Thank you for your courageous, and all too rare (for the Seattle media), objective reporting on Hansa and captive breeding ["Making Baby Elephants," Nov. 1]. I can't remember anyone devoting the column inches to examine the many ethical and environmental questions that lie behind the curtain of unquestioned assumptions regarding zoo and other "educational" animal displays.
Woodland Park Zoo is often and correctly noted for attempts to provide a more natural habitat for its charges, but for people like myself, those efforts ultimately fail. Complex animals cannot have their habitat re-created to the point of fulfilling all of their physical, social, and emotional needs. What we see in these institutional settings are incomplete, and often hollow, representations of other species. This is what we teach our children.
Zoos are symptoms of our condition. Environmentalists and animal welfarists should not look to them as answers to meet the need for a humane and environmentally sane future. Until your article appeared, few would understand that, as other media continue to feed at the PR trough.
SAVE ECONOMY: BUY SEX TOYS
Who is surprised that the Republican "economic stimulus" plan is to give [billions of dollars] to America's richest corporations ["Trenches to Troughs," Nov. 1]? It's like that phony $300 rebate a while back, but a hundred thousand times bigger and sent to a million times fewer people. But rather than piss and moan, let me make a modest proposal.
The problem is the oil giants already make more money than they know what to do with. Boeing is too busy laying off workers (because people aren't buying their products) to take the time to plow the money back into the economy. It's just plain inefficient to give the money to places that are already flush with cash.
I suggest that instead the Republicans give the cash to me, myself, and I. The three of us will spend that money at every grocery, outlet mall, car dealership, sex toy shop, and Krispy Kreme from Seattle to Key West. We will look for at least 100 million other American taxpayers willing to help out. We will form a mighty army, buying shoes for our kids, computers for our schools, and hot doughnuts fresh from the oven!
Tell "Mr. President" that, as he said, it's our money anyway. So let's get the economy moving again through rebates to ordinary American voters. Are you with us or against us?
QUIT YER' WHINING
Re: Geov Parrish's commentary on this "new kind of war" ["Trenches to Troughs," Nov. 1]. Sounds like he missed the '60s and is trying to make up for lost time. Of course, none of LBJ's buddies (and fellow Democrats) got rich supporting the Vietnam effort. And I'm sure no one in FDR's large circle of supporters (and fellow New Dealers) benefited one thin ("Brother, Can You Spare a . . . ") dime during WWII.
All this whining about tax cuts is so irrelevant. Why should anyone who isn't employed receive a tax rebate? They didn't contribute!
And why should Bayer give away a product they've spent time and money developing? One that you, Mr. Parrish, would pay anything for if it meant one of your loved ones surviving a dose of anthrax. Perhaps that evil capitalistic process called supply and demand will kick in and the price of Cipro will drop dramatically. Do you really believe that any of the people who are being treated for anthrax contamination were denied Cipro because they couldn't pay? Grow up.
Geez, Mr. Parrish, the last time there was a wholesale attack of this kind of commentary on our mainland, it was in 1965, and it's happening again. Only nowadays, they call it "recycling."
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Before Geov Parrish concludes that Bayer is "still gouging" pharmacies when it charges $4.67 per Cipro pill ["Trenches to Troughs," Nov. 1], it would be a good idea to mention how many years of research and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment they made in the drug.
These costs must be recouped, or there will be no more drugs, nor any jobs associated with those drugs—and the cost is due, at least in part, to government regulations and making government decision makers happy.
Then there is the product liability reserve that such a widely used drug must certainly carry.
People like Parrish demand to be able to sell their houses at full market value or to change jobs for one that pays the "going rate," but they easily deny those who invested in companies like Bayer the same consideration or rights.
If our federal government has the money to build $400,000 outhouses for national forests, or to pay millions for a primate old-age home, it certainly has plenty of money with which to buy all the Cipro we need, if price is the real problem.
To deny Bayer their rightful profits not only damages the ability of bright people to invent lifesaving drugs for future generations, it also lays the groundwork for some government agency to think it has the authority to dictate other prices, such as what is "fair" for your house and "fair" for your wages. After all, we couldn't possibly allow anyone to "gouge" anyone else, could we?
Boone County, MO
START MAKING SENSE
I was surprised to see [Audrey Van Buskirk] say, in "I'll Take a Manhattan," [Oct. 25]: "Realize that rest of country is bonding over tragedy and only self . . . still thinking mean thoughts about anyone but terrorists." I am hoping you can give me some good reasons for what is apparently, to me, a senseless statement.
I am not "bonding" with anyone over the WTC tragedy. I am not a jingoistic flag-waver. I don't have a flag, flag sticker, or anything like that. The hyped-up nationalism that most of our country is going through right now is distasteful to me.
On the other hand, I do see the attack as a tragedy. Perhaps this would be clearer to you if a terrorist killed your family and friends because they are "evil Americans." That you are "thinking mean thoughts about anyone but terrorists" is a vague, suggestive statement that makes me wonder: Do you think we should have just folded our hands after the attack and done nothing? Perhaps prayed? Perhaps turned the other cheek? What message does that send to whoever organized the attack?
I am guessing the "nation-building, pep-rally" mentality is just as distasteful to you as it is to me. But instead of finding a middle ground, you have backlashed against your own country—and I think it is too bad. I am hoping you can make some sense out of, what seems to me, apparently thoughtless remarks.
EAT YOUR WORDS
In 1999 (the year of I-695), Weekly writers professed opposition to regressive taxes and explained again and again to us great unwashed that direct voting on taxes is anathema under our representative form of government. The Weekly [this year endorsed] a tobacco tax increase (I-773) that is regressive in the extreme ["A Number of Things," Nov. 1]. And it would appear that I-773 is a direct vote on a tax. How easily the sand castles are washed away!
Russell B. Garrard
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