Letters for December 29, 2005

The forest, not the trees
Re “Corps values” (Feature story, Dec. 15):

One has to value RN&R’s focus on the problems of our forests since it’s such a serious problem and not understood well by the public. However, my praise comes with a few qualifications.

The chief one originates from the tone of apologia, pervading the entire article, over the cutting down of trees. Leaving trees standing is a virtue? And the more you leave standing the more virtuous you are? Unfortunately for the greenhouse gas fear-mongers and other eco-freaks (not to mention the health of our forests), the truth is otherwise.

What Deidre Pike’s article lacked was some attention to the extremely unhealthy state of forests in the Sierra and the country as a whole. The facts are really quite simple. As any good gardener knows, vegetables don’t do well if choked by a blanket of weeds competing for soil nutrients, water and sunshine. Likewise, in a healthy forest, very young trees need a “place in the sun” in the absence of faster growing, shade-tolerant underbrush and other tree species.

Our national forest policy has largely been (and still is) one of “See a Fire, Put it Out,” especially so in recent generations. This ignores the fact that fire is a natural part of temperate forest evolution.

George Gruell has excellently documented (and illustrated) this state of affairs in his book, Fire in Sierra Nevada Forests (Mountain Press Publishing 2001). I recommend it to the entire staff of RN&R and any of its readers interested in raising their comprehension of Sierra Nevada forest health and history.

John Martinson

Touch me there
Re “Touched by an angel” (Notes from the Neon Babylon, Dec. 22):

I must comment on Mr. Van Dyke’s prostatial piece. Sure it’s humorous, but the thought of an old fella ejaculating is nauseating. Who does Van Dyke think he is, and why does he think we want to know about his juicy little friend? White-hot super sex? Please, Mr. Boggy, do you have a case of senioritis?

Kay Stenson
via e-mail

Corporate rapists
With a last-second attempt to line the pockets of big oil, House Republicans have tried to tie defense funding and funding for relief of Katrina victims to drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). This ANWR partisan politics fiasco continues to be painted by the Republicans as an issue of “national security,” despite the fact that much of this North Slope oil would, in all likelihood, end up being sold to—East Asia—as in China.

Now that seems like a mighty funny way to make the United States “safe and energy independent,” and you sure as heck won’t hear Rep. Gibbons or Sens. Ensign or Stevens, R-Alaska, broaching that subject. As we see more and more each day, the Republican culture of corruption, failure and environmental-devastation attempts knows no bounds. The limits that they will shortly, however, come to respect and understand in 2006 are called “losing the incumbency” and “losing the race for governor.”

Chris Rosamond

Pharmacists are not doctors
What’s this nonsense about Target Stores and Wal-Mart allowing their pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for contraceptives? I thought my doctor was the only person legally authorized to tell me which pharmaceuticals, if any, are necessary for my health and well-being.

Doesn’t my pharmacist have to call my doctor before changing my prescription? Why should he be able to tell me that I don’t need my prescription at all by simply refusing to fill it? A line is being crossed when my pharmacist can negate my doctor’s orders on a “moral” whim.

I don’t shop at Wal-Mart. Now it looks like I won’t be shopping at Target, either.

Joe Beverly

Politicians should keep power
Re “Hostile takeover” (Editorial, Dec. 15):

I completely agree with the RN&R’s criticism of Nevada’s initiative petition system. Democracy just plain sucks. Voters are too stupid to turn down proposals from self-serving corporations and politicians. Instead of allowing these ignorant voters to choose to support or oppose ballot questions, the Nevada Legislature should appoint me, Howard Knudsen, as Emperor of Nevada. Then I can decide which issues Nevadans get to vote on—if they’re lucky.

I promise a chicken in every pot and pot in every chicken. Appoint Howard for Emperor today!

Howard Knudsen