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Letter to the Editor for Sept. 9, 2013

Catholic apostasy doesn’t make tenets less valid

Gary Dielman is wrong about Galileo, but I’ll address a more current issue he broaches in his Aug. 28 letter. In response to my comment that following Catholic doctrine is what makes one Catholic, he said, “When it comes to artificial means of birth control — condoms and pills — most Catholic women pay no attention to the Church’s teachings. In a Gallup poll last year, 82 percent of Catholics... considered birth control ‘morally acceptable.’ And 98 percent of Catholic women admit to having used a non-natural method of contraception on at least one occasion during their reproductive years, contrary to Church dogma.”

 He is absolutely right. There is a mass apostasy in the Catholic Church today. Most of those who call themselves Catholic simply reject the faith. In politics we call this treason; in religion, we call it apostasy: the rejection of the tenets of your own faith. The majority of Catholics no longer believe in the precepts of the Church, which include the requirement to attend Mass every Sunday, and to go to confession at least once per year. And yes, the vast majority of those who call themselves Catholic do not believe artificial contraception is wrong; at least 50 percent of those who call themselves Catholic support “gay marriage”; and Catholics basically put Obama in the White House.

However, the fact that the vast majority of Catholics do not follow the tenets of their faith does not make those tenets any less valid; rather, it makes those “Catholics” wrong. The Church is right on those issues mentioned above, and there are good reasons underlying Church teaching. Anyone who wants a faithful Catholic’s perspective on those issues is welcome to email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or visit my blog at http://philotheaonphire.blogspot.com.

Jay Boyd

Baker City

 

Time for a special session


Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber is ready to try again where he failed, by a single vote, earlier this summer.

Kitzhaber called this week for a special session of the Legislature to convene Sept. 30 with one goal: Approving the governor’s “grand bargain.”

That two-pronged plan includes cuts in Oregon Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) beyond what lawmakers passed this spring, bringing the total paring to $900 million, as well as $200 million in new taxes.

It’s the second part of the package that doomed the grand bargain earlier this summer.

 

Letter to the Editor for Sept. 6, 2013


Glad to read about UV treatment plan

Hooray! Good to read the Herald headlines of  9-4-13. 

 I’m glad the UV water treatment can be in place in a year.  I felt the need to have “something” done by the city, so it pleases me that an early solution is considered.   

Thank you, in advance, to the Council members (whoever they may be) that plan to approve the plan. Let’s get a majority vote on this.  

Phyllis Badgley

Baker City

 

America’s reputation doesn’t depend on Syria


I was listening to Secretary of State John Kerry the other day as he explained why the U.S. is obliged to bomb Syria, and he seemed awfully sure of himself.

Confidence is valuable in a fighting soldier, to be sure — as valuable, sometimes, as a good rifle.

But when those who send others to fight wax rhapsodic about the moral imperatives of the coming battle, well, my instinctive skepticism deepens.

(See: Sir Douglas Haig’s diary entries before the Battle of the Somme.)

Kerry is certain, for instance, that Syrian president Bashar Assad is responsible for a chemical weapons attack on his citizens on Aug. 21.

 

Letter to the Editor for Sept. 4, 2013


Bring our military home

Relative to the editorial in the Monday, Sept. 2 paper, I couldn’t agree more!

 We have been at war for 12 years and it is time for the American people to say “enough!” Who made us the judge and executioner for the world? Who gave President Obama the right to start shooting missiles at Syria? He has become so self-important he thinks he rules the world. Well, he’s wrong. He’s made the Constitution into a “suggestion” rather than the law of the land! If he doesn’t like a law, he tells his Department of Justice not to enforce it or changes parts of the law to agree with his thinking. If he doesn’t like the response from Congress, he says “We don’t need Congressional approval, we’ll just go around Congress.” He has become arrogant and dictatorial as if he were a king, instead of the president.   What ever happened to three equal branches of government?

 If we go ahead with this “limited” strike against the Syrian government, I’ll bet the response from them won’t be “limited.”  If Obama thinks he can go in and throw missiles around willy-nilly with impunity, he’s got another “think” coming.  The people who will pay the price for his arrogance are the servicemen and women who are on the firing line. We’ve got ships lined up in the Mediterranean like we did in Pearl Harbor in 1941, and we’re likely to get some of Syria’s 4,700 surface-to-air missiles right back at us. 

We’ve become the laughingstock of the world!

It’s time to stop this insanity and bring our ships and servicemen and women home NOW! Let the Arabs fight their own wars!

Alberta Bailey

Baker City

 

Water talks in the open


In the wake of Baker City’s crypto outbreak, our elected city councilors have a responsibility to make sure that city employees responsible for the water system are doing their jobs competently, in order to prevent another public health crisis.

Unfortunately, the City Council’s public “work session” last Thursday accomplished little except to further confuse city residents who already have more questions than answers about this summer’s unprecedented contamination of their drinking water.

During that meeting councilors talked about the tone of emails they have received, apparently written by other councilors, dealing with alleged mistakes made by city staff.

Councilor Kim Mosier described the language of these emails as “hostile.”

Councilor Barbara Johnson deemed the missives “mean-spirited."

 

Letter to the Editor for Sept. 2, 2013


Struggle for true equality continues

Here we are in the conversation of race and opportunity once again — for one week at least. One cannot help but be moved by the recent commemoration of the Rev. Dr. King’s dream speech, and the remembrance it freshens of people united in support of equality. 

This was underscored by the words of the first African-American president, and others, reflecting on those times and inspiring the present.

It occurs to me to consider networking in relation to the topics of race and opportunity. It can begin in college or the workplace when individuals make important connections where they will gain support and camaraderie for their pursuits. In the sphere of Ivy League whites, those contacts can be as effectively powerful as a zoom drive into credentials and wealth. When “race” is recognized as culture, then the European-American propensity toward meetings with agendas, where the majority rules, can slam directly against the traditions of other races. By example, the culture of some African-Americans would often rather talk on the doorstep, or drop into a kitchen over food to discuss and conclude informally and friendly-like. The traditional ways of the indigenous nation-tribes would still rather meet in council, letting everyone be heard, sticking to the task until it’s done, or coming together yet another day till all are satisfied. On Earth, long before dictators and complex civilizations, communities came together to make decisions. Occupations, talents and strengths differed, but all were equal. While equality may seem relatively new, it is also very old ... it’s just been a long time that the rights of kings ran beyond reason, and the status quo trumped compassion.

How can equality live strong when a long-dominant race refuses to accept the other races’ traditions, and the dominant way is expected as the only way? How will equality look when the once-dominant becomes the minority, and tightens its already uncomfortable grip on banks, commissions and other realms of power? And what happened to consensus-building?

“Eternal vigilance is the price we pay for liberty,” wrote Jefferson. Yours, mine and ours. To my mind vigilance is more attentive than armed.

Linda Bergeron

Halfway

 

Stay out of Syria’s civil war


After more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, we’re distressed that Americans need even to consider the possibility that a single member of our military will die or be injured while intervening in Syria’s civil war.

The notion that an attack in Syria by the U.S. and other western allies is the only, or even the best, way to prevent the further use of chemical weapons in that war seems to us an illogical one.

To be sure, diplomatic alternatives offer no guarantee of success, either.

 

Oh, summer: Or, the car sun visor as calendar

A car’s sun visor, it turns out, makes for a pretty effective facsimile of a calendar.

I had a week’s vacation recently and so was afforded the great luxury, but for an occasional early-rising child, to tack on an extra hour or so of sleep each day.

And so it came as a surprise — not a shock, exactly, but in the ballpark — when I awoke on the Monday of my return in a bedroom that seemed to me as dark as a mine tunnel.

I thought at first that I had awakened a couple of hours early, a sort of overreaction to my reacquaintance with the working world.

But as I squinted at the clock radio, trying to bring its red numbers into a brief, blurry focus (I have the approximate eyesight, without my glasses or contact lenses, of a cataractic bat), I saw that it was 5:20 a.m.

Right on time, in other words.

(Or, more aptly, wrong on time. I’m not one of those people who literally jumps from bed, eager to attack the new day as though it’s an advancing soldier with bayonet fixed. My habits are more akin to those of a sloth. I emerge from the covers always slowly, always with great reluctance and, not infrequently, with outright dread.)

The reality, though, of how far summer had waned during my time off seemed especially acute a bit later, as I turned my car from 15th Street onto Auburn and headed east.

My left hand, acting in the rote way of a habit long-ingrained, reached for the visor that keeps the rising sun from temporarily blinding me and jeopardizing my fellow travelers on Auburn, including squirrels in the barrow pit and ducks crossing to get to Settlers Slough. (I don’t know why chickens cross the road, but the slough is why ducks, most generally, cross Auburn.)

At that moment I realized that the only light was coming not from 93 million miles away, but rather from my own headlights, which are considerably closer, though less bright.

(Our Buick, though a dozen years old, has several nifty features, including headlights that turn on, and off, automatically.)

There was a silvery glow on the eastern horizon, just enough to reveal the silhouettes of the Wallowas’ high peaks, but it was clear that the sun would not cleave the hills for another half an hour or so.

My hand dropped back to the steering wheel and I went on my way.

I relish this time of year because my favorite season, autumn, has begun to insinuate itself.

And its ascendancy is revealed in ways other than the lingering gloom of morning.

That Monday — actually it was this Monday, Aug. 26 — brought an autumnal chill as well. I briefly considered retrieving my light jacket from the bedpost but decided to leave it be, in deference to the forecast for a high of 86.

A couple days earlier I went for a hike on Black Mountain, just to the south of Phillips Reservoir. Although the day rode the border between warm and hot the air was also quite hazy, infused with smoke from the massive wildfire near Yosemite National Park, and it reminded me powerfully of late summers on the eastern fringe of the Willamette Valley where I grew up.

Farmers raised an awful lot of grass seed in those parts — indeed, they still do.

What they don’t do much of these days is burn the stubble fields after the harvest.

Back in the 1970s and ’80s, though, seed-growers torched thousands of acres of fields each summer, creating a miasma that, on most days, turned my street into a scene fitting for shooting a documentary about Jack the Ripper.

(Except for the absence of cobblestones. And Cockney accents. And serial murderers.)

Notwithstanding the damage this pall must have done to my lungs (I had only a passing understanding of the respiratory system anyway) I enjoyed those murky days because they foretold, as reliably as the acquisition of a couple new pairs of Tuffskin jeans from Sears, the coming of the school year and the bracing days of fall.

As I stood beside Black Mountain’s cairn-topped summit I detected the old tang of distant combustion on the air and felt refreshed, as you do when a pleasant memory of childhood comes suddenly clear.

I don’t begrudge summer.

This year’s version, although more than a trifle dry and dusty, was rather a pleasant one, a bit warmer than usual but quite nicer than the torrid season Boise residents endured, where just a handful of days since the solstice haven’t reached the 90-degree mark.

But the smoke, and the slight chill before dawn, promised better times, hinted at those crystalline days at the edge of winter when the tamaracks gleam and the dusk comes early and cold and the light from a familiar window, seen at a distance in the gloaming, can bring water to the eyes.

Jayson Jacoby is editor
of the Baker City Herald. 

 

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 28, 2013


Pointing out Catholic history is not bigotry

In a letter to the editor dated April 11, 2012, Jerry Boyd wrote that Dr. Barbara Tylka “is absolutely wrong when she states that a position regarding contraception is not part of Church dogma” and cites a Papal encyclical to prove his point.  Yet he admits that there are many bishops and priests who have “failed their obligation to show obedience” to the Pope’s position on contraception. 

In my letter to the editor of July 17, 2013, I guessed that based on his letter, if Jerry Boyd had lived in the time of Galileo, he would have agreed with the Church’s condemnation of Galileo, which I compared to Boyd’s poo-pooing global warming science as a “scam.”

Boyd’s wife, Jay, takes exception to the comparison and calls it bigotry in her letter to the editor of July 22, 2013. 

 I do not consider it bigotry when I criticize the Church’s sentencing of Galileo to home confinement for the rest of his life (eight years) for saying that the Bible’s concentric view of the world was bad science. Galileo was right and the Inquisition and Church were flat out wrong. It took the Church several centuries to officially apologize for its unfair treatment of one of the most revered scientists in history.

Jay Boyd admonishes me to “Do the research!” implying that I got the history and conflict between Galileo and the Church wrong. What’s wrong with her version of the controversy is that she conveniently leaves out the part concerning what the Inquisition and the Pope did to Galileo for speaking truth to power.  

Like her husband, Jay Boyd believes in following official Catholic doctrine. “That is the nature of being Catholic!”  Oh, really! When it comes to artificial means of birth control — condoms and pills — most Catholic women pay no attention to the Church’s teachings. In a Gallup pole last year, 82 percent of Catholics (and 90 percent of non-Catholics) considered birth control “morally acceptable.” And 98 percent of Catholic women admit to having used a non-natural method of contraception on at least one occasion during their reproductive years, contrary to Church dogma.

Gary Dielman

Baker City

Elk Creek rancher takes responsibility seriously

In regards to the Aug. 21 Baker City Herald article “Water boil order removed,” it seemed to me some basic information might be helpful. It’s stated in the article, “cattle roam Elk Creek area.” This is true. Our ranch includes Elk Creek from Highway 7 upstream to the city watershed boundary. If you drive roads in this area you will probably see cattle some time during the summer. We do not run cattle in the Baker City watershed. There is, and has been since 1982, a fence along the Forest Service grazing boundary and the city watershed. Prior to 1982 the fence extended only from Stub Ridge to Elk Creek. Now it includes Section 6 ridge to Elk Creek.

These are three-wire drift fences designed so game can jump then, but good enough to turn cattle. Maintenance is not the responsibility of the city or the Forest Service. It is the responsibility of the permittee — yours truly — who grazes the cattle. Being responsible for the fence maintenance, as well as the cattle grazing, I can tell you this: The fencing was done. The cattle, during the time of this crypto outbreak, were in the California Gulch pasture. They are now in the Blue Canyon/Auburn area with some that have drifted north to Elk Creek. While three pair did briefly enter the watershed last week below the diversion they were removed quickly since when I got the call I was nearby and horseback. The fence where they entered was fixed immediately. I have what I consider a good relationship with the city water folks. If they see cattle, or signs of cattle, I respond as soon as possible.

In 2012 the gate below the Elk Creek water diversion was left open by people. The pile of Keystone beer cans and garbage they left was the evidence. This happened around the Fourth of July and scattered cattle all over the head of Elk Creek to Washington Gulch. This manure would be white and dry this year. From what I understand crypto is spread by contact with wet feces.

My family takes our ranch duties and work seriously. It is how we make a living. We, like our town friends and neighbors, are concerned about this sickness and hope it never happens again. Finding the exact cause might be very difficult.

My two cents? The carrier is more likely a raven or predator than a ruminant animal, wild or domestic.

Don Foster

Baker City

City needs to set aside money for water plant

The city was telling us not to drink their water (good advice!) for the many months until they get either a UV or a filtering plant installed. But they are still billing us at the full rate for this undrinkable water.

In the normal manner of such things the city will continue billing at full rate for water we mustn’t drink until the plant is built, then lay a large levy on us to pay for the plant.

It seems to me that instead, the city (and we consumers) could and should prepay this plant (or a large part of it) by setting aside a portion of the city’s water receipts (nominally representing the water we don’t drink) through these months for that purpose. Doing this would, if not eliminate the need for a levy, greatly reduce the size and cost of whatever levy is still needed. And also make the aforesaid continuing full billing seem greatly more fair.

It may be this idea just needs to be taken up with the next Council meeting.

Dan Martin

Sumpter Stage Highway

 
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