Pedaling for Ghana -- Thanks so much for running the short piece on the Village Bicycle Project and our efforts to get bicycle collections for Africa started in Spokane.
If any readers are interested in helping collect, store, and/or transport bikes to Seattle, I'm easy to reach at email@example.com.
We ship twice a year, in March and September, and I can show you how to fit 23 bikes in a small pickup truck!
Our Web site, www.ibike.org/vbp, hasn't been updated in two years, but it still gives a good idea of what we do. I can e-mail a 2002 year-end report.
In Ghana, the government is planning to double fuel prices next month, so bikes are more useful than ever to help impoverished people meet basic transportation needs.
Mill It Over -- I am concerned about logging practices in Canada and the effects of Canadian imported wood on local mills. In Canada, long-term licenses give logging companies a virtual monopoly over public old-growth forests, stifling competition and depressing timber prices. There are virtually no meaningful environmental laws in British Columbia, which has led to severe over-cutting and a surplus of cheap lumber.
While we work hard here in the U.S. to protect endangered species such as bull trout, our neighbor to the north funds clear-cutting right up to the edge of fish-bearing streams.
The majority of Canadian lumber is shipped to the U.S., where there is already a glut. More than 35 percent of the lumber sold in the United States comes from Canada. U.S. mills cannot compete and are closing their doors. We should not be blaming U.S. environmental laws for the financial problems that mills in Washington are having. There is an oversupply of wood on the market, and our mills cannot compete. More logs will not help.
To help Washington mills, the U.S. government needs to slow down lumber imports from Canada. We should mandate that Canada implement fair trade policies that protect the environment and jobs.
Zagged Off! -- Having heard that Gonzaga was building a bigger arena that would keep the intimacy of the Kennel, I whipped out my checkbook and called the Gonzaga ticket office to reserve my season tickets. I was told they would send me a package that would explain my options.
Some options. One season ticket would cost $35.71 per game ($500 for 14 games) -- for the nosebleed section. But there is good news. If you buy four tickets, your cost drops to $25 per game, or $350. The "Platinum Seats" would cost $130.35 each for four season tickets. Oh, and the kicker? You must make a five-year commitment.
Also, I read that the Zags are in the process of inking a home-and-home two-year deal to play Missouri. However, Spokane isn't good enough to get the high-profile game. Nope, we're gonna move the high-profile game. Not to the Spokane Arena. We are moving it to Seattle's Key Arena. Wouldn't it be nice for Spokane to be featured on the nationally televised game? It would have been a great way for Spokane to showcase the Inland Northwest.
Riddle me this: I believe the reason the Zags decided not to play at the Arena is because it does not have the intimacy of the existing Kennel, and because they felt this intimacy is worth about five to seven points a game and crucial for home-court advantage. Okay, I've been to Key Arena: It has the intimacy of an airplane hangar.
More riddles: If the Zags can sell 6,000 seats, $25-$170 in the new Kennel, then imagine how many seats the Spokane Arena would fill at half that price (11,000, I believe).
Finally, let's hear from all the REAL FANS who supported the team during the lean years of the '80s and '90s. How many of you folks got priced our of your Zag tradition?
EWU and Whitworth are looking better all the time.
Millions of Millionaires! -- "Trickle Down" may be of benefit in many ways, such as supplying water to plants, in the cultivation of crops or even of providing food to farm animals, but not in running the economy!
Recent statistics have sharpened the contrast between the high employment rate (as experienced under President Clinton) and his successor. The present administration does not refer to the high number of jobs terminated, but rather uses the term "downsizing."
But whether an employee is being "terminated" or "downsized," does that make it any easier for them to tell their children why they are being evicted from their homes or why they're starving?
Clinton not only left us with one of the highest employment rates in history, his term was one of the few that operated in the black, (as did both Kennedy and Truman). In contrast to Bush's high unemployment is the rapidly increasing number of new millionaires and billionaires. Note: When Reagan took office, there were only 1,400 millionaires in the entire nation -- but when he left office there were over 15,000 -- plus one billionaire. Now we have almost that many billionaires via legislation and tax cuts.
Isn't it time that we eliminated "trickle down," plus the corporate practice of making all CEOs millionaires, especially when so many of these corporations are losing money and are downsizing?
Clinton may have been accused of having "bad morals," but they certainly didn't affect the taxpayers or the nation adversely. In fact, he left the nation solidly in the black.