Letters to the Editor for January 30, 2013



Clever endeavor

By appearing constantly on entertainment media such as with the late-night comics, on daytime talk shows and rubbing elbows with the Hollywood elite, Mr. Obama knew what he was achieving on “The Entertainment President” — the vigorous support from the nation’s “low information voters,” who were thoroughly taken in by his snow-blinding smile and his message that subtly said: “I am the most likable candidate. Vote for me and I’ll give you everything you want.”

You have to hand it to the president — he really knew what he was doing: How to energize the low-information voter and give them excessive incentive to get to the polls and outnumber the Republican/conservative turnout. That’s how the brainwashed defeated the energized.

Let’s give President Obama “The Clever Endeavor” award.

Bill Davis

Hood River

Mother the earth

In the days of the spotted owl, they told us that loggers and environmentalists had nothing in common. We believed them, and either put up yellow ribbons or slunk away silently.

In our great-great-grandparents’ day, they said it was impossible to fish out the Columbia, with so many salmon you could walk across their backs. Most of the canneries closed decades ago, and today we blow-up dams to rescue tiny salmon runs.

We took the living resources from the water, from the land, and now we move to the very bones of the earth, to extract coal. Business as usual.

But this time it is different. We stand on the edge of a precipice, blindfolded by our own greed and comfort. Can we take the blindfold off? It is time to Mother the Earth. Leave the coal in the ground.

Nia Wellman

Trout Lake, Wash.

True cost of coal

All Gorge residents have a stake in the proposals to export massive amounts of coal through the Columbia Gorge by barge and rail. This is because we will all bear the impacts: reduced tourism, business, health issues, infrastructure costs and reduced air and water quality.

People and species from around the world also have a stake in coal exports. A new research study commissioned by Greenpeace ranked these proposals as the fifth-most dangerous fossil-fuel project currently being planned worldwide! (Google: Greenpeace, Point of No Return or “The True Cost of Coal” by the National Wildlife Federation.)

You and I both know these coal companies, particularly the foreign ones, will not bear these costs but will receive the profits. They are already getting the coal at a cheap price; they want the railroad to be responsible for any fire or damage done along the route; and they want the taxpayer to bear the price of infrastructure needed so that normal traffic can still run.

The companies say this will create jobs (relatively few long-term) but they don’t want to bear the cost of job loss in communities along the route. They want to sell the coal, which will pollute our air, but don’t feel responsible to clean it up.

You and I know these shipments are increasing the probability that China and India (the destination for this coal) will use this cheap energy instead of developing more sustainable energy. You and I know we are shutting down our coal use in the U.S. because of pollution.

So tell me; why do we want to export it, only to have it come back as toxins in the air and water? Know this: You will be affected.

Susan Ratliff

Hood River

Close loopholes

Re: “Need gun law change” (Our readers write, Jan. 26): I would also like to thank Sheriff English for not jumping on the bandwagon. The statistics are incomplete though; in a lot of the countries that may have lower gun deaths, they have higher crime rates.

A lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon to make it harder on law-abiding citizens. The background check system works well but could be slightly improved; in the recent shootings the suspects tried to buy guns but were denied.

Some do get through the system, though, because if the dealer does not get an OK from the FBI after three business days the dealer can release the gun to the buyer. Most small-town dealers will not do this even though they can, because if something is found the gun has to be retrieved. This is a loophole that needs fixed along with the gun show loophole.

Oregon background checks go through the FBI and Oregon State Police. And as for semi-auto rifles, they are not assault weapons. Assault weapons are fully automatic and are already unlawful to own.

I think most all people on both sides would agree to a ban on sporting rifles (semi-auto with accessories) and high-capacity clips anywhere within 3 miles of city limits. Just a thought.

Ronald Morgan


Add sixth ‘crazy’ idea

I’d like to add one (hopefully) not-so-crazy idea to the excellent ones offered in the editor’s Jan. 26 “Round Table.” While the construction costs for the athlete’s center (Jaqua “Academic” Center) were donated by Phil Knight, most, if not all, maintenance and operating costs are borne by us state taxpayers.

Meanwhile, two-thirds or more of the fancy, new building is off-limits to all students and anybody else except student athletes.

My proposal is simple: All the building’s facilities and services should be open to all students of higher academic standing (as are the athletes in their athletics) or none of the operating and maintenance costs should be paid by the taxpayers.

Let’s justify “academic” in its name! And take another stride toward Kirby’s “crazy ideas.”

Dave Dockham

Hood River

Stone throwing

If you live in a glass house think before you start throwing stones. Some people are calling for gun control while they are talking on their cellphones while driving.

According to the National Safety Council, 6,000 adults, teens and children were killed by SANE people using cellphones while driving; 500,000 were injured by people using a cellphone while driving! Twenty-eight percent of all car accidents were caused by cellphone use.

Remember, dead is dead; whether it is due to an insane person with a gun or a sane person using a cellphone while driving!

Jerry Petricko

Hood River

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Latest video:

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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