Union Democrat staff

Political rhetoric

To the Editor:

Regarding article on Rick Santorum's comments on Prop. 8 ruling in the Feb. 14 edition of The Union Democrat.

When a Republican Presidential candidate calls the Proposition 8 ruling by the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals a case of "judicial tyranny" and when he insists on letting " the people decide with respect to what the Constitution says," it just reconfirms that the Republican Party has been taken over by political extremists. As Rick Santorum well knows, or should know, in Marbury vs Madison in 1803 the prerogative of judicial review was enunciated. As Chief Justice John Marshall put it: "It is, emphatically, the province and duty of the judicial department, to say what the law is." Apparently, Mr Santorum, like other Republican candidates, is basing his campaign on emotional rhetoric and extremist ideology, such as proclaiming that the President is waging war against Christianity, that he is a socialist, that he lacks American values, that he is threatening our freedoms. Such ranting one would expect from an inmate in a lunatic asylum, not, however, from one hoping to be our next President.

Another example: Pharmacies in Catholic hospitals in Australia routinely fill prescriptions for birth control pills. Same Church, same Pope, what's the problem? In Australia there is none. But then their political parties are capable of acting in a rational manner.

Daniel Connell


Bush and Pendley

To the Editor:

Your obsession with John Pendley reminds us all of the media's obsession with President Bush. Let's blame him for all of our problems. How about the roads for a starter? As we look at that money pit next to Highway 108, called the Law and Justice Center, we foam at the mouth looking at that freshly paved blacktop as we dodge the holes on Woodham Carne Road. We could also blame him for the Jamestown Mine, Tuolumne General, and the West Side RV Park. Is Tuolumne County going to file for bankruptcy along with The Union Democrat? The Trojan Horse called the Law and Justice Center may be the key to making it happen. Instead of wasting space over old news with a personal vendetta, why doesn't The Union Democrat dive into the insane decisions by a few arrogant individuals that affect all of the taxpayers of the county instead of a minority of people in a rural area? Anybody that can stand up to constant media bashing while the Walls of Jericho are falling is a hero in my mind. The Union Democrat's comments epitomize the self-indulgent hypocrisy of the media. In the name of moral superiority and academic certainty, you keep the real issues abstract in support of your intellectual conceits and prejudices. I hope Mr. Pendley doesn't give up. Bush didn't.

Tom Birks


Gov. Brown's

education cuts

To the Editor:

Our governor has stated he's a proponent for education. Yet, his recent actions prove otherwise. Gov. Brown has cut funding to education so severely that many of our school districts will suffer more lay-offs and elimination of programs. He has eliminated all transportation funding that will cost our rural districts approximately $100,000 each. Not only does this place the burden on schools to try to create a program to get kids to school but it eliminates jobs. Bus drivers, mechanics, and others associated with transportation will no longer be needed.

After-school programs will be deeply cut. This is where students can go to get extra help with homework and take part in several activities such as art, music, and drama not available to classrooms.

Jobs will also be lost. Gov. Brown has eliminated transitional kindergarten, which prepares our young children to be ready to enter the school system where academic standards have been greatly increased. Money received for each student attending schools will also be greatly reduced creating a hardship on districts to keep schools going. More people will lose their jobs.

Gov. Brown recently signed the Dream Act providing funding to illegals to attend college and is now pushing a high speed rail system that is laced with problems with overruns in the billions. If there isn't any money to transport children to school, keep them at school, and provided a safe place to go after school, then there shouldn't be funding for these other projects. Using education as a political pawn has to be stopped. So,one has to ask, what is truly Gov. Brown's intentions? I hope you will ask.

Barb Birks


Frog extinction

Al Duncan, 2/12 mocks protection of the yellow-legged frog suggesting it's an intrusion of government that a healthy environment interferes with securing private property and the wealth it represents. We've heard it before with the little delta fish and the horned-beetle.

During the next 30 years, half of the world's animal species will be extinct. Not since the dinosaurs extinction have species died off this fast. The cause is 7 billion people all competing for resources and by 2050 the population will be 11 billion, while "religious" organizations resist contraception.

Every 24 hours, 200,000 acres of rain forest disappear, not for the lumber but for grazing land to produce cheap beef for the American fast food industry. Thirteen million tons of toxic chemicals are released. 25,000 people die of starvation, 16,000 are children. More than 130 plant or animal species go extinct - every day!

Before the discovery of oil, the planet could support about 1 billion people. By 2050, we will have exhausted the known oil reserves on the planet. See Wikipedia "Oil Depletion."

According to the United Nations half the world's wetlands and forests are gone. Eighty percent of the grasslands and 40 percent of the land suffer from soil degradation. Seventy percent of the major marine fishers are depleted. Only 1 percent of the planet's available water is "fresh" water but drinkable only after treatment - it's polluted.

Frogs are indicator species because frog extinction represents the collapse of many inter-dependent species. Just one species might not matter. But one third of all frog species are on endangered list. Frog species are going extinct at 211 times the normal rate. And Mr. Duncan is worried about fencing?

Robert Carabas


Gas prices

To the Editor:

On Thursday, Feb. 16, our East Sonora Arco gas was $3.71. The best I saw in the valley was at the Oakdale Arco for $3.69 (notice no real price gouging). I think gas prices will use the same concept as postage stamp prices: If consumption goes down, just raise the prices to keep the profit up. As people keep using less gas, I'm afraid prices will go up to keep profits up. The results would be that people who cut down on their consumption will in fact not save money. At least our price gouging seems to be going down. Keep up the good work Union Democrat.

Roy Jueal

Twain Harte