Letters for May 27, 2010

Shout it out

Too many people maintain their ignorance toward recycling. Just like not knowing where to deposit their garbage in the right place even when the trash bin is within arm’s length. Some are just plain lazy, and others are not intelligent enough to pick up after themselves. They don’t care that others have to put up with their sloppy existence. They are just plain disgraceful.

Jack Kunce

The rest of the story

Re “Thorium’s nuclear magic” (Notes from the Neon Babylon, May 13):

This may be physics-nerd type stuff, but I want to correct Bruce Van Dyke on his description of the way thorium would work as a nuclear fuel. I think it is an important correction so as not to mislead people into thinking that thorium-fueled power plants would do away with uranium and plutonium. Thorium is not fissionable, and to be precise, thorium is not actually nuclear fuel. But it can be “bred” into a suitable fuel.

Fast breeder reactors only work if they are started up with highly enriched uranium-235. With the reactors in operation and loaded with thorium, the Th-232 captures neutrons and turns into the fissionable U-233. Also, if loaded with the naturally occurring “depleted uranium” isotope U-238, the reactor also breeds the fissionable plutonium-239.

So our thorium power plant is really a uranium-thorium-plutonium power plant.

I am very pro-nuclear and know that it could be a great asset to the world if more people educated themselves about it. Nuclear power is like anything else in the universe: It is neither good nor evil. It is simply something that can either be used to extinguish countless lives or, as it is doing inside our planet and in uncounted trillions of other worlds, it can be a near limitless source of clean, efficient heat.

Lee Madsen
Sacramento, CA

The law of us

You must watch America: The Story of Us to understand why true Americans are wondering when we became the doormat of the world? Who do these foreign dignitaries think they are? They are invited into our country, fed, housed and entertained on our dime only to spit our hospitality back at us by finger waving and criticizing our laws and way of life. No sir, before any more of you wave fingers at me in my own country, you need to sweep off your own doorsteps. Look at your own corrupt and dysfunctional government. Don’t get me started on your own human atrocities, please. If you don’t respect us while in our country, don’t let the door hit you in the butt on the way out. I must also add, Mr. President, we have immigration laws for a reason. Good, bad or indifferent, the laws of this country must be upheld until we come up with something better. It is your job to protect America’s borders, all of them.

Cecelia Soper

When Fords collide

Re “Gibbons’ immoral attacks on Sandoval” (Reviled & Revered, May 20):

The reference to the 1976 fight between the Reagan and Ford camps was particularly evocative to me, as I was selected to chair the Nevada Republican Convention in Las Vegas in 1976 because I was not identified as being either a Ford or a Reagan supporter. State Sen. Jean Ford had been scheduled to chair the Las Vegas convention. The state convention was so acrimonious that Gov. List was not going to be selected as a delegate to the national convention in Kansas City because he was a Ford person. Fortunately, a group of us intervened, and he was selected to attend.

Byron L. Bilyeu

Dead on target

It almost seems that we have stopped paying attention. As another Memorial Day approaches, I don’t think anyone, no matter how they felt about the need or justification for “going to war,” believed that we would still be involved so many years later. And now after so much time … longer than almost any conflict in which we have ever been involved … we scarcely pay attention. It’s understandable, with oil spills, Wall Street predations, and budget crises affecting every aspect of our lives that the hum of battle in the distance would be ignored. It’s not like World War II where we all used ration stamps and covered our windows with black curtains, and stars hung in the windows of homes in mourning.

The drain on our resources, emotional and material, seems unchanged despite the change in political leadership 18 months ago. Personally, I feel almost too tired to think about how hopeless it seems. But the cost of not paying attention, not recognizing the people who have been damaged or lost their lives in a sincere effort to protect us from a perceived evil would tip the balance of indebtedness way beyond recovery.

And we need to be aware of those more directly affected by the fighting. Bombs do not fall on our towns, our roads are not full of lethal traps, our children’s schools are, for the most part, safe havens. Our losses are only a fraction of the waste and devastation piling up in areas of conflict.

Hope may be a fragile thing to hang on to, but I am hoping that by Memorial Day next year, our leaders will be paying attention to the needs of individual people, approaching and diffusing foreign threats through negotiation and diplomacy and that we will be excitedly applauding the reinstatement, even expansion, of university classes and the opening of new parks.

Betsy Gledhill
Sierra Interfaith Action for Peace

Home front

Re “Homework” (News, May 20):

I wonder how many of the unemployed were driving foreign cars?

Joe Draper


Re “FIT for Discussion” (Green, May 20):

Knowing Kat to be one on the best and most accurate journalists in Northern Nevada, I must have been the one to misspeak at the recent workshop on renewable energy feed-in tariffs (FITs).

FITs are a production-based incentive rather than an upfront rebate like NV Energy’s Renewable Generations program. Rebates have impact on ratepayers “in the short-term” due to the large upfront sum paid to qualified solar and wind installations.

Being a production based incentive, FITs impact ratepayers gradually over time (~2.5 percent in a decade depending on various program elements). However, the short-term economic stimulus potential can be enormous as recently evidenced in the province of Ontario, where there has been $9 billion in private sector investment and over 20,000 jobs created since adopting a FIT last year.

Bob Tregilus

Time for a change

Re “Auto terrorists” (Letters to the Editor, May 20):

I recently described being threatened by a motorist while bicycling in Reno. Last Thursday, I decided to brave another foray into the streets, but this time minimizing threats in traffic by riding on open sidewalks when possible. A police officer wrote me a citation for riding on the sidewalk. I guess there’s only one other option—quit riding bicycles. Not!

Del Williams