Printed Letters: July 7, 2017
Caption makes dubious claim about coastline
Thursday’s edition came with a striking photo of sandstone and water with a caption that claimed Lake Powell’s coastline exceeds the length along the West Coast of the continental USA. Folks who sell their work product by the word should recognize the difference between continental and contiguous.
Too often writers ignore the reality that Alaska shares space on the same continent as the lower 48. Editors who fail to correct the faux fact share the shame. Add the length of Alaska’s Pacific shoreline to the original sum and you’ll find there’s no comparison. Geography class must no longer be required for you wordsmiths.
Gender identity is latest show of leftist politics from bench
Once again a proper progressive judge — this time of the Multnomah County Circuit Court in Oregon — has proven that leftist politics from the bench is a curious combination of notions, beliefs and goals. An Oregon resident expressed before the court a desire to be identified as neither male nor female, with a personal choice reflected on their driver’s license. Apparently the traditional demand that a person choose between male and female is insufficient for these intrepid soldiers of the avant-garde. The judge agreed.
There is some legitimate academic question as to whether or not anthropogenic climate change is, as its true believers call it, “settled science.” But that conclusion is not specious in this matter of sexual identity. Neither rigged data nor extraneous computer model extrapolations are at work here. There is no question as to whether a human being is one of two categories. That is, one either has two X chromosomes or one X and one Y chromosome. A tiny few surviving humans have anything different, hence the term, binary.
How do we placate the confused who wish to “identify” with something other than this pervasive choice of nature? In a legal sense it’s quite easily done. After proper state legislation is enacted, birth certificates and driver’s licenses issued should have two boxes under sex identification. The primary box, for statistical and scientific identification purposes, should list the two chromosomes inherent at a baby’s birth. The secondary box should be left blank to await entry by a parent (in pencil, of course), or simply ignored and left blank for the child to complete upon some whim later in life. For the driver’s license, an office of reliable bureaucrats can decide categories and codes for the second entry. That would be a good read, I’m sure.
Public should be able to view native fish under protection
As a frequent visitor to Grand Junction, I appreciate the cooperative effort that is being made between the city and various other agencies to restore and enhance the area alongside the Colorado River. In bicycling along the “hike and bike” path there, I recently noticed several signs that picture and briefly describe four species of native fish in the river that are being protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.
I enjoy observing all types of wildlife, including fish species such as these that are not “sport fish” of the type that people normally catch while fishing. In fact, considering the high level of turbidity in the Colorado River and the bottom feeding habits of these fish, it is unlikely that anybody other than fishery biologists would ever see them, except in photos.
The web site http://www.coloradoriverrecovery.org lists 13 federal, state, and private organizations working to ensure the survival of these fish in a multitude of ways that are described in detail there. There is no indication of the cost of this effort — most of which is borne by the general public through taxes or diminished economic uses of water from the river. Nevertheless, from the scale of the program, the cost must run into millions of dollars per year, and the success has been very limited due mainly to predation from non-native fish that are impossible to effectively control in such a large river system.
I generally support the protection of endangered species — particularly ones like eagles that people enjoy viewing even if they have no commercial value. But this massive effort to save fish that hardly anybody ever sees illustrates how the Endangered Species Act fails to adequately balance the benefits to the public versus the costs to the public.
In this case, the least that should be done to increase the benefits to the public would be to provide an aquarium tank where people could readily view live specimens of these fish. Since there is no zoo in the Grand Junction area, a logical place to do this would be at the Colorado Visitor Center in Fruita, which is close to both Interstate 70 and the Colorado River. Similar facilities should be provided in other popular parts of the watershed.
CARL TED STUDE