Lack of clothes
Regarding "Budget cuts may hurt wildfire prevention" (Nation & World, July 12): Just one more article in the drumbeat to spread fear and angst among the masses by blaming the so-called "sequester" for impending doom. The sequester reduced federal spending by $80-some billion - slightly more than 2 percent of the budget - leaving a $200 billion increase instead of $288 billion. It was a cut only in the sense that it was a cut in the growth of spending. Some agencies got a 5.5 percent budget increase instead of an expected 8 percent rise. The only "reductions" are those selected for their visibility and shock value by politicians to scare more tax dollars out of the public, win political favor or further a political agenda by misinforming the uninformed - the president foremost among them.
If bureaucrats can't survive with a mere 5.5 percent budget increase, we need a bunch of new, capable bureaucrats because it's apparent the ones we have are totally inept. You know, as inept as 99 percent of the "experts" always quoted by The Associated Press - experts who are forever surprised and puzzled by any turn of events in their areas of expertise. Some of us actually can recognize the lack of clothing on our kings, you see.
It's time someone spoke to Joe Henderson again. He is no longer on your fine sports page. Now he writes a daily column usually insulting someone for doing something old Joe has never done or will do.
In his column "Don't blame Meyer for Hernandez" (Metro, July 9), Henderson states that football coaches' primary mission isn't to mold a player's character. Has Joe ever coached? Little league or church league? Youth leagues or high school? College or pro?
I have coached many youth leagues, and I am lucky enough to have neighbors who now do the same. I have a very close friend who coaches Little League. I will tell you that I and they don't do it for the money. In fact, they are not paid a dime. I also have a family member who coaches at a Pac 12 "big-time" football program (as Joe puts it) and has also coached in the NFL. He too has built friendships that carry on way past the playing days of those athletes.
These coaches teach fine young men and women how to better play the game, but also much more important things like sportsmanship, teamsmanship, attitude, effort and the morals of winning and losing properly. To have Henderson slap them across the face is hard to watch.
Joe needs to take in a Little League game or a church youth league game and watch the process. He might be surprised how much those coaches do care about teaching those young boys and girls about character.
Regarding "The rail disaster and Keystone XL" (Our Views, July 11):
What happened in Lac Megantic, Quebec, was a tragedy. My thoughts are with those who were lost or injured, and their families. However, I think we need to have a deeper conversation about fossil fuels. In your editorial you attempt to paint those who want to stop the Keystone XL pipeline and the use of all fossil fuels as extremist; however, you fail to look at the other end of the spectrum. Although we cannot immediately cut ourselves off from fossil fuels, we should start doing so gradually. But this is not happening.
As Brad Plumer points out in The Washington Post, the world's energy supply isn't getting any cleaner. While production of energy from renewable sources has continued to increase, the portion from fossil fuels has increased at almost the same rate.
Take for instance the Bakken shale basin in North Dakota. Within the past decade there has been a significant increase in oil production from this region. Up to 800,000 barrels of oil are being pumped out of the ground there every day, and they hope to be hitting 1 million barrels a day soon. According to some estimates, there is enough oil in North Dakota to last for 100 years. I ask, just because it's there, should we go after it? My answer is no.
The same can be said for the Canadian tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline. Just because we have the technology to extract the oil doesn't mean we should. The processing required to extract the oil makes it some of the dirtiest in the world. In addition, transporting oil via pipeline may be statistically safer than transporting it by rail, but that does not make it a good idea.
Recently in Alberta, Canada, after a pipeline leak was discovered and allowed to continue to leak for 11 days, more than 2.5 million gallons of oil and other chemicals were spread out over 100 acres of land natives depended on for hunting and drinking water. This is not an isolated case. Over the past 37 years Alberta has averaged two oil spills a day.
Pipeline troubles are not isolated to Canada, either. There has been the pipeline leak in Mayflower, Ark., the oil spill in the Yellowstone River in Montana and the Enbridge oil spill near the Kalamazoo River in Michigan in just the past two years. In light of all of this it seems unwise to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to go through.
I know that if the pipeline does not come through the United States the oil will still make its way out of Canada, but that does not make a good argument for going ahead with the pipeline. That is like saying "someone is going to litter, so it might as well be me."