Letters for April 24, 2014

Greed isn’t good?

Re “This land is our land” (Editorial, April 17):

This wasn’t an ongoing tax based on grazing rights but rather an “invented” environmental fee regarding tortoises. It appears the Bureau of Land Managment is going to (smartly) back away from this one. Bundy was in the right. I’d bet the Environmental Protection Agency doesn’t have any empirical evidence that cattle grazing really effects the tortoise population, but it’s a great excuse. As Bundy stated, years ago, there were lots of tortoises and lots of grazing, including sheep, which are rougher on the foliage than cattle. Also, as Bundy asked, “The feds have irradiated large parts of Nevada, and now they are worried about some tortoises?” Our government and their corporate masters need to tread lightly or there could be violence, and that would be bad. Unfortunately, the big-headed Wall Streeters probably won’t get it until a few of them are swinging from light poles. (I’m not proposing anything.) Yup, our world is going south in a handbasket, and it’s all due to greed. I hope we live long enough to see a better day. Greed will never go away—it’s human nature—but hopefully they’ll stop teaching it in our schools as being a positive attribute.

John Bogle


For the pets

A donation-matching mission in full swing to benefit pets that belong to the homeless. A donation-matching challenge, issued by the WHC Foundation of Reno to Pets of the Homeless of Carson City (POTH), will help pets that belong to the homeless in Northern Nevada. Until September, the Foundation will match donations up to $10,000. The money will be used to provide pet food to area food banks, emergency veterinary care for pets that belong to the Northern Nevada homeless population, and sponsorship of at least two wellness clinics during the year in downtown Reno. Nationally, since 2008, POTH has treated over 10,000 pets of the homeless with veterinary care and POTH’s 475 member collection sites have reported over 265 tons of pet food has been taken to food banks in their respective communities. To donate or learn more, go to www.petsofthehomeless.org

Genevieve Frederick

Carson City

Fear of an inorganic future

Re “The Organic Food Lie” (Feature story, Feb. 13):

The article demonstrates modern biochemical accomplishments that will shape the world scientifically, agriculturally, medically and socially. The whole world is currently in a biological revolution, which was triggered by the agricultural revolution and the need to supply countless countries with the food necessary to support their growing populations. The reason people continue to die for lack of nutrition is due to the people who are standing in the way of science and what we can accomplish with it. (This includes people who are against transgenic crops and modern business policies that squeeze every penny from customers, as well as unsustainable population growth.) There is no evidence that transgenic food has ever caused a human death. Transgenic crops cannot alter human genomes simply by eating them. The proteins and carbohydrates of transgenic plants are broken apart into carbon and nitrogen just like any other food a human eats. Of course enhancing a gene is going to cause strains on the metabolic regulation of the plant, but the shift will not result in something deadly or even poisonous, it will simply focus the energy the plant uses on growing its fruits instead of growing leaves. Even if off-gene effects resulted from the transformation, they would quickly be recognized and terminated in the thorough testing all products go through. The only threat transgenic crops pose to the world is the potential for them to grow out of control and displace strains growing in the wild. Luckily, science controls this potential problem by disabling the plants from reproducing, which is why farmers have to buy seeds from companies like Monsanto every year.

Haley Toups

Carson City

We need erosion abatement

Re “Big brother’s warm, friendly hand” (Let Freedom Ring, April 10):

All of these stupid federal government reactions, such as the National Defense Authorization Act, are knee-jerk reactions by government to perceived catastrophes that the federal idiots feel merit unconstitutional acts at the federal level. If these federal idiots would react in a civil, descent and constitutional manner; the terrorists would not gain the erosion of the principles upon which this nation was founded, nor would we lose the efficacy of those principles.

James M. Young


Try Snopes

Re “On second thought” (Notes from the Neon Babylon, April 10):

Since Bruce Van Dyke has already absorbed a dose of reality on this, he might also take 10 minutes to fact check the reality of his despised Koch Brothers’ actual involvement with XL. Hint: It’s also mostly, if not all, more mythology. Dare not to be just another knee jerk!

I enjoy Van Dyke’s bird reports from Ranch Secluso on the NVBIRDS forum.

Brian Adams


Two degrees of devastation

Re “On second thought” (Notes from the Neon Babylon, April 10):

There are many good reasons to say “no” to Keystone, and to say “yes” to jobs. It will not create the jobs claimed for it, nor will it reduce prices at the pump. In fact, prices may go up as domestic oil finds easier ways overseas. It threatens drinking water supplies. But most importantly, the International Energy Agency estimates that Keystone could harvest three times the carbon that would take us over 2 degrees C, the absolute limit for a catastrophe we might survive, if we’re lucky. And other carbon projects are in the wings, taking us up to plus-6 deg. C, with “massive climate change and irreparable damage” How reckless can we be?

We are warned of this climate abyss by our most trusted messengers, such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, every scientific academy, the very conservative World Bank, fact-checked by National Geographic, Scientific American. We are told of current disastrous health effects by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization and the American Medical Association. We cannot rely on state department assessments, if made by employees of the carbon industries. And Keystone could eventually strip forests the size of Florida, forests that might have absorbed enormous quantities of CO2 before they were removed as “overburden.” Would Keystone “replace” those forests? They’ve said they would make good any future damage. Laughable.

Many of us know the bitter taste of the weird weather out there, with just current warming of .8 deg C. Shall we roll the dice for our kids and grand kids, saying “let it ride!” beyond 2 degrees and more? More, and we might invite abrupt, irreversible changes. No, taking your kids to soccer practice or Disney World does not make up for that. With its high risks and low return, Keystone XL is not a smart gamble.

Jan Freed

Los Angeles, Calif.


Re: “What drones may come” (Feature, April 17): We incorrectly stated that documentary director John Heminway used Drone America vehicles during the production of his National Geographic film Battle for the Elephants. We apologize for the error.