Andrew Freeman's Aug. 31 letter - while well-meaning - displays the shallow thinking often evident in discussions concerning the environmental movement. To characterize as "not personal" the assault on 1,400 farm families in the Klamath Basin is insulting and naive. It is understandable that idealists want to believe in the "innocence" of governmental actions undertaken at the instigation of environmental groups. However, few directly affected by those actions would agree that they are innocent.
It is most certainly a "personal attack" when the flow of irrigation water to more than 200,000 acres of farmland is suddenly cut off for the first time in 93 years. These are real people. Their pain is real. The disintegration of communities is as personal as it gets. And make no mistake: This scenario was promulgated by powers who desired this outcome. We can't "all just get along" until the economic and sociological devastation of the water cut-off are acknowledged and the farmers who bring food to the table are allowed a place at it.
Ann McGill Klamath Falls, Ore.
I was interested in your interview with sociologist Alan Wolfe, but not at all comfortable with his conclusion that "there is a moral majority in America ... one that wants to make up its own mind." ("When morals bend to personal choice," Aug. 30). This is the age of the common man, accountable only to society's laws. A moral majority in a hedonist culture, where nonjudgmentalism is the norm, finds it hard to decide on a virtuous lifestyle. I believe democracy will continue crumbling unless we find a common sensibility, or a leader to coalesce morals and implement change.
Gertrude Shepherd Ithaca, N.Y.
Thank you for the insightful article on the incivility of lawyers and the current reaction sounded from even the American Bar Association ("More Americans want to be their own Perry Mason," Aug. 20). Many states could well have heeded the advice of the late Dixie Lee Ray when she was governor of Washington. Ms. Ray suggested that we close law schools for five years, to give young graduates an opportunity to make a place for themselves amid increasing competition.
Certainly that would have been good advice in Montana, where law firms have policed themselves poorly, and civility is likely to give way to dishonesty and ignorance of moral and legal issues. With the state in the lowest echelon - economically, financially, and educationally - those who represent the law should make amends.
Mary Palmer Morris
Your editorial solicited a "clearer sense of the benefits" of the ethanol industry ("Politics in the tank," Aug. 22).
On the environmental front, we have a tough turn in the pipeline. When ethanol and gasoline are blended at low levels - up to 20 percent ethanol - there is an increase in vapor pressure, which causes evaporative emissions leading to ozone. There are ways around this problem, including ethanol-fueled vehicles and an ethanol derivative. But "big ethanol," rushing for profits and market control, has little interest in these solutions. Big ethanol has the clout and money to command the political process and the ethanol market - and it does not want to see the industry expand beyond its own control.
Ethanol and other biofuels have a great future, but a good measure of these benefits will be determined by the industry's ability to free itself from the negative political forces of big oil and big ethanol.
William C. Holmberg Washington
President, Global Biorefineries Inc.
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