Mutual respect, sucker

Phineas Taylor Barnum, a.k.a. P.T. Barnum, has been credited with coining the phrase "There's a sucker born every minute."

Anyone who believes


" much would a company pay to be the official beer of the Sound Transit drivers...?"

Mutual respect, sucker

Phineas Taylor Barnum, a.k.a. P.T. Barnum, has been credited with coining the phrase "There's a sucker born every minute."

Anyone who believes that the relationships between trainers and the animals used by Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus are based on "mutual respect" is, indeed, a sucker (see "Seeing the elephant," 9/23). Animals who are forced to perform unnatural, demeaning, and/or dangerous tricks are certainly not being treated with respect.



Called out

I read Rick Anderson's "Time and punishment" (9/23) about the King County 911 section's tardiness policy with interest, which changed to general feeling of annoyance by the end of the article. I think that Mr. Anderson missed the point.

Most of us understand that the numbers 911 are associated with emergencies— murders, rapes, robberies, and other acts that affect the safety and security of private citizens. And, I think, most of us want (and expect) any 911 phone call we make to be handled with a sense of urgency. How can that happen when there are too few employees on duty to handle the volume of incoming calls?

While a Communications Section employee could lose up to two weeks' pay for being late, it would only happen if the employee had been late multiple times and been given several written warnings, only receiving a one-day suspension after the fifth instance of tardiness in a year. A ten-day suspension marks the eighth instance of lateness. In some jobs, being late is no big deal. In others it's critical. Surely a policy which provides multiple chances to correct the behavior is not so draconian.

All of us value things differently. But I wonder how many people would think that it's worse for an employee to be disciplined for (multiple instances of) tardiness than for someone to be raped or murdered because someone was not there to pick up an incoming emergency phone call.



Vigor and salivation

Seattle Weekly is to be applauded for its coverage of the Blaine burials ("Rough treatment," 9/23). The national media has chosen to ignore this important story, for reasons that mystify rather than clarify its function to society. I would have expected the media to attack the Blaine fiasco with the same vigor and salivation that it pursued the Kennewick Man case, but to no avail. I have my suspicions as to the reasons, but I think I'll wait for the musings of the one journalist in America who seems to understand the real significance of both cases, your own Roger Downey. Keep on writing, Roger!




Fred Moody's "Black hole sonsabitches" (9/23) succinctly describes the current fringe furor over the Brookhaven National Laboratory's RHIC project, but misses an informative bit of historical context. During the development of the atomic bomb, the idea that a nuclear explosion might cause a chain reaction in the atmosphere's nitrogen was regarded by most Trinity scientists as impossible, but "It was recorded that Fermi upset Gen. Groves by wondering out loud if the explosion would ignite the atmosphere." This is reminiscent of the current RHIC "end-of-the-world scenario" which speculates that the quark-gluon plasma will cause a chain reaction that will reorganize adjacent matter into "strangelets," causing an expanding shell of "new matter" that could engulf the universe. While this scenario is perhaps more plausible than black holes eating the world (quantum black holes evaporate almost instantly due to Hawking radiation), its likelihood is fantastically unlikely (cosmic ray collisions of similar energies continually bombard Earth's upper atmosphere).

Of far greater concern is the accelerating destruction of the planetary climate-control system we call the biosphere. The relatively pleasant conditions we enjoy (atmospheric chemistry, temperature) are directly maintained by the continuous action of living organisms; biodiversity loss from human activity threatens to seriously compromise the control system, potentially making things very unpleasant on Earth. The threat from high-energy physicists is dwarfed by the ballooning industrial might of omnivorous "free-market" economies.



And now a word from...

Although it would now appear that our desire to have really cool sports stadiums has left us short of money for a really cool transit system (see "Tied to the rails," 9/23), I would humbly suggest that if we apply a few lessons from our stadium-building friends, all may not yet be lost. Let us consider the area of sponsorships. Up till now I have yet to hear a proposal for selling space on any Sound Transit assets. For example, how much would a company pay to be the official beer of the Sound Transit drivers (a fact that could be advertised prominently on those driver's uniforms)? Other obvious sponsors: official piercing parlor (are you listening, Pink Zone?), official raincoat, official J.A. Jance book, and on and on. And what about signage? If an 80-foot sign on top of Key Arena can raise millions of dollars, imagine 360-foot glaring neon billboards on top of the trains! So what if the roofs of the trains would have to be lowered several feet to get the trains through the Metro tunnel—the passengers would be sitting, anyway. Perhaps skyboxes are a way to go. Imagine a series of luxury suites at each station, where the movers and shakers of Seattle commerce could go for a more pleasant waiting experience, without being forced to mingle with the hoi polloi. Many millions could be raised this way.

Of course the true potential of this approach would be best demonstrated when the tracks extend east of Lake Washington, where the Eastside high-tech community would begin to kick in some serious money (not a bad recruiting ploy for a tech company, eh?). Other options: Costco hot dog carts at every station (bring 'em back, Messrs. Sinegal and Brotman), annual tattoo passes (who wouldn't pay extra for the coolest transit pass ever!), maybe even a Seattle immersion car where tourists would pay extra to sit in a tank of warm Ivar's clam chowder.

In any event, the point here is that with a little effort we can get on top of this problem, as long as we can find the right people for the job. Say, isn't Woody Woodward about to become available?



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