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(Re: “Medicinal marijuana,” letters, Sept. 17.) Buddy Sims asserts in last week’s Weekly that, because marijuana is unregulated by the FDA, that marijuana smokers are “rolling the dice” each time they partake. If that’s the case, take me to Vegas, baby — I’m rolling lucky sevens every time!
(Re: "Try a national park," Elevation, July 9.) In a recent Boulder Weekly there was a great article about what to do if approached by a bear. I just moved to the area from Chicago, so my previous encounters with Bears have only been of the NFL, Yogi and Berenstain variety. I was curious to know if the tips changed at all while encountering a bear with your dog. I have a yellow lab, and I could be wrong, but I have a hard time believing she will stop and walk slowly backwards if she sees a bear. I anticipate a lot of barking, commotion and possibly chasing. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Priscilla Trevino/via Internet
Editor’s note: When you’re in areas where bears are active, keep your dog on a leash. It is illegal for dogs to chase wildlife. Only dogs that have earned a green voice and sight control tag from the city are allowed to be off leash. For more information about taking dogs on Open Space and Mountain Parks trails, go to www.osmp.org.
The cost of Afghanistan
In spite of opposition from a growing majority of Americans, the bureaucratic, diplomatic, military juggernaut known as the “mission in Afghanistan” is bound to be serviced with fresh troops and lots of new money. The only debate among Washington elites is over just how large this escalation will be.
General Stanley McChrystal has issued a near panicky report in which he concedes that, after eight years in the country, the Pentagon is approaching “failure” in Afghanistan, as the designated enemy controls more territory than ever before and the population is tiring of foreign occupation.
Our brilliant general therefore imaginatively concludes that he needs more troops — tens of thousands of them — and quickly. And, oh, yes, that storied Afghan army, which U.S. taxpayers have for years been training, arming and paying, simply must be enlarged, as well.
The fact that our nation is bankrupt with trillions of dollars in debt seems never to enter the minds of Pentagon planners. But, neither did it dawn on Soviet managers, until the late 1980s when the costs of their Afghan adventure became untenable, soon leading to their societal collapse.
Largely since he’s made such a big deal of it, Barack Obama is now faced with a momentous decision that will determine the fate of his presidency and the course of our country for many years to come. Either he intends to address the pressing needs of the American people, or he will fight a doomed war against the Afghan people. He can’t do both, as these two missions are mutually exclusive.
Protecting the Arctic
The Arctic Ocean is a national treasure that inspires awe. Pristine and extremely rare, it has been home to unique wildlife and Inupiat culture for thousands of years. Unfortunately, it is under siege because of an excessive appetite for oil and the resultant hangover from the last administration. Before leaving office, the Bush administration approved the Mineral Management Services 2010-2015 five-year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing plan. The plan was intended to open up large tracts of the Arctic Ocean to controversial oil development. Secretary Ken Salazar is now revisiting this decision. Should we maintain our stewardship of this remarkable area or give in to self-serving oil interests?
We strive to be conscientious, and living sustainably is no longer an ideal but a reality. There are alternative solutions to oil and gas exploration that will solve our energy challenges and mitigate exploitation of this national treasure and its delicate ecosystem.
Something bigger is at stake, and it’s more than the limited supply of fuel expected from drilling in the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas.
It is easy to overlook the importance of protecting this environmental gem because it is not in our “backyard.” What lies beneath the sea can be even more elusive. The negative impacts to human culture, polar bear, beluga whale, seals and other creatures are poorly understood. They rely on our voice to protect them, so the correct action is paramount.
Interior Secretary Salazar will make a series of crucial decisions regarding the American Arctic Ocean in the next several weeks. Many of these will determine if actions taken during the Bush administration will continue there. Hasty decisions could lead to poor results, and more time should be taken to develop a comprehensive plan. Urging Salazar to continue the process he has begun, and to introduce a rigorous plan, will help ensure that America’s Arctic Ocean, and the lives that depend on it will survive, and thrive, because we care about them.
Cassidy Brush/via Internet
Stand up to Iran
Just today the Christian Science Monitor reports that Iran’s Ahmadinejad will not rule out the possibility of Iran building a nuclear weapon. Also, we now discover this week that the UN’s IAEA withheld evidence (read: lied) about Iran’s progress toward the capability of making a nuclear bomb. We have been cavalier in laying back with the assurance that Iran was a decade away from the capability.
So, now I want to know, what is the Obama-Clinton State Department going to do about it? Having ignored a tremendous opportunity to shore up opposition to Ahmadinejad and his deceitful regime during the Green Revolution this summer, and now talking about discarding the missile defense plans in Eastern Europe, this Administration and Congress now need to prove they can be influential in stopping this rogue from acquiring and using a nuclear weapon against us, or our heretofore ally, Israel. Tea and crumpets isn’t going to do it, Mr. Obama. What is your plan, and when will you take Ahmadinejad seriously?
Lisa Spear/via Internet
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