Letters - Nov. 26

Who speaks for us?

Is there anyone in the U.S. Government who is representing us, “we the people”?

George Bush is busy following his dream of Global Empire by spreading Democracy in Iraq.

His disastrous war in Iraq was based on lies, fear, and incompetence, and in the process sacrificing 2,000 young Americans to death and wasting over $200 billion.

He is rewarding his corporate buddies with no-bid contracts and massive tax breaks for the super rich.

He guts social services to pay for it with the full support of the Democrats in both Houses within a Republican majority. Shame, shame, shame, on both your Houses.

When are the Democrats going to show some backbone and stop rubber stamping Bush’s demands?

At the very least, they should have the guts to actually vote against Bush’s demands, even though they may lose to a Republican-held majority.

To date, we the people are dying and paying for Bush’s desire for Global Empire with the full support of the Democratic Party.

Who speaks for us?

Anatole S. Fetisoff

Hood River

Arts, not bombs

The Brighter Futures article in your Nov. 16 edition was inspiring.

The Hood River County Education Foundation is obviously a hard-working, dedicated, and well-connected group to raise so much money for the county schools. The children and our community will benefit greatly from the increased participation in art, music, physical education, and extracurricular programs.

The Foundation definitely deserves a pat on the back for the hard work they have done to gather and distribute these funds. However, it makes me sad to think that we have to rely on extra fund-raising to give our students access to these type courses. Shouldn’t that be a basic right for our children?

It seems to me the richest country on earth could find a way to pay for our young people to receive these basic offerings in school, without paying any more taxes.

Where might this “extra” money come from? With over half our enormous national budget going for military expenses, for products that are only meant to kill and destroy lives, it’s not hard to figure out why we are not paying for schools.

When our elected leaders have just voted for a $441 BILLION military budget for 2006 (Seattle Times, Nov. 20, 2005), and at the same time slashed budgets to educate our children, I think it is time for a change. Dwight D. Eisenhower warned us about the giant Military-Industrial Complex that was robbing us of domestic spending even when he was president.

We, the people, need to rise up and demand a change from our leaders.

I am reminded of a poster I have seen in many places for the last 30 years: “It will be a great day when the schools get all the money they need and the Air Force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.”

Michael Kohnle

Husum, Wash.

Decriminalize pot

Marijuana laws simply do not work. Drug dealers and violent gangs continue to make tremendous profits from selling marijuana on the criminal market. Marijuana is widely available to anyone who wants it — even our children. In fact, nearly 60 percent of Nevada high school seniors have used marijuana, and 26 percent admit to currently using marijuana.

In the meantime, we continue to waste millions of dollars in law enforcement resources arresting people for using marijuana in the privacy of their own homes.

The marijuana initiative offers a sensible solution to our failed policy of prohibition. Rather than allowing marijuana to be sold by violent gangs and criminals, we could tax and strictly regulate it — producing an estimated 28 million dollars a year in revenue for the state of Nevada.

Half of this additional revenue will be earmarked toward funding drug and alcohol treatment. The other half could fund law enforcement and education.

The marijuana initiative is a conservative proposal. If passed, it would tax and strictly regulate marijuana and employ built-in safeguards to prevent abuses. Only adults 21 and older could possess marijuana; they could purchase it only through licensed retailers. The initiative prohibits the sale of marijuana in gas stations, grocery stores, convenience stores, casinos, liquor stores, bars, and dance clubs.

Rather than wasting police time and taxpayer dollars pursuing failed marijuana laws, we should opt for a sensible alternative that would generate revenue for essential state resources, and free up law enforcement to prevent and punish property theft, assault, and other violent crimes.

Michael Winger

Vancouver, Wash.

Credit was due

We were delighted to note the coverage given the Gorge wine scene in this week’s Season’s Bounty (Gift Guide, Nov. 23.) We were also happy to have readily available all of the wines pictured and to have arranged them so artfully for the photographer. We think it inappropriate that our shop, The Wine Sellers, was not mentioned as the source for this beautiful photograph.

Representing nearly all of the Gorge wineries and offering direction and information for interested consumers is no small task, but we’re proud of our part in promoting this happy industry. Your neighbors,

Catherine Kelter

The Wine Sellers

Foster parents needed

Foster parenting allows you the opportunity to enrich and change a life forever. Each year, local foster parents step forward to teach, nurture, and guide children through some of the most difficult and confusing times they will ever experience.

The Department of Human Services is currently seeking a placement resource for a 15-year-old boy. He is currently unable to live with either of his parents and needs a safe place to live.

To learn more about becoming a foster parent, call the Department of Human Services at 386-2962. Training, financial reimbursement and ongoing support are provided.

Melody Hilton

Foster Home Certifier

Department of Human Services

Latest stories

Latest video:

Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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