Email letters, January 3, 2014

Diminishing Arctic ice precipitates weird weather

Regarding your editorial titled “Mother Nature proves she’s still unpredictable,” a little research can help explain the erratic nature of the weather patterns in North America for the last few years. Much of the change can be attributed to declining Arctic sea ice, which is a result of global warming, whatever you happen to believe causes that. The reduction in Arctic ice affects the flow of the jet stream and causes irregular weather patterns.

In a blog entry written on April 2, 2012, on Weather Underground, Dr. Jeff Masters stated, “Earth has seen some highly unusual weather patterns over the past three years, and three new studies published this year point to Arctic sea loss as a potential important driver of some of these strange weather patterns. The record loss of sea ice [in] the Arctic in recent years may be increasing winter cold surges and snowfall in Europe and North America, according to a study by a research team led by Georgia Institute of Technology scientists Jiping Liu and Judith Curry. The paper, titled ‘Impact of declining Arctic sea ice on winter snowfall’, was published on Feb. 27, 2012 in the online early edition of the journal Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences. ’Our study demonstrates that the decrease in Arctic sea ice area is linked to changes in the winter Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation,’ said Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech, in a press release. ‘The circulation changes result in more frequent episodes of atmospheric blocking patterns, which lead to increased cold surges and snow over large parts of the northern continents.’”

Other references for Dr. Master’s article include:

Francis, J.A., and S.J. Vavrus (2012), “Evidence linking Arctic amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes,” Geophysical Research Letters, 21 February, 2012.

Jaiser, R., K. Dethloff, D. Handorf, A. Rinke, J. Cohen (2012), Impact of sea ice cover changes on the Northern Hemisphere atmospheric winter circulation, Tellus A 2012, 64, 11595, DOI: 10.3402/tellusa.v64i0.11595

Grand Junction

Adjoining letters to editor about gun use were sadly ironic

Two contiguous letters to the editor published in the January second issue of the Daily Sentinel express a tragic irony. The first recounts the killing of an eleven-year-old child by an irresponsible adult parent. The other advocates freedom to shoot down unidentified aircraft.

Cultural paranoia? Perhaps. Frightening? Certainly.

Grand Junction

Research indicates that millions use firearms for self-defense

In his letter of Jan. 2, Jim Ciha decried the “sick gun culture” of this country. He asked, “How many people actually have to defend themselves in their own homes … each year?”  The short answer: thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of times.

Gary Kleck Ph.D. is a professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University. His book, “Point Blank: Guns and Violence in America,” documents his analysis that citizens use firearms to defend against criminal attack about 2.5 million times a year. Handguns account for about 1.9 million defenses a year. Not all incidents involve the discharge of a firearm, nor do all occur in the home.

Also of note: Gun ownership in our “sick gun culture” is at an all-time high while gun violence of all types is at an all-time low. (Source: Department of Justice)
Incidentally, Kleck is a member of the ACLU and Amnesty International, is not now and never has been a member or contributor to the NRA, Gun Control, Inc. or any other pro- or anti-gun organization, and is a lifelong Democrat.


Mesa County residents once again generously supported food bank

Mesa County residents have traditionally been generous supporters of the Community Food Bank around the holidays, and 2013 was no exception.

Tommy Rocker (deejay from Townsquare Media’s 95 Rock station) lived in a dumpster in the Rimrock Wal-Mart parking lot for three days prior to Christmas to raise awareness and encourage others to donate food or funds. This was Tommy’s fourteenth year supporting the Community Food Bank in this way. This year, he raised $4,470 in monetary donations and 3,155 pounds of food, which will feed more than 1,000 people – nearly every person who seeks our assistance this month.

The Community Food Bank provides a three-day emergency food box to local individuals and families in need. Last year, we served 16,918 hungry Mesa County residents – more than 11 percent of our population and enough to fill all seats at Suplizio Field, the Mesa County fairgrounds and the Grand Junction High School Auditorium [ITAL] twice [ITAL]. Most of our recipients are the working poor, who struggle to make ends meet between paydays.

With the monetary and food donations we receive from local restaurants, Albertsons’ stores, churches, businesses, individuals and organizations, the Community Food Bank helps Mesa County families to bridge the gap and evade hunger.

We are so grateful for our generous community!

Board President, Community Food Bank
Grand Junction

Lascivious culture contributes to ‘repulsive sex trade’  in U.S.

Tom McGhee’s article in the Dec. 29 edition of The Daily Sentinel was a poignant reminder of the repulsive sex trade in Colorado and elsewhere. He wrote:  “Flesh biz alive, well just under our noses,” noting “chilling statistics” of underage teen prostitution and the pimp trade.

However, McGhee’s article only dealt with the backside of the sex industry. The front side of the sex trade is the chic, sophisticated flesh biz that struts about like an emperor jostled by his adoring subjects:  our mesmerized, pornified mainstream society.

“Chilling statistics?”  Check mall fashion store racks hanging with trendy pimp and prostitute clothing styles.  Chart-busting music videos, albums and singles come with the warning “explicit.”  It’s no “warning.” Rather, It is a code word for marketable prurience. At the theater, the Wolf of Wall Street rates R for “sequences of strong sexual content, graphic nudity, drug use and language throughout.” It’s but a clone of films, many targeting younger generations, spinning immoral sewage as moral cuisine for the mind. Is all that explicitness necessary to tell the story?  Apparently, the market so demands.

The great hypocrisy of our culture is acting “chilled” over monstrous stories from the backside of the flesh trade, while on the front side we fawn at the feet of the monster feeding our insatiable appetites for more flesh. It’s a not-so-merry-go-round.

One positive note: There are ministries and groups reaching out to rescue troubled, homeless youth and the victims of underage prostitution. The House is a local safe place that deserves our support, financially and otherwise. It is reported that about 80 percent of the teens there in 2013 moved to stable housing. Many progress in rehab programs and find work in the community. A tremendous percentage of teens now have stability and employment. Whose [ITAL] side [ITAL] are we on?


If president can tinker with ACA, what laws will he try to alter next?

President Obama promised numerous times that if we liked our health insurance policies and/or doctors, we could keep them. Yet the administration has known since 2010 that is not true. Obama said that health insurance premiums would go down by about $2,500/family/year. That is not happening.

Under Obamacare, insurers are offering less choice — over 29 percent fewer policies. Most people are finding that new policies have higher deductibles and higher premiums.
More people will be dumped into the broken Medicaid program. One-third of doctors will not accept new Medicaid patients because of the low payment levels. Expansion of that freebie program is in part being funded by cuts to Medicare, which hard-working people paid into for 40 or so years. Unfortunately, there is no Social Security fund or Medicare fund. Those monies got dumped into the General Fund, which Congress has been raiding for decades to buy votes.

Since the $600-million website was a disaster, Obama said that insurance companies could reissue original policies for another year. The actual law forbids companies from doing so, however, so they are understandably refusing, leaving millions of responsible, formerly insured people without health insurance. If Obama can change, cancel and delay parts of laws passed by Congress, what’s to keep him from doing the same with other laws, such as immigration?

Now the federal government is moving to ban trans fats. When government can control what you eat and can force you to buy a product (health insurance), there is no aspect of your life that it cannot control.

When will we say “Enough!”? 



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