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May, 2007



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Letters to the Editor/ May 2007

What To Do With Baby Animals
Wait and watch. Most baby birds, rabbits, squirrels, deer, and other animals don't need humans' help-their parents are usually nearby.
Baby birds with a half-inch or more of tail feathers are good to go. Unless they're in obvious danger, don't put them back in the nest-they will only hop out again. If necessary, place the bird on the lowest limb of a small tree or shrub.

If the baby is featherless, gently put him back in his nest (your scent won't keep his parents away). Can't reach the nest? Make one from a berry basket; kitchen strainer, or small plastic container with holes punched in the bottom. Line it with shredded tissue, and hang it in a sheltered spot near the original nest.

Never try to tame baby animals or keep them as "pets." It's against the law in most places and unfair to the animal, who needs to be with and learn from others of his own kind.

If you see any baby animal whose mother has been killed, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. Your local humane society can probably provide their phone numbers.

For more tips on living with wildlife, visit

Stephanie L. Boyles
Wildlife Biologist

"Hydrogen Economy" a Boondoggle
While the "hydrogen economy" receives much media attention, there are serious problems with hydrogen as transportation fuel. The first is hydrogen gas is extremely explosive. Hydrogen must be pressurized to 250 atmospheres for use as fuel, requiring corrosion-resistant tanks that don't rust, spring leaks, and explode. Hydrogen's low energy density requires fuel tanks 14 times as large to yield the same driving range. To get a 1,000-mile range, a tractor-trailer needs 168 gallons of diesel. Hydrogen vehicles would require 2,360 gallons of hydrogen, stored at 250 atmospheres. Dedicating that much space to fuel storage would drastically reduce how much trucks could carry, while the costs of high-pressure, corrosion-resistant storage tanks -- astronomical. Hydrogen vehicles (currently $1 million each to produce) would need a wide scale hydrogen fuel distribution system. With a single hydrogen fuel pump costing $1 million, installing six at each of the 176,000 fuel stations across the US is over $1 trillion - costs completely avoided with biofuels that use our current infrastructure. The two main options for producing hydrogen, generating from water and extracting from other fuels, both have energy efficiencies below 100%, takes more energy to produce than you get.

Tami Freedman
Ooltewah TN

Washington And Media Israel's Best Friends

When it comes to violence between Israelis and Palestinians most Americans would agree that the Palestinians are the ones to be blamed when, in fact, the opposite is true.

Hardly a day goes by without Israelis raiding Palestinian villages resulting in the killing and wounding of innocent Palestinian men, women, and especially children. For every Israeli casualty, there are more than 100 Palestinians killed or injured. In addition, Amnesty International reports that since 1967 the Israelis have demolished more than twelve thousand Palestinian homes. Not one Israeli home has ever been demolished during this same period. These are crimes resulting in Israel's illegal occupation. Yet seldom, if ever, do they get reported. In comparison, Israeli casualties make headline news.

American's perception that the Palestinians are the ones at fault can be answered by what we see and read. Israel's most crucial allies include the mass media of the United States. Together with top officials in Washington, news outlets keep reinforcing the assumption that the Israeli government can do little wrong. There will never be peace in the Middle East until this misconception is brought to light and Israel ends its brutal occupation.

James J. David
Marietta, GA
James David is a retired brigadier general of the National Guard of Georgia and a graduate of the National Defense University, Washington, D.C. He served 3 years army active duty in the Middle East.

Lunny Oysters
Thank you for last month's interview with Kevin Lunny of Drakes Bay Oysters. I agree with the article's conclusion and hope to see locals continue to harvest oysters from Drakes Estero. I hope Kevin Lunny begins producing some bumper stickers with Ollie ' Erster and his wife Perl on them. I would like to have one to show I support him. The local Park Service superintendent seems to want to wipe out everything that doesn't match his own opinion of what is acceptable here -- grasses, white deer, oyster harvesting and maybe even us.

Over the years I have read and heard enough to believe that Native Americans harvested oysters as part of their culture for long before the white man arrived. Are we now going to pretend that Drakes Estero was devoid of humans and human activity all that time? I'm sorry to see the local Park Service so divorced from the rest of us and what we hold dear.

Doris Ferrando
Point Reyes

New Format Appreciated
Congratulations on your new format and style. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the feature articles about oysters and ranching. I think it is time to announce to all West Marinites that West Marin finally has a West Marin newspaper.

Keith Mathews
Pt. Reyes
The Mac Guru
[email protected]

No Compromise
President Bush has made it clear that there will be no compromise or negotiation with Democrats when it comes to his disaster in the desert. Bush got us into this mess in Iraq and now won't let us extricate ourselves.

Hell or high water, the "War President" is going to have it his way or no way.

Here is a man who has lied and deceived Americans for the past six years - put impeachment on the table - democracy is not a one-man show. You will never appease this dogmatic ideologue set in his ways.

Ron Lowe
Grass Valley

Not to Forget Iraqi War Deaths
The 33-student massacre at Virginia Tech is tragic. However, we must not allow it to be a diversion of our focus and concerns for the Iraq war, where we have been losing that many brave veterans every two weeks for over four years--not to mention those maimed for life and the hundreds of innocent Iraqis that die each week.

Robert Settgast
San Rafael

Nothing To Hide
"Just let them wiretap me: I have done nothing wrong, so I have nothing to hide". Such is the common statement I hear from people I talk with. And which, sadly, also gives permission to the rise of government abuse: Former FBI agent Mike German wrote a public statement, e-mailed to ACLU members, concerning the 143,000 National Security Letters issued between 2003-2005---that's 993 such letters per week, during that time frame alone----53% were for Americans, born and naturalized alike.

So much for the next common assertion of "paranoia": Who would ever have thought the Nazi Concentration Camps were happening? Wouldn't whistle blowers have been declared clinically certifiable, paranoid schizophrenics? Yet the German government recently announced the opening of only one facility containing 16 miles of shelving, as required to hold 52 million pages of Concentration Camp documents. Sometimes, we have an absolute obligation to be suspicious, and to research the facts. So get off your high horses and please, folks, read about the gag orders placed on NSL receipients, read the ACLU's website about the Patriot Act and just who is being clamped down on as "terrorists" (activists), read about 850 Guantanamo detainees being found innocent by attorneys and yet being "tortured" (what a euphemism). All this on OUR tax dollars? Time to impeach. Double play!

Drina Brooke

Peak Oil Doomsayers Fall Silent As Reserves Grow Ever Larger

Back in the 90s I posed abiotic petroleum origin theory to Amory Lovins during a small Q&A; presentation he gave at John Denver's Windstar foundation ( split-off from Windstar in 1982).

Amory was pleasantly stumped. He was, at the time, a strong proponent of Peak Oil theory.

Unfortunately, abiotic oil won't go away.

Oil discoveries are of course declining as old oil fields are re-filling. Why would they put money into expensive new prospecting when their old - already paid-for - wells are once again becoming highly productive? Unfortunately, Big Oil likes to fund proponents of Peak Oil theory because it gives them full disinformation rationale to raise their prices ever higher on mass fear of "the coming shortage".

Dysfunctionally angry "Berkeley type" far-leftists find the theory delicious as it gives them one more desperate chance to get (take) attention and co-opt fleeting power over frightened people through mindless fear.

Global warming is the common bottom line, however. The more petroleum we burn, the more we seal the global greenhouse with CO2.

Steven Brooks
Mill Valley, CA

Crass Gas Prices
Everyone now knows, or should, with the advent of soaring gas prices, that corporate Republicans in the oil industry, probably in collusion with the GOP, scammed the gas prices during the last election season, stuck it to Americans, in an effort to keep their Republican cronies in the House and Senate.

It backfired and now everyone can see the crass exploitation that drives the Republican Party and Big Oil. And if there are still non-believers, wait till the record profits appear at the end of the quarter.

Ron Lowe
Santa Monica

Disarmed And Dead
Evidence shows that co-conspirators sharing responsibility for mass killings are anti-gun organizations and media, disinformed leftists, and pea-brained politicians, who sabotage society, preaching "zero tolerance" and disarming good people, thereby enhancing the power of criminals and maniacs. Consider:

16 Oct. 1991-George Hennard randomly killed 22, wounded 20 of the lunchtime crowd at Luby's restaurant in Killeen, Texas. (Huge media coverage.) Some could have been saved if the law hadn't made Suzanna Gratia leave her pistol in her vehicle, and she had to watch him kill both her parents.

17 Dec. 1991-Three armed thugs invaded Shoney's restaurant in Anniston, Alabama and started herding 22 patrons and staff into the walk-in freezer, when diner Thomas Terry used his legally concealed .4 to open fire, killing one, wounding another, while the third fled. Terry suffered a minor leg wound and saved 22 people. (Effective national news blackout, except papers in Anniston and Birmingham.)

January 2002-Peter Odighizuwa went on a shooting rampage at Appalachian Law School in Virginia. When it began, students fled in all directions, but two, Mikael Gross, 34, and Tracy Bridges, 25, rant to their cars, retrieved their guns, and confronted the shooter, who promptly dropped his weapon, and was knocked to the ground and held for police. (Computerized Nexis-Lexis search revealed 280 media stories. Only four mentioned that students with guns stopped the shooter; only two that pointed their guns at him.)

16 Apr. 2007-in Virginia Tech's Norris Hall, no Thomas Terry, Mikael Gross, Tracy Bridges or armed teacher was available.

Fielding Greaves
Lt. Col, US Army, Ret.
Former NRA Director

Immigration Raids

The recent "raids" in San Rafael's canal district by the federal Immigration Service are being demonized by several of your writers, concluding that we should have open borders and thus unlimited entrees into the country to satisfy the desire for cheap labor by corporations and others. Cheap labor and greed are ruining us as a people. Via the feel-good soundbites of "supporting our communities," we are blinded to the fact that our acceptance of an imposed and serious over population geared to cheap labor practices is counter productive to any liberal vision of a just society.

We are creating a permanent underclass in San Rafael's official ghetto-like canal district. Yes, the natural instinct of a good liberal is to try to make it all work. But at the same time, it means accepting and even enabling the bad guys who use the cheap labor to fuel the corporate state. We need to push Mexico and the USA to stop the flawed free trade policies that are creating this problem in great part.

In the meantime, let's not demonize our hard-working immigration agents, who are trying to uphold the law in a lawless country at the moment. Those targeted had created crimes in excess of coming here illegally in the first place! But then, perhaps it is just too late to talk sense to people who cannot see beyond their own pre-conceived, feel-good soundbites.

Lillian Parmentier
San Rafael, CA

Drakes Bay Oysters

I thought the piece on Ollie Erster versus Smokey the Bear was quite informative of what is going on between via too many of the environmental organizations in this country at the moment: a drive to purify the land of human history.

The concept of wilderness is hard to understand via the definition in the standard dictionaries, because just about everywhere in the country has been inhabited long before the rest of us arrived! Hunting and gathering was the way of life and all eatable possibilities were open game, including oysters. I don't live in Wet Marin or even California, so I cannot speak to the issue of whether or not Drakes Bay Oysters should stay in place past 2012. I can speak to the fact that environmental organizations need to get off this "wilderness" thing and pay attention to the fact that there are just too many of "us" here at this moment. That would make more sense to me.

Catherine Grady Hamilton
Eugene, OREGON

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