Eugene Weekly : Letters : 12.24.09


In the Dec. 17 EW, Joseph Lieberman wrote a commentary (“‘Free Speech vs. Hate Speech”) about a recent non-university organized meeting held on the UO campus. 

 I was at the Pacifica Forum meeting where the presenter espoused abhorrent anti-Semitic and anti-immigrant sentiments and glorified neo-Nazi principles. It is unacceptable that such a close-minded and hateful presentation can find an audience within our community. When strong ideas are expressed, institutions of higher education, including the UO, have an obligation to engage in scholarly discovery and analysis. However, the university should neither be considered supportive of, nor affiliated with, such ideas as expressed by the Pacifica Forum. The space is currently used under a policy that allows retired professors to book campus rooms free of charge.

University leadership is purposeful about the individuals and groups who represent its voice. It’s a protection we take seriously. As such, we are addressing our policies about how best to proceed with our mission and values while safeguarding the campus community and the values of free speech. We will continue to focus on education and engagement as we always have when issues and controversy test our convictions and elicit reflection. While I strongly believe that the UO must defend the free exchange of ideas and promote intellectual inquiry, we have a greater responsibility to turn ideas into the discovery of knowledge in a manner that is inclusive and welcoming to all our students and the communities we serve.

I invite the community’s involvement in this process of scholarly engagement and challenge each of us to take personal responsibility for creating an environment where hateful acts and the espousal of hateful ideas, without context to the university mission of continuing education, is not tolerated.

 Charles Martinez, UO vice president, institutional equity and diversity



The Civics Glossary defines “hate” speech as type of speech which is used to deliberately offend an individual; or racial, ethnic, religious or other group. Such speech generally seeks to condemn or dehumanize the individual or group; or express anger, hatred, violence or contempt toward them.

This definition is overwhelmed by the vitriolic content of Pacifica Forum’s Dec. 11 presentation by Jimmy Marr on “The National Socialist Movement: An insider’s view of America’s radical right,” which was enabled and passively condoned by the UO administration allowing this event to occur in the EMU’s Walnut Room. 

As if this misuse of public university property was not frustrating, offensive and frightening enough, CTV producer Chris Kelsay videotaped, aired and thereby amplified throughout the entire community this same presentation on CTV on Dec. 17. His sloppy partial editing of some of the “kill the Jews” chants from the National Socialist Movement’s documentary of a rally held in Phoenix, Ariz., and shown during the PF’s Dec. 11 event represents CTV’s (our local public access station) and his lame defense for airing this video as “free speech not hate speech.”

Adding insult to these incitements to hate and violence is the fact the city of Eugene dedicates $7,500 of our public monies to fund CTV which gives freedom to producers, such as Chris Kelsay, to air hate speech. 

As a journalist and ardent promoter of free speech, I am shocked and frightened that both the UO and the city of Eugene ignorantly support the presentation and airing of hate speech under the guise of our First Amendment. 

Amy Pincus Merwin, InForm Media, Eugene



I write this letter to thank Dr. Marea Wilber and the entire Greenhill Humane Society staff for the understanding and compassion shown to my dogs, Sam and Emma, and me.

I am a 51-year-old man who has never married or had children. In 1996 I found Sam and Emma in a pet store. They were littermates and they sure were cute. I raised them 12 and a half years, the last four years in a van. My van broke down at the end of July, leaving my dogs and me on the street. After several days of soul-searching, I realized my love for them was not going to be enough to handle their well-being. Their advanced age led me, however painful, to believe they deserved better care than I could currently provide. 

I put us in a cab to Greenhill to see what they could do for Sam and Emma. After hearing my story, Dr. Wilber volunteered her farm as an alternative.

They had other dogs, as well as other animals, and Sam and Emma would be happy there. The choice between what she was offering and my own uncertain future without the van made the decision much easier to make. The dogs’ welfare is what mattered most.

She has allowed me to call from time to time to check on them. I really don’t know what I would have done without her help. Thank you Dr. Wilber and staff at Greenhill Humane Society.

Dennis Gabel, Eugene


Regarding the solar panel letters (12/10): For the record, the purpose of an inverter is to change DC to an AC square wave. Further circuitry can raise or lower the voltage and, optionally, filter it to produce an approximation of a sine wave. If the voltage has been increased, there will be less current available and vice-versa. Inverters do not exist to change the current.

Mr. Weisman (letters, 12/3) is ill informed and should not be talking electronics. Given a large enough solar array and sufficient inverting capacity (sine wave), the entire city of Eugene could be run on solar and nobody could tell the difference.

Bill Fitzpatrick, Eugene


I read Dr. Peter Bours’ letter (11/5) with great interest. I was saddened, but not surprised, by the decision PeaceHealth Laboratories made to discontinue performing lab tests for Dr. Bours’ patients.

As an RN I spent four years working in family planning and am very familiar with Dr. Bours and his tireless work to provide excellent care to his patients. I never met him personally but his reputation was that of a patient, kind and dedicated physician. 

Reading his letter was a reminder that providing service some people find objectionable can be difficult, but this doesn’t make the service any less valuable.

To that end, I will make every effort to
never utilize any service provided by PeaceHealth. I am grateful to live in a community whose medical care is not monopolized by religious fanatics. Additionally, I will be transferring my daughter’s care out of their pediatric practice.

Keep up the good work, Dr. Bours, and know that you are supported and appreciated.

Jennifer Scotti, Eugene


Good thing I’m not president. I’d first close the NYSE, NASDAQ, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and I’d put their traders in jail. I’d post Marine sentinels at each location. Shoot to kill.

Then I’d have every Wall Street fat cat arrested. No habeas corpus (sorry). Their mansions, yachts, luxury cars and other assets would be confiscated. Bummer. No home in Aspen.

I’d make sure their prisons didn’t have a good heating system and keep the jail food cold. Also a few power failures. Then they could get a feel of what homelessness is about. But at least they would have a bed.

You see folks, the crafty wealthy-owned Congress, they write their own laws that benefit them and screw you.

Oh yeah, when those criminals are paroled they would get food stamps; sorry, thieves don’t get dignity.

I haven’t seen Michael Moore’s latest movie, but I get it.

Greg Hume, Creswell


I thought I voted in a Democrat last year for president, but I guess I didn’t. Following the hoots and howls for change! I believe I’ve been seriously short-changed. Well, it’s not the first time I’ve been cheated. You were my man, Obama, but today, I’m not yours. So, as a newly minted Not Yours, allow me an explanation:

When I was 17, I shot a friend in the foot to keep him from going to Vietnam. This followed funerals for two friends who went there as brave boys and came home in canvas body bags — two funerals at our rural high school of 125 students. Kids with open eyes thought the Vietnam War a cynical sham, and we were correct. It’s the last time I fired a gun.

I’ve watched as your soaring rhetoric morphed into modulated press releases. I’ve wondered as your appointments engender the same policy entitlements that created the stinking mess you vowed to change. I’m astonished at your unwillingness to K.O. the bloodied Republicans, whose cynical stratagems have nearly destroyed our country. Good soldiers don’t compromise. You’re a general with a corporal’s mindset. I don’t vote for corporals. I’ve been short-changed.

So here’s your two cents, returned. At 17 I learned a lesson: When you go to war, there’s always two — the one outside your head and the one within. Years ago, I ended both for a scared kid. I did my patriotic duty. For God’s sake, why can’t you do yours?

Tom Erwin, Veneta


When I was recently accused of having insufferably turgid prose with backward ideas, I was reminded of my grandmother’s statements about how the pot can’t call the kettle black. But if that is too oblique, try “It takes one to know one.” Fanon once wrote, “Mastery of language affords remarkable power.” Having been exposed to Frantz Fanon at 13 in Black Skin, White Masks, I’m well aware of cross-racial fetishization, and I have a maroon’s skepticism of anyone sitting in the Oval Office.

Being black is not a burden but a responsibility. The responsibility is to stand on the side of the weak against the strong and also to remember out loud what the Wasi’chu/Hungrigeists forget. Obama talks pretty, but I’m aware the national identity of Afghanistan is one that has resisted all invaders from Genghis Khan, Islam (for 300 years), England, Russia and now America. I’m not confident Obama has absorbed the lessons of history beyond Western Civ. He’s smart enough, but intelligence doesn’t always trump Hungrigeist addiction to fear.

I’m aware that comprehensive health care legislation could fall between Canada’s 12 pages and our phonebook — less than everybody covered, no one left out, whatever you need for your health care, be it acupuncture or weed.

Luckily, I didn’t get elected with my backward self because I’d rewrite the Constitution along the lines of South Africa’s or The White Roots of Peace: Make discrimination, rape, racism, genocide and environmental degradation treasonable crimes against humanity, punished by mandatory reparations.

Mark Harris, Eugene


The viewpoint/opinion article by Warren Weisman (12/3) is a good grounding point in our expectations of what is required to make the changes our society and indeed all of Earth’s societies must make to leave the next generation of sentient beings with the environmental resources necessary for a comfortable enough life to cope with a changing climate.

However, we must not limit our imaginations to the current experiment of transforming solar energy into energy required by our current energy slaves. I call to our attention this press release by the California Public Utilities Commission:

There are other ways of directly harnessing solar energy that are not science fiction any more. This press release speaks to space-based solar energy collection that is actually in progress now.

Donald Nordin, Cottage Grove


The “facts” of physics are, fortunately, only theories. Most scientists would agree that there is no way to prove a theory — just a chance to show a lot of good supporting evidence. Nonetheless, the basic theories of physics are well documented, and very well supported, and it is painful for me to see a good theory misapplied.

I was excited to see Warren Weisman’s Viewpoint (12/3) on photovoltaic panels and am quite familiar with the many misguided attempts to solve the world’s energy crisis using photovoltaic panels. The problem is that he has misused some basic physics concepts.

To suggest that PV panels do not create energy is like suggesting babies are not delivered by a stork. Energy, as a physics concept, cannot be created or destroyed. Not only is it true that PV panels do not create energy, it is also true that nothing can create energy. We can only ever hope to convert energy from one form to another, for our convenient use.

Secondly, a watt is not a unit used to measure energy; it is used to measure power. It is meaningless to say that sunlight falls on the earth at rate of “200 watts an hour.” The more correct use would be to say that sunlight falls on the earth with an average power of 200 watts per square meter. Or, since Weisman goes on to discuss BTUs, he could present this information in terms of average BTUs per hour.

And while it is true that a single PV cell produces a very low voltage, they are rarely deployed as single cells. It is not only easy but extremely common to use them in series with each other to produce tens or hundreds of volts of electrical potential. And for any household purposes you can connect a PV panel to a power inverter.

Weisman’s overarching point that we should be very critical of all of the implications of PV panels is absolutely spot-on. My concern is that he has still failed to correctly state the facts. We need to do more than just face the facts — we need to correctly understand them.

Sylvan Cambier, Eugene


The wretched Republican Party has exposed the American public to the vilest, most treacherous and treasonous pattern of public discourse in the history of the republic. They have questioned President Obama’s birth legitimacy, his U.S. citizenship and now from the lips of that most vile of criminal minds, Dick Cheney, an accusation that he is a traitor. 

Once the campaign for 2010 actually gets under way, any worthy Democrat will take his or her Republican opponent to task for all of the despicable words uttered and dirty deeds done by the likes of Dick Cheney, Michael Steele and all the other mental midgets who have opposed heath care reform, the extension of unemployment compensation, housing for the homeless and feeding hungry children. I say, to hell with the GOP; down with the treasonous miscreants.

Gerry Merritt, Eugene


This here’s a message to let all y’all Eugene comnists and hippys, know how a proud right-wang Merkin tareist stands on the dangers facin our Great country today and to warn of the danjers of the soshlist Hitler Obama takin away are hard erned freedoms for which so many proud Merkins have died, caws uv the danjer posed by evil kenyin moslim fanatic who has seezed complete! control of are gummint to insert his feendish Comnist Mind Control Pills into are dinkin water and are schools and are churches which he has closed and tooken are own guns to use for with his death panils for are parents and sick folk for which he has plans to make them go to death panils to decide if they have the right to live.

And I say “NO”! too the death panils becaws are olds folks have suffered enuff with floridazing they water to sap are preshis bodily fluids so as to weaken us so when they come to take are guns becaws he thinks he jest as good as us with his fancy “High School Diploma” and whatnot and then he went to collige to show he thinks we aint so good as him becaws he wants to take are guns and are parents cant do anything.

So I never got any help from nobody when I was on welfare and foodstamps and had to go to public health clinics for to get free medicine for my sick kids did anyone lend me a hand? NO! Oh, and the Messkins too also, you betcha!

Jamie Selko, Eugene


Here we go again. If Ballot Measures 66 & 67 pass, the state of Oregon is going to be in big trouble. If the cost of business increases, that is passed on to us the consumers. Do you think that Walmart, Aunt Martha’s Dress Shop or anything in between is going to pull that extra money out of their own pockets? Would you? No they will raise prices, let go of employees and not hire anyone.

That is how business works. In an ideal world it would make sense, however this is the real world, not Fantasy Land.

As for those who make $125,000, that is not rich, folks! Those people are our neighbors, friends and relatives. There has been no withholding taken from their wages all year for the new tax rates. If this ridiculous ballot measure passes, where will they get the money to pay their taxes by April?

The bottom line is if these ballot measures pass, prices will go up, unemployment will go up and there will be a whole lot less money circulating in the community.

I used to be on the other side of this issue. That was years ago before I realized how business works in the real world.

Don’t be fooled by these misleading TV ads.

Anna DeMarco, Marcola