LETTERS IN THE EDITOR'S MAILBAG.
Word choices betray a bias
I had an interesting chat on a recent Friday with one of The Register-Guard's editors. I called because I've noticed an inequity in reporting social issues.
It seems that when the newspaper talks about liberal viewpoints, it usually uses the term "pro," but it usually uses the term "anti" if the viewpoints are conservative. One of the best examples is the abortion issue. Writers refer to the people in favor of abortion as pro-choice, the term those people use to describe themselves. However, they invariably refer to people who are pro-choice from the baby's perspective as anti-abortion, despite the fact that we use the term pro-life.
When I asked the editor about it, he said they have a policy not to use terms that show bias. I couldn't make him understand how the term "anti" creates a negative impression, where "pro" gives a more positive impression. I asked him if, in the interest of fairness, we could expect to see the term "anti-infant" in future stories about abortion. He said that wouldn't happen.
He's probably right. We wouldn't want the newspaper to give the impression that they are anti-fairness. Unless, of course, it involves a conservative viewpoint.
Dog's outfits bring people joy
I've never written a letter to The Register-Guard before. I am writing in response to a May 19 letter, "What's with the dressed dogs?"
What can I say? I am one of the guilty ones. I dress my little dog in adorable outfits. I tote him around town in my arms and get cheered on by his adoring admirers.
The point is, my little pet, Alfie, brings smiles and joy to many people. He doesn't seem to mind the various costumes he wears. He responds to the kindness and attention he receives from the people he meets.
I am definitely not the Paris Hilton type. I am a senior citizen who loves to see a smile on someone's face. When we go to different places, Alfie makes the people happy. He may be the only positive part of their stressful day.
I get so may rewards from the joy Alfie gives to others. So I say "snap out of it, smile and enjoy your day."
Give us back money we earned
While living in Alaska for 20 years, I considered myself a person of a liberal mind. Then I moved to Eugene. In six years I find myself wondering if being a liberal here means to just complain and do it loudly.
This state is filled with a bunch of chicken littles who constantly warn us that the sky is falling. The Register-Guard's June 4 editorial that Gov. Ted Taxandspendski wants to keep my taxes to start a rainy day fund was expected but nonetheless, incredulous. In six years, the leaders of this state have shown they have absolutely no fiscal management sense.
We spend over $8,000 per student, yet high schools complain that $16 million is not enough money for education, based on a 2,000-student enrollment. Then they want to bus kids for eight hours round-trip to play football and other sports? With gas prices at $3 and higher per gallon? Where is the sense in that?
Lane County commissioners vote themselves a pay raise then turn around and spend another quarter-million of our tax dollars to tell us they need to start a county tax because they don't have enough. Are we just supposed to capitulate and hand over our hard-earned tax dollars to these people to spend?
I will wager my entire year's salary that the majority of taxpayers know better how to spend their own money than a bunch of legislators in Salem. Give us back the money we earned and the state took from us.
Measure 37 won't end the world
The articles such as "Land-use chaos" (Register-Guard, June 1) take such a sky-is-falling attitude toward any implementation of Measure 37 claims.
People living in Lane County appreciate the outdoors - a little elbow room, an acre rather than an apartment on the fourth floor within the sacred urban growth boundary. Government-mandated land use for the last 30 years is to blame. The land planners' creed is to "pack 'em tight."
Development of these marginal lands will generate prosperity not only for the claimants but also throughout the associated development trades, such as road and home construction. More importantly, it will generate a drastic rise in property taxes realized.
For example, my property, 27.22 acres in rural Lane County, pays $27.26 per year in taxes. Based on the average value increase of the same 27.22 acres developed with 26 homes, tax revenues will increase from $27.26 to an excess of $114,000 recurring annually (plus 3 percent) for our friends at the Department of Assessment and Taxation.
The comical point of that article is that the Eugene City Council is wasting time considering a special tax on their one and only pending claim if they can't somehow find a way to deny it all together. It seems as though the Measure 37 bulldozer, as they refer to it, has chosen to go elsewhere, just as Sacred Heart Hospital did.
Stop repeating misinformation
"More people voted for the new American Idol than for the President of the United States." How many times have we heard that statement lately? That is simply not true.
The truth is that there were 63.4 million votes cast for the Idol finale, but that does not equate to 63.4 million people. Most Idol fans cast more than one vote. In fact, many of them press redial on their phones continuously throughout the two-hour voting period and probably send text message votes simultaneously as well. Obviously if the voting rules for American Idol were the same as for our governmental elections - one person, one vote - we would have a true picture as to the actual number of people voting.
So everyone, please stop believing and repeating statements such as the one above without checking the facts first.
Show faces of Darfur genocide
A newspaper wields a lot of power when it decides which photos to print.
Across town from me, a 17-year-old friend is writing her International High School senior paper - under the tutelage of area photojournalist and eyewitness speaker Paul Jeffrey, on the role of images, or the lack thereof, in the public response to the genocide taking place in Darfur, Sudan. Although The Register-Guard has run admirable editorials surrounding this genocide, there has been a glaring lack of images in our local newspaper of the victims and survivors of this ongoing atrocity.
Due to the efforts of one impassioned student member of Amnesty International, the film "Darfur Diaries" was shown on campus recently. With little or no narration, these Darfurians spoke for themselves (through subtitles). Given the opportunity to meet these world citizens, who could fail to hear their cry for help? We can be most powerful in assisting them if we raise our voices to those in power. We need to keep up the pressure to stop the violence waged against these people. This can only happen if more Americans are alerted to the crisis; in this case, images may well speak more than volumes of text.
And given that most Americans know the image of Saddam Hussein and the terrors he brought to his people, where is the image of Omar Bashir, the perpetrator of the Darfur genocide?
Please give us a broader window into the genocide in Darfur through the use of images.
Lane County Darfur Coalition
Hypocrisy abounds with kicker
I went to the grocery store the other day and handed the clerk a $20 bill for about $17 worth of groceries. He took my cash and proceeded to tell me that the store could really use the change and asked if I would be willing to just let them keep it.
Raising an eyebrow, I glanced at the lady just behind me in line, who promptly remarked that if we all did this, our grocery store would surely be a better place to shop.
Well, my momma didn't raise no dummy. I declined the grocer's proposal and requested my change. I reasoned that if the grocer needed more money, he should control his budget better. You know, much the same as his customers have to.
After getting my change, I watched from a short distance as the lady behind me paid with cash, too. Much to my surprise, she mumbled something to the grocer and demanded her change, same as I had.
In that teachable moment, I learned that when some folks use the "we" word, they really mean "everyone else but me." Were that not true, many Oregonians would voluntarily return their Oregon income tax kicker refunds to the state.
And then, Oregon would surely be a better place to live.
Alcohol is poisonous to humans
I am a University of Oregon student who is taking a substance abuse prevention class. It has come to my attention that we teach that underage drinking and excessive drinking are harmful. I disagree with this.
I think any amount of drinking is harmful. Alcohol is a poison and upon entering the body has immediate effects, whether a person becomes intoxicated or not. Our bodies recognize the foreign substance as a poison and immediately begin the process of detoxification. Depending on the level of intoxication, that process can include symptoms ranging from feeling relaxed or light-headed, to vomiting, to becoming comatose.
I won't go into detail how drinking over the long-term can affect your kidneys, liver and other organs. However, it is safe to say that teaching abstinence from alcohol is the only healthy way to educate our youth about drinking - not the more common, "drink responsibly" method that is used.
There is no way to "drink responsibly" if alcohol is a poison.
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|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Article Type:||Letter to the editor|
|Date:||Jun 13, 2006|
|Next Article:||A sensible compromise.|
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