AFN should apologize
I think Ashland Fiber Network owes the people of Ashland an apology for the disruption of service lasting the greater part of a day. This impacts people who must do business, make travel plans, reconfirm reservations, answer e-mail, etc. I have been trying to access the Internet since 3 a.m., and at 1 p.m. I am writing this letter in the continuing absence of the Internet. This is not right for a service to be so vulnerable and slow in response to a problem. As taxpayers, we should at least get an apology from this service which historically has a pretty spotty record. AFN's problems don't seem to be going away, so as a public service and good public relations, they might just want to lift their heads and apologize.
The OSF experience
I would like to add a comment to the Nov. 16 article about actors' experiences with Shakespeare. Being in Ashland and having my child be a part of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, I have another point of view to share. My child has been part of the company for the past 10 months — a big commitment for a 12-year-old. She had to miss school for some rehearsals and performances. She was in big buildings where I could not follow, with grown-ups I did not know, doing things I was not privy to. She was expected to be professional at all times, be ready to work, and accept criticism with a smile.
After 10 months of schlepping my child to and fro and experiencing the company from afar, I have to say that my child has become a better communicator, gained a true understanding of how her actions affect the rest of the group, become a dedicated, organized student due to missing so much school, gained confidence and poise and even made some wonderful friends. She grew up and stayed young at the same time, not having time for the drama of middle school, but maturing in her sense of responsibility and commitment to the audience to give her best. Each and every staff member, from the very first audition to the very last performance, supported, encouraged, appreciated and cared about the children in the program. I will be forever grateful for the experience OSF has provided, not just for her but for our entire family. Having children in OSF complicates the shows; they must hire a monitor and ensure safety in a heightened fashion. However, for the ones involved it is truly life-changing and something that these young actors will remember for the rest of their lives. Thank you, OSF, for inviting young performers to be part of this amazing experience.
Getting it right
In politics there is always the give and take of opposing principles and approaches to common problems. An exchange of diverse views is healthy for any society, but sadly the response from much of the right has degenerated to pointless name calling. Our local newspapers have published dozens of letters calling President Obama a socialist, a Nazi or worse names that Fox News has added to their writers' meager vocabularies. The epithets seldom have any facts, corroborating lies or substance attached to them, just the same labels over and over again.
A favorite but inexplicable target is the president's use of the teleprompter. It seems that his detractors feel that using technology that allows the speaker to maintain uninterrupted eye contact with his audience is inferior to the large-font, phonetically spelled cue cards favored and badly used by Bush. They maintain that the device is a crutch he can't get by without, even though we frequently hear the president speaking extemporaneously with great skill and thoughtfulness. Bush never seemed connected to the words he spoke and made his most memorable gaffes when he went off script. Bush frequently used a teleprompter and still managed to screw it up. His delivery was so poor that no one made an issue of the tool that didn't help him.
In an age when every word spoken by a world leader is parsed and dissected by the media and the blogosphere, it is sad that some of the people President Obama speaks for have a problem with the leader of their country wanting to get it right.
Fruit fly info
The Nov. 12 article on the discovery of the harmful fruit fly is very timely. My brother, who works with the University of California Agriculture Extension, has been trying to get the word out on this infestation this summer, and he was excited to hear that Southern Oregon is aware of the existence of this variation of the fruit fly. He wanted me to pass on the link to his blog for anyone who wants to find out more information about the life cycle, or stay in the loop of this very current issue for berry growers: ucanr.org/blogs/strawberries_caneberries.
Indecency is not a state of dress
Thank you, Zoe Abel, for a refreshingly sensible take on this "knee-jerk reaction" to public nudity (see Nov. 9 column "Baring my soul"). I particularly like your case for banning dogs — not that I wish to ban dogs (I own one). I like it for how you meant it: to show how ridiculous the ban on nudity is.
I don't agree that there should be a ban in the vicinity of schools. To pick out a particular location is to imply that it is completely OK everywhere else (even a children's playground?), regardless of the behavior of the naked person. That leads me to the my main point: It is the behavior of the person that should be addressed by the law, not their state of dress. What is a man doing hanging around a school if he doesn't have a child to collect from that school?
There is a saying: "Indecency is a behavior, not a state of dress."
So the law-makers should concentrate on defining the behavior that causes them concern and legislate against that, not against the freedoms of decent folk to celebrate losing 40 pounds!
Here in the U.K., our law states that to prove a case of "exposure" the person not only has to be exposing their genitals (may not actually be naked), but has to be doing so in a manner that shows intent to cause alarm or distress. It is that last part that is the key, and the legislators are on record as saying that they had no intention of making naturism illegal.
If a man chooses to "parade" naked outside a school or in any other inappropriate place, this could be taken to show intent to cause alarm or distress. If your celebratory run just happens to take you past a school, this would not show such intent.
Public relations officer for British Naturism
Tamworth, Staffordshire, England
Firearms in America
I'm amazed at the persistent anti-gun sentiment of both Patti Morey and Tom Dimitre (see Nov. 11 letters). However, instead of attacking them personally, which is non-productive, I instead refer back to my own letter in the Nov. 12 Medford Mail Tribune: "Gun accidents are preventable." In the letter, I allude to Chris Bird's authoritative book, "The Concealed Handgun Manual: How To Choose, Carry, and Shoot A Gun in Self Defense." This same gun writer and small arms authority also is author of "Thank God I Had A Gun." Of course, it's unfortunate the victims of so called "gun violence," which is actually "criminal violence," continue to blame the gun, and not the perpetrator and felon, for such anti-social atrocities.
Unlike the anti-gun activists, Bird has the credibility, background, and qualifications to address what Patti and Tom emotionally can't seem to come to grips with in regards to firearms in America. For example, chapter one of Bird's book addresses "Virginia Tech: In Search of Answers." Chapter two is on "Victims or Survivors: Fighting Back Against Criminals and Terrorists" as are chapters following. Thus, I endorse this book available from Privateer Publications at (210) 308-8191. This deserves the high moral ground of the firearms debate from someone who knows what he is talking about.
James A. Farmer
This fall, China did two large-scale weather modifications that produced major snowfall over drought-stricken Beijing. Weather modification is kept secret in this country, but anyone who looks at the sky is aware of the huge size and persistence of the so-called contrails left by airliners. The questionable "science" of weather modification has its origins in the 1940s. In the '70s, NOAA established the Office of Environmental Modification which was later, due to the controversial nature of the endeavor, renamed.
NASA produces two high-quality photos of the entire planet each day called the rapid fire subsets. Those photos show that geoengineering is happening right now, along with weather modification efforts by private water and hydroelectric companies to enhance rainfall on their ventures. No one is admitting that large-scale climate modification is happening in the U.S., but it certainly won't be long before LA, Las Vegas and Phoenix are stealing storms from the Pacific Northwest and rerouting them to the Colorado Rockies where they can feed the thirsty cities that rely on the Colorado River. If China has the technology, so do we.
I have proposed an Ancient Forest National Park in Northern California and Southern Oregon to help draw international attention to what I see as inevitable: the draining of coastal rivers and catastrophic fires as our forests turn to brushlands. See www.ancientforestnationalpark.org.
Letters to the Editor November 19
AFN should apologize