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Consider theft of ‘speech'

This newspaper has recently reported robberies and thefts of money. These are crimes. The next time you read such headlines or articles substitute the word "money" to "speech." It's even better, and more absurd, if you read it aloud.

"We the people" is a common notion. A corporation is a legal creation. People convicted of crimes may be imprisoned. How do you imprison a corporation?

Corporations are now regarded as having the same constitutional rights as any individual. Does anyone feel equal to a Wall Street bank?

Five Supreme Court justices should have consulted a dictionary or thesaurus. Money is property.

Charles Vigneron

Walla Walla

Legislators must think outside the box

I'm a college student at the Walla Walla Community College and I'm worried about my future in Washington. We're facing another enormous budget deficit and now critical state programs like health and education are at risk of being cut.

It's time to put aside politics as usual and do what's right for Washington families. We need our legislators to stand up for real, creative solutions to the financial crisis we're facing. The all-cuts budget the governor was forced - by law - to propose is unjust at best, as the governor herself has said.

Even the most basic, essential and cost-saving community programs like family planning are slashed. Preventive programs actually save the state money and cutting them will only cost taxpayers more when people can't get the support they need.

For example, family planning saves $4.39 for every dollar invested. If the scheduled additional cuts to family planning remain in the budget, the state can expect to see an increase of about $11 million in new state health-care costs within one year. These cuts don't make sense for individuals in need or the state's bottom line.

The budget reality looks grim unless we demand our legislators think outside the box and put everything on the table.

Bottom line: We need a budget that includes not just targeted cuts and reforms to make government more efficient, but a full discussion of potential revenue options as well. We need to contact our legislators today.

Francisco Leos

Walla Walla

Filibuster supports ‘tyranny of a minority'

Nowhere in the Constitution is there a mention of anything but majority rule except in four cases: Impeachment of the president, overriding a presidential veto of a bill passed by both houses of Congress, ratifying treaties and constitutional amendments and expulsion of a member of the congress by the appropriate house.

The concept of a filibuster was created by the Senate for a variety of reasons. It and the current need to have 60 votes to force cloture has been a source of controversy for many years during which much has changed. A short discussion of how the filibuster and how it can be side-stepped, the nuclear option, appears in The New York Times (Jan. 11 by Thomas Geoghegan).

What is important to note is that it is the most undemocratic of all Senate rules. It permits the 21 least populated states (which can thus elect 42 senators) that represent 11 percent of the population (using 2000 census data) to block the will of the other 89 percent. It is argued that this rule is needed to prevent the "tyranny of the majority." However, in its place, the filibuster simply creates the "tyranny of a minority."

I wonder if Evan Hecht who was quoted in the U-B (Jan. 31) as stating "I want to do whatever I can to make certain that we do not have one … party that has the number of senators necessary to abuse their power" as a justification for him to support the election of Mr. Brown in another state, realizes he is arguing for the privilege of simply transferring the so-called abuse from one party to the other party.

(Given that he traveled from Walla Walla to Massachusetts to do so, and that he plans to work to unseat Harry Reid in Nevada, leads me to suggest that Mr. Hecht could be labeled a "carpetbagger.")

By the way, he may want to read George Washington's Farewell Address where he warns against the establishment of political parties. "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge … is itself a frightful despotism."

Party rule rather than representative rule does not support any definition of democracy.

Dick Swenson

Walla Walla

Young musicians were outstanding

Absolutely outstanding! The young musicians who performed on Jan. 31 are truly a dedicated group to their love of music.

In the Walla Walla Community College Performing Arts Auditorium, with standing room only, they played difficult numbers with precision and professional grace under the baton of Mr. Benjamin Gish. They truly deserved the standing ovation given them.

Praise to Mr. Gish for his directions, and to the parents for encouraging their talented musicians to the field of fine arts. Nice job, well done! Where's the next concert?

M. Suzanne Aldrich

Walla Walla

Breastfeeding is natural

As a naturalistic humanist I must object to the prudish disposition of the many who view public breastfeeding as objectionable. Breastfeeding is natural, enhances the health of the child and mother and can be readily seen by anyone who has pets or visits a zoo or farm.

Learning of the permission for mothers to breastfeed their infants was most gratifying. It is perfectly natural and wholesome, and is not the lascivious perception of the sick of mind individuals who are offended or titillated.

Personally, any time I see a pregnant woman or a mother with an infant, I spontaneously look around to see if there is any danger: a speeding or careless driver, a molester or rapist, a drunk or addled drug addict in the vicinity. This is probably an instinct that began eons ago and the genetic trait prevails to this day - at least in some of us.

I recall the first time I saw a woman breastfeeding her infant. It was on an old red wooden streetcar in Chicago. I was probably about 5 or 6 years old riding around the city with another young friend. The friend said, "The woman behind us is feeding her baby." When I turned to look, I could easily see the contented baby, and the glowing, pleasance of a young woman answering her infant child's call to nature. She smiled at me and I returned the smile quickly, and turned back away to allow her privacy with the lovely child.

I never quite could understand the lascivious perspective of breastfeeding. For those women who want to make money by providing the sick displays of sexuality let them carry on with the shame that it earns.

For mothers who choose to follow the dictates of nature, leave them alone and don't interfere with their natural call to motherly duties. Typically they are modest and "cover up" while serving the needs of the child, but there may be some who are more belligerent in the practice. Nevertheless, leave them alone and if you disapprove, look away and mind your own business.

Carl F. Selnes

Walla Walla

We should strive to be ideal society

We are not an ideal society. Sorry, but it is true.

Health care for all would be a part of an ideal society and one's finances would not be a restriction from getting that coverage. The health-care system along with most aspects of society in America is based on capitalism.

Capitalism is a great way to start a country but it has reached the point in America where our society is being controlled by the capitalist. In our politics, in our finances, in our foreign and domestic policies and in our health-care system we are strapped to what is allegedly good for the economy, but the economy that we are strapped to is the wealthy capitalists' economy not the one of the working Americans.

Those who have a lot to gain financially are the ones who want our obviously flawed health-care system to continue as it is, with the exception of possible changes that would further benefit themselves.

Opposing points of view say that "Government bureaucrats would be running our health-care system." I guess that is opposed to the way they prefer, which is with the "insurance company bureaucrats to be running our health-care system."

If this health-care debate were not going on now we would still be hearing all of the horror stories about how the insurance companies have dropped patients, raised rates and generally had their way with anyone unfortunate enough to need to see a doctor. Basically all the things they are saying would happen if we had a universal coverage are taken from the current complaint book that people say about them.

A little out of our checks to cover a system that takes only the best of what the other countries have tried and changed the areas that need changing should be an improvement for the better in anyone's eyes. (Except for the insurance companies.)

No, we are not an ideal society but the only way to reach that goal is to keep working toward it.

Health care for all is an intricate part of such a society. If it needs tweaking later, then we tweak it but we need to get started now or it will be not be put on the back burner, it will be pushed off of the stove and we will continue with business as usual.

Richard Hoffman

Walla Walla

Prescott pool synonymous with summer

I was saddened but not surprised to read that the Prescott pool has been "put to bed" (U-B Feb. 2), another victim of the economy.

After Memorial Pool closed in Walla Walla, my family and I enjoyed driving to Prescott for swimming at this unpretentious but well-loved facility. To me, the Prescott pool is synonymous with summer: Hot concrete, cool water, stubbly wheatfields, children screaming, the slap of the diving board and the fleeting glimpse of the resident swallows.

I want to say to the citizens of Prescott that I appreciate your support of your public pool for as many years as you have, and sharing the gift with the rest of us!

Ruth Russo

Walla Walla

Support urged for rural drug enforcement funding

County Clerk Kathy Martin, Sheriff Mike Humphreys and I are requesting help to protect our families and our community by asking our state legislators to continue state funding for rural county drug enforcement.

Four years ago, our state legislators recognized the need to help rural counties combat the scourge of methamphetamine and other illegal drugs. Our state legislators provided vital funding to Walla Walla County that enables us to dedicate specific personnel to combat illegal drug activity in our community. Unless we act now, that funding will end!

Over the past four years, as a direct result of this funding, our county and our 12 rural county partners have conducted over 2,358 criminal investigations.

In addition, our counties have conducted over 688 controlled narcotics buys, served over 428 search warrants, seized over 494 guns and taken more than $329 million worth of illegal drugs off our streets.

This drug enforcement program has reduced crime and increased safety in our community.

Over the last four years, on average, crime in the rural counties participating in this drug enforcement program decreased by 17 percent, which is almost double the decrease seen in non-participating counties.

Our success was only possible because it included community action, community awareness and prevention efforts.

Funding for this program will end in June unless we all act now and ask our legislators to continue funding this effective program.

Please contact our state legislators and ask them to continue to fund this vital community protection program.

We appreciate your support!

James L. Nagle

Walla Walla County prosecuting attorney

Walla Walla

Will destruction of America continue?

When is our pretender president and his incompetent crop of cronies going to change their tactics?

The American people, by and large, are on to them and their intentions. Intentions? How about actions? Deliberate, calculated, unrelenting, and in violation of the American Constitution. Time and time again.

I have the answer.

Never.

They intend, owing to the ignorance of the American people (the "it can't happen here" crowd), to "fundamentally change America." As they are currently doing.

Effectively.

Yes, they are doing exactly what they said they would do. They just didn't tell us how far they would go to do it.

Now we know. But will the destruction of America as we know it continue apace or will more and more Americans see it, hear it and wake up in time to stop it?

That's the basic question.

Is an imposed (and unread) health-care bill, followed by an imposed and imperfect cap-and-trade bill and sustained unemployment, the answer? Government sponsored, government run, government imposed?

(Oh, I forgot: it's Bush's fault.)

Richard Meyers

Milton-Freewater

Contrast in styles says plenty

A congressman wondering why his institution is held in such profound contempt by the American people need only to have turned on his television set last week. On one channel he could have seen a committee of the House of Representatives investigating the AIG bailout.

Its chief witness, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, was treated with marked discourtesy. In his opening statement, the chairman made it plain he had already made up his mind as to the facts.

Questions were asked to which the questioner already knew the answer, or was uninterested in the answer. Questions were asked to which an answer had already been given several times.

Even when a line of questioning seemed to be productive, it would be cut off by the chairman.

When insinuations were made about Geithner's character, he was not permitted to respond. It was clear that the object of the hearing was less to obtain information than to give each member of the committee five minutes for self-aggrandizement, perhaps with a view to generating a sound bite for the local television news.

On another channel he could have seen a committee appointed by the House of Commons to investigate Britain's involvement in the Iraq war.

While that was unpopular in the United States, it was much more so in Great Britain. The outcome of the hearings are important and may possibly bring down the government.

The committee and its witnesses treated one another with mutual respect. Members were clearly interested in the facts and not in posturing. Business was conducted in conversational tones.

An interesting contrast in style.

Gordon Philpot

Walla Walla

U-B carrier will be missed

It was with great sadness and a profound sense of loss that Susan Bradbury and I, managers of Golden West Estates, learned of the passing of LeRoy Limesand.

LeRoy was the U-B carrier at Golden West Estates for a number of years. His caring and concern for the tenants were unprecedented. His pleasant manner, his special Christmas gifts, his pleasing personality and his total dependability was appreciated by all of us.

He delivered his papers where each tenant wanted them left. Whether on the front or back porch, under the door mat, or in the paper box, it was always placed exactly where they had requested.

His three-wheel bike was his trademark and we always knew when he was in the park and about his business.

If he saw papers piling up at someone's home, he would contact our office to make sure there wasn't something amiss with one of our tenants.

When LeRoy informed us he was going to give up his route, the tenants came together to honor him at a special retirement party - and the clubhouse was packed.

Bob Sticklen, the new carrier, had some very large shoes to fill. But, he learned from LeRoy, and has stepped in to become an excellent replacement.

Let it be known that the tenants of Golden West Estates and customers of LeRoy Limesand will forever miss him.

The Walla Walla Union-Bulletin has lost a valuable representative and we've lost a friend.

Herschel Fullerton

Walla Walla

Check out free concerts at Whitman

Many times, I have written with my version of what is wrong with the world. But this time, I have found something that is truly "right" with the world, the "Fridays at Four" Recital Series at Whitman College.

My wife and I attended Jan. 29 and it was well worth the price of admission, free! I watched six very talented young men cut some hot licks on a cold afternoon. Jazz is definitely their forte, and you could tell they were having as much fun as those of us who came to listen.

So, if you have the time and feel a need to tap your feet, check out this series of free concerts at Whitman College. See you there!

Bruce McCutcheon

Walla Walla

Let's make prisons self-supporting

With the 2010 Washington state Legislature in session many ways are being discussed on how to trim money and generate more income to pay the bills. I have a suggestion.

Instead of cutting jobs at the Washington State Penitentiary let's return to making the prison self supporting. Now, I'm sure, many liberals will have a fit, but I see no reason why inmates can't learn a work ethic while in prison.

This would be something constructive to do every day just like real people on the outside of prison have to do. The inmates could even learn usable skills to get a job on release.

I'm suggestion raising crops, having the dairy return, making bread and other baked goods, cleaning the institution, making their clothes and clothing for other uses, doing the cooking and the laundry and all the jobs associated with living each day.

Various groups of inmates could perform each job with supervision and other conditions just like we deal with. This would give everyone constructive work and training and produce a positive income for the institution would need less money from the state.

Let the benefits be on a scale amount of work equals amount of pay. Those showing more skills than others would be paid accordingly.

There would be a lot less time to fight and cause injury and destruction. If each group of inmates doing a specific job wanted to fight let them fight each other in their specific "gang" that way they could keep each other in line.

Just a suggestion. It might work and reduce spending and keep staff jobs.

Roberta Hutchins

College Place

Letters welcome

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

Our address is P.O. Box 1358, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

If possible, e-mail letters to letters@wwub.com.

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