It is bad enough that services for seniors, children and the mentally ill have been cut, but to have a special election for which the city of Spokane would have to pay as much as $160,000 is fiscally irresponsible. The entire fiasco of the recall was bad enough, but the recall vote seems to have become more about a personal vendetta rather than an attempt to give the citizens of Spokane their say. This appears to be the classic "cannot see the forest for the trees" type of political situation, and I am growing extremely weary of it.
Elaine Grow & r & Spokane, Wash.
High Anxiety & r & Your article "Stressed at School" (9/22/05) does an excellent job of documenting how current laws, regulations, and practices are creating a level of stress in the schools that is debilitating. I have observed this situation personally as a practicing school psychologist for the past 20 years. In the '80s, it was rare that you would find a junior high student with an anxiety disorder. During the last year that I worked (I'm now retired), I diagnosed at least half a dozen second-graders with anxiety disorder symptoms.
However, there is an issue that was not addressed in the article. Given that all of the issues are well recognized by education professionals, why are they buckling under and letting the politicians - both state and local - dictate how they define and do their jobs? One only has to look at the Medicare/Medicaid morass to see where federal control of the educational system will lead us. It is time for educators to take their profession back before it is too late.
Dan Hoadley & r & Otis Orchards, Wash.
The Real Killer & r & As America is transfixed by Katrina's and Rita's devastation, a much deadlier disaster looms. Avian influenza, or bird flu, is growing into a global epidemic deadlier than the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed 50 million people.
The deadly virus originated a couple of years ago in Southeast Asia's poultry farms, killing dozens of people throughout the region, and has already spread to Russia and Europe. Millions of Americans are expected to succumb, once the virus mutates to allow transmission among humans.
Avian influenza is but the latest disease spawned by animal agriculture. The 1918 Spanish flu, the 1957 Asian flu, the 1968 Hong Kong flu, and SARS, claiming millions of lives, originated in factory farms.
Consumption of animals also raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other chronic diseases that kill 1.3 million Americans annually. It funds pollution of waterways by animal waste, destruction of wildlife habitats, and abuse of animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses.
World Farm Animals Day on Oct. 2 provides an excellent opportunity to replace animal products in our diet with wholesome vegetables, fresh fruits and whole grains. These foods don't promote global epidemics, are touted by every major health advocacy organization and were recommended fare in the Garden of Eden.
Samuel Davidson & r & Spokane Valley, Wash.
Beyond Tundra-Dome & r & The "Running on Empty" cover story (9/29/05) may have been a shock to many. To me, it was too mild, even though it did say, "In fact, conventional oil production has already peaked and is declining." Current global daily use of liquid fossil fuels is more than 3,750,000 gallons. With about 4.5 percent of global population, the United States combusts about 25 percent of this nearly four million gallons per day. The United States is the global pariah. The facts are that the global use of fossil fuels has now resulted in positive feedback where global warming is now outside of human control.
The dire information is that the huge areas of frozen tundra in Siberia and Alaska are warming about twice as fast as the global temperatures in the temperate latitudes. Hundreds of billions of tons of this frozen tundra contain decayed and decaying organic materials. When thawed, these decayed organic materials release methane gas. Methane is 20 times as bad in causing global warming as carbon dioxide. Large lakes have formed as the tundra thaws. Methane has been reported as being released into the atmosphere even in the middle of the winter. As the methane enters the atmosphere, it causes more global warming, which thaws more tundra, which releases more methane -- and then the positive feedback cycle is in operation. Humankind cannot stop this cycle. Even if humankind could stop this cycle, the global surface mean temperature would rise for a predicted 100 years.
To research, Google "peak oil." There are 2,070,000 Web sites and 38,800,000 sites for "global warming".
To do: (1) I will feel a bit better if I blame W. and take control of Congress back from the Republicans next year and impeach Bush and Cheney. Nancy Pelosi would become President! (2) Faced with the inevitable, make the best of this really hopeless (in the long-term) situation. Try this: Take out a big loan for the longest possible time and live it up! Forget repaying the principal but plan on making minimum payments for about 10 to 15 years.
Julian Powers & r & Spokane, Wash.
Clarifying Censorship & r & The cover article entitled "Project Censored" (9/22/05), written by Camille T. Taiara, stretches credibility far beyond the breaking point. Her major premise is irrational. If the "news" were subject to widespread and effective censorship, how could her article be published? There simply can be no system of "censorship" active in the United States today, or your readers could never read this. They could never read her article either.
Everyone reading her article must have immediately noticed that each and every one of her supposed "big stories that the mainstream media ignored" had actually been published by someone (which she faithfully noted). That these stories did not get as much ink as she feels they deserve is explained by her own words: "But some stories get ignored because they're just not credible..." Certainly we all know that other stories can get ignored either because they are not very important or because they are not very interesting. In my opinion, her article and each story cited within it should have been ignored (and not published) for one or another of these reasons.
If you, Mr. Editor, or your readers think that "Censored" is "credible," there is a chance that someone is losing touch with reality. It is hard to believe that these incredible scraps, trivialities and rumors she cites are as important as the facts, allegations and news that the "mainstream media" is reporting every day.
Jerry Gollinger & r & Spokane, Wash.