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Letters to the editor for January 15, 2011

Jan. 15, 2011

Exhibit transforms

"Daughters of Earth," a transformational art show at Columbia Center for the Arts, is a wonderful, complex and collaborative celebration of the mystic power of Women who sustain life. Thanks to all involved, especially to artist Janet Essley for conceiving this show.

Jules Burton

Hood River

Birdseed appreciated

The Family Council at the Hood River Care Center would like to thank those individuals who have generously donated birdseed, bird feeders, magazines and bingo prizes to the residents living at the Hood River Care Center. Your donations have and will be enjoyed by the residents throughout this new year. Thank you to Little Bit Ranch Supply for your monthly donation of bird seed. For more information about the Hood River Care Center Family Council, visit: https://sites.google.com/site/hrccfamilycouncil/. You may also call Carol Daniel, 541-490-6136 or Debbie Medina, 541-490-1575.

Carol Daniel

Hood River

Serendipity

What a coincidence! Glen Harris' Library Notes on what to do with excess books on the exact same day that the Wreck the Halls Crew was completing the post-Christmas shop revamp and finding, after the dust settled (and yes, there was that) a spot for a bookcase full of books brought in by generous customers sharing their libraries with bookophiles who have no place to find the object of their affections with the library still closed and winter looming long ahead. Voila! Hood River Library Westbranch was born! Shelves of un-Dewey-Decimal-System-classified books (to take home immediately) with comfortable seating and even a glass of wine (with proper age ID). Browsers who linger too long may be pressed into service washing wine glasses, but a small risk for such a noble pastime. The temporary status of Westbranch is just that -temporary. The "temporary-er" the better.

Catherine Kelter

The Wine Sellers

Hood River

Look at votes

Our representative in Congress, Greg Walton, doesn't always say "NO." He said "YES" to the bill that extended the tax breaks when it included millionaires. And "YES" on the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010 (the law passed 308-114; 10 not voting). The House passed this $58.8-billion bill funding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and providing for additional funding for foreign aid and disaster assistance. The bill then went to the president, who signed it into law on Thursday. But, again he voted "NO" on the Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act (vote passed 247-161, 25 not voting). The House passed this bill to provide $16.1 billion to extend increased Medicaid assistance to states and $10 billion in funding for states to create or retain teachers' jobs. The bill was then sent to the president, who signed it into law on the same day. Who do you think Greg Walden represents? Not you, unless you are a millionaire. Or maybe you think he represents you if you are a working person who aspires to be a millionaire. Check it out on MegaVote (www.congress.org/congress-org/megavote).

Anne Vance

Hood River

Where was Walden?

Now that Republicans control the House of Representatives, Greg Walden is loudly trumpeting the Republican mantra, "cut government spending." Why was this cry not heard during the Bush Administration? Where was Walden's voice then? Bill Clinton increased the federal budget by 11 percent; George W. Bush by 104 percent. Walden was silent. Bush increased government spending more than the six previous presidents. Walden said not a word. Between fiscal years 2002 and 2009, discretionary spending increased 96 percent. Walden looked the other way. Bush added thousands of new federal subsidy programs during his eight years in office. Walden signed on to them all. By the end of the Clinton Administration, Republicans were calling for abolishment of the federal education and labor departments. Bush, in his first two budgets, increased education department spending by 70 percent and labor's by 65 percent. Now Republicans, Walden included, are again calling for the abolishment of the Education Department. What a bunch of flaming hypocrites! Greg Walden is right up there with the best of them.

Gary Fields

Hood River

Let's talk

Obviously Mr. Brostoff would rather write letters of misguided bravado to the Hood River News than engage in meaningful dialogue with any of us disgusted Locksters. So be it, but should you ever decide to pull your head out of the sand long enough to face what is actually going on, we'll be here. We would relish the opportunity to discuss with you LUBA Case No. 2007-040, or the State of Oregon Elections Division Case No. 08-4774. End of conversation.

Gary Munkhoff

Cascade Locks

First Amendment

I am writing not to defend the Hood River News or President Obama, but the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Freedom of Speech, which includes Freedom of the Press, may be the greatest piece of legal writing ever put forth by our founding fathers. A recent letter inferred that the Hood River News should filter its published material in order to choose sides regarding certain political or personal issues of concern to its readers. This is exactly what cannot happen in a society which grants such wonderful freedoms provided for in the Constitution. Any media source worthy of respect only achieves this through unbiased and equal representation of all viewpoints. The right to exercise one's freedom of speech is provided to all citizens regardless of their political affiliation, personal opinions or financial status. In many countries public statements against the government or certain politically connected people may result in a late-night visit from men who remove you from your bed; never to return. We should be grateful for this freedom even when facing opposing viewpoints. Some day it may be our opinion which is being suppressed through forceful means. God help us if we ever have to face such oppression in our great country. Tolerance to all.

Steve Kaplan

Hood River

Effects of hate speech

Here is a brief history of politically motivated violence in the U.S. since 2008: On July 27, 2008, Jim David Adkisson walked into the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church and shot nine people, killing two and wounding seven. Adkisson said he was motivated by hatred of "Democrats, liberals, nig***s and fa***ts." A police search of his home found books by right-wing radio personalities Michael Savage, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. On April 4, 2009, Richard Poplawski shot five Pittsburgh, Pa., police officers, leaving three dead and two seriously wounded. According to people who knew Poplawski, he was a white supremacist and "birther" (i.e. he believed that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and not a legal U.S. citizen) who was paranoid that Obama was going to take away his guns, and was consumed with anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. A police search of his computer found links to various right-wing hate groups and to a YouTube video of Glenn Beck talking about FEMA concentration camps. On July 18, 2010, Byron Williams set out from his mother's home, heading for San Francisco to shoot up the Tides Foundation and the ACLU, with the intention of "starting a revolution." Williams, a convicted felon (two bank robberies), was stopped by the CHP (California Highway Patrol). When stopped, he immediately opened fire on the CHP officers, wounding two. At first the state troopers thought they were dealing with just a crazed cop shooter. But then they found a notebook in his car, with the details of his plans. Williams identified Glenn Beck as his primary motivation for the shootings. Here's what we know so far about the shooting in Tucson: The shooter left an envelope with these words scrawled on it, "I planned ahead," "My assassination," "Giffords," along with a letter from Giffords' office thanking him for coming to a "Congress on the Corner" event in 2007. He posted videos on YouTube complaining about the government using mind control. Within hours of the shooting, Sarah Palin took down her webpage that showed Congresswomen Giffords' district in the crosshairs of a gun sight. If right-wing violent hate speech didn't incite the shooting, then why did Palin take her web page down right after the attack? So a crazy guy goes to a political event and tries to assassinate a congresswoman and the right-wing media is saying it wasn't a political act. Please contact Congressman Walden and ask him to make sure that Congress investigates the epidemic of politically motivated attacks on democracy.

Guy Tauscher

Hood River

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