Speak out 3/17/08

Monday, March 17, 2008

Locally produced

A COMMENT recently blamed the rising costs of food and other necessities on the increase in minimum wage. While that may be a factor, maybe even a major factor, it's not the only one. For various reasons, most of them downright foolish, most of our food travels thousands of miles to reach us, despite the fact that many of those traveling products are grown or raised right here in our area. The price of transportation is exorbitant, causing the sales price to be high. If you're really interested in reading an easily understandable discussion of this topic, read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver. It's a bit preachy in places, but overall it's an intelligent discussion of this issue. In short, it is the consumer's behavior that has brought this mess upon us. We no longer, as a society, buy locally produced products from locally owned businesses. In our short-term desire for more, more, more at what seemed like a lower price, we are paying the long-term price. Read the book for yourself. The author is not alone. Most others who study this issue agree with her.

Driving age

THEY FINALLY got it right. Raising the age for a driving permit to 17 and license to 18. Not only will this reduce gas consumption, but also the number of teenage fatalities. I challenge anyone to observe the students at Central High School at the end of the day. My child will not be driving until 18, just as I did. You are not an adult until 18 and should not be given an adult responsibility until then.

Gas prices

ALONG WITH everything else in the country, gasoline prices are rising. Our country has numerous ways of lowering gas prices, but officials refuse to do it. We could drill in Alaska, but some people can't trust that God will plant new trees and environmentally friendly stuff, so we can't drill in our own country. We also have a gas stockpile. I'm not saying we have to use all of it, just a tiny bit — enough to get prices down a few pennies. Come on, government. Don't sit around and let gas prices burn a hole in people's wallets.

Using the gym

I PAY my gym fees so I can use all the resources that are available to me. That means the track, pool, treadmills and weights. There is a sign that lets people know what lane to use depending on if they are running or walking. I am healthy because I go to the gym.

History in action

IN RESPONSE to the "History or myth" comment: Could I also assume that George Washington was in the right place at the right time and nothing he said or did affected the outcome of the Revolutionary War? Or that Abraham Lincoln was in the right place at the right time? Or that JFK had no effect on civil rights? I believe it was Ronald Reagan who stated, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."

Tax lesson

SITTING HERE eating my breakfast I was complaining to my wife about how state and federal governments were wasting my tax money when a revelation flashed through my mind of just how much of my tax money they had wasted. This year my wife and I filed jointly and only paid $46 federal income tax and nothing for state income tax. After this revelation I had to chuckle and tell my wife I wondered how many other people were griping just as I was and had never thought about just how much tax they actually paid. We will probably get $300 each from the federal government as a stimulus for the economy. Lesson learned: Think before you complain.

Right to vote

I HAVE to disagree with the article "Confusion leads to some complaints in the Feb. 5 vote." My voter registration card states that I am in the 158th District, and I was not given a ballot with the candidates for that district. I contacted the county clerk's office and was told "sorry." I feel sorry does not get it. I was not allowed my constitutional right to vote. I'm afraid of what will happen in November.

Limbs in streets

WHY DO people take limbs out of their yard and put them in the middle of the road? Do they not know that that's disruptive to traffic? I've been down some roads that you have to physically stop to let another car come by to go around the limbs. I think those people should be fined for putting limbs in the roads.

Horse headache

THE STORY about horse-size headaches was good. It told it like it is. Farmers are finally getting what their hay and grain are worth. For years horse owners have tried to get hay and grain as cheap as possible, and they got it. Payback is here in more ways than one. The Humane Society worked to ban horse slaughter for admirable reasons, but now we have 20- and 30-year-old horses that can't walk and have a low quality of life. You can't sell them to anybody. Does the Humane Society think we need to feed them until they die? That's not a humane option.

Blame activists

I JUST read the article about the unwanted horses. I blame animal activists and the Humane Society. A couple of years ago you could take a crippled horse to the auction to sell it. Killers would buy it and humanely destroy it and use it for human consumption in Canada. You could use the hide. Now you have to bury the horse or do something that would cost you money. Crippled horses should be destroyed.

Voting privilege

VOTING IS not a right. It is a privilege and should be viewed as an informed responsibility. Candidates should be selected by what they stand for, not by their gender or color.

Jackson mess

I'M CALLING about the mess in Jackson. Please get the cleanup done. We are getting ready to mow our yards. This is a disgrace to Jackson to leave the city in this kind of condition.

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