Letters: Climate change is behind our devastating wildfires
During the wildfires, every hour, I checked the air quality index. Was it safe to go outside? I am fortunate to be safe in my home, when so many have lost their homes, or their lives. As the air in Portland began to clear, a cloud of disinformation was being spread, telling us that lives were lost and homes destroyed because of not enough logging, which is just not true. The false narrative says: "Wildfires burn because there are too many trees, too close together. To protect communities, we need to cut down the trees so they can't burn." That's what the timber industry is telling us. That is not what the science tells us.
Wildfires burn because of extreme weather conditions like we experienced over Labor Day. Extreme weather conditions are driven by climate change, caused by carbon dioxide emissions. The largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in Oregon is logging. Logging also decimates forests' ability to capture and store carbon dioxide. Fires are devastating to human communities, and it is long past time to redirect public funds into protecting human communities from fire.
In forests, however, fires are part of the cycle of life, and even after fire, forests continue to absorb and store carbon dioxide, slowing the climate disruption that creates extreme weather conditions. To care for each other, we can invest in protecting our communities from fire, and at the same time, we can protect mature forests that will in turn protect all of us.
Rep. Witt came through for unemployment benefits
The situation with receiving unemployment benefits and the Federal PUA from the Oregon Department of Employment is a tragic mess. Tragic because it has delayed much needed money to Oregon citizens most in need of it, because they have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 epidemic, and a mess due to decades of mismanagement under Democratic control.
After two months and over 200 phone calls to the perpetually busy phone number for unemployment claims help, I was losing all hope of receiving the money due me.
I called the representative for my area, Brad Witt, to ask for help. My call was returned by his able assistant, Caleb. I explained the frustration of my many attempts at getting help, and he said that he was very familiar with the problem, and that Brad and other representatives were calling for an investigation into the department.
Caleb took my information and said he would try to help me. Two days later, I had a phone call from a wonderful woman named Brittany in Salem. She reviewed my file with me, and agreed that I was entitled to both state and federal payments, and that she would see that checks for both would be sent out immediately.
Two days later I received my checks.
I am a rare (in Oregon) Republican who basically has no confidence in our local or state officials. I will now be casting my vote for Democrat Brad Witt. He is a hero, and a legislator who can be trusted! He cares for his Constituents!
Vote for Brad, he is one of the good guys!
Rep. Neron cares about her constituents
I am especially buoyed knowing that we have a representative in Salem who represents House District 26 who really cares for people. Rep. Courtney Neron cares about kids and families worrying about school re-openings, about small business being impacted, about the uncertainty in the economy and how that is affecting young parents struggling to meets their need, and about older folks and their health concerns.
I am one of those older folks in my mid 80s and the pandemic has placed me in a fishbowl, yet I worry for those less fortunate than me, both young and old.
Courtney is a strong people's advocate in Oregon for those most affected by these stressful times. We need more in Salem with her energy and compassion.
Time to stop animal cruelty in America
While we debate the composition of our nation's Supreme Court, there can be no debate about the supreme suffering taking place in our nation's factory farms.
Recent undercover investigations, show male baby chicks suffocated in plastic garbage bags or ground alive because they can't lay eggs. Laying hens are packed into small wire cages that tear out their feathers. Breeding sows spend their entire lives pregnant in metal cages. Dairy cows are artificially impregnated each year, and their babies are snatched from them at birth, so we can drink their milk.
I found more details at dayforanimals.org — World Farmed Animals Day, launched in 1983 to memorialize the tens of billions of animals tormented and killed for food. I learned that raising animals for food is also hurting our health and the health of our planet.
Each of us has to choose whether to subsidize these atrocities with our food dollars. My choice has been to replace animal products in my diet with the healthful, cruelty-free plant-based meats and dairy products, as well as the rich selection of fruits and vegetables offered by my supermarket. A quick internet search provided lots of recipes and sound advice.
COVID-19 has hit Democratic states harder
Donald Trump claimed that COVID-19 was a disease most severely infecting Democrat states and districts. I decided that had to be refuted because it just did not make sense. I decided to use an Excel spreadsheet focusing on deaths per million by state as a measure.
The elements I wanted to use were easily found on the Internet. Using current U.S. population and COVID-19 deaths as of Sept. 22 from the John Hopkins site, I computed deaths per million. To measure a state's political position I chose the electoral vote in 2016, the governor's party, and the make-up of the senators and representatives sent to Congress.
I then decided two of the three measures had to go in one direction to place a state in the most or least lethal category. For those states with 700 or more deaths per million, eight out of 10 were Democrat. For those states with less than 300 deaths per million, 10 of 14 were Republican.
So maybe the claim was not that outrageous after all. All states received the same information and guidelines from the federal government. Each state then had to set its own policies for dealing with threating environments and vulnerable people.
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