Letters to the Editor for Feb. 23

Convert to renewable

This will be a multi-part letter(s) because of space restrictions and because when I write long ones, and try to juggle with the restrictions, I tend to compress beyond comprehensibility.

So, first the question of how important the deficit is: At this time in our history, not very important. The greater danger, economically speaking, is that we might buy into the austerity religion which is hurting Europe and England so much.

Paul Krugman, not only a Nobel Prize-winning economist but a columnist who makes himself very understandable, has done a fine job of demolishing the austerity arguments and advocating for our concentrating on growing the economy by creating jobs, and I won’t rehash his work. Google him and read what he says on the subject.

I am most concerned that otherwise wonderful and kind people are saying things like, “The deficit is a huge problem; I’ll give you that.”

We respond thusly to opponents’ arguments in order to establish that we respect them and believe they are sincere. I do it; we all tend to in order to get past what they are saying and on to our own concerns. It is acquiescence, placation — in short, a kind of cowardice.

Let’s stand up for the very vital argument that now is the time to be making our economy thrive by converting to renewable energy with warlike enthusiasm and repairing our infrastructure (and unlike defense spending, which austerity advocates somehow find is a beneficial jobs program, this is an investment in the future, now at a time when interests rates are low and we can save a lot of future costs cheaply).

I will add to this later at our editor’s pleasure.

Bob Williams

Hood River

Working together

Every American’s heart aches with sadness over the tragic losses caused by gun violence in our communities. We are in agreement over this. We differ in our opinions about the causes of this violence and what we should do about it as serious and involved citizens in a democratic society.

But we agree on at least one thing: 92 percent of Americans (and 74 percent of National Rifle Association members) support universal background checks for gun sales. We are in strong agreement about this.

Let’s show Congress what agreement looks like and charge our representatives in Congress to take action to eliminate loopholes and require background checks for all gun sales. In fact, we should demand it — together.

And once we find out what it feels like to stand together, we will find ways to work together on other parts of the solution and on other complicated problems we face together as citizens.

Pam Tindall

White Salmon, Wash.

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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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