Friday, January 6, 2012
No thank-you letters?
Dec. 21 Hood River News letter policy states, "We will no longer publish 'Thank You' letters." In that issue and on the same page, a letter appeared with, "Thank you City Council."
Then again on Dec. 24, another "thank you" for the same cause, and again in the Dec. 28 issue, "thank the City of Hood River…"
Applying that ol' military explanation, "It depends on the terrain and situation," or is it, "Different strokes for different folks?"
Walden is here
I noticed someone in the News was complaining about where Greg Walden was ("Where's Walden?" Dec. 31). This is from his email letter I received: "As 2011 comes to a close, I want to thank you for your support and counsel. This week I completed three more town halls and fulfilled my personal commitment to get to each of our 20 counties at least twice a year."
Apparently he's not hiding out, afraid. He's finishing his personal commitments for the year. A man of integrity.
In response to a Dec. 24 letter from Sam Dunlap: Mr. Dunlap, I feel sorry for you as you must be having a very bad year. You live in Home Valley, which isn't that close to Hood River, and yet you are trying to shame our elected officials because they don't think the way you do.
Who in our town has done wrong by you? I'm sorry for that wrong. Are you as involved with your own town council as you are trying to be with ours? If you aren't, maybe you should be. I don't know what to say to you that will help you through whatever problems that you are having. Because to be as vicious as you are being there has to be some kind of underlying reason.
Considering that the only corporation that you are going after is Walmart I'm going to take a wild guess that the wrong was committed by Walmart. But if you are going to discriminate and not include all corporations, then sir, you have absolutely no room to holler.
I'm not telling you to stop writing and voicing your opinions; I'm saying do it fairly.
You thought secret wiretapping was bad? Now the government has secret drones for surveillance of suspected adversaries - that could be anybody, even you - as well as for killing suspected terrorists anywhere in the world - even here.
A recent study by the Congressional Budget Office (as documented by Greg Miller of the Washington Post) counted 775 Predators, Reapers and other medium- and long-range drones in the U.S. inventory, with hundreds more in the pipeline.
Dennis Cutler Blair, who served as United States director of national intelligence, was fired by President Obama in May of this year for trying to start a debate about the use of drones. He is the only known official with the courage to do so. He now publically speaks out against unilateral attacks against targets in Pakistan, but now as a private citizen.
The use of drones in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and for antiterrorism operations started a multibillion dollar industry. The apparatus involves dozens of secret facilities, including two operational hubs on the East Coast, virtual Air Force cockpits in the Southwest and clandestine bases in at least six countries on two continents.
My objection is not to the use of drones but for the secrecy involved and for unprovoked, unilateral use of them in other countries and for possible unlawful surveillance of American citizens. We are supposed to be an open society. Wake up! Ask questions! It is our right and our obligation to do so.
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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