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I was wondering how the government plans on destroying Saddam's chemical weapons, when they still have not found a safe way to destroy our own private stash at Umatilla. The last time we tried to destroy chemical weapons in Iraq, we created a toxic cloud that was one of the contributing factors to the Gulf War Syndrome, along with tainted vaccines and 640,000 lbs. of vaporized depleted uranium munitions. The Gulf War sickness has killed 9,000 of our Gulf War veterans and permanently disabled another 179,000.
Our government has a bad habit of creating Frankenstein- like dictators and weapons, only to have them "blow back" and kill us. The sad truth is that the only "safe" way to destroy chemical weapons is with the heat created by a thermonuclear explosion, thus creating a whole new "tar baby" problem from which we will not be able to pull out of.
Michael T. Hinojosa
Alan Siporin's rather self-congratulatory two-page "Spread the Word" piece (11/7) is one more example of liberal single-issue-ism. Contrary to the mantra of the article, "word of mouth" is not how "real change takes place."
Siporin cites the supposedly wonderful example of how tiny protests grew to reach a "critical mass" during the war in Southeast Asia. But the symbolic, well-behaved displays of protest in the decade from 1965 to 1975 did not, tragically, end the war. It ended because the other side kept fighting, with the result that U.S. troops steadily began to refuse to take the field. Ten years of ineffectual demonstrations coexisted with the deaths of about three million Asians. Civil gestures were not enough. Accommodation to evil is not "non-violence."
The empire, with a string of wars and invasions since Vietnam, is now going for broke. No one should doubt that real resistance is needed, and that it must be armed with an understanding of the nature of the cancer-like global machine of capital and technology. Two notions that liberals like Alan are averse to.
Was it your idea that it would be funny to have a hostile observer cover Bill Clinton's appearance in Mac Court? The guy thought he was funny, but he was only snide and sarcastic.
I was fortunate to be there myself, but it's too bad that your readers who weren't there had to read this sorry account of the biggest political event of the year.
To all of those who worked so hard this election and gave so much of your time and selves to issues that mean so much to you and the rest of us. we wish to say thank you, thank you, thank you! A wise sage once said that all truths pass through three stages. First it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed and third it is accepted as being self evident. Think of this as stage one. Again thank you!
Roberta and Tim Boyden
I would like to say congratulations to Oregon's new governor, Ted Kulongoski. Well done Ted, now let's get to work. On Kulongoski's website, www.tedforgov.com,he states, "As governor, I will personally take charge of the cleanup of the Willamette River and turn all the paperwork into results." I am looking forward to seeing the results.
The Willamette is one of the most polluted rivers in the West. Industries put close to 4 million pounds of toxic chemicals into its waters yearly, including lead, arsenic and dioxin — nearly a 300 percent increase since 1991. As a result, a 5.5 mile stretch of the Willamette in Portland Harbor has been declared a federal Superfund site, a distinction reserved for the nation's worst toxic waste sites.
Kulongoski has publicly realized this and declared it unacceptable. Now, as constituents, we have to keep him accountable to us and to our state's well being. Give him a call. Write him a letter. Tell him to get started.
Judging by David Frohnmayer's opposition (News, 11/14) to Prof. Frank Stahl's resolution opposed to war, the distinguished professor's time on campus may be in jeopardy. That might be deduced from what happened twice before when a UO president gave in to efforts of the power structure (corporations are the new dominant force on campus) to control university policy.
The first was when Dave was law dean before becoming president, when the lumber industry, through Aaron Jones, muscled the UO into forcing the Environmental Law Institute off campus. Then, during Frohnmayer's presidency, it involved boot-licking for an even more significant donor, the Nike Corp. In that case, Nike's Knight-in-tarnished armor was upset over the university linking up — at student insistence — with the Worker Rights Consortium (WRC), which had critical things to say about Phil Knight's treatment of overseas workers.
Knight threatened to renege on his $10 million pledge for the Autzen Stadium expansion unless the WRC was evicted from campus. So someone at the UO did some obvious arm-twisting of his own, convincing a compliant State System of Higher Education to hustle up some new rules that made the WRC relationship retroactively illegal. The pouting golden goose came back, and an expanded stadium became a reality.
With corporate money riding high, lumber and Nike have bribed their way to preeminence at the university. With the place of education faltering, even an honored figure like Stahl may no longer feel at home there.
I am against public domestic partner registries, not from the standpoint of accepting alternative relationships, but from a desire for privacy. An organization of interest in domestic registries, according to a recent news article and unbeknownst to most people, is the Heritage Foundation. What interest does a conservative Republican think tank have in something as foreign to its general stated philosophy as this? Is it because they want to know who these people are in "non-traditional" relationships; hetero, gay, and otherwise; so when it comes time to round up people who are considered generally inimical to conservative interests, they'll know right where to find them? What will the corporate Christian religious right make of this? Will this be an excuse for them to persecute and eradicate people they consider immoral?
With privacy in our society becoming more and more elusive due to omnipresent, nonstop information gathering, and viewpoints on issues becoming more and more polarized, I believe these are questions that need to be addressed. People in alternative relationships tend to be more aware of the injustices and atrocities committed against humans, animals, and the environment for the sake of making a buck. Marginalization and eradication of groups opposed to a quasi-religious government/corporate regime is nothing new — ask the Jews.
Although I appreciate reading the "Best of Eugene" issue every year, I have felt for some time that your category list has a huge, gaping hole in it. Not all Eugeneans can afford the time to sit and leisurely drink espresso on soft, velvet couches while our favorite local musician plays softly in the background. For some of us, enjoying a great latte or mocha means zooming into our favorite coffee kiosk for a fast pick-me-up on the way to somewhere (Duck games, work, appointments — wherever!).
I have been expecting EW to recognize our sub-culture for several years now, and each Best Of issue has come out without a "favorite drive-through coffee" category. It really isn't fair to lump all the coffee places in Eugene together, when "sit down" venues serve a different function (and often a different crowd) than their "drive-through" brethren.
I say it's time to give busy people their own coffee category. For the first winner, I nominate the Dutch Bros. kiosk on Franklin Boulevard. With Dollar Days on Duck home game days (when every drink, no matter size or shot numbers are $1), their great baristas (excellent drinks in record time) and their very good prices, I will drive across town and completely out of my way to get my coffee there.
Come on, EW has ignored coffee kiosk-ites too long. Drive-through coffee drinkers need love, too!
Teri J. Velazquez
Well, the recent election has once again revealed the power of money in swaying voter's minds via (mostly) television advertisements. Before the ads started 70 percent of the people polled believed in labeling for genetically modified food in Oregon. Then a corporation from another country pours millions of dollars in television ads saying people's grocery bills are going to increase hundreds of dollars if this is voted in. So Measure 27 gets trounced.
Same for Health Care for All-Oregon. In response to all the legislators that were too chicken to endorse this measure, yet all agreed the present system is broken and desperately needs to be fixed: OK, we're ready. Fix it! Fat chance!
We know money rules the political system, corrupts the system and that needs to change. Well, last Saturday in Salem there was a meeting to reinvigorate the campaign finance reform effort. We agreed this time to do two initiatives — one to ban corporate money and limit individual donations for candidates, and another one to ban corporate money and limit individual donations for initiatives.
So after we file the initiatives, more than likely the title will get challenged so it will be delayed about three months — then we need you to help get the signatures, raise money and educate citizens on this fundamentally important issue. All progressive issues will be a huge uphill battle until this is accomplished. It won't be easy, but it will be worthwhile!
We can't have a democracy if we don't all participate in it. As Frederick Douglas said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will."
It's unfortunate that both a letter writer and a "Slant" opinion used the term: USA Patriot Act (11/21). A minimal acceptable term is USA PATRIOT Act, as it is an acronym for "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism." This Act threatens our civil liberties and has nothing to do with our patriotism. For that matter, it has nothing to do with uniting and strengthening us either. I suggest using U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act as a reminder.
Robert Simms Coordinator,
Benton County Bill of Rights
EDITOR'S NOTE: You're right, it's just irritating to see the capitalized acronym jumping out of paragraphs screaming for attention.
TO THE BUCKS
In recent times, the Eugene city government has given disproportionate priority to catering to commercial interests over the public's interests and rights. This has also been a national and global trend.
With global resources and markets opened up for exploitation by multi-national commercial interests, the ruling class is quickly moving to put in place the ability to deploy overwhelming repressive force to any challenges to their legitimacy. Challenges that are sure to come.
I am shocked by the rapid rise of fascism and repressive force throughout the world, the nation, and indeed in our own community. Fascism is making a comeback. No less terrible or significant than that in Hitler's Germany. The parallels are shown by numerous historical examples. Yet many citizens in the U.S. and Europe are silent in their mesmerized complicity, much like the Germans in the 1930s.
The buildup in repressive force by the police in Eugene is alarming. New laws make it even easier for the traditionally fascist police to use excessive force and torture on citizens who have not even been convicted of a crime. An atmosphere of repression exists that threatens to stifle open debate and democracy.
I want to see our local governments clearly move to: protect our rights as citizens, and state that our rights as citizens, our human rights, and the health of our democracy all have priority over commercial interests.
This would be a change from the status quo. Lack of effort in this direction is clearly deferring to the rising tide of fascism and repression.
Think of what a difference it could have made if more had spoken out in protest to Hitler's aggression. We have that opportunity now. Let's not waste it in silence.
Boz Van Houten
VOY PA' GUATE
Goodbye Eugene. I am off to Guatemala. I will be going there to work as a human rights observer. As many of you probably know, the situation in Guatemala has become worse in the last couple years. Violence and human rights abuses are on the rise. The political party that was in power during the highest rates of occurrences of massacres and other atrocities during the '70s and '80s is back in control of the government. They have violated the peace accords of 1996 by continually increasing their military budget. Despite these violations and a worsening human rights record, the U.S. is training Guatemalan soldiers at the School of Americas (SOA) in Fort Benning, Ga. This is all contributing to a great threat to the peace process in Guatemala.
In response to this threat, I, like many others, have decided to volunteer to go and live in an at-risk community in the jungle of Guatemala to report on the human rights situation there and to offer my presence as a deterrent to potential human rights abuses. Wish me luck. Also, please do me a favor and write our representatives to tell them that you oppose the training these soldiers receive at the SOA and that you expect them to work for peace rather than war in Washington. If you are interested in learning more, getting involved or supporting my work in any way, please contact Peg Morton at 342-2914.
Courteous, intelligent, law-abiding bicyclists are a distinct minority among the bike riders of Eugene. I can't count the number of times I've been bumped or forced off the sidewalk by uncaring, uncouth bicyclists. Just the other day, I was bumped in the arm by a rude, careening bike rider who came up behind me. He gave no warning and when I yelled at him to have more courtesy, he gave me a hand gesture that has become all too common among this bunch. They seem to think they have the right to the sidewalk, but they are supposed to obey all laws that pertain to motor vehicles.
That means they are to stick to the streets, obey traffic signals, and all the other laws pertinent to motor vehicles. It's time for us pedestrians to take back our sidewalks.
In case you think I'm unsympathetic to bicyclists, I also ride a bicycle. But I ride only on streets and when I'm on a bike path, I tell pedestrians I overtake from behind that I'm passing on one side or the other. It's the courteous, socially acceptable way to ride. I know, too, how careless motor vehicle drivers can be. That's still no reason to endanger pedestrians by riding on the sidewalk.
I have a suggestion for the police: Ticket people who are seen riding their bikes on the sidewalk. If their bikes are not licensed, confiscate them. That would go far in "curbing" these morons who have become so obnoxious to pedestrians. The city has gone to great trouble to provide expensive bike paths and bike lanes. The ones who insist on riding on sidewalks can be ticketed or their unlicensed bikes auctioned, thus paying for the maintenance of the special lanes and paths provided for their benefit by all taxpayers.
LETTERS POLICY: We welcome letters on all topics and will print as many as space allows. Please limit length to 250 words, keep submissions to once a month, and include your address and phone number. E-mail to email@example.com, fax to 484-4044, or mail to 1251 Lincoln, Eugene 97401.
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