Email letters, August 14, 2014
Senators need to stand up for clean energy and climate action
Compared to the last couple years, it’s been a relatively light wildfire season so far: only 33,000 acres burned. As global warming pollution heats up the atmosphere, quiet summers like this will be the exception, few and far between. Blazes like the ones that tore through homes near Waldo Canyon and Black Forest in 2012 and 2013 could be the new normal.
We know what we have to do: limit carbon from the largest sources – our power plants – and shift to clean energy like wind, solar, and energy efficiency. And that’s just what the Environmental Protection Agency would do under the newly proposed Clean Power Plan.
But instead of letting EPA do its job, polluters’ allies in Congress have introduced no fewer than 6 bills to block EPA’s Clean Air Act authority to tackle global warming. Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet should continue to stand up for clean energy and climate action, even as polluters dump millions on campaign ads attacking EPA. Because summers like this one are too good to lose forever.
In future, Carter will be recognized for balancing faith and public policy
No question: Within 100 years or maybe much less, Jimmy Carter will be celebrated as the equivalent of a Protestant/evangelical saint. History will recognize his genuine accomplishment of delicately balancing the imperatives of faith with public policy.
In time, we will realize that the tenor of our present partisan comments is a simply a symptom of a passing affliction of hyper-polarized acrimony. Events will surely arise that will cause many more of us to behave like adults.
In time, many more of us will also honor real human progress rather than ingrained biases and cherished political ideologies.
Palisade doesn’t need the problem of legalized marijuana
Apparently the Town of Palisade is considering putting the legalization of recreational marijuana on the ballot this fall. Why?
We are not De Beque. We are not a town that is so starving for money that we will chase any two-bit idea down the rabbit hole. Let De Beque deal with the headaches that we are now starting to see from this experiment in legal drugs. Let their children experience the increase in use. Let their town deal with the homeless that follow the industry. Palisade has enough problems. We don’t need more.
I strongly urge the Town of Palisade to not be seduced by the mirage of easy money. As the evidence is now showing, that “easy money” isn’t so easy.
Commercial fiction’s place is not in the classroom
I was astonished by the current debate regarding the teaching of “Enders Game” in District 51. I taught English for forty-five years, 15 of those as a teacher in north Seattle, and 30 at what is now Colorado Mesa University. I chose certain books on the premise that they could enrich my student’s lives, mystify their imagination, articulate their dreams and disappointments, and — most of all — transmit the best of our culture from one generation to the next.
I don’t quite understand what “Ender’s Game” has to do with an English class, except perhaps to blackmail students into reading something. Most teachers are familiar with “Anne of Green Gables” and “Life of Pi”; but there is so much more, and it is readily available. If teachers don’t know where to look, I would suggest they search the Booker Prize web, the Newberry Medal, the Caldecott Medal, or the National Book Award. All of these resources list some excellent material for juveniles and young adults.
Commercial fiction has its place (if not overindulged), but certainly not in the classroom.
MATTS DJOS, PH.D.
Climate change the largest environmental hoax since DDT
Not since Rachel Carson’s book, “Silent Spring,” in 1962 about the supposed environmental damage done by DDT has a hoax been foisted on the general public like global warming, climate change, or whatever.
Today one of the greatest killers in the world is malaria, which in the 1960’s had been brought to near extinction through the use of DDT. “Why?” one could ask, are millions of people dying today from a disease that was all but extinct 40 years ago? The answer is that there are people who call themselves scientists who have agendas or ideologies that are willing to make fraudulent claims backed up by fraudulent data and a willing media to keep repeating these lies until people start to believe the lies.
Most people haven’t the slightest idea whether global warming is happening other than that the media keeps repeating it, so it must be true. Even when the scientists are caught modifying their data to support their claims, the media keeps repeating the falsehood.
The truth is that for almost 18 years now there has been no warming of the atmosphere. There is no evidence of greenhouse gases trapping hot spots here on the planet, which the EPA has used as a reason to bludgeon the coal industry. Has anyone ever wondered how many greenhouse gases are spewed out by all of the active volcanoes here on earth every day?
If you look at weather records for the last century, it shows that the 1930s was the warmest decade in the U.S. If you read about the Anasazi Indians you will find that the archeological record indicates that it was not unusual for them to adapt to “climate change” by moving locations. It is believed that one of the reasons for the migration of the Anasazi Indians from this area in the 12th and 13th century was drought.
If you go back only 13,000 years ago, there were many glaciers in this part of the world. We have had numerous “mini” ice ages since then. To give some context to this; if you take the last 13,000 years and compare it to the age of the earth, 4.5 billion years, and if the 4.5 billion represents one year, then 13,000 years would represent less than 2 seconds.
Human beings don’t live long enough to get a proper perspective of what the temperature of the
earth should be or how much CO2 should be in the atmosphere. The only constant is that the weather changes.
The real threat to this country is not climate change, but people with a climate change agenda
Immigration system is not the only broken thing in our country
With President Obama reportedly poised to take executive action to create a pathway to legal status for perhaps millions of currently undocumented immigrants, some still claim that our current immigration system is not really “broken” and ask – if it is – why didn’t the Democratically-controlled Congress “fix it” in 2009-2010?
Of course, the estimated 12 to 20 million undocumented immigrants now in the U.S. did not all arrive here together. Rather, the 1980 Census estimated their numbers at only 2 to 4 million. However, following the de facto “Reagan Amnesty” in 1986 (when laws prohibiting the hiring of “illegals” went unenforced), illegal immigration accelerated.
Scofflaw U.S. employers remain the primary magnet for illegal entrants. During the Clinton administration from 1992 through 2000, the U.S. economy created 22 million jobs – and attracted from 450,000 to 750,000 “illegals” per year to fill jobs that American workers wouldn’t take (primarily in agriculture, construction, and lodging/domestic services).
During the Bush administration, illegal immigration reached 850,000 annually – totaling over 13 million by mid-2008. However, during the financial crisis and near-Depression of 2008-2009, at least 1 million undocumented workers “self-deported.” Consequently, health care reform – not immigration reform – was the priority in 2009-1010.
Under President Obama, illegal immigration was initially near net zero (but has increased as our economy strengthens), and more illegal entrants have been deported than under any previous administration.
From 2001 through 2012, Senate Republicans repeatedly “filibustered” variations of the DREAM Act (granting legal status to some children brought here illegally prior to 2007).
On June 15, 2012, after Republican Senator Marco Rubio repudiated his own proposal, President Obama ordered “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (“DACA”).
Notwithstanding the President’s Order, the Senate still passed the comprehensive “Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act” on June 27, 2013, but the “Tea Party” controlled House still refuses to even consider it.
On August 1, 2014, the House passed (and our own Scott Tipton voted for) a politically preposterous measure bill offering only $694 million to address the humanitarian crisis precipitated by 60,000+ unaccompanied minor children from Central America – in exchange for deporting some 700,000 DACA “Dreamers” – then went out to “recess”.
Obviously, much more than just our immigration system is “broken”.
Congress needs to address House Bill HR-543
As of August 4, Congress is on recess, and will return to their seats in DC on September 8. While on recess, they are campaigning for the November election. In their campaign speeches they make promises that they probably cannot keep. They visit VA medical centers, nursing homes for the aged, union halls, hold round table sessions, and meet with constituents. In my opinion, items of this nature should always be on their agenda, not just 3 months prior to the elections when they are looking for votes.
Now that the VA has a new Administrator, the problems are not yet solved. Hopefully the new Administrator will make needed improvements as the investigation continues to turn up inappropriate discrepancies.
The main item that needs to be addressed by Congress when they are back in session is House Bill HR-543: the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Act. We vets need help from the American people to call their members of Congress and urge them to support this House Bill. Navy Vietnam veterans are the most denied which makes no sense for VA benefits because they
served at sea not on land, yet are still infected and sick with agent orange. The deadly herbicide was in the air and in our drinking water at sea, a proven fact by the Institute of Medicine that the VA ignores.
With Congress on recess in their home states campaigning, let them know that American people do have a voice.
JOHN J. BURY