POSTED ON JUNE 10, 2009:
Love Letters/Hate Mail
Creative License Revoked
The cover article (UTW, 14-20 May, "Let the Children Play") states that ORU Drama Dept. was a 2-person department until 2007. Not true. There was a 3rd person, usually a tech director, for at least a couple of decades before that.
I worked as third person in the dept. from August 1994 until Oct. 2002, having Martin, Crawford, and Sanders in my classes and often my shows during the last years of my time there.
Editor's Note: Thanks, Frank, for setting the record straight.
How Do You Define Progress?
I find I must respond to the guest editorial by Dr, Mark Hendrickson, (UTW, 21-27 May, "Economic Strangulation"). I would like to make several points.
First, it is useless to use huge numbers when talking about energy reserves and usage as well as acreages of land. These figures are meaningless unless we have something to compare them to. It does me no good to know that under 109 million acres of public protected wilderness there are "estimated" to be 300 million barrels of oil. I need to know some proportions. What fraction of total U.S. oil usage in one year is that exactly? Most readers do not have those figures at their finger tips and yet you are asking us to respond to what for are is a HUGE meaningless numbers with no context.
It is possible that the fraction is so small that by using some simple conservation methods we might make up for that lack in order to protect our wilderness. What about the ability of wilderness areas to soak up carbon or clean our surface fresh water? How do we figure THAT into the equation? And just how much is 109 million acres? What fraction of our total land mass is that? It could be small enough that we WANT to protect it from possible contamination. Just how long will that oil and natural gas last given a continually growing economy and population? One week, a month, a year, a decade? Is that long enough to compensate for leveling the tops of the Appalacia mountains and ruining their streams or causing the breakdown of a coastal environment, killing species?
If the American public is going to express to our statesman and public servants our opinions on the quality of our lives in the future, we need ALL the facts. We need all those involved to be willing to come to the table with clear information and not just sound bites designed to influence our thinking to benefit a corporation rather than most of our citizens.
For example, the term "foreign oil" is often bandied about to make us imagine oil rigs in middle-eastern deserts. That is scary. But most of our oil comes from Canada, followed by Mexico and South America. Very little if any comes from the middle-east. That is not so scary especially compared to our credit debt to China which the government took on with no fear even before the bailouts.
Just how much energy can we save by making minor changes to our wasteful lifestyle, changes that would not be that noticeable. Most businesses find that eliminating waste is just like increasing income but your column makes it sound like the American economy must continue to grow and spend in order to maintain any progress. Why not decrease waste? That doesn't slow progress.
And what do you mean by "progress?" Certianly not higher wages for us working people. Our economy was growing, the GNP was increasing and businesses were taking in larger profits, and paying bigger returns on investments but for the majority of us, wages stagnated. We worked harder, increased production and someone else made the money.
I question whether unfettered progress means an end to poverty. It certainly didn't provide us with affordable health care or produce nutritious food. And our suburban lifestyle required cars which increased the use of petroleum products while demanding little physical activity. For these reasons our children's life expectancy is shorter than our own even in the midst of growth and economic progress.
What good will economic progress do for the wage earners of America when global warming makes our lives even more difficult and our water sources more depleted and polluted while the soil no longer sustains healthy crops? Our planet is limited. You can see that from space. Technology cannot change that simple fact. We cannot sustain runaway growth but thankfully WE live in a country still blessed with enough resources if we live sustainably. Others are not nearly so well off.
We need a different kind of growth, progress and productivity. Certainly more of the same won't do anymore than it already has. Changing our approach won't be easy. But I don't need more "stuff" from WalMart, a bigger car using cheaper gas, more junk food, ugly suburbs. I need a challenge. I want to think I can make a difference. I will gladly ride my bike or a bus, hang clean clothes outside, save rainwater for my garden, live more simply. I'll happily get by on my stagnant wages, if in return I can see all my fellow citizens get decent healthcare and education. I'll do without economic growth if I know the wilderness is thriving just in case we need it.
I want to know that my grandchildren will enjoy a livable environment with clean water and good food. So, let's bring ALL the facts to the table and let's care more about our people and our planet than we do about financial success. We need to stop relying on an unfettered Marketplace to solve these problems. It sounds good but if the Marketplace's job is to increase profits, that doesn't necessarily mean it will be concerned with the long range picture such as the quality of life for the world's people fifty years from now? Let's find out what we need to know and face reality. Let's not assume the truth of easy answers. Let's not guess. We have problems to solve together and I'm thinking that might be the kind of progress I can work for.
Only the Good Die Young
I can't figure out what moral compass Dr. Hendrickson (UTW, 21-27 May, "Economic Strangulation") is using to lead us away from the Democrats' environmental agenda on the grounds of its potentially adverse economic impact. Which major faith tradition or belief system holds that nothing should be done which might hinder economic growth? Which Christian sect tells us we have a divine right to indulge ourselves in cheap, dirty, coal-fired electricity? Which variety of Judaism or Islam encourages its followers to riot in luxury at the expense of future generations? How many secular humanists are out there claiming that humanity should continue to shoot itself in the foot by destroying the long-term integrity of our biological habitats in the name of short-term pleasures? If Dr. Hendrickson were told he could live longer by eating healthier foods at the expense of his taste-buds, his reply would be, "live fast, die young." I can think of only one sort of belief system that supports this kind of thinking: hedonism. If he'd told us more clearly where he was coming from, we could've seen more clearly where he's trying to lead us.
What Starts in California Spreads
Former President Jimmy Carter once said, "Whatever starts in California unfortunately has an inclination to spread." How true this is! Yet, with the Golden State's recent rejection of budget referendums intended to raise taxes to compensate for decades of liberal government spending and the state's Supreme Court, six to one decision, upholding the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman; let's hope this new found common sense in California does indeed spread to the rest of the country. Perhaps fortunately, what has started in California will make its way to Washington, DC?
-Phillip W. Smith, Oklahoma City
I have devised a new drinking game that your readers may be interested in:
Step 1: Pick up a copy of Urban Tulsa Weekly
Step 2: Turn to Cory Cheney's weekly movie reviews.
Step 3: Take a shot each time he uses the word "suck", or any variation of the word.
You will be intoxicated in no time! I find it very amusing that he points out in his most recent column that he isn't 18 years old any more, considering he writes like a high school student with a "D" average.
On the other hand, I have nothing but praise for your real film critic, Josh Kline. He is an intelligent man, and while I don't always agree with his opinions, he presents them in a way that makes me respect them. And, as far as I know, he has never used the word "suck" in his reviews.
Your #1 Selling-Out Vehicle Manufacturer
General Motors (GM) received $20 billion in U.S. government loans and might need another $50 billion to survive.
GM plans to close a number of U.S. plants and lay off thousands of workers. The UAW has agreed to eliminate or reduce employee benefits to drop the average wage, including benefits, from around $75 per hour to near $45 per hour, which is the average wage of U.S. auto workers at foreign plants in the U.S. Hopefully, GM will cut management staff and reduce executive salaries. These actions should make GM cost competitive and save thousands of American jobs.
However, to my astonishment, GM plans to increase imports from Mexico, South Korea, Japan and China from 15 percent in 2009 to 23 percent by 2014. Approximately 50,000 cars will be imported from Communist China by 2014.
Evidently the U.S. taxpayers are loaning GM $20-$50 billion to stay alive so it can close U.S. plants, lay off U.S. workers, transfer some production to foreign countries like Communist China and import inferior cars to the U.S. so more U.S. workers can be laid off. And our insurance rates and health care costs will increase from accidents as the wheels falls off the Chinese made vehicles.
We don't need imported cars. We need fuel efficient, reasonably priced cars manufactured in the U.S.
- Donald A. Moskowitz, Londonderry, NH
Covet Thy Neighbor's Religion
All this fuss over some old rules that no one really disagrees with seems silly. It is not the Ten Commandments themselves that people disagree with, but rather the perceived ties to a religion. Seems like the ACLU should have better things to spend their time on, like labor rights for immigrants.
As for the historical value, whether or not a person believes in any religion, the US was founded on Christian principles. Personally I don't care whether a monument gets placed. It's not like anyone is going to be converted or influenced by a statue.
More than anything this seems like a political game. Politicians are trying gain respect (and votes) from different groups based on whether they support or oppose this hunk of rock.
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