Letters to the Editor

"Conflating the loss of a hiking trip with the loss of people's livestock and homes isn't amusing."

Whinging About Warming

After rereading Eric de Place's piece on the destruction of hiking trails during last October's rainstorms, I'm less annoyed than I was after the first reading [Summer Guide, "Unhappy Trails," May 26]. However, I'm still infuriated by the whiny tone of the article.

How does de Place think the trails got there in the first place? It wasn't just magic checks floating in from D.C.; people picked up tools and sweated over them. Perhaps instead of pulling at his hair and wishing for more money from the feds—which won't be coming—de Place should expend some effort fixing the problem. Erosion is going to happen—that's the way the planet works.

If he wanted to write a story about global warming, he could have at least tried to write a well-supported one. On the scale of climate change, first-person anecdotal evidence doesn't mean squat. There are people who measure the glaciers. Why didn't he talk to them? Most of all, why didn't he stick to writing about the trails? Offer alternative hikes that are in good shape? Encourage people to join trail-maintenance groups? Burying a link to the Mountaineers at the bottom of a sidebar doesn't cut it.

Conflating the loss of a hiking trip with the loss of people's livestock and homes isn't amusing. It reveals him to be a spoiled child, only concerned with his precious vacation. Want to reinforce the idea that environmentalists hate people? Pretty good start.

We've lost huge portions of some beautiful trails. On the other hand, there are thousands of miles of excellent trails that haven't been damaged. By the time the mountains have eroded to the point where people are reduced to hiking at REI, they'll have much bigger problems. Exaggerating the situation only makes de Place—and, by extension, every other environmentally concerned person—look stupid.

Alex Bier


Science Fact, Not Fiction

I really appreciated Eric de Place's article [Summer Guide, "Unhappy Trails," May 26]. I'd like to point out that there really is no scientific debate over global warming and its causes (anthropogenic). The scientific fact is that the world is warming and we have caused it (mostly the U.S.). Scientific skeptics are often funded by the oil industry and will say that there is a lot of uncertainty in climate science, but according to the unbiased Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global warming is a scientific fact.

Denise S. Urness


Midwives Get Bum Rap

We're sure it's coincidence, but you've published two articles about errant midwives in the past few months: "Birth Rights and Wrongs," March 24; and "Malpractice Assurance," May 26. Midwives are taking it on the chin based on these isolated examples of misconduct. Are midwives inherently unsafe? A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that in comparison to patients who see only physicians, patients who receive collaborative midwifery care spend less time in a hospital or birth center; experience fewer cesareans and fewer vacuum- or forceps-assisted vaginal births; undergo fewer episiotomies; ex­perience less induction of labor and tech­nical interventions; have similar rates of mor­bi­dity, preterm birth, and low birth-weight babies; and use fewer hospital resources, resulting in lower-cost care.

We have had two children with an excellent midwife. She knew us and our needs extremely well. We had the option of either a hospital, birth center, or home birth. Our midwife was at the hospital throughout labor. She provided high-quality care and was attentive to our needs. She relied on technology when we needed it but didn't initiate unnecessary procedures. With our most recent birth, we experienced complications related to a low heart rate. Our midwife caught this during a routine exam and sent us to the hospital. Because his rate wasn't recovering, she induced labor. When labor didn't proceed fast enough and his heart rate remained low, she called in the obstetrician, who was prepared to do a vacuum extraction. Fortunately, this wasn't necessary, and we had a healthy son. This is what midwifery care is all about.

We are fortunate to live in an area of the country that provides pregnant women and their partners with many choices for excellent care in pregnancy and childbirth. The case of Ian Malone is tragic, but the Weekly is doing midwifery a great injustice by highlighting extreme cases of malpractice rather than normal experiences.

Ed Phippen and Helene Obradovich


Grade-School Critique

I have had it with the Seattle Weekly's criticism of the monorail [ Mossback, "Put a Fork in It," and "Credible Critic," May 26]. Of course the process of building a giant, government-funded public transportation system is going to be expensive and bureaucratic. A third-grader could tell me that, and it seems that's all the Weekly has to say on the issue, too. What you've ignored is that Seattle desperately needs a decent public transportation system. Most American cities of comparable size have one. It will reduce traffic congestion, help protect the environment, and allow greater mobility for those of us not addicted to cars. If the Weekly can come up with an alternative system, that would be wonderful. It's easy to complain, but hard to come up with solutions.

Drew Vance


To Each His Own

After reading Keith Harris' review of Loretta Lynn's Van Lear Rose ["You're Almost Looking at Country," May 26], I'm convinced he must have heard a different disc. I'm a big fan, so maybe I'm partial, but wow.

Though I respect his opinion, I am confused over the way the songs affected him. Embarrassing? I think the only one who's uncomfortable is Harris. The songs are simple and intense all in one; that's what country music is . . . something Faith and Shania are not.

Maybe her longtime fans feel they know better than the critics, but if we had our way, Jack White would get Loretta right back to that little house in Nashville and plant rooms full of roses for the world to see.

I respect Harris' review; I may not agree, but it did mix things up a bit. All the other reviews are calling it the CD of the year.

Jeff Feldhaus

Alexandria, VA

Raising a Finger in Protest

In your interview with Janet Weiss and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney, they mention a fan who gave the opening band the finger, with his back turned to them, for the entire show in Detroit [Jukebox Jury, "Taste Test," May 26]. Ahem. I am that person, and the truth of that situation is quite different than that which was apparently relayed to them by the opening band.

I was the first person to get in. When the opening band came on, I quickly became bored, but I didn't want to give up my space. So I put my head down and tried to ignore the band. Every so often I'd look up, roll my eyes, and look back down. At one point, I decided to turn my back to the group as a form of silent protest. The lead singer/guitarist said over the microphone that "some guy down front just shit his pants." I then turned around and momentarily gave him the finger. I admit it was childish, but then again, I didn't have a microphone to broadcast an insult about the jerk to the audience.

Near the end of the show, Weiss said something over the microphone about how the person "who gave the opening band the finger all night wasn't cool." Misrepresenting oneself as a faultless martyr is even more uncool, as is goading someone into giving you the finger in the first place.

Then again, I'm just another Sleater- Kinney fan. I don't have special privileges.

Don Handy

Mt. Clemens, MI

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