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Letters, Sept. 1

Dazed and confused

The massive conglomeration of petrochemical and oil facilities along the Texas Gulf Coast has asked the federal government for $12 billion on top of the $3.9 billion the administration gave them last month.

The tax-funded support would be used to continue construction of a huge 60-mile-long wall/barrier to “combat the more powerful storms and tides yet to be expected from the ongoing results of climate change.” Now this climate change effect poses a threat to these facilities and the spectre of an equal threat to “national security” has been raised. In addition, the state of Texas maintains a “rainy day” fund of around $11 billion for these kinds of contingencies, but has opted not to use any of it.

Enter daze and confusion. We remember that the U.S. government has denied the existence of climate change and, in fact, has deleted all mention of the phrase from all federal scientific documents. Candidates run on that denial, and somehow, even sensible Republicans seem to have drunk that Kool-Aid. The pretend reality, and the actual reality do get blurred on occasion, don’t they? Could the pretend reality win out?

Don Azar

Phoenix

Paying it forward

Earlier this year, you read about me turning in cans to afford a new kidney. You responded with generosity and donated the funds necessary for me to be added to the kidney transplant list.

This is me trying to pay it forward.

I am 24 and have been dealing with kidney failure since age 12. I am not alone. More than 660,000 Americans are being treated for kidney failure. Without a transplant, kidney failure patients rely on dialysis, an incredibly expensive and time-consuming treatment. We have no choice. Treatment or die.

Insurance companies are trying to stack another card against dialysis patients by limiting our health care choices. They are trying to convince federal regulators to allow them to deny coverage to kidney patients who depend on charities to provide financial assistance for their insurance premiums.

Why? Patients like me are expensive and they would rather not foot the bill. By denying access to private insurance they make more money but patients, and taxpayers, pay the price. This has to stop. I am the beneficiary of help and charity. Other patients should be able to benefit from help as well. Insurance companies should not stand in the way.

Ashley Mayer

Medford

Walden’s voting record

I read Rep. Greg Walden’s guest opinion with interest. The increasing intensity, duration, and scope of wildfires is a worldwide phenomenon with a worldwide underlying cause: climate change driven by greenhouse gas emissions. Better fuels reduction is necessary and advocated by both parties. However, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is also necessary. Walden has voted as follows:

July 19, yes on HCR 119 expressing sense of Congress that carbon tax would be detrimental; 2011, yes on HR 910 barring EPA from regulating greenhouse gases; 2009, no on HR 2454 limiting carbon dioxide emissions (cap and trade); 2008, no on HR 5351 providing tax incentives for renewable energy; 2001, no on HR 4, raising CAFE (vehicle fuel efficiency) standards; 2000, no on HR 4690 implementing Kyoto protocols.

Walden has opposed international agreements, regulation, and market-based initiatives. Walden talks a good game, but his voting record says, “Let them breathe smoke.”

Teresa Hogan

Medford

What made America great

My grandmother Eva was born in 1900 to Jewish parents, Lazar and Leah Aranov, near Kiev, Russia. Gram was one of 11 siblings — the two eldest were killed during an anti-Semitic raid. Pogroms, a Russian word for “devastation,” were approved Cossack attacks on property or lives of religious, racial or national minorities.

One time the Cossacks came and ripped her sister’s pierced earrings without allowing the young girl to remove them. The Aranovs needed to leave their homeland to live without fear.

In 1910, the eldest boys, Max and Nate, entered the United States and lived with cousins in Chicago. They took any job to send money for tickets back home. They arrived, one by one, working to bring the others. Eva was 14 when she and her sister Fanny made their way across Russia and then by boat to the U.S. Gram never saw her mother or youngest brother again. Leah died on the boat bound for the U.S. Lavov was conscripted into the Russian Army. Her sister Chiah escaped to Israel.

Why America? “It is the land of milk and honey,” Gram said to me when she was 87 and recounting her life. “Anything is possible in America.”

Cheryl French

Ashland

Where is Walden?

Thank you for your definitive editorial Aug. 19 on forests and fires. It is packed with solidly researched information about the critical role of climate change in wildfire dynamics, and it stands as a timely balance to the worn-out rhetoric of Greg Walden in his Guest Opinion about “forest management.”

I have to say I was curious about Walden’s claim to have “traveled throughout Southern Oregon in recent weeks” and met with many of us. I didn’t hear about any such visit involving public meetings, and the Mail Tribune certainly didn’t report one. In fact, a widespread complaint in our region has been Walden’s continuous evasion of town hall meetings with us, his constituents. So has he been getting together with Southern Oregonians out of the public eye? If anyone in District 2 has seen him lately, please let us know. Where is Walden?

Molly Tinsley

Ashland

Big oil hypocrisy

In the Mail Tribune Aug. 23 there was an article about how big oil wants the taxpayer to fund a 60-mile sea wall from Louisiana to Houston to protect their facilities.

This is rich. Not only has the oil industry helped to bring on global warming, but now they want the taxpayer to protect them from their ruinous practices? If it were only the height of hypocrisy that would be tolerable, but to spew doubt about global warming for years and now to ask us to literally bail them out is beyond outrageous. I have written to my elected officials to ask them to have the oil industry pay for the wall themselves.

Mary O’Kief

Ashland

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