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Byline: The Register-Guard

Letters underscore policy flaws

In their Aug. 15 letters, Richard Thomas and Paul Larson each beautifully articulated exactly what is wrong with U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

Thomas is offended by criticism of U.S. mistreatment of prisoners because others have committed much worse atrocities. Deep in their hearts, I think even the most devout apologists for the Bush administration know how flimsy this argument is.

Think back to your childhood. You wanted to do something your parents were against. "But everyone else is doing it." How'd that work for you?

Until this administration (which claims the moral high ground as its own personal property) came into power, Americans intuitively understood that we need to adhere to our own values no matter how others are behaving.

Larson feels that we are hated throughout the Middle East "for acting on our beliefs." Exactly which beliefs might those be? I believe in treating others the way I want to be treated. I believe in acquiring what I want, whether it's a gallon of milk or the world's oil supply, honestly. I believe having power is a responsibility that should be wielded rarely, reluctantly and with great care. My country, in my name, is acting contrary to my beliefs, and staying silent would be the most un-American thing I could do.

Finally, there are good and honorable reasons to go to war. But it doesn't automatically follow that every time we go to war that it is for good and honorable reasons.



Invest in sustainable energy

Let's say for the sake of argument that the war in Iraq really is about oil. Given how completely we depend on a substance the days of which are numbered, one could make an argument that this war makes practical, if not moral sense. But, wait.

What if we had instead invested the same amount of money, more than $187 billion ( on clean renewable, sustainable energies? Imagine how much better the future would be for the whole planet!

Either way, the reality is that if we don't begin investing heavily in sustainability while we still have enough oil to make the transition, we may see the end of our modern way of life within one or two generations.

It's time to turn this juggernaut around. It's time for each of us to do all we can do - as consumers, investors, activists and voters - to create a sustainable future for humanity.



The intelligence of evolution

Let's teach both evolution and intelligent design in schools. And, for the sake of consistency, let's teach these concepts using the principles of the respective viewpoints.

For intelligent design, we can utilize lesson plans and a creative curriculum designed to get specific results. For evolution, we should throw out random information with no particular purpose in mind then sit back and watch the knowledge develop in whatever form it may.

However, we may discover that evolution can only be taught using intelligent design.



Health care reforms rejected

In the recently ended Oregon legislative session, six health care bills were introduced. Collectively, they would have yielded some assistance in controlling the poor access and out-of-control cost of health care in Oregon by expanding the state pharma- ceutical purchasing program and making providers and insurers more accountable.

Unfortunately, ending the session was more important than the people's business. Interestingly, the only health care bill that passed is one that will bring a windfall to providers and insurers. It will require long-overdue expanded mental health insurance coverage. I am sure that mental health advocates are quite gratified by its passage.

However, looking at all the ramifications of this bill, one may conclude that it could do more harm than good. The insurance rates will increase (mine went up 13.5 percent with reduced coverage even without this added requirement). While some patients may now receive needed mental health coverage, those who still have medical insurance will pay substantially more. Many who do or do not need mental health care will lose coverage and receive no care at all! If enough people who need this coverage remain insured, then the providers will see a great increase in revenue from those in need who previously could not afford their services.

Anything less than a comprehensive overhaul of the health care finance and delivery system will leave increasing numbers of Oregonians without access to any kind of health care.



Chains buy college bookstores

The July 16 Register-Guard article citing sharp increases in college textbook costs missed one of the reasons for those increases. National retailers have been taking over college bookstores that once offered books at closer to nonprofit markups.

An example of this occurred last year at Washington State University. The university-owned bookstore, The Bookie, earned the university about $500,000 a year. The university wanted more money from the bookstore, so it leased it to Barnes & Noble for $1 million per year.

Guess what Barnes & Noble did? It simply raised the fees on the textbooks. An off-campus bookstore in Pullman told me it was selling a science text for $100 less than the same book on campus at Barnes & Noble.

That might be worth the walk.



Why ridicule intelligent design?

Looking at David Horsey's Aug. 18 editorial cartoon ridiculing intelligent design, I wonder how many other beliefs The Register-Guard would allow to be ridiculed in an editorial cartoon? The Holy Trinity? Virgin birth? Reproductive rights? Or maybe the editors would like to get ethnic.

I fail to find the humor that I hope was intended. I do believe the editors will eventually find their reward.



Founders mostly Christians

Were America's founders Christians or deists? A leading deist candidate, Benjamin Franklin, said to a bickering Continental Congress that since "a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His knowledge, it is unlikely that a nation can rise without His aid." Thereafter, members of that Congress started each meeting on their knees, praying to the God of the Bible for an hour, seeking his help and protection.

George Washington said, "You do well to learn our arts and way of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ." According to their diaries and writings, the founders talked like this all the time. Not surprising, since the majority of the Declaration signers were Christian pastors. John Quincy Adams, who should know, reminds us that "The highest glory of the American Revolution was that it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity."

The U.S. Supreme Court concluded in 1892, after eight years of study, that "it is impossible to be otherwise, and in this sense, and to this extent, our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian."

Though many pages could be added as further proof of our American Christian heritage, I agree with our first Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Jay, who wrote, "Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."



Florence 'crisis' a blessing

When it comes to Florence, reporter Winston Ross is like a palm tree swaying with each new opinion poll.

In 2004, he wrote a positive account of Florence, restating USA Today's report that this was "the best place in the country" to retire. Now this month, he writes that Florence is a "lousy place to buy a house."

Which is it, Mr. Ross? And by whose standards has Florence suddenly become so "lousy"? This opinion is certainly not held by the majority of folks who call Florence home.

Home prices have gone up too much? As a homeowner in Florence, should I be appalled by this news?

Ross continues by saying that California baby boomers (like a bad disease) have come to Florence. That's right, and so have folks from many other parts of the country - including Washington, Arizona and even from Eugene and Springfield! Yes, these people have contributed greatly to the rise in home values, as well as to the rise in volunteerism and community involvement.

This "lousy place" has some of the cleanest air in the United States, beautiful beaches, green forests, lakes and rivers filled with trophy-size fish, beautiful dunes, a wonderful hospital, the best library on the Oregon Coast, a beautiful gym, a low crime rate, a fine school system - not to mention Old Town or the Events Center.

For now, I guess I'll just have to struggle with the "crisis" as property values continue to go up and life here just gets better and better.



Decoding administration-speak

Apparently, in the Bush administration, talking in opposites to the facts is the standard method of communication.

We are "making progress" in Iraq. This is a "noble cause." The insurgency is in its "last throes."

What next: President Bush has a "highly responsible energy plan?"



Just enforce immigration laws

In response to the Aug. 15 editorial "Fix immigration policy," President Bush was absolutely right when he said, "We've got to do something about our immigration laws."

We have to enforce them!


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Aug 21, 2005
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