Amazing how easily Mr. Shnelvar's and Mr. Caldara's "reasoning" compares to Cirque du Soleil's acrobatic acts. ("Going greener," cover story, Sept. 24.)
The Independence Institute's general arguments neatly dovetail with neo-con lies that "less government is better." Better for who? Do we have "less government" since Reagan? Less regulations for corporate criminal organizations for sure; but also more people per capita in prison than any other country. This is hardly the hallmark of "less government." So what are Caldara & Co. after?
More profits for big oil, I would say. Jon Caldara vehemently opposed public transportation any time he had a chance. Anybody in their right mind will support public transportation in constantly expanding urban areas. It works quite well everywhere else, so why not here? Who plans for that is government, not private industry. And what's wrong with using wind and sun for heating and electricity? Probably because once it's installed and paid off, electricity and heat is free. And it won't cause cancer unlike nuclear energy's highly radioactive waste. The job of the government is to make life better for people not for corporate interests. The job of government is to protect people from corporate crime not to protect corporate criminals from people.
Peter Ketels, Boulder
Nice article on Carlton
Thanks for your great article about Larry Carlton a while back. ("Guitar hero," Overtones, Aug. 13) I just went through the liner notes of Aja, since Steely Dan is covering that album in Denver on Oct. 29, and saw Larry's name all over the place. I realized that since I started tracking that album as a 17-year-old in 1978, I was completely hooked, and a lot of it had to do with Larry's cool and smokin' guitar. I would love the rumor to be true that he might join them on this tour. Thanks, guys.
Mike Ortiz/LafayetteComing home to roost
(Re: "On Climate Change, It's China's Call," Danish Plan, Sept. 24.) The chickens are coming home to roost. Back in 2006, a man named Albert Gore produced a documentary movie about global energy issues. Gore spoke for over an hour about glaciers in Switzerland and polar bears, but he never acknowledged the human need for energy. Developing nations like India and China need more energy, not less, in order to bring millions of people out of poverty, but this, too, was an inconvenient truth for Mr. Gore. In Gore's imagination, energy use is simply a bad habit, like cigarette smoking, that can easily be overcome with a bit of will power.
Hu Jintao, China's president, has recently called for a reality check in the global discussion about climate change and energy use. Environmentalists, especially, need to put Al Gore's speeches aside in order to listen to what Hu Jintao is saying. In effect, the gentleman is telling the West, "If you want to save the polar bears, start thinking about the human families that are living in urban slums and rural shanty towns. Because the poor will burn anything that they can get, in order to protect their children." It's a simple message that gets to the heart of the global energy conversation. What's needed now is something that may seem very new and very radical in mainstream environmental circles. Call it "energy justice."
Move human rights concerns to the top of the energy agenda. China's president asks for financial and technical assistance in order to develop a clean energy economy. If the Western nations want to solve the global warming problem, they will pay the price that Hu Jintao is asking. Energy justice can become the goal in every part of the world. To secure energy justice, it will be necessary to provide all people with adequate sources of energy that are safe, affordable and sustainable. Yes, it's a big program, but it may be the only program worth discussing when the Copenhagen conference convenes in December. Wealthy nations can make energy justice possible. It's our call.
Robert Murphy/Cataumet, Mass.
Don't drill in Arctic
America's Arctic Ocean is home to abundant life polar bears, walruses, ice seals, whales, the Inupiat people and much more. It is a treasure that has been part of our national heritage for generations. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has pledged to make wise decisions based on sound scientific principles. Along with hundreds of thousands of Americans, I recently urged Secretary Salazar to reconsider the Bush administration's foolhardy rush to drill in our only Arctic ecosystems.
Secretary Salazar must continue his commitment to wise decisions based on sound science and come up with a rigorous plan for America's Arctic that will ensure its survival.
America is not so terribly in need of energy as to require a headlong rush to destroy native habitat in order to enable big energy companies to make even more money. Stop the madness!
President Obama continues to pitch his reckless and unrealistic health care initiative to the public. "Big Brother" Obama wants Congress to pass a bill quickly before Congress and the public understand the plan.
A proposed government-imposed health care program will cost U.S. taxpayers about $1 trillion over 10 years, and the Medicare system will suffer cuts of $500 billion.
Thirteen million illegal aliens will access Obama's health care system because many of them have driver's licenses and forged social security cards, and Obama's health care package does not include verification of citizenship.
Obama says he will have to live with his program, but it is the American people who will have to endure the harmful impact on our health care system. About 80 percent of the American people are satisfied with the best health care system in the world.
Any changes will be implemented in 2013, well after the 2012 election. Is this timetable designed to give Obama the opportunity to be re-elected before a failed health care program is implemented?
Some European countries and Canada embarked on socialized health care and, they have endured long waiting times for services and reductions in the quality of care due to inadequate numbers of doctors, nurses and hospitals.
We could suffer the same fate.
Donald A. Moskowitz/Londonderry, N.H.
Tobacco and corn syrup
No health care systemic reform or anything like it will succeed unless our society can quickly and permanently rid itself of two things: high-fructose corn syrup and tobacco. Less obesity, less cancer, less heart disease. Otherwise, a revised/reformed system will bankrupt itself. It's so much easier to thrive without a loaded gun in each hand.
Life before death
Theologians have long debated whether there is life after death, but for animals raised for food, there is no life before death.
Recently published undercover investigations showed male baby chicks (unfit for egg production) suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground to death in large macerators, pigs clobbered by metal pipes and killed by hanging, and assorted animals skinned and dismembered at the slaughterhouse while still conscious.
I reacted to these exposs by going vegan some time ago. But even die-hard meat eaters should feel conscience-bound to offer these animals a decent life before they take it away for their dining pleasure. Yet repeated attempts at welfare reforms have brought no tangible improvements.
Last week, I read of an international observance on Oct. 2 (Gandhi's birthday) to expose and memorialize the abuse and slaughter of 55 billion animals raised for food throughout the world. Their website at www.WorldFarmAnimalsDay.org offers a number of ways that people who care about animal suffering can participate and affirms the need to go vegan.
Not green enough
I just read the "Going Greener" article in the Sept. 24-30 issue. The question is whether we want to continue to make headway towards the Kyoto protocol goals, while recognizing that we can't attain them by 2012 as previously hoped.
Nowhere in the article was there mention of the fact that the Kyoto protocol goals are now widely believed to be inadequate in protecting us from climate change, as made clear by Bill McKibben of 350.org and James Hansen. The previous goal of limiting CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere to 450 parts per million corresponds to a 50 percent chance of catastrophic global warming. I don't know about you, but those odds don't sound good to me. Would you play Russian roulette with a half-loaded gun?
Of course we need more ClimateSmart loans! Of course we need to spread them to other counties! Our bond rating will sink like a stone when we run out of water, when we are victims of storms, droughts, tornadoes and torrential rainfall. This should not be the main topic of discussion.
It's time to rally behind the best thinking we have at this time. We must trust our scientists, because the odds are relatively good that they are right. They tell us we have to roll back atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm in order to have a fighting chance (http://tcktcktck.org/stories/climate-news/scientists-estimate-earth-will-warm-63-degrees-century). We can second-guess them, or we can mobilize to stay on this side of the abyss.
It turns out that we have to cut back emissions by 10 percent over the next year. Like some mad sort of compounding interest, the CO2 we put in the atmosphere now will continue to hurt us for centuries to come. So we need to do a little this year (10 percent is the low-hanging fruit, but it must be done by everyone), then a little more next year.
So let's give up the hair-splitting about what might or might not happen by 2020, and rally behind something that will work. Have you considered what the social dislocation and economic catastrophe will be if we don't?
Israel is our long-time ally.
Coal ash is a threat
It is clear from the list of more than 580 coal ash sites released on Aug. 31 that this is not a state or local issue, but a threat to communities across the country. Coal ash contains arsenic, selenium, lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, boron, thallium and aluminum those toxins can leach into groundwater. Clearly coal ash is waste that deserves more than a regular "household waste" classification. The Environmental Protection Agency must create federally enforceable minimum standards, issue permits, conduct inspections of coal ash facilities, and most importantly enforce regulations for coal combustion wastes. Doing so will provide the critical nationwide consistency necessary for the protection of our communities.
Stop Iran now
Iran needs to be stopped in its effort to gain nuclear weapons.
All efforts must be done to penalize their arrogance towards the rest of the world banks refusing loans, not doing business with companies that supply Iran oil and other goods.
Iran will not refrain from using these weapons against anyone they don't like. No one from Iran should be allowed to travel to the U.S. or even the U.N., especially their president, until all weapons-grade materials have been turned over to IAEA. All efforts must be made to ensure that the Middle East and other parts of the world will be safe from nuclear threat from Iran.