Email letters, August 22, 2013
Bill Koch has boosted West Slope economy, generously supported various causes
I am responding to Bill Grant’s latest column regarding William “Bill” Koch.
Businessmen and job creators are essential to the success and future of this country. Bill Koch is one of the largest private employers in western Colorado. His companies have been involved in coal mining, natural gas exploration and cattle ranching for many years. He has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in Colorado during one of the most difficult economic climates the country has faced.
Just last year, Bill Koch (through Oxbow Mining) partnered with Aspen Ski Company and others to capture methane from Oxbow’s Elk Creek Coal mine in Somerset to turn it into electricity. It is the first methane capture project west of the Mississippi River and has enjoyed bipartisan support from local, state and federal officials. Interestingly, that fact was not included in Grant’s column.
Bill Koch has always supported Republican and Democratic politicians who are pro-business and use common sense when addressing regulations and taxes. In Colorado, he has donated to Sens. Ken Salazar, Michael Bennett and Mark Udall, Congressmen John Salazar, Scott Tipton and Cory Gardner, as well as Govs. Bill Ritter and John Hickenlooper. He has also generously supported St. Mary’s Hospital, the Delta Hospital and the Delta County Fair, as well as to numerous schools, libraries and little league fields.
Finally, Bill Koch and Oxbow Carbon are proud to be members of this community. Bill Koch shares the independent streak that so many in Colorado possess and is not controlled by any political party or special interest group. Like most Coloradans, he stands up for what he believes in and respects others who do the same.
West Palm Beach, Fla.
Corporations’ use of temp agencies is pushing middle class into lower class
After reading many articles each pointing fingers at the cause of low wages, I thought it time for me to point a finger.
It isn’t the immigrants who work for lower wages the critics say keep jobs from our citizens, or small businesses that traditionally pay lower wages. The blame goes to corporate America. In concert with it are the growing numbers of temporary employment agencies springing up on street corners everywhere.
Corporations have discovered using temporary workers can save millions of dollars by paying an employment agency to do the work previously done by their human resources department. The job interview process, drug testing and background check costs have been passed to the employment agencies. Employment agencies hired by corporations to provide them temporary employees, take their fees off the top and then in turn “contract out” their employees who are paid lower wages to the corporations.
Using employment agencies, corporations don’t have the overhead created by permanent employees: health or retirement benefits, workers’ compensation, or social security. Those expenses are now the responsibility of the employment agencies.
Corporations are “downsizing,” “restructuring” and “realigning job classifications.” By eliminating employees who are at the top of their pay scale for the reasons just mentioned and then rehiring them as temporary employees through employment agencies, corporations maintain the quality of their workforce and decrease their cost of doing business, while corporate officers and stockholders come out as big winners financially.
Large companies have discovered a cash cow using temporary employment agencies and aren’t about to change any time soon. As for the temp workers as they have now become, they have no choice if they want a job and are at the mercy of the employment agencies and must accept the lower wages with little if no benefits if they want to continue in the workforce.
Middle America will become less middle class and more lower class if this trend of doing away with full time employees, replacing them with temporary workers continues.
Because of nuclear reactions, ‘atomic bomb” is a misnomer
I have comments on three statements published in the article “Grand Junction residents had few clues about secret Manhattan Project” (Daily Sentinel, Aug. 16).
• “In 1942, that site (currently occupied by the Department of Energy) was purchased for the extremely secretive Manhattan Project … .”
A pamphlet, “50th Anniversary GJPO,” published by the Department of Energy in 1993, states: “In March 1943, First Lieutenant Philip C. Leahy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers arrived in Grand Junction with sealed orders to acquire land; build a uranium refinery; and construct uranium recovery plants in Uravan and Durango, Colorado.”
• “I say some of the uranium for the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs may have been processed here, because it isn’t clear, even 68 years later, exactly where the material for the bombs originated.”
The Hiroshima bomb (Little Boy) did use uranium. Where the uranium was mined may be unknown, but it was enriched in U-235 at Oak Ridge, Tenn. The Nagasaki bomb (Fat Man) did not employ uranium; it used plutonium (Pu-239) that was produced in a nuclear reactor (the Hanford “B Reactor”) and processed at the Hanford Site in Washington.
• “When atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, … .”
Because the explosive energy of the bombs was released by nuclear reactions (primarily fission), the correct term is “nuclear bombs.” Many people use “atomic” and “nuclear” as synonyms, but vast differences exist between atomic physics and nuclear physics. The primary force in atomic physics is the electromagnetic force, whereas the primary force in nuclear physics is the entirely different strong force.
Because the electromagnetic force is much “weaker” than the strong force, x rays, which originate in atomic processes, are (in general) much less energetic than gamma rays, which originate in nuclear processes.
A nuclear physicist and former director of Safeguards at Los Alamos National Lab also takes issue with the terms “atomic bomb” and “atomic energy.” He correctly maintains that atomic energy is released when a match is lit.
Trucks spraying hydrocarbons also contaminate environment
The Sentinel recently displayed a picture of a truck spraying oil-based hydrocarbons onto a city street. The air quality was not good. Thousands of miles of such roadwork are performed every year in this country.
But if someone spills a few gallons of the same base material on a dusty trail in the Bookcliffs, he or she is subject to a heavy fine for contaminating the environment.
God, nature or somebody deposited thousands of feet of sandstone and shale, layer upon layer, in this region. But when we drill a 6-inch diameter hole through it, the earth’s cuttings and natural-based muddy drilling water suddenly become hazardous waste.
Both of these things take time, cost money and increase the price of the products you buy.
Think about it.
Authoritarian attitude of GOP extremists compared to recent events in Egypt
A veteran awaiting his prescription at our VA Medical Center opined that “they” should “shut down the government” to repeal “ObamaCare” – apparently not caring that doing so would close that VA facility, and/or that the Affordable Care Act will provide millions affordable access to health care — which he already enjoys, but takes for granted.
Indirectly, that attitude is connected to recent events in the Middle East.
When Egypt’s President-for-Life Hosni Mubarak was forced by popular demonstrations to resign, he warned that his departure would foster a resurgence of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood and devolution of Egypt into religious violence.
The Egyptian populace and its military (supported by the U.S.) willingly took that chance in the apparently vain hope that a functioning secular democracy would somehow emerge from chaos — even though the Muslim Brotherhood had long called for re-imposition of Sharia law and restoration of a pan-Islamic Caliphate.
In the 2012 presidential election, after 10 other presidential candidates (including Nobel Prize-winner Mohammed ElBaradei) were disqualified from running, Mohammed Morsi outpolled a former Mubarak prime minister by a narrow margin in a runoff election.
Once in power, Morsi disbanded Egypt’s Supreme Court, drafted a new Constitution that gave a Sharia council veto power over legislation and appointed his Muslim Brotherhood cronies to key positions. The Constitution was then “ratified” in a rushed referendum – accelerated to prevent opposition from coalescing.
Last month, as Morsi’s pro-Muslim Brotherhood Islamist policies became increasingly authoritarian, more secular Egyptians voted with their bodies and the military intervened.
Similarly, Republican extremists in Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Texas have enacted increasingly anti-democratic and unconstitutional legislation that subverts both elections and the “rule of law.” While “Tea Partiers” may threaten resort to “Second Amendment remedies,” truly patriotic Americans rely on courts and elections to reject Republican authoritarianism.