Harvest? It's tree Cutting
Thanks to Mossback for noting the lunacy of using the word "harvest" to describe the chopping down of wild trees that no one (except maybe God) planted, whether big or not [Mossback, "The New Meth," July 19]. Wasn't it Confucius who said the first step toward winning any struggle is to "control the language"? Well, the timber (aka "forest") industry has certainly taken that step with their deliberate strategy of substituting the word "harvest," with its overtones of honest toil and happy farm life, to replace the more accurate "cut."
As a small-time tree hugger myself, I squirm whenever I see "one of us" using the "H" word. They've really succeeded with insinuating it everywhere. So I make myself obnoxious, and complain whenever I see anyone who should know better using it. A lonely battle, but I'd feel bad if I didn't do it.
A Better Measure than $
Thank you for the quote from Christopher Lasch about how market values trump all others [Mossback, "The New Meth," July 19]. Lasch contends that market values absorb institutions until the financial bottom line is all that matters. We see the truth of that every day in news reports of natural disasters. Almost the first statistic that comes out from any tornado, hurricane, wildfire, or earthquake is an estimate of the economic cost of the damage. What about the human and animal lives impacted? What about the wonder at the power of nature? What about the scientific implications? What about the lessons the planet is trying to teach us?
The mentality of market values is that everything has a price, which means that everything can either be purchased or replaced by insurance. It is high time we rediscover other yardsticks against which to measure ourselves besides dollar signs.
Janice Van Cleve
I am glad that Knute Berger was able to use the Christopher Lasch quotation to constellate a larger discussion [Mossback, "The New Meth," July 19]. Though a bit extreme, Lasch's comments provide a useful counterpoint to our Enron- era society.
Save Our Sanctuary continues to work to save the First United Methodist Church from demolition. We respect the long journey the church leadership has undergone to resolve this issue, and we hope for a positive outcome.
Chair, Save Our Sanctuary
What a Bleak Existence
I just returned from two weeks of spending a lot of my hard-earned capitalistic dollars (earned at an exchange rate many times that of a concrete stacker who might have flunked foam at Starbucks) in your truly beautiful city.
While I am not surprised that Seattle would have a commune built around the desire for global anarchy, I was surprised at how bleak and drab this prospect is ["The Revolution of Everyday Life," July 5]. In the following week's letters to the editor [July 12], Parke Burgess tells us their story is just "too important and threatening" for us to understand. Let me say, I am not threatened. "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need" has sounded great since Marx wrote it. And if I were a concrete stacker, I am sure I would like others to provide for me.
What I thought was the most interesting and telling aspect of the whole story, was that the natural-foods store, which is supposed to represent all that is good, politically correct, and progressive in an already progressive society, didn't want the commune's members in its dump bin. The fact that these two entities couldn't come up with a solution to matching wasted resources with a "willing consumer" speaks volumes.
I hope a child is born to the house, so that the sound of a crying baby, using unearned resources, could add a new topic for the weekly meeting. It would be interesting to know how much Dumpster food would be determined to be the proper percentage of the child's diet.
That's the Ticket
The recent rough treatment of some bicycle protesters by overzealous Metro Transit police has had the unusual effect of making Seattle's own cops look good in comparison. Faced with the same protesters engaged in minor infractions of traffic laws, Seattle's kid-glove treatment of same comes across as street-smart and sophisticated. But does this newfound image of commonsense law enforcement signify a retreat from Big Nanny bullying in the Emerald City? Not so fast!
The matter is obscured by a recent run-in that this private citizen had with one of Seattle's finest. Having just crossed a street in downtown Seattle during rush hour, I and two other hapless pedestrians were intercepted by an officer who accused us of committing a crime. The charge—that we had stepped into the crosswalk after the "Don't Walk" sign started flashing. That's right, it was flashing. When I expressed surprise and doubt concerning such a law, he flourished the xeroxed text of an ordinance which I'm sure is unknown to 99 percent of Seattleites. The cop then wrote us up tickets, at $47 a pop, and let out that he had been doing this for the past two hours that day. Although he made some noise about "safety," the whole episode seemed more like entrapment and making some extra bucks for City Hall.
Despite any isolated signs to the contrary, Big Nanny government is alive and well in Seattle.
Tear Gas in the Morning
I smiled when I read that Critical Mass bicyclists were recently introduced to "the new sheriff in town," i.e., King County police. During the WTO "demonstrations," my place of employment was surrounded by a human chain, not allowing anyone to enter or exit the building. After several hours of this, King County police were called in and politely asked the protesters to move on. After they refused to do so, the police did what they were hired to do: enforce the law ("I love the smell of tear gas in the morning"). While I know that many a patrol officer in the Seattle Police Department would like to enforce laws that evidently Critical Mass and other Seattle protest groups think they are immune to ("a permit to march, what's that?"), it's quite evident that their hands are tied from the police brass and politicians that have the Rodney King, "Why can't we all get along?" mentality. Maybe after a few more "doses" of real law enforcement, Critical Mass might pay closer attention to those traffic lights.
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