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Byline: The Register-Guard

We are all in this war together

In war there is glory and sacrifice and great courage and dedication to duty, but how can the true cost of war be seen and felt if the press only reports on these.

The men and women fighting this war understand it far better than we Americans sitting at home. How can we hope to feel and see with them if we busy ourselves sparing them, their friends and family the real images of war and, as a result, sparing our- selves?

I see the napalmed child being carried down the road. I see the piles of broken bodies in concentration camp graves. I see a sea of bodies on the beaches of Normandy. But where are these images from the Persian Gulf invasion, from Afghanistan, from Iraq? Who are we protecting? How do we see and feel with these solders who sacrifice so much for us?

Yes, the flags could be misinterpreted and the images of additional graves can wound, but these are nothing compared to the wound of losing an arm or a leg or an eye or a son or a friend. The only way we can spare our soldiers and their families more anguish is to see and feel with them the cost they are paying.

It is the media that must do this dirty job. And then, they must pay their own price for what they do or fail to do. We are all in this war together, and the sooner we figure this out the better it will be for our country and our soldiers.



Mommies could teach Parsons

I feel very badly for Craig Parsons. He did his best to treat his children to a new and exciting EmX bus ride but, unfortunately, his children got left behind. I must tell him how mommies do it.

They toss a bag over one shoulder, pick up the baby, lug the stroller on the bus with the other arm while the older child either hangs on to the stroller or is being very self-sufficient in getting to a seat. She has the bus fare in one hand. Then she flips the seat up that is meant for disabled riders and mommies, shoves the stroller under it, helps the toddler up on it, loosens the bag she carries and sits down with the baby on her lap.

To leave the bus, she reverses all that and goes down two steps to the sidewalk. She never puts a child out alone and returns to fetch the stroller.

Parsons needs to tag along with a mommy to see how it's done. He, too, could become ambidextrous, super strong and self-sufficient. It just takes practice and determination.



Taylor respected by his peers

Mondays must be the day for The Register-Guard to publish gratuitously snide letters from legislators, such as Sen. Vicki Walker's Jan. 22 attack on George Taylor.

Taylor, the Oregon state climatologist, is an able man well respected by those of us competent to judge.

Walker relies on a 2005 story published in Willamette Week. I was at Oregon State University during the "global cooling" scare. Since then I've spent decades reading the scientific literature, and the thought of using Willamette Week as a source of information has never occurred to me.

It is not clear that we are seeing unprecedented warming and natural variations in climate that are much more significant than any human activities to date. This can be seen by looking at graphs of the last 1,000 years of Earth temperatures in government reports (Figure 22 in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's "Climate Change," 1995).

By the end of this year, the tech- nical appendices of the new IPCC report will be released. It will be interesting to see if any significant warming trend that can be assigned to human activity has been found.

In the meantime, Singer and Avery's new book, "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years" (2007, Rowman & Littlefield) is a good read.

The first legislator I ever laid eyes on was in the Massachusetts statehouse. He was drunk and asleep on a bench. This is the way I like legislators to be: silent and not causing any harm.


Consulting meteorologist


City Council provides a laugh

I appreciated The Register-Guard's Jan. 28 editorial "Still seeking unity" and the Eugene City Council for helping me keep my New Year's Resolution: to have a belly laugh each day.

Keep up the good work!



Senate shooting troops in back

I am now writing to Kenny, who leads a Marine sniper team deploying into Ramadi, Iraq. Besides the primary shooter, there is a spotter and two Marines providing security.

Now, from half a world away, the Senate is shooting them in the back. They, and the enemy, are being told our troops can fight as hard as they want, but it is a waste of their lives.

They cannot defend themselves from such an attack. Their enemy now knows that they just need to hold out for a few more months, and this country will run away.



Rethink OSAA realignment plan

On June 9, the Oregon superintendent of public instruction upheld a ruling that changed mainly the Midwestern League in sports. This made Sheldon and South Eugene high schools shift to a new Oregon School Activities Association 6A Southern Oregon Conference.

Some say the change happened because the league was weak and they needed better competition for the student-athletes. I understand that, but I feel as if this change is going to be a mistake. The participation in high school sports already has dropped this year, and the cost has gone up for schools such as Sheldon and South, which must travel as far as South Medford just to play a game.

If you ask the athletes, they feel the same way. A change like this also could interfere with a student's grades. Having to travel so far to play a game means that you're most likely going to miss school.

I always thought school was more important than sports. So is the OSAA really looking after the student athlete, or is this a bad idea?

I think that we need to rethink this, because it could just get worse.



Don't censor CDs for teenagers

Today's music censorship is ridiculous. Kids younger than 17 should be able to buy whatever CD they want. So what if the music they listen to uses profanity and has explicit lyrics? And so what if the music talks about sex, drugs and violence? Kids should know right from wrong.

I believe the age on the parental advisory sticker should be lowered. It still would be placed on the CD, but that shouldn't stop kids from buying the CDs they want. I am 16, and if I am given the responsibility to get behind the wheel of a car and drive a vehicle that could possibly kill someone, I should be able to buy whatever CD I want.

I am not saying to sell these CDs to little kids. Just lower the age limit to about 13 or 14. Anybody who is responsible enough to drive a car should be responsible enough to make decisions about what kind of music they listen to.



Keep flags lowered for troops

The flags have been returned to the top of the flagpoles. The passing of President Gerald Ford has been duly recognized. Now who are we going to acknowledge? Think, think: There's got to be someone!

Wait! It's coming to me! How about the three thousand and (insert a steadily increasing number) of young, vibrant sacrificial lambs being offered to appease the gods of ignorance, ego and bumbling stupidity?

The blood soaking into Middle Eastern soil is not making anything grow, and the flag flying at the top of the pole is a mockery of the pride we used to feel.

May the "colors" remain at half-staff until our elected leaders really begin to lead.



Re-examine city tax exemptions

Trusting observers might believe that Eugene's budgeting is forthright and objective. Objectivity requires that all expenditures be evaluated and prioritized simultaneously, a requirement now corrupted by allowing pre-emptive property tax exemptions to occur apart from city Budget Committee deliberations.

Five Eugene councilors ignored a principal objective by pre-emptive prioritization of a special 10-year tax exemption for housing construction near the new federal courthouse. Diminished tax revenues from this and numerous other exemptions will reduce tax revenues available for other essential items now under consideration. Thanks to Councilor Bonny Bettman for alluding to this inclusive interpretation.

Even though voters would reject such a tax exemption, the council majority supported it. Apparently, they believed that generally underfunded public safety, street maintenance and library staffing - all of which have compelling public benefit - are less valuable relative to the assumed and debatable development benefits of tax abatement. Alternatively, they overlooked the connection of the exemption to funding of prioritized budget essentials.

Tax exemptions, euphemistically called expenditures, are relatively small, but they all obviously add up. The tax exemption sum is now about equal to tax revenues currently collected.

The corruptive action of the Eugene City Council majority is an example that indicates why re-evaluation of tax exemption practices is overdue.


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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Feb 5, 2007
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