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LETTERS: May 11th Issue

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CORRECTION: In the profile of Ted Helard in our last issue, we incorrectly identified Ted’s wife. Her name is Heather.


Re.: GMOs

Everyone in Southern Oregon is appalled and disgusted by the Williams anti-science festival The Beet Goes On, who seeks a “GMO-Free Oregon,” to forcibly stop farmers from using genetically modified seeds. This is sickening and offensive to every rational person. GMOs have been heavily tested since the 1960s and all testing has proven that there is no difference between GMO and non-GMO seeds.
I’m reminded of the plotline of Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”: It is the anti-achievement looters who seek the obstruction of a new type of metal developed by scientist and industrialist Henry Rearden. Dagny Taggart, who has degrees in engineering and chemistry, studies the composites of the metal and uses it to rebuild her railroad tracks.
GMOs are a real-life Rearden Metal. Scientists with degrees in bio-engineering have studied GMO technology and agree that it is a good thing: Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye and Kevin Folta. The opposition to GMOs comes from conspiracy theorists with no scientific background. Not only are GMOs safe, they are also morally necessary for civilization. 
Farmers and scientists love GMOs. Oregonians love GMOs. Oregonians hate the anti-GMO movement.  Williams needs to to revoke the anti-GMOers access to their land and prevent them from attacking a technology that benefits millions (Golden Rice prevents blindness), is the only thing that can end world hunger and is helping millions of farmers worldwide achieve higher profits than they could ever achieve with non-GMO seeds.

Issac Baranoff


RE.: Greg Walden

Obvious messages from Representative Greg Walden’s Townhall, Friday April 14 were:
While he understands carbon (dioxide) is a problem, he disregards the effects of methane, a climate pollutant worse than carbon dioxide that escapes when gas leaks. Though natural gas is touted as ‘clean energy,’ this claim constitutes disinformation from the energy industry because the leaking methane absorbs heat like a blanket making earth warmer. We can’t tolerate this much warmth! The energy industry is one of Walden’s top contributors. Is this why he refuses to acknowledge that leakage from shale-fracked natural gas makes it worse than burning coal?
And then there’s his claim to be protecting our forests. Remember Smokey Bear? Though wildfire is a problem primarily driven by global warming, suppressing fire has added to the risk. But Walden blames fires on forest management and ignores the primary cause.
While Representative Walden acknowledges global warming and its human cause, he ignores the science. His support for climate deniers in Washington negates everything.
Walden should read the 2017 Third Oregon Climate Assessment Report which concludes: “Oregon is warming and the consequences are, and will be, notable. A majority of Oregonians thinks that global warming is happening and is worried.

-Louise Shawkat

Hey Messenger: Should one stick with Bitcoin, or is it worth diversifying out into less popular cryptocurrencies?


Dear Leah: I don’t know, but I do know that my sister’s hacker boyfriend is currently making big bucks as an investor off of something called “Ethereum,” which is a “decentralized blockchain app platform that runs smart contracts.” Apparently, the upsides are that there is no downtime, no third party, no censorship, and zero possibility of fraud. You can check into ethereum.org for more information if you are looking for the latest and greatest of late-stage capitalism computer nerdery.  


Hey Messenger: Is it better to stand up to bullying or to try to avoid being targeted?

Dear J.T., It depends on how many spoons you have at the time. Christine Miserandino coined “Spoon Theory” in a 2003 online essay, which you can find easily by googling. In her essay, she posits that people, particularly disabled and neuro-divergent people (although I think it applies to everyone), have a finite amount of spoons on any given day. Different individuals will have a different number of spoons available, perhaps due to diagnosis, overall wellness, mood, external factors, etc. Spoons in this case should be looked at as units of measurement for energy, mainly energy available for the activities and events of daily life. Since you are asking this question, I am going to assume that you are somewhat sensitive to bullying and/or you face it somewhat often. In assessing whether or not you should stand up for yourself, think less about what the objectively “right” thing to do is, and more about what is best for you and the particular day you are having. If you find yourself being bullied and you assess that you have very few spoons left, it might be better to walk away from the entire situation. If you feel particularly powerful that day, i.e., full of spoons, maybe you should stand up for yourself. It is all about being able to see it through to the end and making sure you have the energy to do it; otherwise, you could find yourself escalating conflict through poor decision-making and then feeling worse. Just remember, it is not about them. It is not your job to teach them a lesson. It is about you and what you need to do to be happy and fulfilled.


1 Comment

  1. […] Letter to Editor by Louis Shawkat, Medford Mail Tribune, April 19, 2017, also in Ashland Daily Tidings, April 20 2017 and Rogue Valley Messenger May 24,2017 as RE.: Greg Walden. […]

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