Republicans can attract Hispanics
A Feb. 25 article, "Immigration reform may lift GOP more," quoted me as saying that Democrats would benefit if illegal immigrants were given amnesty and became voters. My view is based on established demographics: Most unskilled voters with less than a high school education do vote Democratic.
The article tried to counter my statement by noting that a small shift in Hispanic voters would elect more Republicans to Congress. Undoubtedly that is true, but it has no connection to my points about how illegal immigrants are likely to vote.
The full context of my quote is that Republicans need to do more to appeal to Hispanic voters, such as emphasizing the need for a better economy and more jobs.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R) of Texas
Keystone pipeline spells destruction
Regarding "Obama's pipeline dilemma" in the Feb. 4 issue: There is no real argument for increasing US energy security with the Keystone XL pipeline, since TransCanada is simply using US land as a path to Gulf refineries. The refined product will likely be exported for the highest price on the world market. And the raw bitumen from tar sands (called dilbit) is exempted from excise taxes on crude oil because it is considered "different."
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman seems pleased with the pipeline's route now and with the $200 million in third-party liability insurance TransCanada promises to cover any cleanup costs. But has he considered the July 2010 spill of more than a million gallons of dilbit into Michigan's Kalamazoo River? After $800 million worth of cleanup so far, bitumen still coats the riverbed.
This is only one of more than a dozen oil spills that weren't supposed to happen.
To mine the tar sands, Canada is allowing the destruction of vast wilderness areas, the livelihood of indigenous peoples, and ultimately our planet. I don't want my country to be a party to this destruction.