LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Put dollars in hands of people
An editorial in the July 20 Register-Guard bemoans the fact that Republicans want jobless benefits to be paid out of unused stimulus funds. With the deficit what it is, there might be sound reasons for that plan. Furthermore, perhaps they see that turning the dollars over to individuals to spend as they see fit results in a more instantaneous use of the funds in the economy. It is also more consistent with Republicans' philosophy that they believe that bottom-up spending decisions, rather than top-down government programs, are a more cost effective use of taxpayer dollars.
If one of government's goals is to keep the economy moving, that may make far more sense than various stimulus programs and grants that the feds dream up as worthy of taxpayer dollars, complete with the usual level of government inefficiencies and waste built in. I'm sure that the unemployed individual will take great care in getting good value for dollars spent, not something the federal government consistently does not in its spending processes, fraught with political lobbing and pork.
Let's put government dollars and spending power back in the hands of the people, not politicians.
Obama fails the pollen test
The grass pollen season in the Willamette Valley is ordinarily over by the Fourth of July. However, as of the end of July, the grass pollen count remains high. Why does The Register Guard bury this information, of great importance to allergy sufferers such as myself, on the last page of the sports section?
I blame President Obama for the failure of the grass pollen season to end at the proper time. He has had since July 4 to fix this, and has done nothing.
Volunteers better than government
I liked the "Medical team will help local neighbors in need" story (Register-Guard, July 20). Voluntarism is a great freedom that we enjoy in the United States of America. It makes us feel fulfilled and provides extra purpose in life, not to mention the social ills that are mitigated in the process. I'm all for it.
I just can't help thinking these well-intentioned medical professionals are coming to the party a little late. In the back of my mind I wonder: If a greater sense of voluntarism had existed for the past 15 or 20 years, meeting the needs of the uninsured in this grass roots way, we wouldn't be looking at a bureaucratic nightmare called health care reform.
The panic-laden health care legislation battle cry was "30 million uninsured Americans with no access to care." And because voluntarism was not considered a reasonable solution to the problem, we now have a new government program that may someday resemble those dragging down European countries - cultures that are notoriously stingy with personal time and money. Had the type of voluntarism described in the story been employed with a little more vigor during our prosperous years, we may have circumvented the perceived need of government solutions altogether.
Now, it might be too late to know the answer to that. The need for government intervention seems to be inversely proportional to the individual willingness to be our brother's keeper.
Language needs obscenities
On July 13, the federal Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit held that the Federal Communications Commission rule banning "fleeting obscenities" violated the First Amendment, in part because it was applied inconsistently. Maybe so. But one attribute which makes certain words obscene is that they shock, offend and are banned from polite discourse. Once they begin to be accepted, they no longer shock and are no longer banned. Very soon, they are no longer obscene.
But language requires obscenities. I can swear in four languages, and I doubt there is a language devoid of obscenities anywhere on Earth. Attempting to eliminate them, whether by banning or by accepting certain words, has about the same chance of success as the many attempts to eliminate human use of intoxicants. Like it or not, both are a part of the human condition.
In Britain, from 1737 until 1968, the lord chamberlain was the official censor of all theatrical productions. In the last year that he had that authority, he banned the word "schitzoknickerbockers" from a skit written for the 1968 Edinburgh Festival. The following year, the festival sponsored a competition for "the best sketch which the lord chamberlain would have banned." Modesty precludes me from mentioning who wrote the winning sketch, and decency precludes me from describing it. But the lesson is clear: When censorship becomes the object of ridicule, it is because the alleged obscenities are no longer obscene.
As for coining new ones, there is surely an app for that.
Celebrate living in Lane County
I just visited the Lane County fairgrounds website (AtTheFair.com) to check out this year's entertainment options. I expected to see cuts in the entertainment, but surprisingly, the management and board have created a great deal for families this year.
It appears to be a good decision to save money by shortening the fair by one day. Such cost-cutting has created a phenomenal entertainment value! Lots of great new acts and beloved traditions will please fairgoers; Rainforest experience, racing pigs, square dancing, sling shot rides and daily concerts. Not to mention free parking, unheard of at other fairgrounds.
A $9 ticket will give me five hours of excitement! And this year, entire families can enjoy all the entertainment and nightly concerts because they are all free. They include national acts such as Joan Jett. For only $6, kids can experience the animals, tractor pulls, clowns, Xtreme Stunt Dogs, Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show and BMX shows. I've never seen the fair packed with so much added value and free fun for kids of all ages!
Thanks to the generous sponsors who subsidize discounts such as free admission on Sunday until 1 p.m., with canned food donations. Visit the fair website to take advantage of these daily discounts.
The Lane County Fair created many wonderful memories of growing up in Lane County. The fair makes me feel young. I'll never forget the Fri-jos, scary rides, grange exhibits and blue ribbon animals. This is our annual opportunity to celebrate living in Lane County!
Still peddling 'voodoo economics'
Charles Krauthammer opines in the July 19 Register-Guard that "the net effect of 18 months of Obamaism will be to undo much of Reaganism."
I surely hope so!
Back when George H.W. Bush was running against Ronald Reagan, he called Reagan's proposals for expanding the economy by cutting taxes "voodoo economics" because it also promised to buttress America's military domination of the world. Reagan left office an apparent victor in the Cold War but with a big expansion of national indebtedness.
The Clinton administration reduced the indebtedness. But then George Bush II reversed course and handed President Obama a huge debt, a weakened economy and two wars!
Current Republican resistance to efforts to attain bipartisan controls on our national debt is designed deliberately to extend Bush era tax cuts for the wealthy, which could run out at the end of this year. So the elder Bush's complaint about "voodoo economics" still applies to the inheritors of Reaganism.