Email letters, April 10, 2012

Armed services are government entities that operate proficiently

Since I’m unaware of any response, I must assume that no one took the bait contained in my letter to the editor published April 5. While I always appreciate feedback, I’ve never intentionally baited a letter to get response until my commentary on controlled burns by the Forest Service in which I stated, “What national or state government bureau or department operates with proficiency or even adequacy regarding the responsibilities for which it is charged?” 

I fully expected to get a reply on my challenge to name one. So I am going to fulfill my aim by taking my own bait and naming not one, but several that deserve special recognition and praise. Those who know me know that the following is straight from my heart.

The military services are the exceptions of government entities that do operate with proficiency in their performance. 

The Air Force, Army, Marine Corp and Navy under the Department of Defense and the Coast Guard under the Department of Homeland Security are to be commended for the outstanding successes that they have recorded throughout the history of our country. These organizations have protected our freedoms and represented our nation courageously, in spite of the many instances when support by congress is lacking and leadership by the commander in chief is feeble or nonexistent. (For the record, Corps is pronounced “core” not “corpse” as mispronounced twice by a prominent, yet uniformed, public figure.)

It’s unfortunate that other federal departments and agencies fail to meet the challenges and opportunities in the same diligent manner as our military services.
So, I say to all our airmen and airwomen, soldiers, marines, sailors, and coast guardsmen and coast guardswomen thank you for your service to our country.



Why is IRS getting health care money?

Is it just me or are many others disturbed by this news on The Hill today: The Obama administration is quietly diverting roughly $500 million to the IRS to help implement the president’s health care law.

Does anyone have an explanation for why this half billion diversion is necessary to implement the president’s health care law? Is the IRS going to see our medical records? Will the IRS help us decide on treatment options? 


Civilians don’t understand the effect war has on soldiers

“For those who fought for it,  freedom has a flavor that the protected will never know.”—Vietnam, unknown author. Only one and a half percent of eligible males and females have served in the United States Military during the last 10 years. They are mainly from rural areas and they protect 98.5 percent of the rest of us. I believe if you have not fought for America, you do not have a clue what happens to a person during war.

I have been watching the call for the death of the U.S. soldier who murdered the Afghanistan civilians.  I do not condone this act in any way, but I understand that he needs Court Marshaled and a long term mental health treatment. We the protected, “America,” along with the military have made this individual— all of you.

I couldn’t help noticing an irony. There is all this clamor to try this guy quickly, never mind his having suffered a traumatic brain injury on his second tour of duty in Iraq. He should have been medically discharged. He was on his fourth tour, serving his country, when this terrible event occurred.

Yet this Major Hasan, who shot up Fort Hood while screaming “Allah akbar,” still hasn’t stood trial, and they are still debating whether he is insane, even with the clear evidence regarding his motive: slay as many infidels as possible.

So we have a guy in a war zone who cracks, and he must be executed immediately. But this Muslim psychiatrist who was stateside in a nice safe office all day murders 13, wounds 29 of our own guys and they try to argue the poor lad suffered post-traumatic stress syndrome, from listening to real soldiers who had actual battle experience. Two and a half years later, they still haven’t tried him.

If the average American will not understand what has happened to this soldier’s mind, then I guess the one and a half percent should just stay safe at home and let the 98.5 percent deal with the security of the United States of America.


Students should be taught math, not discover it

In response to Jody Mimmack, Bill Larson, et al, in their recent commentary about the new district math curriculum, I am deeply disappointed and angered at how easily they have dismissed my entire career (and a good portion of Mr. Larsen’s as well, I might add) as ineffective.

I taught math in District 51 for 34 ½ years full time and 7 years as a substitute. I believe my career was very effective. Their commentary shows that over-zealous, self-righteous administrators, and wanna-be administrators who think they have all the answers, have lost touch with what goes on in the classroom. I have never believed that public education is broken as so many self-proclaimed experts espouse. I believe that we should hire good people in the classroom and then get out of their way.

We should allow teachers to teach using the individual creativity they bring to their profession. The new math curriculum, based primarily on the discovery method, forces many if not most math teachers to supplement and circumvent the curriculum in order to try to teach it. My profound respect goes out to them for their efforts. I don’t believe that kids can discover their math, and I believe skills need to be practiced to accomplish proficiency.

The implication that I did nothing but drill, drill, drill is ludicrous and offensive. A good teacher can teach skills and, believe it or not, also teach problem solving and critical thinking. I believe the new math curriculum was a poor choice for the district and that, given the major expense and irreversibility of it, administrators and others who pushed it are now in full blown CYA mode. In case you don’t know what those letters stand for, I’ll leave it to you to discover their meaning.

Grand Junction

Legally owned guns save lives

Those were three very interesting letters in the April 8 edition of The Daily Sentinel. The long term cost per KWH of wind power from existing technology, as Randy Litwiller inferred, may be expected to keep it out of reach of practicality for some time to come. Also auditing Big Oil, per Randy. Fricke’s suggestion, sounds like a fine idea — especially if we included the Federal Reserve while we were at it. 

But I’ve seen Maynard. Hesselbarth’s letter a couple of hundred times just since I got home from World War II in ‘47. Slight differences in phrasing from writer to writer, but the same message, dealing with only one side of the subject, from all. Not even a pretense at objectivity. According to these writers guns are always source of evil. If we just got rid of all legally owned guns, life expectancy in our country would increase exponentially over night.

As you have probably already guessed, I am a long time member of the National Rifle Association. I have copies of their Journal back to the late 1940s — something over 60 years, so something over 700 copies. Each copy has a section called “The Armed Citizen” where five to seven reports of lives and property saved by legally owned guns are listed. At a conservative average of six lives saved per copy that would come out to something over 4,200 lives saved by those legally owned guns just in the last 60-odd years.  

My experience has been that the best solutions to any situation come when all sides of the situation are considered. Can’t we give some consideration to the fact that the Second Amendment was second?          

Grand Junction

Gas industry is not out to destroy the planet

Drilling has come a long way from when I first broke out. We have made a lot of changes in the way we operate. We are continually changing our daily operations, mostly to protect the environment and the area in which we work.

We strive to improve in all areas with always room for improvement. But for the people who don’t want to drill at all in the Paonia area I suggest you turn off your propane or natural gas go back to heating your homes with wood or help your neighborhood coal miner out and burn coal for heat. That would help the coal industry by putting money back into the community of the Paonia area.

We’re not here to destroy the planet like some people would lead you to believe. But I don’t live in the Paonia area so if we’re not wanted we should go else where and you should find alternate methods of heat.

Grand Junction



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Regarding Curt Claussen’s letter:

Trees create oxygen and hold topsoil in place, so the greenies can’t go back to cutting trees and burning wood, that would be hypocritical to their agenda. They’re always screaming “Save the trees!” Besides, like oil, coal, etc. trees are a finite resource.

If we cut down all the trees, the tree huggers would have nothing left to hug!

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