Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday March 16, 2011 - 12:12:00 PM

Torture; Charity; Those Old Tea Partyers; Who Pays for PGE’s Misdeeds?Union Busting; No War  


Obama's endorsement of the torture of Manning follows his order Monday to resume the drum-head military tribunals at Guantanamo and hold 48 of the 172 remaining detainees under indefinite detention without any form of legal process. He is, no less than his predecessor, an accomplice in the sadistic abuse and torture of prisoners both at Guantanamo and on the US mainland. 

R.G. Davis, Ph.D. 



I keep a manila folder on my desk at all times for easy reference. It's labeled "Charities" and fairly bulges with appeals from dozens of charitable foundations (Alzheimer's Research, American Friends Service Committee, Cancer Institute, Catholic Relief, Doctors without Borders, Special Olympics.) The list goes on and on. Not exactly Mrs. Got Rocks, I generally limit my donation to one a month. Today I sent a check to the American Red Cross for the Japanese Earthquake victims 

I must confess that I'm turned off by charges that many of these so-called legitimate and highly recognized charities squander most of the money received on business lunches at expensive restaurants and weekend retreats luxury resorts. For this reason, I googled the American Institute of Philanthropy, the nation's preeminent charity watch dog and learned that indeed there's much shameful and unethical use of funds not going to the people for which they were intended. The Institute claims that of the over five hundred charities rated, only a select number quality as top rated charities, spending 75% or more of their budget on useful programs. 

It's common knowledge that Americans, on a whole, give generously to charitable foundations, especially in emergencies. In donating to these foundations, you'd be wise to do a bit of research to endure that they're legitimate organizations providing relief to those in desperate need. 

Dorothy Snodgrass 

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Those Old Tea Partyers 

The Anti-government Tea Party is predominantly composed of middle to older aged people. What would the reaction be if they lost their "government” sponsored Medicare and Social Security benefits? What's up with the anti-government fringe? Don't they realize how lucky they are to have all the government services they use and take advantage of? I think these people have way too much time on their hands and minds. 

Ron Lowe 

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Who Pays for PGE’s Misdeeds? 

Recently, officials from the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration found that PG&E avoided time-consuming and costly inspections of natural gas transmission pipelines. PG&E's apparent violations of federal regulations reminds me of the decision in PG&E's bankruptcy case where the judge awarded $17.5 million in additional bonuses for a "management retention program" intended to prevent about 226 top executives from departing during the bankruptcy process. Given recent disclosures, PG&E should have let these executives depart and then hired a more competent management team and possibly saved the lives of eight people and 38 homes in the Sept. 9 San Bruno explosion. Who is going to pay for PG&E's apparent malfeasance? We ratepayers. 

Ralph E. Stone 

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Union Busting 

In a vote, 18 Republican legislators in Wisconsin have taken it upon themselves to restrict the bargaining rights of public unions. This sounds almost dictatorial. Wisconsin's Republican governor Scott Walker has been blaming the state's budget deficit on the public unions even though they have offered ample concessions. In actuality, the budget deficit came about because of cuts in corporate taxes. 

This month long smackdown in Wisconsin was not really about the budget deficit, but about busting unions with an eye on the 2012 election. Walker and Republican governors from adjoining states and around the country want to crush unions because they raise money and vote predominantly Democratic. Case in point: Police and firefighter unions who backed Walker last year were exempt from his attacks. Don't be in the wrong union. 

Ron Lowe 

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No War

James Madison's often quoted dictum, "No nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare," reflected a view that was widely shared by the Founders. That concept was a basis for our Constitution's provision that only Congress can declare war. Yet, today, America's presidents start wars as if they were kings in old Europe. (Those wars, it should be noted, were a major reason our forefathers risked all to leave Europe.) 

United States produces 9.0% the world total oil. In 2009, the U.S. imported about 52% of the crude oil and refined petroleum products that it used. In other words, America could have saved that much oil simply by being more conservative in their consumption rather than having to go to war to try to get back. But they'd rather go to war & lose tens of thousands of lives, & all the billions of dollars a war will cost, & God only knows what else! 

We take a stand for the principle in Thomas Jefferson's first inaugural address: "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations - entangling alliances with none. Imagine how much this war is costing them! If they would double the price of gasoline for years & years, that still will only be a minute drop in the bucket to what this war is costing them. 

Ted Rudow III, MA