A chance to live
It is nice that Dec. 29 letter writer Craig Butler wants everyone to be healthier. But I have some questions.
Do all those people dying of "killer chronic diseases" in America eat meat? Is meat killing them? Is meat 5 percent, 10 percent, 25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent or just plain 100 percent responsible for the killing?
If livestock for meat-eating are "destroying wildlife habitat to grow animal feed," what will happen when we need more land to grow more food for the people who will now only eat plants?
Most importantly, what will happen to the cows, sheep, pigs and chickens? With no people eating them, will they just roam the Earth looking for something to do, and for something to eat? We really can't just have these animals hanging around until they die of natural causes. I cannot see much future for these animals if they cannot be served up piping hot and juicy. As is normally the case in most things, moderation in meat-eating is healthy and gives millions of animals a chance to live, even if only for a while.
P.S. The tsunami of last Christmas was not the world's worst natural disaster. There have been much worse in the globe's history.
-- John Wark
A faun is a faun
Loved your Dec. 15 review of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but wish to point out that Mr. Tumnus is not a fawn, but a faun, and those are goat's horns, ears, legs and tail.
-- Rebecca Davis
Cyclists are traffic
The following is directed to Scott Graves, the Dec. 8 letter writer who responded to pro-bicyclist letter writer Melissa Bays:
If you want to get into technicalities, we can. Ms. Bays' quote states -- and I know that you're aware, because you quoted it in your letter -- "Bicycles are considered 'vehicles' under state law and bicyclists generally have all the rights and responsibilities applicable to the driver of any other vehicle." The key word in that excerpt is "generally."
So, let's define. "Generally: (adv.) in most cases; usually, widely." If synonyms for "generally" are "usually" or "widely," then it would seem cyclists have similar responsibilities, but not the same. Another overlooked analysis in that statement is that bicycles are considered vehicles, not bicyclists -- meaning that the bicycle is another form of conveyance.
One last thing that trumps both of your arguments, and mine, is that this manual is not the law. It's only a reference. I don't know what the actual law states, but feel free to educate the Independent readers on the matter if you wish.
Cyclists are traffic, so please treat them with respect. They don't impede traffic if you go around them. That's why they stay to the right, out of kindness to you, the driver of an automobile. Since a bicycle is considered a vehicle, a cyclist could ride right in the middle of the road and really impede traffic, but we choose not to.
So quit your complaining and start sharing the road, motorists.
-- Julian Carl Beldotti
Politics of the road
Scott Graves got it wrong this time. Perhaps Ms. Bays is "trying to save the world," and perhaps she is too shrill, but, all the same, the (public) roads have to be shared. And she is absolutely right about her initial point: Bicycles should not be on the sidewalk instead of the street, as this is clearly dangerous to pedestrians. A car driver suggesting that she make such a choice is clearly living some kind of delusion.
Remember, I am a bicyclist. In fact, there was a time, not all that long ago, when my bicycle was my only means of transportation (partly of necessity, but also partly by choice), and I encountered many of the same frustrations.
Legally, my take is this: It makes no more sense to force people to go fast, just because other people are interested in, and capable of, going fast, than it does to force people to go slow (i.e., speed limits) just because other people are interested in going slow. Certainly, it is discourteous to block traffic by going slower than most others are going, but that's only a matter of courtesy, and not the same as a legal issue of entitlement.
On the other hand, it's also discourteous to whiz around slower travelers in such a way as to scare or endanger them.
In fact, I have always preferred to take less-traveled roads when I ride, and I suspect that most cyclists, regardless of their political persuasions, share that preference. The problem is that, with our road system almost exclusively oriented toward cars, we increasingly find cases where the "main" road is, in fact, the only road that will get one where one in going. This tends to put cyclists in an impossible double bind.
This is, at least in part, a diversity issue. Libertarians should always come down on the side of favoring diversity on public spaces. Why should transport on public rights-of-way be limited to any one means or type of vehicle?
-- Patrick L. Lilly
Occupied Cheyenne Cañon
Near Colorado Springs
The logic machine
What a gift I got for the holiday!
I unwrapped a high-tech device called the BrainRip151, a logic machine. The instructions said to put any questions containing logical puzzles and mysteries into the scanner and the answer would automatically print out. Astonishing.
Like most people, I've had perplexing questions that have plagued me for many years, so I made a list and started feeding them into the logic machine.
First: If Christian chaplains at the Air Force Academy really believe in peace, turning the other cheek if attacked, no killing, and loving our enemies, why don't they all immediately advise the cadets to quit the AFA right away and join Oxfam, the Peace Corps, Amnesty International, UNICEF and the other organizations working for brotherhood and peace?
Even though science reveals that homosexuality is at least partially a genetic predisposition, and even if it is a completely free choice of lifestyle, why do right-wing homophobes condemn people for freely choosing the gay lifestyle, one of the freedoms our brave boys fought and died for?
Why don't people who want religion in the schools simply send their children to religious schools?
Right-wing columnists bitterly complain that the nation's universities, including the Ivy League powerhouses, are staffed by predominantly left-wing, pro-union, bleeding-heart, egghead intellectual professors. Then why do these same columnists try frantically to get their own sons and daughters into those very same schools and pay a fortune to have their offspring influenced by the leftists?
Why do some religious people kill, to protect a religion which tells them not to kill?
Well, I was just getting warmed up, but so was my logic machine. It had started popping, sputtering and smoking, then suddenly it fizzed and sparked like cheap fireworks. Damn. It quit just as I was going to put in a query about James Dobson.
-- Larimore Nicholl
All for none
In reference to all of the controversy surrounding the separation of church and state, I was under the impression that if we allow one, we must allow all. As such, if we allow religion in the schools, we must allow all of them. That would indicate that we must allow: the Moonies, Hare Krishna, the Church of Scientology, Jews, Christians, Seventh-day Adventists, Mormons, Satanic cults, atheists, etc. All of these organizations maintain that their beliefs are valid and well-supported.
I believe that there is not enough time for the pursuit of education, much less time to allow all of these distractions in our schools. Our children would be better served learning about these beliefs in our homes and churches, not our schools. It certainly isn't a matter of wanting to rid society of Christ or Christianity, but a desire to have these activities take place in the proper setting.
-- Bill Mead
Abuse of power
Abuse of power
Bush's attorney general has been quoted in the press as stating: "Congress' post-Sept. 11 resolution directed the president 'to use all necessary and appropriate force' against al Qaeda and affiliated groups," which "would include listening in on suspected terrorists."
Bush says wiretaps are his "right to act outside the framework." The resolution and the Constitution -- the "framework" -- do not entitle him to do so. The resolution of Oct. 11, 2002 confirms that the authority given to the president is "to use the armed forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq ...." This authority does not include the illegal use of the National Security Agency, for which I once worked during the Korean War. The only mention of terrorists in the resolution is that "acting pursuant to this resolution is consistent with the U.S. and other countries continuing to take necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations ..." That does not confer new power beyond that authorized then.
Nevertheless, the president spies on U.S. citizens and organizations such as the Catholic Worker, the American Friends Service Committee and the ACLU -- which work for peace and liberty. By diminishing American constitutional democracy, Bush has violated our civil liberties and decreased our security and respect with the world community, and is an inadequate replacement for the rule of law. Shame!
-- Bill Durland
Above the law?
In 2004, Mr. Bush told us he would not wiretap our phone conversations without a court order. But the New York Times recently revealed that he has been doing that without a court order since 2002. This is in clear violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Bush claims he can do whatever he wants if he says he's fighting terrorism. Does this make Bush above the law that he is sworn to uphold? If what he wants to do is justified, let him get the court's approval.
If Bush gets away with his lies and crimes, how will this affect the actions of future presidents? And what other laws will Bush break?
If we wish to be a nation governed by the rule of law, we need to call for Bush's impeachment.
-- Doug Long
Rio Rancho, N.M.