lips, he said, “All right, all right, all right. Bring it!”
In the corridor, came the sound of aides hissing and spitting. As the double doors opened, they all made the sign of the elephant trunk. A flash of a red wig on fire, and a women encased in an orange pants suit presented herself.
The Speaker stood in front of this visage. “Glad you could come see me, Leader Pelosi,” he said. As the doors closed on them, the aides were certain they detected the odor of sulfur and brimstone corroding their conservative values.
Gerry Merritt, Eugene