Saturday, March 26, 2011
Fort Walla Walla Museum valuable to community
Recently I spent time at the Fort Walla Walla Museum doing research at the library, and because of the assistance of James Payne, the executive director, I was able to achieve my goals, even to surpass expectations.
I'm at work on a biography of Brevet Lt. Col. Edward J. Steptoe, who built the second fort (the "cantonment" on land now in downtown) and the third, permanent fort on land now occupied by the Veterans Affairs Hospital.
Most of your readers probably associate him with the disastrous defeat at the hands of various tribes in what is presently Rosalia.
Mr. Payne was able to direct my attention to a number of valuable sources that had so far slipped below my radar.
I'm sure nearly all of your readers are aware of what a valuable resource that museum has been for your community.
Because of it, to put the matter in dollars and cents, my wife and I spent two nights at the Marcus Whitman Hotel, ate three dinners at local restaurants and purchased more than $100 worth of apparel at your downtown Macy's.
When the subject of funding or of donations comes up, perhaps this supportive evidence might be brought forth. I am sure our experiences were not unique.
We also spent valuable time at Whitman College's archives, where the librarians were friendly and helpful, as were other folks we met in your lovely town. We always enjoy ourselves there, and we'll be back.
professor of English
University of Idaho
Consider donating to Senior Center
As a member of the Board of Directors for the Senior Center, the purpose of my letter is to let the community know the center is going to be running a financial deficit this coming year.
An article in March 13 U-B, I am quite sure, was intended to also give you the same message. The article supposedly was quoting a spokesman for the center, but I am concerned it may have had a negative effect in trying to raise funds.
The spokesman expressed concerns about HR1, passed by the House of Representatives on Feb. 19, which would eliminate funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service. His remedy, "To look at the tax code, and stop the tax breaks for the super rich."
We could tax the super rich 100 percent and still not make much of a dent in the national debt! Ninety percent of the taxes are already paid by the top 10 percent of income earners. People, we don't seem to get it!
We as a nation are broke unless we get a handle on spending at the government level. It would also help for all, except the very poor and totally disabled, to pay some federal tax. Fifty percent of us pay no federal income tax.
I am hoping my letter is to encourage us all to work together in this community to raise our own funds to keep the center operating.
Each dollar we raise at home will accomplish as much as four the federal government administers back to us.
The center fulfills a wonderful function for all who use the facility as well as the many other functions it performs for the community. Please consider donating directly to the center.
So, what did Founders really mean?
Thomas Peacock ridiculed my statement that the Founding Fathers intended citizens to possess the same firearms as the military ("Opinions are just opinions, not facts," March 22).
He claimed my opinions are not facts, yet opined that he knew the Founders' intent based on his own 21 years in the Army and experience with military firearms.
That's a poor, fallacious analogy but since he doesn't trust my opinion, how about those of the Founders themselves? Let the reader be the judge:
Noah Webster (1787): "Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States."
Alexander Hamilton (The Federalist, No. 8, Nov. 20, 1787): "The smallness of the army renders the natural strength of the community an overmatch for it; and the citizens ... stand ready to resist a power which they suppose may be exerted to the prejudice of their rights.
The army under such circumstances, may usefully aid the magistrate to suppress a small faction, or an occasional mob, or insurrection; but it will be unable to enforce encroachment against the united efforts of the great body of the people."
Thomas Jefferson (Nov. 13, 1787): "What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?"
James Madison (Federalist, No. 46): "Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed ... (but) the highest number to which a standing army can be carried ... does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifths of the number able to bear arms.
To these would be opposed a militia amounting to nearly half a million of citizens with arms in their hands ... it may well be doubted whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops. Those who are best acquainted with the late successful resistance of this country against the British arms will be most inclined to deny the possibility of it."
So be honest here - were the Founders talking about citizens being armed as well as the military?
Help keep Pioneer Park Aviary going
This morning we took a walk in our nice Pioneer Memorial park to look at all the beautiful birds, especially the peacock. They are wonderful to watch. So please keep the thought about giving some donation to keep the Aviary going.
However, there is one thing missing. There should be a sign for dog owners to please pick up and remove your dogs' feces. In some countries there is a heavy fine for not doing that.
When you walk in the grass in any of our parks you get your feet in it on your shoes.
Think about the children who play in parks. We also hope you dog owners take this to heart.
Cut out the middleman
The natural tragedies of the world in recent months are overwhelming. The tragedies related to political unrest is an extra burden upon world societies.
We can contribute to the welfare of the cause through monetary donations to a wide array of agencies that can provide direct assistance.
Some of us can actually provide a physical resource. And then there are those who want your money so they can benefit from the suffering of others by offering a form of merchandise.
If anyone wants to donate to any cause I recommend he or she donate directly to the charitable organization of choice.
If you need a T-shirt, wrist bracelet, a meal or some other form of tangible good in order to donate, remember your donation is not 100 percent.
A direct donation to the charitable organization of your choice is the best gift and does the most good. If you have not donated to a cause for Japan Relief, New Zealand Relief or other cause in the last six months, now is the time to do so.
Give from the heart and do not expect a tangible item in return except for the "feel good" within your heart.
We must develop energy we have
In the March 211 Our Opinion, the Union Bulletin essentially sided with our two senators and inferred that the reason for higher oil prices is speculators in the commodity oil futures. Speculators must only put up 6 percent of the value of a futures contract to speculate that the price will rise.
Doesn't it seem odd that if some speculators think oil prices would rise there is probably another group that thinks prices will drop? Those who think that speculators are the reason for higher energy prices should jump in on the opposite side and utilize the 6 percent margin and overpower those speculators who are using low margin levels to make energy prices rise.
If the truth be known, our country has no energy policy and we are dependent upon foreign sources for our energy needs. To blame this fact on speculators just magnifies the lack of understanding of the problem. We need to develop our own resources and then we won't be dependent upon foreign sources.
Those who think solar, wind or whatever is our salvation should look a little deeper and see just what the cost of these sources are and just how much domestic subsidy they require to be competitive. Currently they aren't competitive and unless something significant changes they never will be.
You may be willing to pay the unrealistic price for alternative sources of energy, but businesses that compete internationally can't pay that price and survive. In many cases we will most likely be dependent upon such businesses for your livelihood.
Eventually some form of energy may become available and when that happens you probably will see a spectacle similar to the investment in the Internet take place. That day doesn't yet exist and until it does we need to be realistic and develop what we have.
Wind turbines in Blues a mistake
We have in these Blue Mountains a regional treasure. These mountains and foothills provide forest and agricultural products, wildlife habitat and scenic views and recreation for all of us. If wind turbines should be built in these beautiful mountains, our quality of life will be seriously diminished.
Our beautiful Blues refresh us and add greatly to our lives.
I grew up in this area and have always enjoyed these rustic mountains. Just thinking of having turbines and the blinking red lights in these mountains makes me ill.
There are appropriate places for these turbines (I suppose), but the Blue Mountains and the foothills are just not the place for them. Should the Umatilla County commissioners allow wind turbines to be built in these mountains, they would be extremely short-sighted and they, and we (the citizens of Southeastern Washington and Northeast Oregon) will regret it.
Jerry L. Davis