Tuesday, January 11, 2011
The recent report of the president's commission on reducing the deficit produced the predictable response: "Yes, we must drastically cut the national debt; yes this will entail sacrifices by everyone; no, don't raise my taxes or cut my entitlement benefits!" Now, none of us older folks like the idea of paying more taxes or taking cuts in our Social Security and Medicare benefits. But how can we insist on a level playing field if we exempt ourselves? Before Social Security was enacted in the 1930s, older Americans like myself struggled to get along on diminishing savings, meager pensions or just plain charity. Now we are among the most protected of all age groups, and yet the least willing to see our "entitlements" (as we now call them!) reduced, even to benefit the young and unborn who are scheduled to receive far less. And yet we insist on "fairness" in public policy and sharing the burdens as well as the benefits! And while we are on the subject of fairness and the sharing of burdens, why do we exempt the business world? With unemployment nearing 10 percent and everyone else taking a loss of some kind, why aren't most businesses hiring? "Because we can't risk taking a loss if demand drops," they tell us. How is this a fair sharing of burdens? So maybe it's time for us "entitlement queens," tax complainers and business leaders to step forward and take a few risks for the good of the country and our future generations. David C. Duncombe White Salmon, Wash.
I have to agree with two points that Mr. (Rob) Brostoff made in his recent letter to the editor (Jan. 5). First: Mr. (Bob) Willoughby and Mr. (Bernard) Seeger were of equal quality in carrying out their duties as city administrators of Cascade Locks. They were cut from the same cloth, all right, as neither one had any problem ignoring laws and turning a deaf ear to the citizens of our city. Second: Both of these men left because they felt they could not carry out their duties due to divisions within our community. Well, they got that right. Cascade Locks is definitely divided. Some of us believe that our paid staff and our elected officials should obey all state and local laws, while others feel that, at times, the ends justify the means regardless of the law. Any time Mr. Brostoff, Mr. Seeger, or Mr. Willoughby would care to challenge these points or defend their actions, there is a whole group of disgusted Locksters that are available for debate. Gary Munkhoff Cascade LocksM
Willing to pay
Now that the election is over I have a question for our conservative congressman and letter-to-the-editor writers: Why isn't the economy in good shape after 10 years of tax reduction and government regulation reduction? It seems to me that more of the same will not bring better results. Our current president and Congress have been trying to mend those mistakes as they said they would in the 2008 election. The American people also spoke in that election, but with a more thoughtful decision, it seems to me. Many American voters are fickle and insist on quick, easy remedies to long-developing problems. They get scared and angry and so vote out whoever is in office in an economic crisis. Had Congress had a Republican majority, the last election would have turned them out, I am sure. I have in the past asked on this page: What tax-reducing reduction in your own valued government services are you willing to suffer? To this date, no one has been willing to give me an answer. I would like to read in this place the answers of some tax reduction advocates. Military spending? Subsidies to huge farms? Home mortgage deductions? You name it and then you will deserve to be taken seriously. I think my own taxes should be higher for education, care of the vulnerable and infrastructure. John Ihle Hood River
One has to wonder why a portion of the population in Pakistan enforces a brutal murderous oppression on the population. They act like they believe that killing people who are not "correct" in the name of God is the correct path to enlightenment. Historically, when governments or religions treat the population this way it has always led to much death, disease and poverty for everyone involved. I honestly cannot think of one time in history where overt control over any group of humans has been successful, other than complete eradication of the population. Thank God Christianity has largely changed how they deal with those that are not "correct" in the eyes of their God. Occasionally some of their radicals will shoot a doctor but in general Christianity is walking much closer to how their Jesus would have handled life's problems. One area puzzles me, though: Why would the religious element of America support the absolute corruption occurring at the corporate level in our country? The level of poverty is so great that it is beginning to take on biblical proportions. You have to go back to 1850 when we have had so few assets/wealth and so much poverty and poor health. The deregulatory actions at the corporate levels have produced massive fraud and corruptions to the tune of countless bagillions. The oil companies, weapons manufacturers, the bank industry, and Wall Street to name a few. Lately the health care industry has risen to the similar level of corruption. In Germany, health care costs are half of what we pay in this country and every single person is covered from cradle to grave with no caps of any kind. Why do Christians align themselves with Republicans who are a puppet for the health care corporations that are currently carrying out one of the largest robberies in human history? I believe Christianity has correctly grown and repented from their past brutality ways and I also believe they will continue to shift away from less overt but very real versions of social oppression that still exist in America. If there were no religious shroud to hide behind most Republicans would be clearly seen as they really are - wolves. I ask religious people to consider that gutting the Republican Party before they get another chance to produce more poverty, despair and poor health in the process of raking in massive profits for only a few. The corporate wolves will make billions and the mass of people in our great country will grow poor and destitute. What would Jesus do?
Ken Earle Hood River
This coming year, both Groundhog Day and the State of the Union address are expected to occur the same day, Feb. 2. It is an ironic juxtaposition of events. One involves a meaningless ritual in which we look to a creature of little intelligence, knowledge and ability for prognostication, while the other involves a groundhog. Jim Drennan Sr. Odell
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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