April 10, 2013 at 8:19 AM
Social Security and Medicare cuts are necessary
We, as a nation, have to make some tough financial decisions. To balance our collective budget and stop deficit spending, changes to Social Security and Medicare benefits will be necessary [“White House: President’s budget is a ‘good-faith compromise,’” front page, April 6].
We cannot continue expecting our government to provide services we are not willing to pay for. In addition to increasing the retirement age, options include greater reductions for those with greater wealth, who are less reliant on these programs.
Threatening to replace elected officials who are charged with making these decisions on our behalf is irresponsible and counterroductive. To maintain our collective financial health, I support responsible changes to Social Security and Medicare programs.
Shireene Hale, Friday Harbor
April 9, 2013 at 8:03 AM
America is overreacting
Give me a break. Obama was providing his dear old friend Kamala Harris (California’s attorney general) an old-fashioned compliment and simply saying out loud what the rest of American guys and gals were surely noticing, if not outright thinking [“‘Best-looking attorney general’ remark leads to Obama apology,” page one, April 6]. He duly credited her intellect, skills and abilities.
Do we forget U.S. Sen. Scott Brown won Cosmopolitan’s “America’s Sexiest Man?” His pecs, abs and former Cosmo photos were fair game for the press and fellow Americans and politicians. And the media gushes over the rare vacation photos of our presidents on summer vacation without a shirt on.
Kudos to the president for additionally recognizing his friend as a beautiful lady. If the first lady had been introducing Scott Brown at a function and said, “I’m sure most of us would agree that he’s also among the best-looking of our senators,” we’d be shaking our heads and laughing in agreement.
There are enough meat-and-potato issues out there to get excited or upset about. Stop creating them.
Michael B. Goldenkranz, Seattle
April 1, 2013 at 7:02 AM
Move is constructive for relationship between U.S. and Middle East
I join Americans of Turkish descent, members of the Pax Turcica Institute, to welcome Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent apology and offer of compensation to Turkey for a mishandled Israeli military raid on the Mavi Marmara cruise ship in May 2010 [“Win for Obama: Israel, Turkey resolve dispute,” News, March 23].
This tragic incident in the eastern Mediterranean resulted in nine Turkish civilian deaths, including that of a Turkish American, aboard a ship delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza in international waters. In the aftermath of the incident, the leading Turkish-American organizations, Assembly of Turkish American Associations and Federation of Turkish American Associations, appealed for the avoidance of one-sided judgments and for conducting an impartial international investigation into the matter.
According to an Israeli government statement, Netanyahu made it clear that the tragic results of the Mavi Marmara incident were unintentional and that Israel expresses regret over injuries and loss of life. On behalf of the Turkish nation, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accepted the Israeli apology and dropped all charges against the Israeli military commanders.
I commend President Obama for facilitating this move by Israel’s leadership during his latest visit there. Both Turkey and Israel are key regional U.S. allies, which share a long history of mutual friendship and cooperation. The Turkish-Israeli rapprochement would strengthen the constructive U.S. role in the Middle East. And I appeal to all Turkic- and Jewish-American communities to support this wonderful opportunity.
–AJ Arslancan, Everett
March 31, 2013 at 7:04 AM
Victory for Washington state, economically and otherwise
Last October I visited the San Juan Islands and started to actively encourage President Obama to create a national monument on Lopez Island and surrounding areas. Recently I’ve learned that President Obama has in fact approved the creation of this outstanding new national monument [“Obama creates San Juan Islands National Monument: read the proclamation,” seattletimes.com, March 25].
I want to stand up to say how proud I am to have been a part of this effort. The creation of the national monument means that important lands reflecting our culture and history will be protected for generations to come. I imagine that we can look forward to an increase in tourism dollars and job creation as a result — so I see this as a big win-win for Washington state.
As a combat veteran and as someone who works to connect veterans to the environment as a means of healing and transition, I can see this land as a place where veterans and their families can come and reconnect to themselves, each other, the environment and the community. From my perspective I see this as a place that can potentially save lives but, most definitely enrich the life of all who visit.
–Jeremy W. Grisham, Edmonds
March 28, 2013 at 4:36 PM
Coal terminals will counteract environmental progress
On behalf of FRIENDS of the San Juans, I would like to thank Gov. Jay Inslee and Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber for urging a thorough examination of the greenhouse-gas emissions and other air-quality effects of coal leasing and export in their March 25 letter to the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality [“2 governors wade into coal-export controversy,” NWTuesday, March 26].
Climate change is the most far-reaching impact of coal export for our global community. In San Juan County alone it could mean greater sea-level rise, more extreme weather events and increased ocean acidification that will impact our shellfisheries.
The Gateway Pacific Terminal north of Bellingham would ship 48 million metric tons (MMT) of coal every year. Burning this coal would create 96 MMT of carbon dioxide every year. Washington state’s 2010 carbon-dioxide emissions due to fossil-fuel combustion totaled 76.64 MMT every year (according to the Environmental Protection Agency). Just one of the proposed coal terminals would double our state’s greenhouse-gas emissions — counteracting all of Washington’s leadership in setting progressive policies intended to address our effect on climate change.
I am encouraged to see Govs. Inslee and Kitzhaber working together to take a stand on climate change that is associated with coal export. This is an important step toward making sure all environmental impacts are evaluated when permits are being considered for the coal-export terminals in Washington and Oregon.
–Katie Fleming, community engagement director, FRIENDS of the San Juans, Friday Harbor
Coal project proponents should welcome close scrutiny
This week Gov. Jay Inslee asked the federal government to undertake a “thorough examination” of Washington’s proposed coal-export facilities, as reported in The Seattle Times. I have noticed that each time an elected official, citizen group, tribal council, physicians group or other calls for close study of the proposed coal export terminals, the companies and individuals positioned to benefit financially from the projects issue dire warning: “It will cost us!” “This is a bad precedent for business!”
I think most Washingtonians see through this and are left wondering what coal-port cheerleaders have to hide. If the Gateway Pacific Terminal and other coal-export projects are such a good idea for our communities, then project proponents should welcome — rather than attempt to thwart — close scrutiny by the public and decision-makers.
–Shannon Wright, executive director, Communitywise, Bellingham
March 28, 2013 at 6:08 AM
Designation will protect natural beauty and stimulate economy
As a veteran of the United States Navy and Operation Iraqi Freedom, I am writing today to express my thanks to President Obama for designating the San Juan Islands as a national monument [“Obama creates San Juan Islands National Monument: read the proclamation,” seattletimes.com, March 25]. This designation will preserve and protect the natural beauty of the islands for generations to come.
More specifically, more than 1,000 acres of public land will continue to be managed by the Bureau of Land Management, ensuring that the wonder of the islands and all of the recreational opportunities it affords will continue. Citizens of not only our state, but all across America come to explore this beautiful land each year.
Also, thanks to Rep. Dave Reichert for his continued support of public lands, including his support of the Antiquities Act, which President Obama used to make this designation. Rep. Reichert also understands that public lands play a vital role to our economy. The Outdoor Industry Association estimates that outdoor recreation contributes more than $22.5 billion to Washington’s economy, which in turn supports more than 226,000 jobs in our state. This is welcome news to veterans who have had a difficult time transitioning into our economy upon leaving the military.
–Rick Hegdahl, United States Navy Reserve (retired), Bellevue
March 27, 2013 at 4:31 PM
Governors show commendable leadership
Reading the newspaper does not usually inspire spontaneous cheering, but reading “2 governors wade into coal-export controversy” [NWTuesday, March 26] did just that.
As one of countless citizens concerned about climate change, I agree that greenhouse-gas pollution connected with coal export needs a comprehensive evaluation. Other kinds of pollution, from burning coal and issues related to coal leasing, also deserve review.
The leadership shown by Govs. Jay Inslee and John Kitzhaber is commendable.
–Connie Voget, Seattle
Being a climate leader means saying no to coal
Way to go Gov. Jay Inslee and Gov. John Kitzhaber! With your joint letter to President Obama asking the federal government to review the climate-change consequences of leasing and exporting Western coal, you are bravely leading us all forward where we need to go.
The governors are absolutely right when they say that the U.S. can’t claim to be a world leader in climate-restoration policy, and then have a reckless and dangerous coal-export policy. It’s no great mystery how coal exports will be used. They won’t be used to build statues or grow crops; exported coal will be burned, to the great detriment of our whole planet. We should stay as far away from this dirty coal business as possible.
–Mike Shaw, Edmonds
March 21, 2013 at 3:42 PM
Problem is significant
In theory. the Obama administration is supposed to look out for the welfare of United States citizens. The watchword here is “theory.” It seems the Obama administration is much more concerned with the “rights” of illegal immigrants to vote in U.S. elections than protecting the rights of U.S. citizens [“Arizona’s voter-registration hurdle to get high-court review this week,” page one, March 18].
Could it be that the Democrats assume a voter percentage of around 90 percent in the illegal voting blocks? Rather than fixing the situation, the Obama administration seems bent on promulgating it.
Statistics are quoted where the problem of illegal voting is minuscule. In Colorado, only 141 or Florida only 207 illegal immigrants were found voting. Does anyone remember Rossi vs. Gregoire in 2004? Gregoire “won” by 133 votes after two “recounts.” I wonder how many illegal immigrants voted in that election?
Don’t think this is a small problem and doesn’t matter, people. Because it does.
–Denny Andrews, Bellevue
March 18, 2013 at 6:00 AM
Pipeline will lead to runaway climate change
I urge President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline and for your readers to speak out against it [“Obama’s climate goals shape Energy, EPA choices,” News, March 5].
Despite what a few industry-paid climate-denial “scientists” are mouthing, the scientific community as a whole is practically unanimous in validating the urgency of reducing climate-warming carbon pollution, which is a direct result of fossil fuel production and consumption.
Tar-sand fuel is a “carbon time bomb.” While our oil-addicted economy may be tempted to grab this quick fix, doing so will accelerate runaway climate change. Keystone XL will do nothing to solve America’s energy independence and only result in environmental desecration due to inevitable spills, which usually are borne unevenly by America’s poor and people of color, certainly not those few shareholders who are lobbying in D. C. heavily for this project.
As individuals, as a nation and as an interdependent global community, we need to take responsibility now for a sustainable energy future through massive investments in solar, wind and other sources. We still have options to forge a path of sustainability for our children and future generations, but time is not on our side.
–Jordan Van Voast, Seattle
We need the economic stimulus
I’m responding to the letter “Obama nominees and Keystone Pipeline” [Northwest Voices, March 11]:
How do you know the pipeline will contribute to climate change? How do you know job creation will be negligible? Strong statements without backup.
I’m a new Washingtonian from Alaska (30 years). I’m familiar with the trans-Alaska Pipeline. Maintenance alone requires a workforce on a pipeline. When running pigs through the pipeline for diagnostics, people are required to read and respond to the data. Alyeska Pipeline Service Company employs 800 people plus contracted workers; all good-paying jobs. The pipeline is 35 years old and has pumped nearly 17 billion barrels.
Climate change: You’re hard pressed to convince Alaskans the pipeline damages the environment — even at Prudhoe Bay where oil enters the line. It’s heavily monitored, as it should be. Alaska’s pipeline record demonstrates a pipeline can be placed in delicate/fragile environments without damage. The Porcupine Caribou herd has only increased since the pipeline completion.
Alaska is planning a natural-gas line and has the track record to support another project. Please consider these facts. I hope Keystone Pipeline begins. We need the economic stimulus.
–Vicki Schneibel, Sequim
March 14, 2013 at 6:30 AM
Stand up to greed
Greed may trump efforts to leave our children and their children a healthy planet. Why would anyone invest in the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fossil fuel on the plant if not out of greed?
Be a voice of sanity and let President Obama and locally elected officials know that rejection of the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is one of the most important and immediate executive steps the president can take to address the climate crisis [“Obama’s climate goals shape Energy, EPA choices,” News, March 5].
NASA’s leading climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, said that tar sands development would mean “game over for the climate.”
Like the coal exports through the Northwest, the tar sands pipeline stands to damage the environment over the creation of sustainable jobs. Most of the money earned in both the coal and tar sands scenarios will go to a few top executives for whom money matters most.
Stand up to greed. Stand up for the Earth.
–Wendy Marcus, Seattle
Protect wildlife from climate change
President Obama must reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline if he wants to keep his promise to protect America’s wildlife and communities from climate change, a fact that’s only reinforced by a recent State Department review. That woefully inadequate analysis failed not only in its review of climate science, but whistled past the threat of oil spills to endangered wildlife.
Tar sands drilling in Canada threatens gray wolves, lynx and woodland caribou. In America’s heartland, corrosive tar sands oil raises the risk of pipeline spills, menacing endangered whooping cranes. And the global warming pollution emitted at every step of production threatens wildlife nationwide, from Alaska’s polar bears to Minnesota’s moose to Virginia’s brook trout to Colorado’s mule deer.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans have raised their voices for wildlife protection and climate action. President Obama should listen to them and say no to the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
–Richard Landowski, Gig Harbor
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