Letters - August 27

Private eyes

The popular, extremist Christian Pat Robertson calls for the assassination of a head of state (Hugo Chavez of Venezuela). Can someone explain to me how that is essentially any different from a popular, extremist Islamist (say, Osama Bin Laden) calling for the assassination of our head of state (George W. Bush)? It’s all about feeling you have God on your side; that makes everything okay. And that really makes me worry, since George W. Bush has made plenty of references to his own (perceived) close alignment with God.

As for Mr. Rumsfield’s glib distancing of the administration from Robertson (“private citizens say all kinds of things all the time”), I would respectfully remind us of our public rationale for bombing Afghanistan: the presence there of extremist “private citizens” who strive for the overthrow and death of democratically elected officials in distant lands.

Tina Castañares, M.D.

White Salmon

Don’t blast CL Port

RE: “Aryan Rally,” an editorial on Aug. 20, 2005 and “No labels,” an editorial on Aug. 24.

“Amazed” is one word I could use to express my reaction to your Aug. 20 editorial that said the Port of Cascade Locks “should have told them they should express themselves somewhere else” (referring to the recent Afrikaner Charities visit to Cascade Locks).

Editor, are you suggesting that if Randal Krager had written a non-inflammatory letter to your newspaper, you would not have published it because of his association with a white supremacist group? Are you suggesting that you Google the names of anyone writing letters to your paper or buying advertisement space to be sure their beliefs are in line with yours?

Do you think for a heartbeat that any member of Port staff, Commission or any other public official would have wanted to be remotely connected to this type of event had they known what their agenda really was? Frankly, had it been that easy of a decision to make, these people would have followed their own hearts and minds and said “no way” in spite of a signed contract and strong legal counsel to the contrary. You, as a newspaper editor and publisher, of all people, should know that First Amendment rights always trump personal feelings and beliefs, especially when working in a public arena as the Port of Cascade Locks does.

Four days after the “Aryan rally” editorial, you defend First Friday policies in your “No labels” editorial. You outline an incident that intruded on someone’s free speech and characterized the situation and First Friday’s policies as “a work in progress” yet the group should not be painted in a negative light based on one incident.“

It’s too bad your editorial on the Cascade Locks event didn’t suggest similar outcomes in policy refinement instead of just blasting away at the Port. This is very disappointing coming from an organization whose whole existence is based on the very thing you would have had the Port refuse to allow a gathering of individuals to express their own opinion, whether or not you agree with them.

Marva Janik

Cascade Locks

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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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