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Letters to the editor for Nov. 1, 2012

Letters to the editor for Nov. 1, 2012

Deadline for election letters is today.

Kyle Sandow: Romney and Ryan have no solution to climate problem

Dear Editor: Everything about this election so far has been about health care, the economy and jobs. What about the climate? Although 10 of the warmest summers on record have occurred in the past 12 years, the candidates have spent no time talking about climate change. However, there is a clear difference between them.

Hurricane Sandy is one more example of extreme weather events that have become all too usual; however, this past summer when Gov. Romney unveiled his energy plan for his presidency, he failed to mention the effect it would have on climate. Instead, he said we need to expand heavily the use of the same fossil fuels that are pushing the concentration of carbon in our atmosphere to 400 parts per million. The great majority of climate scientists agree we need to keep this level at around 350 parts per million. In addition, vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan has completely and utterly disregarded global climate change.

In only four years time under President Obama, production of renewable energy has significantly increased — solar energy by 70 percent, and wind energy production by 41 percent. If the president’s current plan stays on track, by 2025 fuel efficiency standards would increase to nearly 55 miles per gallon, saving approximately 13.6 billion gallons of gasoline.

I am a concerned student and citizen. I may not be able to vote yet, but I have a voice, and an interest in the future of the planet. Unfortunately, under Gov. Mitt Romney, and running mate Paul Ryan, this future doesn’t include a logical solution to an obvious climate problem.

Kyle Sandow


Pete Vickerman: Why does GOP want to end abortion but not unwanted pregnancies?

Dear Editor: The Cap Times recently ran a letter from a person who claimed that Obama “championed abortion” and that same-sex marriages violated his right to religious freedom. Really?

First, outlawing abortion will not stop them, never has. Why is it the Republican Party is so wild about stopping abortions but blocks efforts to reduce unwanted pregnancies? A robust, age-appropriate, medically accurate sex education curriculum will reduce teen pregnancies (just ask the Milwaukee school district), but the Republicans champion “abstinence only.” They also seek to reduce access to birth control measures based on the objection of a very vocal few.

As far as same-sex marriages go, if your religion does not accept, condone or support them, your church doesn’t have to perform them. You claim to embrace “religious freedom” yet by forcing your belief on me, you have trampled my freedom, have you not? And if we did foolishly allow religion to be the centerpiece of our government the problems would continue. The next battle would be which religion to follow; Catholic, Southern Baptist, Jew, Orthodox Jew, Amish, Muslim, Buddhist and so on. Round two would be which version of the Bible to quote.

Finally, I welcome a reply from anyone who can honestly claim to follow EVERY instruction or command in the Bible in their every day lives.

Pete Vickerman

Sun Prairie

John Baird: Obama’s pledge to preserve traditional Medicare hearkens to John Locke's

Dear Editor: The beautiful tradition of traditional Medicare, recently thrown into sharp relief against the plans to have it privatized, reflects the enduring legacy of philosopher John Locke. Mitt Romney’s dream of a voucher program, by contrast, betrays his lust for the despotic rule that was urged by Locke’s contemporary, Thomas Hobbes.

In his work “The Second Treatise of Government,” Locke defines government as a trusteeship, duty-bound to safeguard the “lives, liberties and estates” of each citizen. Crucially, government’s power stems from a “positive voluntary grant” by the people, then blossoms into “established and promulgated laws.”

Medicare’s basis of defined benefits translates this ethos into policy. Charged with protecting citizens’ most valuable property, their life and health, an elected government guarantees coverage of specified service for all seniors, giving them “a standing rule to live by.”

In his “Leviathan,” Thomas Hobbes defines government as a dictatorship, a unitary executive in whom is reduced every will of every subject. Morally obligated to submit to this sole legislator and judge, all are kept and worked for the private and separate advantage of their master.

Romney aims to grant private insurers precisely such a licentious impunity: a bulwark of profit-making, behind which to safely dictate shrinking benefits and spiraling premiums.

President Obama pledges to preserve Medicare. His word celebrates the words of John Locke, who sowed the seeds of our liberal democracy.

John Baird


Rachel Durfee: Question smart meter costs, health impacts

Dear Editor: I am pleased that the Public Service Commission has approved an opt-out policy for the approximately 450 people currently on the water utility’s opt-out list who don’t support the installation of the “smart” metering system for health, security, privacy and economic reasons.

It is because of the proliferation of wireless gadgets that we should be concerned about the long-term cumulative effects of this technology on our health. Microwave-level radiofrequency (RF) radiation emitted by smart meters is labeled a Group 2B carcinogen by the World Health Organization (WHO) and has been shown to have cumulative and synergistic toxic effects on body cells.

It should also be noted that the infrastructure for the smart meters will cost our community $14 million. At the rate technology is changing, these meters will be obsolete long before the end of their useful life of 10-20 years. In order to pay for these meters, the water utility has proposed raising water rates again, by 12 percent in 2013.

Rachel Durfee


Tom Kriegl: Romney’s flip-flopping makes him unfit to be president

Dear Editor: Mitt Romney has changed his positions so often that he supported and opposed almost everything. Romney’s own campaign even compared his flip-flopping to an Etch A Sketch. The Salt Lake Tribune, the largest newspaper in the state with the largest concentration of members of Romney’s church, stated that Romney’s flip-flopping is why they endorsed Obama.

When someone flip-flops as often as Romney has, the only thing we can be sure about is that he stands for himself. We need someone better than that for president.

Tom Kriegl


Paul Malischke: Instant check would further modernize voter registration

Dear Editor: The Government Accountability Board recently took a small step to modernize voter registration, by allowing electronic documents for proof of residence. On Oct. 25, the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Elections heard a presentation on a more significant step that would improve our voter registration system, modeled after the successful systems in 13 other states. These systems are more accurate, save money, and ensure timely registrations. They involve an instant check of the applicant’s data against driver license records. Legislation authorizing these systems often passed in other states with broad support. For instance, in South Carolina, it passed both houses unanimously, was signed by Gov. Nikki Haley, and was cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. You can see the five-minute presentation and get more details here, and also get contact information for your state legislators.

Paul Malischke

Fair Elections Wisconsin


Roger Goppelt: Consider impacts of hunting on other park users

Dear Editor: I hope you will consider the economic effects on state park revenues when you open hunting and trapping in the state parks. I love to ski at Lapham Peak State Park. The parking lot is full of cross-country skiers, snowshoers, hikers, and dog walkers. Will those parking lots be full when there is hunting? I doubt people will want to ski or hike when there is the risk of being accidentally hurt or killed by a hunter. I am sure hunters do not want to be involved in an accident of that nature. Will people who own homes adjacent to the state parks feel safe going outside? Will people want to hike in the woods when there is the risk of being caught in an animal trap? Please consider the effects of hunting and trapping in state parks and how this will affect their use by others who love the outdoors.

Roger Goppelt

Cottage Grove

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