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Byline: The Register-Guard

Bush utters inadvertent truth

To my eternal chagrin, I find myself having to agree with a statement by President Bush in his State of the Union speech.

He said: "In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting, yet it ends in danger and decline."

Yes! Absolutely true words. When he used deceit and dissembling to invade a sovereign land, he managed to isolate the United States from its allies in half of the civilized world. The end result is increased opposition to our sincere goals of democracy and a dangerous decline in our own civil liberties that threatens the very foundations of our constitution.

Heck of a job, Mr. President.



OSU dean to be congratulated

I write to congratulate Daniel Donato, et al., and the dean of Oregon State University's College of Forestry, Hal Salwasser. The former for their concise report of studies of post-fire logging and forest regeneration in the Biscuit Fire area. The latter for his public defense of this scientific work against inappropriate attempts to delay its publication (Register-Guard, Jan. 28).

There are few experiences in a research scientist's career more exciting and satisfying than creation of new knowledge, especially knowledge that suggests a needed correction of long-established hypotheses. My own scientific heritage suggests a wide range of possible responses to such results: from welcoming appreciation of the opportunity to improve existing hypotheses to bitter recriminations against the disrespectful, heretical young upstarts who should be put in their place. Nothing exceptional in this, scientists being also human!

Quite exceptional, on the other hand, has been the response in the public media attempting to discredit this study, as if popular perception of the issue can properly inform the scientific credibility of the study. I would strongly suggest that scientific credibility be properly assessed only by peers of the areas of expertise involved. In this case, the journal Science properly chose the peers to review the report before accepting it for publication.

I accept the journal's decision to publish explicitly and suggest the non-scientific public accept it as well. We can all anticipate with interest the publication of critic's responses, also in peer-reviewed journals, as is the normal procedure for airing scientific disputes.


Institute of Molecular Biology

University of Oregon


President's speech irrelevant

This letter is about the State of the Union address and, being about the speech, you might expect that I had listened to it.

I didn't listen to the State of the Union speech - I had better things to do. I drank beer and played video games. It's foolish to think that the president would actually say what's on his mind in public. The only reason to pay attention to the State of the Union speech is to know what foolish people are thinking about, because to be politically effective, one must appeal to fools.

This is crazy and it's bad politics: to act as if the president's words are inherently significant. The political tapestry is woven of lies and irrelevancies. Responding to political rhetoric only risks legitimizing the illegitimate. It's time for politics to reflect reality.

What, if anything, is more important than survival of our species? If your answer is nothing, then start talking about climate change, peak oil, narrowing seed genetics, aquifer depletion, deforestation, disappearing topsoil, declining food production, increasing infertility, vanishing fish and wildlife stocks, nuclear weapons proliferation, nuclear waste disposal, evaporating species diversity, disappearing homestead skills, non-localized production of essentials and the granddaddy problem of overpop- ulation.

Above all, keep talking.


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Feb 11, 2006
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