Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 9/9

We don’t know

In response to Paul Krugman’s piece, “Republicans against science” (Aug. 30), yes, global warming is occurring. However, like a butterfly on a redwood tree, our perspective of time is brief. We should remember that correlation does not prove causality.

An example: The increase in 18-hole golf courses correlates well with the increase in the divorce rate during the 1960s. Because they are highly correlated, however, does not mean that one caused the other.

We can be fairly certain that the ending of the last ice age was not caused by human activity. We know that current human activity and global warming are correlated; the causality, if any, may be minor, moderate, or significant, or may not exist at all.

We don’t know.

Indeed, causality could be opposite what we think: the precession wobble of Earth’s axis, combined with solar flares, could have led to global warming 15,000 years ago, ending the last ice age, leading to a more benign environment, thereby increasing human survivability and population, and eventually a transition from hunter-gathering to the civilization we know today.

Could global warming have caused an increase in human population and activity? Oh, the irony.

James Schaefer

Paso Robles

Two issues

Eric Baskin from the fire union is to be credited for his very professional comment after the results were announced on Measures A and B. We, too, as the parents of a police officer, were disappointed.

There are two issues that need to be discussed, however. The first is the ridiculous statement that although some council members called the unions greedy and ready to suck the city coffers dry for increased salaries and benefits, it didn’t mean they disrespected the officers and firefighters.

It apparently never occurred to these council members that the unions are the employees. Unions and employees go together — you can’t have one without the other. Unless, of course, there is no union; then you just have employees with no voice. But if there is a union, insulting the unions is insulting the employees.

Andrew Carter was appalling in saying that the unions may have won the battle when binding arbitration passed but they just lost the war. Since when does an elected official consider her/his employees the enemy? That is what he was implying. One doesn’t fight a war with friends. One fights a war with an enemy. This attitude does not augur well for future management-employee relations for the city of San Luis Obispo.

Shirley Bianchi


On banning bags

Several recent letters have appeared on these pages addressing the trend toward banning plastic bags at the retail level. Seems some folks see it as an infringement of their rights, or representing an increase in cost for consumers.

In the book “Hot, Flat, and Crowded,” Thomas Friedman writes about the Chinese government’s ban on plastic bags. A few months after the government decree, none were to be found in stores or markets. China discovered that this act saved 90 million gallons of oil a year.

In this country, we have to battle lobbyists, corporate interests, disinformation and the outrage of impacted “freedom lovers” if we dare to enact such a simple act of conservation. Democracy is messy, but sometimes we are just silly.

Allen Root

San Luis Obispo

Talking points

I see that Rep. Jim McDermott is a psychiatrist. Figures.

His pro-health care legislation position (Commentary, Sept. 4) was no position at all, yet if you read it fast, you’d think he had something constructive to say. His first paragraph where he quotes “nonpartisan research” is nonsense because he does not identify the source. Yet he cleverly plants the seed of authenticity.

What The Tribune printed was not a response to the con side of this argument at all. It was the talking points the White House wants to get out before the president’s speech Thursday. Psychologically, the more times the masses hear this propaganda, the more likely they will embrace their side’s proposals.

Whatever Obama says Thursday night, just keep asking yourself where all the first stimulus money for job creation went and why does he deserve a second chance? Shovel-ready jobs? Hardly; they are just shoveling something else and hoping the masses do not notice.

Lester Katz

Arroyo Grande

A light in the sky

Here’s a little information on the new supernova that may be interesting:

From what I’ve learned, it is located in a galaxy completely outside ours called the Pinwheel Galaxy (aka, M101), and its light is only now visible to us after traveling 25 million years. To us here on Earth, it first appeared on Aug. 23 and is expected to grow steadily in brightness over the next 10 days or so.

I located M101 in my star atlas; it’s in the constellation Ursa Major at the third point of an equilateral triangle drawn above the last two bright stars in the Big Dipper’s handle. At around midnight, the Big Dipper currently isn’t in a position to see from our backyard — it’s too low on the northern horizon, behind our neighbor’s trees. However, I can just see it from the front yard with binoculars.

Nothing is visible yet in the location of M101 (I can’t see the galaxy itself), but if the supernova brightens enough, I’ll be able to spot it. It will probably appear to be just another ordinary star that wasn’t there several days ago.

John Braun

Paso Robles

Reagan revisionism

Before elevating Ronald Reagan into sainthood, Tea Partiers should consider this quote from the Chicago Tribune (“Revisionism at odds with reality,” Sept. 7):

“As president, the conservative icon approved several tax increases to deal with soaring budget deficits, repeatedly boosted the nation’s debt limit, signed into law a bill granting amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants and, despite his anti-Washington rhetoric, oversaw an increase in the size and spending of the federal government.

... As California governor he enacted ... the largest state tax increase in American history.”

In addition, as his speechwriter Khachigian put it, “He had a way of seeming steadfast, even when he was bending,” making him a master of compromise. But why bother with reality when revisionism serves the purpose so much better?

Klaus Schumann

Paso Robles

In the Constitution

I am confused: Article I, Section 8 of the Const-itution says, “Congress shall have Power to ... establish Post Offices and Post Roads ...” If the supreme law of the land says this, why isn’t Congress complying with the Constitution?

I suspect many of us are not using the Postal Service as much as we once did; we e-mail, we pay our bills electronically, etc. The reasons for the problems of the USPS are many.

However, regardless of one’s political affiliation, it seems that our government has a legal (and maybe moral) obligation to provide financial support the Postal Service. It’s the law; it’s in the Constitution!

James Murphy

Los Osos

All would want it

A comment: If poverty was good for you, rich people would get it for their kids.

Art Armstrong

Los Osos