Mail December 10-December 16, 2008 

Dear Ted Rall

My concern is regarding your most recent column (BW, Opinion, "The Right and the Rightest," Dec. 3, 2008). In it you state: "But, so far in the 219-year history of electoral politics, there is no example of a president successfully enacting radical changes without likeminded lieutenants to carry them out."

Right now, I am reading Bruce Catton's The Coming Fury about the beginnings of the Civil War and I was struck by the relationship between recently elected President Lincoln and his secretary of state and former front-running candidate William Seward. Seward tried to placate the people of the Confederacy, in particular the people of South Carolina regarding the Union's eventual surrender of Fort Sumter, and expressed his firm opinions to the president. In reply, Lincoln established himself as the leader by writing a firm letter to Seward. To quote Catton: "As to foreign policy, the demanding of explanations, the making of war and so on: (Lincoln wrote) 'I remark that if this is to be done, I must do it.'"

Catton analyzes this letter and comes to this conclusion: "Lincoln would run the administration and he would also run the cabinet; policy was what he said it was, and the execution of it lay in his own hands." (All quotes from Page 292.)

I'm not sure where this administration is going, and I don't know if Obama has the fortitude of Lincoln, but I am disappointed that you chose to establish as fact something which is patently not true. Seward was a power-hungry man who felt he was denied the presidency unfairly and was going to take advantage of a weak-minded unknown from Illinois. He was promptly chastened and fell into line. I realize that this makes him likeminded after a fact, and that it is possible that President-elect Obama and Sen. Clinton's relationship will not necessarily be as smooth. I even understand your resentment of certain cabinet picks. Personally, I would like to see if Obama is a man like Lincoln who can guide us through divisive times with strong leadership and strong voices in his cabinet.

—Grant Olsen, Boise

Dear Ted Rall, Part II

Why does the Weekly even carry Ted Rall? He's like the Bruce Tinsley of the left, an embarrassment to his own side in the fight. The Weekly could do some healthy budget trimming by cutting the essay and cramming the cartoon in next to the horoscopes, I-Saw-Yous and the rest of the dreamy, self-centered horse shit that isn't meant to be taken seriously.

—your pal skip, online

Repowering America

While we have seen little federal leadership on issues like greenhouse gas emissions, (BW, News "Local Emissions," Dec. 3, 2008), right now is the perfect moment for Congress to take things in a new direction. Investments in clean energy and public transit can provide the infrastructure and jobs we need to repower Idaho and America.

In our otherwise gloomy economy, wind, solar and other clean energy industries have been creating jobs through generating more clean energy. To turn our current trickle of new jobs into a torrent of new economic opportunities, we need to act boldly—and fast.

In rebuilding our economy Congress should take advantage of the opportunity to begin the shift from a pollution-based economy to a 100 percent clean-energy economy. If Congress passed and President-elect Obama signed a federal renewable energy standard, it could provide 2,475 total new green jobs in Idaho.

Our new president has the chance to boost our economy with clean, green jobs, make our nation more energy secure, and reduce global warming pollution. Environment America supports President-elect Obama's focus on clean energy, and we look forward to his taking us in the right direction starting on day one with clean energy as a cornerstone of any economic recovery plan.

—Monica Bahan, Ketchum

Sprawl Not

Kudos to Judi Brawer on a well-written article (BW, News, "Local Emissions," Dec. 3, 2008). Prior to WWII, America's neighborhoods enjoyed walkable and social lifestyles. The advent of building for the auto and cul-de-sacs came shortly afterward.

Change is always awkward in any form; however, today more people are wanting to live where they can experience other people, engage the community at their own pace, and minimize the time they have to spend in the car.

There is a surge in housing types nationally that has the building industry taking notice and assisting the move toward high-density living. It's the beginning of the end of sprawl.

—Bryant Forrester, online

On Morally Monstrous: Cope Gets a Proposal

Bill, I love you. Will you marry me? I realize that I'm already married but since we are declining to recognize gay marriages and Mormon marriages, I figure blurring the lines a little more shouldn't matter. In this conservative river of shit called Idaho, you are my lifeboat of sanity. I love this place, grew up here, live here still. But the intolerance and ignorance of the majority of Idahoans makes me crazy. I'm so happy to know that I'm not the only one. Thanks for saying what I'm thinking!

—mrsbcalderon, online

Cope gets a Slap on the Hand

Bill, you must be going senile, man. About every fourth or fifth column of yours is "bad stuff 'bout the Mormons!" It usually follows the "bad stuff 'bout the Republicans" column, and is just before the "bad stuff 'bout hillbilly gun-totin' rednecks" column.

You should face the fact that you're on a totally different wavelength from the majority of voters who approved Prop. 8. (Which is essentially the same as the law that has a 100 percent success rate of passage in, like, 36 states.) Although after reading your words, off and on for many years, I will acknowledge that you obviously know plenty about hate. Have an angry day, Bill. You deserve it.

—bikeboy, online

Cope Gets a Pat on the Back

In regards to Bill Cope's article, MORally MONStrous, I say well said and bull's eye.

Writing that article, especially in this state, shows better courage than a radical Republican, if there is such a thing.

—Frank Poulton, Boise

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