Letters for March 3, 2005

Kudos to Kris
Re “Small town, big culture” (RN&R, Cover story, Feb. 17)

Year of the Rooster happy new year’s greetings, and thanks for your support of the arts in Northern Nevada. I read Kris Vagner’s article on Fallon/Kirk Robertson and Valerie Serpa with admiration and delight that the region now has such a terrific arts writer. Thank you!

Jon Winet
Iowa City, Iowa

Beatles descended from Quarrymen
Re “In the fossil record?” and “What about newts?” (RN&R, Letters, Jan. 20)

I am writing in response to two letters you published against evolution: “In the fossil record?” and “What about newts?".

The first letter asks where bats, turtles, cats and cacti came from. Bats obviously came from small rodent-like mammals that developed skin over enlarged hands to be able to fly. [A guess about] turtles is easy—reptiles not given to speed that were in need of protection.

Cats developed in an environment of little water, judging by the strength of their urine, and having small creatures for food rather than the large ones that supported saber-toothed tigers and the like. I rather imagine chaparral-type environments for early cats.

Cacti are members of the rose family, which shows what little water and much sun can do. Roses in more temperate climes include a lot of fruit trees. Of course, the garden rose shows centuries of breeding by people. The original rose had five petals, and that’s how its relatives are recognized today.

To give a modern example of evolution, today’s rattlesnake doesn’t [always] rattle. What happened? So many that rattled died without sufficient issue during the six-gun era that the ones that reproduced tended to be silent. Of course, they still have the diamondback pattern and other characteristics.

It is a comforting notion from childhood that the rattlesnake rattles, but that’s not true now. So many wondrous things have been discovered in science that religious sense ought to be tied to admiration of God’s deeply creative work—but not in school.

In school, but not in science class, a student should learn creation stories of Hindu, Buddhist, Judeo-Christian and Native Americans. That would give an appreciation of symbolic and mythological uses of the mind. This should satisfy religious fundamentalists without compromising science or separation of church and state.

Jennifer Reid

Give me money
Re “Lucky Larry’s state budget surplus” (RN&R, View from the Fray, Jan. 27)

Gov. Kenny Guinn is right in proposing to return excess taxes to the citizens who paid them instead of letting unions and other special interests wrap their tentacles around it. What a boon to the Nevada economy for all this money sloshing around the pockets of consumers! We should vote out of office any legislator who opposes this proposal or tries to water it down.

Larry Parr
via e-mail

Don’t trust the government
Reading about conservatives chanting outside Sen. Rick Santorum’s town hall meeting was refreshing. The people chanting were at least telling the truth about the goals of the Republican plan for Social Security: They want the program to go away.

The use of the words “investment” and “reform” by conservatives is the ultimate lie. Removing money from the trust-fund income to allow private accounts won’t help Social Security or seniors in any way. It will bring about a fiscal crisis very soon, and the president knows that. Gen Xers and baby boomers, watch your wallets! Don’t allow your representatives to touch the trust fund or divert payroll taxes for individual gambling. It will only increase the deficit and make our children poorer than you can imagine.

Regis Leiss

Freedom from war
In his inaugural address, President Bush voiced a strong commitment to spreading freedom and democracy around the world. If the president truly supports freedom from oppression for all individuals, he should send our law enforcement officers into the homes of all American women who are victims of domestic violence. He could authorize law enforcement to set up surveillance on all homes where a strong suspicion of domestic violence exists. He could even authorize police to arrest suspected abusers before they commit their next abuse. Why don’t we do these things? We believe in liberty—even if it allows some to choose suffering.

As President Bush pointed out in his speech, to be free, people must choose to be free. In invading Iraq, he violated his own beliefs about the nature of freedom. While many in Iraq desired liberty, they had neither chosen to seek it nor democracy.

To the oppressed in the world, there are many ways friends, neighbors and allies can offer non-violent encouragement and support for choosing liberty. Once we impose freedom on the unwilling or undecided, we deprive them of the kind of choice that is the very essence of liberty.

Carl Sharp