Public is poorly informed on dam breaching

I am glad to see that people in Spokane are thinking about the salmon, too.

Ms. Hege’s letter (Aug. 30) demonstrates how poorly informed the public is on dam breaching.

Contrary to her and Rep. McDermott’s assertion, the Snake River salmon runs are not heading toward extinction. Since 2000, runs over Bonneville Dam have averaged three to four times what they were when it was completed.

Many factors cause fluctuations in salmon runs, as is evidenced by ups and downs from California to Alaska. Coastal runs have been in decline, Puget Sound runs have gone bust, and many southern British Columbia runs are on its endangered species list.

Have the Snake River dams caused this? No! Changing ocean conditions and climate cause more fluctuation in the salmon abundance than the Snake River dams. The diligent efforts of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have made fish passage much safer.

Studies (which Hege and McDermott ignore) show that per mile traveled, juvenile salmon survive better through the Corps dams than they do in the ocean. Better too than in the undammed Fraser River in British Columbia.

Hege says hydropower can easily be replaced by renewable energy. Isn’t the fact that it rains and snows and the water runs downhill through the hydropower turbines all year proof that hydropower is renewable?

Doc Hastings thought so when he introduced a bill in Congress to recognize hydropower as renewable energy. Representatives like McDermott believed the mantra that it is not, and did not pass the bill.

She says the locks, dams and towboats can easily be replaced by rail transport. It takes 35 jumbo rail cars to replace one barge (134 trucks). It takes 1.4 trains of 100 jumbo cars to replace one 4-barge tow (538 trucks).

Rail lines and equipment would have to be renewed and increased. The amount of fuel and number of diesel engines required would quadruple (increase more than 100 times if trucks replaced barges).

In addition to the billions it would cost to breach the dams, it would cost billions to replace the transportation lost. And the dams do not pollute the air.

Only sockeye are listed as endangered in the Snake River. Their runs are almost back up to the number counted before the Snake River dams were built. Chinook and steelhead runs are much higher.

Why breach the dams?

John McKern
Walla Walla

No more applause for Obama

I find it not only unconscionable that Obama’s Attorney General Holder is investigating the CIA over "harsh interrogations" of captured terrorists but counter to the best interests of the of the United States.

What’s next? Do we contact al-Qaida and discuss terms of our surrender to these barbaric fanatics who use terrorism as a tactic?

To demonstrate our acquiescence do we task as couriers of the terms UBL’s three "high value detainees" who were waterboarded, Khalid Sheik Mohammad, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri?

Remember, KSM planned the 9/11 atrocities and likely the 1993 World Trade Center bombing that was carried out by his now-imprisoned nephew Ramsey Yousef.

Zubaydah, AQ operations chief was involved in planning the thwarted "Second Wave" attacks on the Los Angeles Library Tower and other buildings by the 17-member Jemaah Islamiyah cell (he spilled that after some water was spilled on him).

Al-Nashiri planned terrorist operations including the bombing of the USS Cole.

Read the 40-page declassified May 2005 Justice Department report on the "enhanced interrogations" of those three and others. Waterboarding was used on the three "only after it became clear that standard interrogation techniques were not working." These "enhanced interrogations" generated over 6,000 intelligence reports that certainly saved thousands of lives.

But more important to condemn the CIA for staging mock executions on these throat-cutting terrorists, pouring water on their faces or (shudder) blowing second-hand cigar smoke at them, right?

Glenn Beck recently exposed the Marxist, Socialist and radical Progressive leanings of many of Obama’s "czars" and others who have his ear. These include "Green jobs Czar Van Jones (once-admitted Communist), FCC diversity "Czar" Mark Lloyd (Hugo Chavez admirer), and Jeff Jones (founded the Weathermen along with Bill Ayers and directed the Apollo Alliance in which Van Jones was involved).

The silence about this from the left is deafening. Here I thought the Progressive Caucus of Congress, beloved by the Democratic Socialists of America, was worrisome.

After the 2008 election, unlike those who bashed George Bush for eight years no matter what he did, I applauded President Obama whenever he did something right, such as his actions in Afghanistan/Pakistan, on the Global Gag Rule and the Somali pirate incident.

But now that his socialistic, Marx-loving regime threatens our economy, security and freedom there will be no more applause.

Steve Singleton
Walla Walla

Health-care plan would be disaster

The president has told the House to pass a bill for a government health-care plan, and he has told them what he wanted in it.

It will destroy our health-care system and make the U.S. like England is now. England has the worst cancer survivor rate in the world. It also tells older people that they have to go blind in one eye before they are able to receive the drug that slows macular degeneration.

Do we want that for the U.S.? If the European and Canadian health care is so good why do they come here for treatments?

How do they plan on paying for this plan? That’s easy, they are going to take 10 percent from Medicare despite the fact there will be a 30 percent climb in people receiving it and raise taxes.

So why do they say there won’t be rationing when there is less money and more people?

There is also a couple things in the bill that make you wonder. What is the end-of-life counseling for, and what is the immigration part about? But the big question is if it’s such a good plan why do they not like people not wanting it?

And why are the town hall meetings staged with a lot of SEIU people showing up?

So I guess the question I want to ask is do they care what the people say or do they just want total control of us and our lives?

Greg Laughery

English language can produce amusing tales

Upon reading Sam McLeod’s Sept. 1 article, "‘Far from the maddening (sic) crowd’ depends upon perspective," reminded me how often I hear Americans misread, misquote and misuse our language.

May I assume Mr. McLeod was referring to the Thomas Hardy novel, "Far From the Madding Crowd?"

The Oxford American Dictionary defines ‘madding’ crowd as "the frenzied crowd" and ‘maddening’ as "to make mad or angry, to irritate." Crowds can be and do both to me, if overexposed, like Mr. McLeod, but in defense of Hardy’s classic title, I am putting in a plug for madding. (Either word or definition works for me!)

This reminds me of one of my favorites, John Henry vs. John Hancock. When someone asks me to please sign my "John Henry," I am confused.

Wasn’t he an early American folk hero/legend who is famous for racing against a steam-powered hammer and won, only to die in victory with his hammer in his hands?

In most versions about his life, his is a huge, strong black man who helped build the Continental Railroad and represented working-class Americans who were being replaced by machines. I guess I could take a sledge hammer to the bank and grocery store when they ask for my John Henry.

John Hancock, on the other hand has a signature to emulate. He president of our Continental Congress, which presided over the writing of our Declaration of Independence, and was the last to sign it. His large and stylish signature has become a synonym for signature.

According to popular legend, Hancock signed his name largely and clearly so King George could read it without his spectacles.

Finally, did anyone buy the book, "Your Erroneous Zones" by Dr. Wayne Dyer in the mid-’70s thinking it was a book about sex?

Some misread the title as "Your Erogenous Zones." I wonder if that had anything to do with it selling over 35 million copies over eight years, being on the best seller list and being named one of the top-selling books of all time? Actually, it was a very good, groundbreaking book in the self-help industry.

And there you have it — fun and grins with the English language (by the daughter of an English teacher —I can’t begin to tell you how many times my mother corrected me over the years, and still does at 90!) Once a teacher, always ...

Victoria Gibson
Walla Walla

U-B should buy guns from city, then destroy them

In the Aug. 26 Union-Bulletin, the "Our Opinion" was entitled: "Colorado city’s plan to make cops sell guns is foolish."

The city plans to sell firearms it had confiscated from gun dealers and other miscreants.

You say it’s foolish for police to serve as gun merchants. You say the sale would be for one simple reason — to make money.

You say the sales are projected to bring in about $10,000 a year. You say the dollars "will be overshadowed — if one of the weapons sold ends up being used in a murder or other serious crime."

You call the city’s plan "foolish." Those plans don’t hold a candle to the foolishness of your editorial!

By your reasoning cities selling their used vehicles are extremely foolish also.

The real possibility of the vehicles being involved in wrecks causing serious damage, injury and deaths far exceeds one of those firearms being used in a crime.

Yep! I propose the cities stop this foolishness and begin destroying their used vehicles (kinda reminds me of the foolishness of Cash for Clunkers).

Hey, better idea, if the U-B editorial staff feels so strongly about selling the firearms I propose it pool its money, buy the guns and then destroy them. That way Colorado Springs gets its much needed money and the U-B editorial staff will be able to sleep at night!

Tony M. Tabor Sr.
Walla Walla

Photo put reader in mood for fair

I appreciate Mr. Zimmerman for putting me in a fair mindset with his backlit cowboy corral photo.

I appreciate the U-B for retaining notable talent such as his and Mr. Horner’s in these unclear economic times for the printed news.

John Eric Weigand
Walla Walla

Letters welcome
The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin welcomes letters to the editor on subjects of general interest.


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