Letters to the editor (9/3/12)

Mothers who stay home 'real' too

In reply to "a real mom from Bethel" (Letters, Aug. 31): Mothers come in many forms. You do not have to be a single woman working outside the home and raising kids to qualify as "a real mom." My mother was raised by a single mom, who worked two jobs and raised three girls on her own. I revere my grandmother and appreciate other single moms.

I believe that mothers who stay home are also "real moms." Yes, I am married, but my husband and I chose to take a lower standard of living in order for me to stay home and raise our children (one of whom has autism). Similar to the Bethel writer's sister, I am also a breast cancer survivor. I may not be working outside the home, but I am definitely working "inside" the home.

Many of my friends and I have chosen a smaller home, less clothes and fewer vacations to be home. This also gives us time to volunteer in the community.

-- Debbie Williams, former president of Pink Ribbon Days, Inc.


Offshore banking games system to avoid paying U.S. taxes

Dr. Alan Boraas' Sept. 1 contribution cut through political rhetoric, laying bare the "supreme" goal of the GOP in its 2012 White House quest. Professor Boraas said it best: "To be anti-tax is to be anti-American." The three-legged neo-capitalist, tax avoidance, corporatocracy behemoth serves as the taproot of our American and world financial anemia.

A recent report by the non-profit Tax Justice Institute and Nicholas Shaxon's book, "Treasure Islands: Uncovering the Damage of Offshore Banking," provide deeper understanding of the system gamed by the "offshore" process of washing away taxes.

Both estimate between $21 trillion-$32 trillion in corporate and elite money currently reside in these not-so-distant tax havens, free from tax contributions these dubious "patriots" should have made at home; $100 billion annually in the US alone.

I can hear the cascading cries of "class warfare" from the far right as I write these words. But Alaskans, regardless of political stripe, despise any "gamed" system.

Matters of economic civics, not political or class warfare, clearly drove Dr. Boraas' commentary.

Which candidate has millions offshore?

-- Sam Rhodes


Peer-reviewed study shows risks to salmon from Pebble mine

Thank you Sarah O'Neal (Compass, Aug. 30, EPA study) for explaining the "peer-review" process.

We all have been inundated with information regarding Pebble mine, and it can be very confusing. Pebble proponents would have us believe risks are minimal in comparison to benefits but looking at what the EPA study indicates, this is not the case.

The EPA study shows risks to include loss of commercial and subsistence harvesting of healthy salmon because almost 90 miles of salmon streams and thousands of acres of wetlands will need to be removed; storage of Pebble mine's acidic, metals-laden wastes forever, not just 50 years, 100 years or 500 years but forever, and a breach of this tailings dam could cause 30 percent loss of Nushugak kings, 10 percent to 20 percent of Mulchatna kings and contamination of Lake Iliamna -- home of the largest sockeye run in the world.

These are just a few highlights out of this peer-reviewed study -- not critical comments from the general public or paid scientists for Pebble mine.

-- Lia Parker


'Our Body' exhibit at state fair generates multitude of comments

The Mat-Su Health Foundation offers the public's perspective on the "Our Body: Live Healthy" exhibit. MSHF's donation made viewing these specimens accessible to people who wouldn't otherwise have the opportunity and offered response cards to share their reflections; 668 people completed a card by Aug. 29. Eighty-eight percent rated the exhibit excellent; 1.8 percent fair or poor; 70 percent said they learned a lot; 43 percent would make changes to improve their health. Many thanked us for bringing the exhibit to Alaska. Some were awestruck saying, "It is simply amazing to actually see what we never have seen before." Some said "it felt wrong" and "gross." Some suggested more diseased and non-diseased comparisons. Some recommended bringing children and others did not.

One attendee gushed she might dedicate her body to science to stimulate education like this exhibit. And that summarizes what MSHF is trying to offer through this sponsorship -- an opportunity to appreciate how beautiful and special each of our bodies is and that we should treasure and take care of them.

-- Elizabeth Ripley


Romney-Ryan not so concerned about jobless

If Romney-Ryan are concerned about unemployment, why have Republican state governments laid off hundreds of thousand of workers we need -- to teach our schools and educate our children, police our cities and put out fires -- thus driving up unemployment rates, while sucking demand out of the economy and thus driving down the private sector as well?

If Romney-Ryan are concerned about unemployment, why have Republicans not supported raising taxes on the rich in order to pay those laid-off state workers -- thus maintaining demand in the economy and helping out the private sector as well?

Republicans vowed to make Obama fail as soon as he was elected and -- in order to accomplish that partisan purpose -- have been willing to see the American economy go down.

Despite that -- and despite nonsense charges of over-regulation and over-taxation -- the private sector has created millions of jobs since it hit bottom after the Bush Bust.

If we rehired all those laid-off public sector workers, unemployment would be down, demand would be up and the economy would be booming.

-- Rick Wicks


Mitt, Barack both good neighbors

I would not mind having Mitt or Barack as neighbors. I believe both men would be helpful, considerate and community-involved neighbors. They are willing to be the political whipping boys of the American political system. I am sure they will be rewarded for taking the heat, regardless of who wins.

Does anyone think the two so-called political parties will come together and allow any president to pursue his best intentions for the nation? It is just an all-encompassing smoke screen to keep all of us distracted and arguing among ourselves, while the real powers that be just keep on deceiving the American public. If Democrats and Republicans really cared, they would come together and resolve the problems that confront all American citizens.

It is not a conflict between Us and Them. "We are One, They are Them."

-- Michael Kief


Urge passage of HB25

House Bill 25 -- "Banning Gasoline Price Gouging. Introduced Jan. 18, 2011: Sponsor Pete Peterson.

Committee members: Kurt Olson, Craig Johnson, Mike Chenault, Dan Saddler, Steve Thompson, Lindsey Holmes, Bob Miller.

If you see your district member's name on this list, you should be calling them this year to see why they did not get HB 25 out of committee and if they have any intentions of getting it going again. This is a bill similar to what other states have to ensure that a fuel refiner is not allowed to gouge the public such as what we currently have in this state.

Everyone should be calling or writing their representative to ensure that this bill becomes law for the benefit of everyone in this state.

-- Irce E. Vraniak


Commercial fishers also valuable in harvesting Cook Inlet salmon

Greg Svendsen's suggestion, (ADN 8/28) that the Cook Inlet salmon resource should be awarded higher value to "thousands" of recreational users than to the "small number" of commercial fishers who mostly live out of state reeks of selfish ignorance and continues to feed the unnecessary acrimony between user groups.

Commercial fishermen who are small Alaska businesses may be fewer than recreational users but help create thousands of jobs around the state to catch, process and ship product to feed millions of people around the globe who cannot afford or do not care to come trample the Kenai river banks and catch their own fish combat style.

To equalize the debate further, there are just as many, or more, fishing guides and recreational fishermen as commercial fishermen from other states. Both sectors drop money in Alaska as well as take it with them when they leave.

Mr. Svendsen's comments would be better received if he focused on the value of both industries and how both should do their part to conserve stocks for healthy returns in the future. -- Rhonda A. Hubbard


Neil Armstrong took giant steps

Really appreciated your editorial about Neil Armstrong (Aug. 26). Interesting to note that he apparently flubbed his most famous line "one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind" having meant to say 'one small step for "a" man, one giant leap for mankind. For years the official NASA version contained the "a." There is still some debate whether the transmission was garbled but apparently Armstrong finally conceded his mistake.

For me the slip humanizes the man who was otherwise flawless carrying out his assignment to represent all of us as the first human to touch another planet.

-- Tim Troll


Legislators, pass a coastal plan

Certain of our legislators and other elected state officials emphatically stated their opposition to the ballot initiative to create a coastal management program, insisting first that the proposed program was faulty and second that it was the prerogative of the Legislature to create such a program.

Well, you now have the opportunity, yet again, to put your money where your mouth is. Please use your time, and our assets, wisely.

-- Ken Landfield


Killing of bin Laden to be praised

I cannot help but be mystified with the recent hooplah over the killing of bin Laden. Why should anyone care if he was shot one time or 200 times? He needed to be killed, any time, any place and in any manner possible. He deserved nothing more. He surely did not deserve the dignified way his body was handled.

Bringing up the armed/unarmed question is ludicrous beyond belief. Team Six got him and should be praised, not questioned.

-- Randy Randolph