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LETTERS: Week of May 28

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Re: Universal Background Checks

I wanted to write and say good on Governor Kate Brown for signing universal background checks into law. But it’s a long-overdue, common sense move with strong popular support.

Will that alone put an end to America’s epidemic of gun violence? Obviously not. But we should not let the perfect be the enemy of the good, and even with a long road ahead, it’s still a step forward.

The gun-fetishizing barbarians will of course howl and threaten a recall, but Gov. Brown should be applauded. She may have been appointed into office this term, but she’s earned my vote should she stand for re-election.

-Wayne Franklin


Re: Great job!

You guys are doing a GREAT job. It’s my favorite paper. I look forward to every issue. Keep up the good work!

-Dean Silver


Re: Rogue Valley Messenger Screwed Over GMO Farmers with its article, “Genetically Modified Democracy


Anti-GMOers do not care about food safety. They are FOOD FASCISTS pushing a form of corporate cronyism based on their inability to even understand basic scientific knowledge which would have prevented them from advocating against their own rational self-interest. GMOs would ELIMINATE THE USE OF PESTICIDES, grow MORE FOOD in the U.S. and across the world, ENDING WORLD HUNGER. That these facts were conveniently left out of the conversation slants the argument to the anti-science luddites. YOU REALLY THINK THIS IS DEMOCRACY? In a democracy, GMOs would have been widespread years ago.

Organic farming will always serve a small fraction as SPECIAL INTEREST FOOD, but Big Organic is clearly not acting in favor of a larger number of people —they are acting in favor of a lunatic fringe claiming to represent the majority.

The anti-science luddites advocating the destruction of GMO crops and the infringement of GMO farmers’ rights are ignorant savages misled by corporate cronies who want you to ignore the reality that Big Organic is the real dangerous corporate entity, not the scientists who genetically modify seeds. In any battle between the civilized man and the savage, defend the civilized man.

-Isaac Baranoff


The above letter was sent to us at the length of an unedited Russian novel. It has been excerpted to fit into the space available. We have done our best to select a section that maintains the central points and emotional tone.


Re: Is the answer to carbon beneath our feet?

While much of the carbon dioxide emitted results from burning of fossil fuels, land management actions (city and highway expansions, deforestation, and industrial agriculture) contribute about 16 percent to our annual carbon emissions. This suggests that reducing greenhouse gas emissions may not be the only way to reduce global warming; perhaps some of the answer lies beneath our feet. Maybe we can store more carbon there.

When we consider carbon storage, our first thoughts often turn to tropical forests – just because the tropics support such a density of vegetation. However, we often forget the carbon stored in soils. In fact, on a global basis, grassland soils store more carbon than do tropical soils. Cropland soils, meanwhile, store less total carbon, but the area covered by crops is so large that these soils are potentially very important and could contribute much more to carbon storage than they currently do.

Globally, soils contain more readily available stored carbon than is present in our atmosphere and all plants on our planet combined.  Researchers indicate that cultivation practices have resulted in soils globally losing 50 to 70 percent of their original carbon. Indeed, the total amount of carbon lost from the earth’s soils due to agricultural practices is estimated to be 10-20 times the net amount we currently add to the atmosphere each year. Furthermore, studies suggest that it is possible to return carbon back to the soil making it an even greater sink for carbon.  If we could increase soil organic carbon content, some believe we would offset annual carbon dioxide emissions substantially.

Although the potential for storage of carbon in our soils seems promising, scientists warn that soil carbon sequestration cannot go on indefinitely. The soil will become “full” of sequestered carbon within some 30-80 years. Sequestration is only a temporary solution to slow global warming until other more permanent solutions are found. But is it worth trying? And what other costs or benefits might result?

-Alan Journet


CORRECTION: IN the last issue, a photo taken by Adrian Tayne on our story “It’s a Trail!” was misattributed. The photo was taken by Adrian Tayne. The Messenger regrets the error.

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