Letters to the Editor for Aug. 25, 2012

Not just the economy

In the coming days the Republicans will try to distance themselves from U.S. Rep. Todd Akins’ idiotic idea that women cannot get pregnant from “legitimate rape.” They will even say that the whole issue is a distraction from the “real issues,” but let’s look at the history.

This idea is not a Republican Party anomaly as they want you to believe. Last March, in a discussion in the Kansas House about abortion policies, Republican State Rep. Pete Degreaf suggested women should plan ahead for rape the way he keeps a spare tire in his car. This year Rick Santorum suggested rape victims who become pregnant from an attack should be forced to keep the baby and make the best out of a bad situation.

More than 200 Republican members of Congress joined Todd Akin in sponsoring House Resolution 3. VP hopeful Paul Ryan can try to distance himself from Todd but Ryan’s name is still on record in support of that bill.

Ryan says he changed his mind after the Todd debacle. He says he now stands with Romney and would not ban abortions in the case of rape, but he signed on to House Resolution 212 Sanctity of Human Life Act which would have done just that. It fits that Romney chose Ryan as his running mate. Who wouldn’t admire the quickness with which Ryan can flip flop?

So yes, the GOP would want you to think that since 2010 their objective has been the economy, but don’t be fooled. Close to 1,000 abortion bills have been introduced across the country and I don’t see that many bills introduced to increase jobs, do you?

Even the Republican platform for their convention prohibits abortion for rape and incest. It is hypocritical that the GOP is for less government interference, and yet in women’s issues, these Republicans feel they have the right to interfere.

Ron Yamashita

Hood River

Blame falls everywhere

In response to Jon Laraway (Our readers write, Aug. 22):

Jon, you are entirely correct that Congress spends money, not the president. However, you have simply turned around and “blamed” Democrats when you chastise Anne Vance for “blaming” Republicans.

This is a national problem and the more we argue about who is to blame, the longer politicians will pocket special interest money and look out for what’s best for themselves and who gives the most money, rather than the greater good of our country.

Dating back to President Nixon, Republican presidents and Republican-led congresses have added more to the debt-GDP ratio than Democrat-led presidents and congresses. That’s just fact.

If you really believe Barney Frank and Chris Dodd are responsible for the economic meltdown in the financial services industry, then the county has a wonderful 30-acre tract of land to sell you out on Barrett Drive you can make into a nifty park.

The repeal of the Glass-Stegal Act of 1933 was lobbied for by the banking, securities and insurance industries to the tune of $225 million; we ended up with a piece of legislation written by the above industries and the names Gramm-Leach-Bliley (Republicans) attached, and named the Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 signed by Bill Clinton (Democrat).

However, it should be noted that the bill had enough support in the House and Senate to override a threatened veto by Clinton. The safe guards that protected the American people for more than four decades after the Great Depression were now wiped out and a free-for-all ensued.

Both Fanny and Freddie were victims of the Financial Services Modernization Act; I will agree that poor decision and choices were made by Barney Frank, and yes, President Bush did request more oversight in regards to both institutions, but you left out the part of President Bush actually urging Congress to allow low-income families on welfare the ability to access funds through Fanny and Freddie to pursue the American Dream of owning a home. (Yes, he suggested using welfare money to help purchase homes.)

The majority of blame for the condition our economy is in today falls on the backs of the banking, securities and insurance industries and the $225 million they used to grease the wheels of Congress to push the FSM Act of 1999 through, and the myriad of poor choices by many since that day.

I think it’s best summed up by a economist from Princeton University: “Instead of pointing our finger at a single, politically self-serving source, let’s all grow 90 more fingers, so we can point the blame in all directions where it rightly deserves to be.”

Peter Dallman

Hood River

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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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