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Byline: The Register-Guard

Smith's Iraq vote contradictory

It was shocking to find out that Sen. Gordon Smith - who gained widespread attention by calling the war in Iraq possibly "criminal" six months ago - again voted to fund the war with absolutely no timelines or constraints on the funding. This is criminal!

If Smith really believes what he says, that American soldiers are fighting for a lost cause, then he has a responsibility to vote to protect the troops from unnecessary harm by bringing them home.

Sen. Ron Wyden and all Oregon Democratic House members voted against this funding bill - an appalling cave-in to a failed operation. Oregonians should know one of their senators failed to represent the strong majority view of Oregonians, which is to end this senseless U.S. intervention.



TV is getting harder to watch

Recently, I was watching both the David Letterman show and the following Craig Ferguson show on CBS.

At one point during both of these broadcasts, there were so many commercials that by the time they came back to the program, the host and the guest were already engaged in conversation. This has happened a few times before, and I ask you, is there anything more irritating?

Well, maybe when they run the emergency broadcast system alert, which replaces the sweet sound of your program with a loud buzz for a couple of minutes.

Or maybe when they put those stupid graphics in the corner of your screen, advertising another show.

No, wait, maybe it's when they jack up the volume during the commer- cials.

Or when the movie you are watching comes to a climactic end and you are almost in tears, and they cut the beautiful and touching music they play over the credits to insert some crass commercial for some reality show. Again, they jack up the volume.

Or maybe you want to read those credits and see who wrote or acted in the film. But they squash the credits to an unreadable one-third of the screen, while they run a commercial on the other two-thirds of your TV.

And the TV executives wonder why they are losing audience share. They obviously watch a tape of the shows, but not the actual broadcast.



Protecting American values

In Atlanta, Joya Williams was sentenced to eight years in prison for attempting to steal the secret formula for Coca Cola and to sell it to rival Pepsi- co.

According to The Associated Press, District Judge J. Owen Forrester said when sentencing Williams that "this is the kind of offense that cannot be tolerated in our society."

Judge Forrester is an ardent Republican who was nominated to the bench in 1981 by Ronald Reagan. Thus, one can appreciate the depth and sincerity of his convictions. Williams attempted to undermine one of our most cherished values, and like the renegades who burned SUVs to protest American greed and excessive consumption, deserves to be punished as swiftly and severely as possible.

President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have spent countless lives and nearly $400 billion to destroy Iraq, likewise in defense of these very core American values. Who cares if the truth has to be bent just a little, when such noble and unimpeachable principles are at stake?



Events suggest a power grab

Three very interesting pieces of news broke recently. One was actually picked up by the mainstream media.

First, President Bush issued National Security Presidential Directive 51. This document, in a nutshell, awards Bush the ultimate power to continue government in an environment of "comity" with the other branches of government, in the event that a national disaster or strike, of ambiguous scope, threatens the security or economy or environment of America. Please read it at and search for NSPD 51.

Second, Bush revealed that Osama bin Laden ordered Iraq designated as the new base for terror operations across the world and especially America.

Third, and harder to unearth, the Defense Department, at Bush's behest, has tweaked the overlap of duty extensions and surge numbers to effectively double the number of troops in Iraq.

The ducks are in a row and the fix is in. A provocation of Iran will result in the "threat" that will suspend the Constitution and put Bush in charge indefinitely. Don't fear it. Expect it. These are the guys who told us they create their own reality.

Bush joked he is all for dictatorships - as long as he's the dictator. They want the real prize, Iran. The oil has been promised to his adoring cronies. This is the moment. Can it be stopped? I don't know. Do you care?



'Terrorist' has lost its meaning

Let me start by saying that I am against the arson committed by these environmental activists.

Arson is a conservative way to deal with what you dislike. Burn crosses, burn books, burn record albums. They were only emulating what was taught to them by past conservatives.

But what I can't figure out is the definition people are using for the word terrorist. U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken (whose new nickname should be Mistaken Aiken) says that environmental activists who, in her own words, harmed no one, have now been labeled as terrorists. Can someone provide a working definition for terrorist?

Were the people who threw tea into Boston Harbor terrorists? Were the ones who left England and chose to form this country terrorists? Are the people who bomb abortion clinics terrorists?

What about the people who are serving in Iraq, are they terrorists? The word is bandied about quite often in this post 9/11 world, and it's lost all meaning except to harm others and strike fear into people.

Lastly, Aiken says, "Fear and intimidation can play no part in changing the hearts and minds of people in a democracy." Then she must be against the war in Iraq and all other wars. It's funny, I wonder if she would have said that to President Bush.



Evolution isn't a philosophy

Robert Williamson (letters, May 22) has seemingly confused metaphysics with physics by claiming the scientific theory of evolution depends on the philosophies of materialism and vitalism.

Evolution by natural selection is not philosophy. Its validity depends solely on evidence, and more than 150 years of accumulated data provide overwhelming support for this masterpiece of scientific understanding. The citation of a single obscure paper from 1967 claiming to have "rejected" Darwinian theory completely ignores decades of subsequent work that put evolutionary theory on a sound mathematical basis, starting in the 1970s by Robert Trivers. This was followed by subsequent research in the 1980s by R. Axelrod and W.D. Hamilton, who used the mathematics of game theory to predict expression of "reciprocal altruism" in animal and human populations. Since then numerous empirical studies have followed up and repeatedly confirmed these insights.

But perhaps Intelligent Design should have its day in court. In fact, the evidence for ID was presented last year in the Dover, Pa., federal court, presided by Judge John Jones (a Republican church-goer appointed by President Bush, it should be noted), who stated in his 139-page decision: "The overwhelming evidence at trial established that ID is a religious view, a mere re-labeling of creationism, and not a scientific theory." But don't take my word for it, see for yourself:



Protect Amazon Headwaters

As a resident of unincorporated Santa Clara, I strongly urge the Eugene City Council to unanimously support purchasing the Green and Beverly properties.

This is not a choice between funding parks and open spaces in other parts of town (especially here in Santa Clara) or acquiring and protecting the Amazon Creek Headwaters. Bottom line - this is a question of doing the right thing.

Protecting the headwaters of the Amazon Creek is vital to the water quality and environmental health of the whole watershed. According to soil testing on both properties, there is significant excess arsenic that could be released into Amazon Creek by development processes. This affects us in Santa Clara as much as the folks living in other parts of Eugene.

Geologic and engineering surveys have determined that the land is unstable for housing development. Does anyone want to assume the liability and expense for reversing the natural geology of the land? Developers for both properties have submitted extensive development plans that have been denied by the hearings official and the Eugene Planning Commission. The Beverlys withdrew their application after two previous ones were denied.

Eugene strives to be the "World's Greatest City of the Arts and Outdoors." However, we have a much harder time coming together and doing the hard work to actually make it happen. Here's a golden opportunity that the city has already missed once.

Let's not make the same mistake twice. This is a neighborhood issue - the neighborhood of Eugene.



Stop blaming immigrants

In her letter of May 23, Kristie Schumacher asks readers to refrain from labeling her as a racist because of her stance on the illegal immigration issue that is currently in the news.

I would have to suggest that it is her views on having to compete with non-English-speaking people for her child's future and education that makes her argument racist.

Blaming immigrants, whether illegal or not, for any perceived shortcomings one might experience is victimization by association. Racists blame all like-skinned or like-speaking populations for their own often deeply-rooted failures. They use blanket statements instead of taking on the responsibility to attend to their own problems.

Schumacher's child can't get Spanish lessons in school? She should find another school or complain to the local school board, but she shouldn't complain about another ethnic group's pursuit of the American dream and how she's being cheated out of hers and expect not to be called racist. Schumacher can't have it both ways.

Her opportunities will always be better than theirs because of the legality issue. If her kid can't compete, she has failed as a parent to prepare her for competition, no matter where it comes from.

People come here for those opportunities because they aren't available in their native countries. Just ask the Irish and the Germans. It's what makes America so great.

Racism is a pox on our nation, and to be blind to it is un-American.



What if income tax had passed?

Now that the Lane County commissioners have the $47 million in federal money, what do you suppose the policy would have been if the income tax had passed?

Let me list a few of the possibilities:

No. 1 - large pay raises for all of the commissioners and staff. Raises for all for all employees, better health care for everyone and better retirement benefits for everyone (if that is possible). A couple of more paid holidays.

Can anyone spell cancer?


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Jun 2, 2007
Previous Article:A good deal for kids.
Next Article:Racing the clock.

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