Letters to the editor: Sept. 15 - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Letters to the editor: Sept. 15

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Posted: Sunday, September 14, 2008 9:49 pm | Updated: 12:05 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

We encourage readers to submit letters to the editor on issues of interest to East Valley residents. Submissions should be no longer than 300 words, factually accurate and original thoughts of the writer. Please be brief and include name, address, city and phone number for verification. Letters and call-in comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Submit your letter to the editor

We encourage readers to submit letters to the editor on issues of interest to East Valley residents. Submissions should be no longer than 300 words, factually accurate and original thoughts of the writer. Please be brief and include name, address, city and phone number for verification. Letters and call-in comments may be edited for clarity and length.

Submit your letter to the editor

CLIMATE CHANGE

Humanity may go extinct

Three thousand years ago, the Fertile Crescent, which is now a small strip of land along the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, went from the tip of the Arabian Peninsula to the end of the Persian Gulf. A 300-year drought happened.

Submit your letter to the editor

Cities and empires fell, wars broke out, people were fighting over what little was left. The region became depopulated. A great desert appeared. These events are the historic background for the Bible.

This was a human-made disaster. The rain clouds needed added moisture rising from the ground to rain. We cut down all the trees at the headwaters of the great rivers.

This added silt and increased the salinity. The irrigated lands salted up and became sterile. We overgrazed the grasslands and killed off much of the grass. There wasn’t enough evaporation to make it rain. This was done with low-tech methods and simple human activity. Of course, those deserts are still there.

Human activity can and has affected climate change. Geological events can and will erase these changes, but that is not what matters. As J. Steven Gould said, “It is the human scale that matters.” Right now 50 percent of the human population live in poverty and 20 percent are malnourished. If climate change worsens these conditions, could not famine, disease, pestilence and war happen? Nature alone might not be able to exterminate the human species, but we are perfectly capable of doing this to ourselves. In time the world would recover, but for us extinction is forever. To think of this solely in terms of politics and economics is thinking too small for something this important.

JAMES SCHER

CHANDLER

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Republicans have no spending discipline

I’ve been watching the ads put out by the John McCain campaign and there is the old Republican chant about the “tax and spend” Democrats. Very interesting, indeed, when you realize that the so-called conservative Republicans are the ones, when in office, have spent us into near bankruptcy.

Beginning with President Reagan, there have been 20 years of Republican administrations and eight years of Democratic administrations. During that time, the national debt, which is an accumulation of annual budget deficits, has gone from less than $800 billion dollars to $10 trillion.

The big difference is that Republicans like to leave the paying of this debt to future generations while the Democrats prefer that we pay as we go to the extent possible. The only time the budget has been balanced in the past three decades was during Democrat President Bill Clinton’s term.

C. RAY JUVELIN

MESA

DRINKING AGE

Underage drinking damages body, mind

As the father of four boys, two of whom are in high school, I was dismayed to read the recent article about college presidents urging the drinking age to be lowered to 18.

Health researchers have known for some time that alcohol use before the early 20s — even in moderate amounts — can physically alter and damage the brain. Underage drinkers score worse on verbal recall and memory exams, and have a 40 percent greater chance of becoming alcoholics than those who wait until after age 21 to drink.

It is therefore unbelievable that university presidents would willingly surrender the cognitive ability of their students in order to turn a blind eye to underage drinking on campus. If academia knows the brain is still developing through age 25 and alcohol damages it, then they cannot simultaneously argue that the legal drinking age is just an arbitrary number. It’s not.

The national Amethyst Initiative is a discouraging sign of cowardice and unwillingness to help students make ethical, logical choices, particularly related to alcohol use and abuse.

It’s true that underage drinking is a problem at college campuses, but it’s also true that it begins well before kids reach college. About 24 percent of Arizona youth begin drinking in eighth grade and by their senior year of high school, with 75 percent admit experimenting with alcohol.

Parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors need to get involved early and learn how to prevent underage alcohol use. The Arizona Parents’ Commission on Drug Education and Prevention, along with the Arizona Underage Drinking Prevention Committee, has tips and resources to help at www.drawyourline.com. Know the realities of alcohol use and learn the facts that some university presidents want to ignore.

GUSTAVO MCGREW

ARIZONA PARENTS’ COMMISSION ON DRUG EDUCATION AND PREVENTION

PHOENIX

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

Application is free

The Arizona Department of Economic Security would like to correct the misinformation contained in a comment published Sept. 1 in The Vent.

A reader commented that he or she visited an unknown Web site to apply for unemployment insurance benefits and that Web site indicated that there would be a charge. There is no fee to apply for unemployment insurance benefits. Arizonans who need this assistance can go to the DES unemployment Web site at www.azui.com 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and apply for the services for free.

ROCHELLE L. WEBB

ADMINISTRATOR, EMPLOYMENT ADMINISTRATION

ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC SECURITY

PHOENIX

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