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Tuesday, February 27th

Spring Street International School "Dispatches" From The Field - journals and tales



Excerpt Ten - Dispatch from Izamal:

Spring Street International School Travelers Kai Wilson, Chelsea DeCouteau, Alex Freeman, Sonja Anderson, Ingrid Carlson, Evan Anderson, Zack Milkis, Gabe Colburn and Grant Schwinge
We are all sad to be leaving Izamal in just a few more days. Time really has passed much too quickly.
Yesterday we returned from a two-day trip to the ruins of Uxmal, the Loltun Caverns and the walled city of Campeche. Loltun and Uxmal are in a region called the Ruta Puuc, which has a lot of ruins but not much in the way of towns. We took the wrong turn at one point and wound up in the middle of a huge finca full of orange, lime, mango, banana, guava, mamey, and avocado trees. Alex climbed right up a mandarin tree like a monkey and started throwing fruit down at the rest of the students. They were delicious and some of them were as big as naval oranges.

The Loltun Caverns are the largest in the Yucatan and go in about 6 kilometers, 2 of which are open to the public. After walking for a kilometer or so underground you come to a spot where the light is shining in through two big openings in the cave ceiling about 50 feet above your head. Trees and vines grow up through the openings and it is very impressive. The caves were used by the Maya for religious ceremonies. They believed that caves and cenotes were passageways to the underworld.

Uxmal is one of the major sites in the Yucatan. Its construction was influenced by the Maya and the Toltec and the site includes dozens of buildings. The main pyramid here is one of the largest in the world. The students all said that this was their favorite ruin site so far.

Campeche looks like it was taken straight out of Pirates of the Caribbean. Its walls were, in fact, built to defend against pirates and most of them are still standing. The cobblestone streets within the walled area are very narrow and are lined with Spnaish colonial buildings all painted in pastels. Its easy to imagine what it would have been like in the 17th century. We were there on Tuesday of Carnaval and most of the museums and stores were closed, but just walking on the street or along the sea wall was a fun experience.

On our way home from Campeche we stopped in Chochola, a town just south of Merida, to swim in a cenote. We had done this before, but this cenote was a true cave with a narrow, jack-hammered tunnel as the only access into it. Inside you found yourself in an open cavern filled with crystal-clear water. We guessed that at its deepest the water was about 15 feet deep. Light bulbs were strung along between the stalactites on the ceiling, giving the whole experience a very unique, and slightly claustrophobic, feel.

Carnival took over the entire peninsula for the last week. In the evenings there were dance contests in the plaza put on by Izamal school children. Local organizations and businesses drove around the streets throwing candy to the kids waiting in front of their houses. There was a huge party wagon full of people--basically a motorized set of bleachers--that played loud music while circling the neighborhoods. We arrived Tuesday afternoon from Campeche just in time for the city-wide water fight. It actually involved much more than just water--oranges, tomatoes, motor oil, paint and an itchy fruit called Pica Pica. Our students thought this was about the best thing they had ever seen and began making plans for a similar festival in Friday Harbor. Yesterday was the first day of Lent and last night they burned Juan Carnival in effigy in the main plaza.
That's it for now! We will be leaving on Sunday morning so the next group email will likely be from Akumal.

Un fuerte abrazo,
Adam and Angie Erickson


Excerpt Nine - Calcutta and Mother Theresa's Home

Our group is standing outside the Calcutta airport blinking in the sun and waiting for news about Jacob's pack, which ended up continuing on to Bhutan. Our group could sense immediately that we are no longer in cushy sweet Thailand, where even the poorest people have flip-flops on their feet. A flock of dirty barefoot children were touching us and begging for money. We watched a tag team of extremely thin, dark men in loincloths, graciously carry stacks of twenty bricks on their heads up a twenty foot bamboo ladder. They actually balanced the two stacks of ten bricks on their heads and climbed the bamboo poles with no hands on the ladder and no hands on the bricks. They looked to me to be swaying with the weight, but Finn said they might have carried more if they could reach higher, as they were making their own stacks on their heads.

We happily piled into our chauffer driven, air-con van and drove around busy Calcutta, dodging bicycles, three wheelers, cows, and bicycle rickshaws, stopping first at Kali Ghat. This is a temple to Kali, the Lord of destruction. It was a special religious day so the line of people was too long to actually enter the temple. We were pressed in a crowd of Hindus worshipers and, before we knew it, we were witnessing the central attraction in the courtyard, the sacrificing of one black baby goat after another. They were systematically lined up in a little stone courtyard outside the temple. Serious men, standing barefoot in the pool of blood, were holding them one at a time on the chopping block, and whacking off their heads. The meat is cooked for the hungry who sit in the street and eat, and the hides, we saw later from the bus, are piled neatly on the back of a bicycle in stacks of one hundred and delivered somewhere. Curious people who came too close to the block were pushed aside by bloody hands, and red splatters were everywhere. Faithful people who could squeeze close enough between the sacrifices were kneeling and dipping fingers in the blood on the block, touching it to their foreheads. I am sure you know a kids scream sounds like one of our kids.

It was a little much for most of our students, but it wasn't easy to leave as were pressed into the crowd while trying to keep track of each other. We were definitely the only tourists. Finn was holding his day pack in front of him as we were coached to do for security. There were people on all sides of him so he couldn't see what it was he was tripping over with each step, till the crowd parted a little and he saw a fresh baby goat's scalp, horns and all.

We visited Mother Teresa's home for the destitute and dying and her orphanage, both of which were very clean and compassionate places. Many of our students were powerfully moved by seeing those rooms of dying people being lovingly cared for in a minimal environment. The Sisters sweep through the hospitals, rescuing patients who are going to die from insufficient care, so they can bring them home. A man we were introduced to had lost his feet, when they were run over on a railroad track. The hospital bandaged his feet, but since nobody came to pay them for his treatment, he was left with unchanged dressings for two months. Now he is almost healed and sits smiling very peacefully on his narrow bed in a room with thirty other men. The sisters all wear a habit like Mother Teresa did, white with blue trim. They have a special bed under a crucifix where they put the person who they think is most likely to die next. That person is never left alone.

I met a Scottish man named Jim who is over seventy, holding a patient's head up and giving him water. I thought perhaps he was a volunteer here for a week as he looked so clean and had such an angelic smile. Then he told me he has lived and worked here for 15 years. I guess I was surprised because he didn't look exhausted in any way. Clearly the work feeds him.

I didn't have time to visit the women's' room, but Nikki and Peg said there was a really old woman close to death who lay there and sang to them. It moved Nikki to tears.

The orphanage was really sweet. The children all packed in happily and calmly. It's well organized but with a really low ratio of adults to kids. The one and two year olds were all in matching madras outfits, dancing to music! There were more than thirty of them in a room with two women. Cutest sight EVER!

In the next room, we could see thirty iron cribs painted yellow packed so tightly together I couldn't imagine how one could walk between them. Our students had fun playing with the older children in the playground. Again, we were the only visitors.

Calcutta is so immense and intense, cacophonous and crowded, that we didn't even stay the night; but took an all night bus to Varanasi. I hope all your kids are writing to you individually, but if they haven't in awhile don't be surprised...there is so much going on its a challenge just to maintain ones equilibrium and they are all doing fantastically well at staying clean and healthy and hydrated. We have hot showers in our rooms and a rooftop restaurant with safe food in a hotel for Hindu pilgrims. Outside the air is full of smoke from funeral pyres, the Ganges flows buy, and wild and wonderful things are happening in every minute and in every square inch.

The last thing I saw before returning to the hotel was Megan and Maria swept into a wedding crowd in the street dancing with arms overhead.

Love,
Liza Michaelson


Excerpt Eight � From Amritsar NW India in the State of Punjab

Amritsar in Punjabi translates as: "Pool of the nectar of immortality"
Liza Michaelson writes from Amritsar the Sikh capital of India, the day before terrorists blew up a train that had departed from Amritsar. Sixty-six killed. Happily, SSIS kids are far from that sad event!

"So Many camels walking by that we stopped counting.
They are incredibly tall and strong and walk alongside the roads in Rajastan and all the way into Delhi. Some are painted with zigzag stripes of black coal, making them look like burlap pieces quilted together, with outlines around their eyes like mascara.
They have bells and blankets and they are pulling and carrying an assortment of things. Mountains of firewood, huge bundles of mustard greens, carts full of people or propane tanks, or water in big round brass jugs, or hand stitched mattresses... They don't move fast, just chug along.
The drivers all have rags wrapped around their heads, black beards and mustaches and dress in plain colored wraps. It's dry and dirty all around.

Camels aren't all. The kids rode elephants yesterday, up the mile long ramp to the Amber Fort. Did you know the tail of an elephant is higher than my head? I was squeezing between all the elephants trying to get good pictures looking up at the kids, wondering if I would get stepped on...Elephants are incredibly aware of their feet. I saw one take a little side swipe to kick a trainer without breaking stride.

In Varanasi, the police were busy rounding up the dirty beggar kids and kicking them out of the train station, while a cow walked all around inside the big room with over 1000 people sitting and standing squished together, and nobody paid it any mind. Cows are sacred and beggar kids are dirt. Belonging to nobody.

Alex Oettinger gets the prize for finding the most places to sleep...yesterday it was on the floor in the aisle of our rented bus, with his sunglasses on and iPod plugged into his ears. Jonathan Balise eats the most, grateful for every left over donation...Anna Haefele is finding things to eat around her wheat allergy, chick pea samosas, etc.
Today is Petra Borhani's birthday. Peg and I woke her up singing to her on the train... She and Lindsey Cummins bought oranges and bananas for everybody while we sat on the pile of backpacks in the Delhi train station last night. Corwin Waldron stopped to see a sadhu with a huge snake in Varanasi and the next thing he knew it was wrapped around his neck! Noah Yang is always first at the meetings, which is a great trait when trying to organize 25 people. Rebecca Mason and Alice Haefele are out trying on shoes, the Rajastani kind with sequins and mirrors on them... for Petra's birthday present. Joanna Leff is at the Golden temple with Peg Hope and Jonathan and some others. Ted Hope and the college kids were here this morning when we got off the train and came to the hotel. It was fun to cross paths again. While we were at the Amber fort and Jaipur, they were here in Amritsar with the Sikhs. Everybody was together for sunrise at the Taj Mahal, and they all loved that! The amount of headaches and attention to detail Ted and Peg put into this boggles me. I really don't think there is anybody in the world doing what they do ESPECIALLY with students.

It has been a ragged pace (yesterday 10 hours on the bus followed by ten on the train) and some of the kids are wilting. They will thrive and rekindle tomorrow when we climb up to Dharamsala in the mountains where the air is clear, the pace is slow, and the Tibetans greet them with open arms and warm smiles.
Ted was so eager to get there he skipped breakfast and waited in the van!
So fun to see him and Peg excited yet again to be on this trip.

Honestly I don't know how they do it. Sometimes I think I am too old for this."
Liza Michaelson



Excerpt Seven - On the Ganges River - India

The river is wide and slow as a lake, sweet and languid. The other side is
a flat empty sand field ready to be covered in water when the
monsoons come. Monkeys run on railings and rooftops, snakes in sacks to dance for horn players on the ghats, rats will eat food left in your room, mangy dogs
bark all night, and sleep by day. Cows walk wherever they will, sometimes
in the middle of a wedding party, sometimes in the middle of a narrow
stairway, sometimes giving birth in the street with a garland of fresh
marigold blossoms hanging around their neck.

You cook on an open fire in your 1000 year old stone house filling it
with woodsmoke. All the water for washing and cooking comes from an
outdoor faucet, but you have a cell phone in your pocket.
You can tell the history of your country, but not without including the
activities of the Gods.
You can pray to any number of publicly displayed stone phalluses,("Shiva
Lingums"), rubbing them with gold leaf and showering them with rose petals, but you cant touch a woman (even your wife) in public, and women must cover their legs and shoulders and drape their bodices with flowing fabric.
You can see that there are 23 sewage outlets directly into the Ganges in a two mile stretch. The ashes of 300 people a day are dumped into it as
well as 50 unburned bodies, but it is still a wonderful holy
experience to bathe in and drink its waters, every day if you are lucky.
You can hire a bicycle rickshaw for one, two, or three people and watch
the driver in hid loin cloth pedal hard, or squeeze the same number into a
noisy motor rickshaw, or you can pay a motorcycle taxi, or rent a bike or
walk, but there is not enough room for cars in the old part of Varanasi.
You can ask a question of a smiling local, but you can't tell by the head
waggle response if it is a yes or no answer.
You can drink chai from a tiny ceramic cup for five cents, but you cant
use it again as it will not be pure, so toss it in the street.
You can see the laundry being beaten and rinsed in the river until its
clean, but then it is stretched out to dry on the filthy dirty stone steps
of the ghats.

Everyday you can see human eyes outlined in black coal to protect eyesight, black spots on babies foreheads to ward off evil, Ganesh statues painted with fresh orange paint.
Every day there are lepers, people with strange limbs,
and smiling people crawling along, shaking a can for alms. There are sounds of drums,
chants, shouting matches, cymbals, ringing bells, horns, dogfights, birds,
chickens, pleading beggars, "Madam please, only milk for the baby." and
insistent silk marketers, "Come I show you!" Silk shops have tiny rooms
with padded floors where you sit and watch as one after another silk sari
is opened in a massive pile before you. This happens even if you are just a high school
student who didn't ask to buy anything. Indian women dressed in every
color of the rainbow, as many as 24 bodies burning in pyres near the river
at any one time, the air thick with smoke.
Completely naked Sadhus covered in white ash, with long beards and
dreadlocks are camped out by the hundreds on the Ghats. The day after
tomorrow is Shiva and Parvati's anniversary, and ecstatic Hindu pilgrims
from all over the country are flocking here to celebrate.

Watch your step, as there is no sidewalk and you share the twisty
labyrinth of narrow road with cow dung, dog poop, and human feces; as well
as holes in the street, piles of trash, muddy puddles after the rain,
small fires, chai stoves, samosas being fried, men facing walls taking
leaks, cast iron wheels on carts rolling by, and dead bodies wrapped in
gold red and white fabrics being carried on bamboo stretchers by large
family groups winding their ways through the narrow alleys down to the
river. Usually behind them will be a throng of people carrying large
chunks of dried tree brought from their village for this most sacred day,
cremating their loved one on the burning Ghats in Varanasi.
I will venture in to story land tomorrow...today all I can throw you are
these snatches.... and yes your kids are all winners...all navigating this
sacred and dramatic place with wide eyes and open hearts.

Happy Valentines Day!!!
from the sacred city of Varanasi,
LOVE and Amazement at all they have to teach us,

Liza Michaelson





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Monday, February 26th

"CAPR" Starts SJC Chapter



Dear Editor,

Property issues are becoming a topic of debate in this state. For example, King County has ordinances that prevent many building lots from being built on, and Kitsap County has now placed 100% of their shorelines under a CAO (critical area ordinance), while other counties, like Pierce County, only have 13% under CAO. These regulations can be, and are devastating, to many people. The legislature recognized the unfairness in this and unanimously passed ESHB #1933 to clarify the fact that not all shorelines are critical areas.

Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and since I believe in fairness to property owners, I have started a property rights organization in Friday Harbor. CAPR (Citizens' Alliance for Property Rights) was organized in 2003 as a non-partisan political action committee where individual citizens and existing organizations can work together protecting property rights.

Four other local citizens have joined me in forming a non partisan chapter of CAPR (Citizens Alliance for Property Rights). Our chapter was formally approved 2/23/07, and is called: CAPR-San Juan. We support equitable and scientifically sound land use regulations that do not force private landowners to pay disproportionately for public benefits enjoyed by all.

After observing environmental conditions around the world, we have concluded that private owners are far better stewards of this earth than government planners. Landowners who own and control their own land take much better care of it, regardless of whether they live in an urban, suburban, or rural setting.

The CAPR Mission is to protect property rights by:

Establishing a single coordinated voice dedicated to preserving and protecting property rights.
Electing legislators pledged to protect, not destroy, property rights and electing judges pledged to uphold our constitutionally guaranteed right to own and control property.
Promoting legislation to preserve and protect property rights while opposing excessively burdensome legislation.
Reducing the regulatory cost of living in Washington State.

Our group looks forward to forming an advocacy group and to help our community keep the cost of owning property down, so that the average person can more easily afford to own and enjoy his or her property.

Each year owning property in San Juan County has become more expensive and troublesome due to ever increasing regulations. If you ever want to own property or if you are already a property owner, then you need to be involved. You also need to invest in protecting yourself and your property rights. The best ways to do this are to belong to a property rights group and to keep informed about property rights issues. If you would like to join our CAPR San Juan chapter, Contact us at: Phone: (360) 378-3776 or Box 1866, F.H.

Sincerely,
Frank Penwell
San Juan Island

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Friday, February 23rd

A Minor Point On Guest Ferry Editorial



To the Editor:

Lee Sturdivant aptly describes the "ferry situation" as the political football that it is. Policies based on just about everything but sound business practices. And as is the case in such proceedings, we are asked to engage in the political process: "sign petitions" and "go to Olympia."

Ms Sturdivant erred in one minor point. She states that "our ferry service began to sink with Tim Eyman's initiative" that took away the auto excise tax. My view is that service and performance of WSF has been deteriorating steadily since my arrival (in 1992).

In the recent articles, public hearings and letters about our ferry service, I've heard scant reference to the efficiency or efficacy of the overall WSF system. Some pertinent questions go unasked: in light of technology (computer assisted designing and drawing), does WSF really need to employ "hundreds" of engineers? How do WSF costs compare to BC Ferries (on a per car or per trip or similar basis)?

It is quite possible that WSF's actual costs to transport a vehicle round trip to the San Juans are two to ten (or more) times what is actually charged; and that sound business practices or competition or private enterprise might lower these costs considerably.

The "go to Olympia" advice is probably our only viable option. In doing so, our main concern ought to be whether we go merely as beggars or as informed advocates for a particular course of action.

Albert Hall
Friday Harbor
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We All Need To Do Our Part



(The follow letter is response to a column by Ron Keeshan)

To the Editor:

Yup, the world is warming up. Some of it is a natural cycle for we are coming out of a glacial period and temperatures are still a few degrees colder than normal. Along the way, humans evolved and this time are probably contributing to both the speed and the intensity of the final warming.

We don't really know by how much or how fast we may have influenced climate change but one way we can all help is by making choices in our individual lifestyles to lessen our personal impact. So it seems rather ironic for you to beat up Mike for not sharing your views when after all it was you who flew in a jet to Alaska and then probably boarded another smaller plane to fly to the viewing sight.

The bears don't need us burning more fuel, producing more CO2, just to watch them and write about the sorry state of global warming. The bears will do fine without the ecotourists. In fact, they've survived a couple of previous interglacial periods when the ice cap was much smaller than it currently is. They'll adapt and survive this one too. That's not to say that it will be an easy change nor will it be a pretty one. For our part in that, I'm sorry so I'll work to lessen my impact. i hope you'll do the same.

Greg Hertel
San Juan Island

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Wednesday, February 7th

America Held Hostage



In return for selfless duty to our country by way of military service, it is expected that the "mission" is born from honesty and absolute necessity. For a commander-in-chief to deceive a nation into war is a crime of the highest magnitude against our personnel in arms, our nation, and the world.

Unfortunately, Bush is holding America hostage, not simply to a "failure of policy", but also to his false pretense and deceptions. To hold our nation's patriotism and our troop's lives hostage to his calculated dupe is high treason! Just because he is "America's president" doesn't mean he is God. Remember that all failed "leaders" throughout the centuries have been able to amass vast armies and nations of loyalists, only to overextend themselves and fail.

There is no such choice as "support the war or abandon the troops." This is ridiculous! One supports troops by keeping them in excellent shape for the purpose of defense, and only sending them into harm's way when there is a mission born of true need. Our troops, the American people, and the world deserve better than Bush's "fake it till you make it" psychiatric disaster of personality.

But what is even more egregious is the impotence of response by our "representatives" and utter lack of sense-of-urgency for what truly must be done - to stop Bush cold in his tracks NOW with administration-wide impeachment. While some brave loners are nibbling at the edges with petty investigations, this administration is unilaterally (and blatantly) many steps ahead of everyone. He "doesn't need a permission slip."

With over 50% of the American public supporting impeachment if Bush lied to send us to war, if our "leaders" can't find their backbone, then democracy is truly dead, and both red and blue are as culpable by virtue of dysfunction and impotence.

There is nothing radical or ambiguous about defending the Constitution of the United States with the right of impeachment of the entire administration as clearly given to us by our founding fathers. The first and foremost duty all elected representatives swear to (under oath) is to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States. Is it time for "The People" to occupy the house and senate, to "BE" the news (instead of just consuming it)?

Now is not the time to "cut and run" from the inconvenient truth. Guns and bombs are easy for those who call themselves the "deciders" from the comfort of their offices, and they may even temporarily bolster one's sense of "mission accomplished." On the other hand, it takes real strength and true courage to admit one's mistakes - and then change behavior - but don't count on it.

Only when "The People" lead, will "our leaders" follow.

Jeff Bossler


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Tuesday, February 6th

A Deafening Silence



Syndicated columnist Molly Ivins died, too young at age 62, on Wednesday evening, the 31st of January, from a reoccurrence of breast cancer. More than 400 newspapers subscribed to her nationally syndicated column, The passing of Ivins, liberal, progressive, patriot, humorist, and champion of democracy leaves a journalistic silence that will be deafening.

Ivins wrote with a unique style and wit from her home base in Austin, Texas about local and national politics and politicians with facts and evidence as the targets and candor and humor as the swords. Courageous to the end, her final column published on January 11, 2007 by Creators Syndicate was titled, "Stand Up Against the Surge" and may be read on the progressive online news center, Common Dreams (commondreams.org). Her final paragraph was a call to action: "We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on January 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!"

Although an irreplaceable loss, we can honor Molly Ivins life by following her advice, "So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."

According to the Texas Observer more information about Molly Ivins is available online from The Texas Observer(texasobserver.org). Tax-deductible contributions to honor her may be made to The Texas Observer, 307 West Seventh Street, Austin, TX 78701 or to the American Civil Liberties Union, 127 Broad Street, 18th floor, New York, NY 10004 (.aclu.org).

Roger deRoos
Friday Harbor

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Monday, February 5th

Council Priorities



Dear Editor:

Pete Rose, the new County Administrator, has embarked on a very positive project with the support and encouragement of the County Council. Pete has generated a list of projects for the council to prioritize with the dual aims of developing a long-term collective vision of governance to identify those issues considered more immediately pressing. These lists are now in the process of review, analysis, additions, and deletions, with recommendations being given by each council member individually. The next step will be a compilation of these recommendations with the objective of creating a new prioritized list. The net effect will be a bona fide integrated plan with acknowledgement of required resources and implications between departments throughout the County.

What, you say! An integrated and deeply-considered series of needed actions over the coming year, rather than reacting to events? Exactly, and it's a direct outgrowth of Pete Rose's dedication to professional management, the positive response of the Council, and the new structure required by the County Home Rule Charter. The economic benefits of this undertaking will be substantial as we move forward in a planned cohesive way, as compared to addressing events in a reactive fashion. Fewer (if any) blunders, lawsuits, and ill-conceived projects.

In addition, the council is now taking advantage of their new-found ability to form sub-committees to study problems and come up with suggested solutions for the other council members to consider. Three council members, with support from appropriate staff, are forming these various study groups where they can "roll up their sleeves" and bang out some really effective in-depth proposals. Again, this opportunity is a direct outgrowth of the Charter and its provision for six Council members, three of whom can meet without violating the "public meetings act", since they do not represent a majority-voting block.

I see a more cooperative and harmonious relationship building throughout the County government. When you can meet privately and work together to solve a problem, rather than suffer through the constant posturing that the old system forced on everyone, it can't help but build a sense of camaraderie and respect between folks.

Charles Bodenstab
San Juan Island


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Global Warming: Who Has A Plan?



To the Editor:

Now that the Global Warming Commission has come out with their report, that indeed, in the last 100 years, there has been a rise of 0.7% in the earth's temperature...and that man most likely has contributed to that rise, it is time to do something about it. (None of us will be around to find out if the warming is cyclical, as some experts believe), but trying to address the issue certainly is for the benefit of all of us.

The problem remains, that most off the largest contributors to air pollution did not sign the Kyoto Treaty, and those that did, sign it still have not lived up to that agreement. There is no enforcement. It was under the Clinton administration in 1995, that the Senate voted 95 to 1 to NOT sign it, yet the Democrats continue to blame it on George W. Bush, (along with all the other problems in the world!) George Will this morning came up with a great idea. Now that the Democrats are in control of Congress, lets have a vote on it again and see what happens. It is time to call their bluff and stop blaming the current President! Lets all write our Senators to do just that.

I found this interesting and worth reading.--

Global Warming? Go Nuclear!
By Frank Pastore
Why aren't we building any more nuclear reactors, especially now? Why do we--almost eagerly--fund our worst enemies? Why are we still so economically--and therefore militarily--vulnerable to Islamofascists like Ahmadinejad?
Answer: For the very same reason we aren't doing more off-shore drilling or drilling in Anwar, or building more refineries. Because the very same people who are now screaming "The globe is warming! The globe is warming!" don't want them. They'd prefer having their fear-mongering political wedge issue than actually solving the problem. And because the Democratic Party depends upon such malcontented special interest groups for its political power, we don't have a solutions-oriented energy policy.
Something is terribly wrong when Brazil, who has achieved energy independence by growing and running its own ethanol, and France, who is getting 80% of their energy from nuclear power, are ahead of us.
Just think: Why do you never hear any real solutions from the Greens other than things like "cap greenhouse emissions" "ratify Kyoto," "institute a windfall profits tax on Big Oil," "use alternative energy," "flush less often," "use different light bulbs," "lower the thermostat," "take a bus to work" or some other proposal that will only end up raising gas to a Euro-pean $5.00 a gallon (or more), hurt the global economy, and leave the world's poor in worse shape?
As with Iraq, I want to ask these people, "Where's Your Plan?" I, like most Americans, am interested in solutions.
This is not to say the Greens could not serve some instrumental purpose to good ends. If they succeeded in allowing/persuading their Democratic Leadership to "go nuclear"" drill in Anwar, build more refineries, and offer more tax in-centives to venture capitalists in new technologies like hydrogen and fuel cells, then I wouldn't mind their "The Globe is Warming" eco-terror mantra.

`

Helen King
San Juan Island

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Sunday, February 4th

Thoughts On The War



The Community Theatre presented what was advertised as a discussion and comparison of the Cold War and today's war on terrorism. Two panel members simply ignored the format and spoke instead of (1) a personal animus against war under any circumstance and (2) the ALCU's opposition to perceived compromises of civil rights. and particularly those alleged as occurring at Guantanamo Bay.

Excepting these two panelists' participation, the discussion was informative and productive. At the end and following questions and comments from the audience there was a provocative comment to the effect of whether proponents of the war-on-terrorism were advocating a return to the concepts of the Roman Empire. This question prompts the below, which was written some months ago:

WHY OUR PRESENCE IS REQUIRED IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Total battle casualties of WWI and WWII exceeded 23,000,000 (including over 340,000 Americas)! Until the United States stationed forces there following WWII, Europe had experienced almost a millennia of the absence of peace. A good many Europeans fled to the Americas precisely because of the incessant wars. And it was quite natural that after failing to secure peace following the war to end all wars (WWI) that we left forces throughout Europe following WWII. Serendipitously, this occupation morphed from a force to keep peace in Europe to a front line force to face and contain communism.

The world is now faced with the prospect that the Middle East is in a period of continuing wars. Although pacifists and anti-war-nicks will cry that this is not our business, WWI and WWII instruct us otherwise. We are also faced with the fact that multi-lateral and United Nations sponsored peace efforts have failed and hold no likelihood of success.

As the world's ONLY significant force for peace, it is natural that America would be the agent to bring or enforce peace. From this perspective, our presence in Iraq has little to do with Saddam or weapons of mass destruction. Instead, it is a required presence, and Iraq is as good as any strategically logical place to start. The area will likely require something equivalent of our Marshall Plan for Europe and not so much to restore battle damaged economies, but to fix the effects of entrenched Islamic hostility to freedom, democracy and a global economy. Most important, we Americans need to understand that our presence in the Middle East will persist at least as long as we've stayed in Europe (and Japan and Korea).

Following a comparable period of incessant wars in the ancient Mediterranean region, the reign of Augustus commenced the Pax Romanum centuries of unprecedented peace. This peace was accompanied by the continuing deployment of 25 to 30 Roman legions, mostly along the northern and eastern border areas. Just after Augustus defeated Anthony to end the wars, Virgil presciently observed that among the attributes of the world's various peoples that
yours my Romans, is the gift of government,
That is your bent to impose upon the nations
The Code of peace; to be clement to the conquered,
But utterly to crush the instransient.

(The ANEID VI 847 Patrick Dickinson translation)

History both in ancient Rome and 20th century Europe instructs us that peace, in part, is a function of the post-war deployment of overwhelming force. The talk of pulling out or "ending the war" is simply foolish. We need to maintain forces sufficient to counter the threats. We might concurrently deliver massive foreign aid and other peaceful inducements; however, it is wishful thinking to believe that ultimate long term peace can be wrought without our soldiers on the ground.

Many of our decisions about Iraq have been less than ideal some even bad. However, our presence there is profoundly important. Perhaps the best that can be said about our actions to date is that we've been brought to the decision to be there with the loss of a few thousand lives and not the hundreds of thousands of Americans and millions of others that had to perish to prompt us following WWII (or the two to four million that were lost following our withdrawal from Southeast Asia).


Albert B. Hall
Friday Harbor


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