Mail and Commentary 

Headin' to the Poorhouse

Rather than go to the trouble of making a movie about the current economic collapse, all we need to do is watch Slumdog Millionaire backwards.

--Jim Spicka, Boise

On the Green Expo

I attended last year's Green Expo in Boise and was in awe at the participation and information that was presented. For months after the expo, my husband and I were telling people about the wonderful involvement and interaction that was the core of the expo. We had attended at least one lecture each hour of the expo during the two days and were overwhelmed by the knowledge we obtained and tremendous amount of intellectual stimulation that was generated by the open forums. During the year, we spoke with others that had been involved in 2008 and expressed our enthusiasm for the 2009 event. Throughout the year, we incorporated many of the things we had learned from the lecturers as well as from some of the people in the "audience" that like us, had ideas to contribute. We looked forward to the 2009 event with great anticipation.

Saturday morning we arrived at the Grove early and picked up the "Idaho Green Expo" program to find out which lectures we would be going to. Even though I had signed up last year for e-mail updates, I hadn't received any notification. When I talked to a 2008 lecturer earlier this spring, she told me of this year's dates so I blocked out the weekend and I got online to look at the seminar lineup. I couldn't find it online but assumed it was a last-minute confirmation but that it would be in the printed program. Then when I didn't find it in the program, I was certain there must be a schedule posted inside the expo. But I was wrong ... there was no schedule ... there were no lectures ... there was no interaction amongst people who really want to change the direction we're going as a community.

Instead, the Green Expo was a big commercial. Lots of people trying to sell systems, and products and even investments ... people wanting petitions signed that they couldn't even hold a reasonable conversation about ... but nothing relating to the individuals that have an existing home and are living a meager lifestyle trying to make a better environment for themselves and their community.

Last year, my husband and I spent every hour the expo was open absorbing and sharing information with like people. Saturday, we spent two hours at the expo, left totally deflated and then headed to a community garden in Boise to share thoughts with someone who was dealing with real environmental situations before heading home to work in our garden.

I will look on the Web site next year and evaluate the program to see what is being offered before wasting the gas and contributing to the pollution by driving from Eagle. I hope I will feel the enthusiasm I felt at Expo 2008. I won't return if the agenda is similar to the 2009 format.

Last year, the expo provided computers and asked for feedback. This year, no one I spoke with wanted to listen to my comments. Thank you for forwarding this information to anyone that might be interested in the input.

--Debra Helton, Eagle

I loved the Boise Green Expo. I learned some new things and made some great contacts to assist with upcoming projects.

My only concern was the beer tasting afterward. For $10 and a valid ID, you could get eight tasting coupons and a beer mug. Not a bad deal if you are a beer drinker, which by the way, I am not. (Being a non-beer drinker makes me a great DD for all of my husband and six of our eight children who are beer drinkers.)

I wanted to purchase a bottle of water. The only person selling bottled water wanted $7 a bottle, but it came in a reusable metal container. When I asked about regular bottled water, I was rebuffed and treated like an inbred backwoods hick. I was informed that, "We are discouraging the use of plastic because it is soooooo bad for the environment!"

My question is if they were really discouraging the use of plastic then why were all of the mugs that came with the $10 fee made of plastic? A bit hypocritical? I do believe the answer is yes!

I think we would be amazed to find out how many of the mugs were tossed into the recycle bin as people were leaving. I saw it happen numerous times. (The great people at the Brick Oven Bistro were more than happy to sell me a bottle of water.)

--Shar F., Boise

Winnable wars, Ted Rall and McNamara

Ted Rall blithely flirts with a trip to Walden's Pond in his shortsighted yet well-researched piece about winnable wars. To use [Robert] McNamara's schismatic repast of regretful deeds to claim the United States is bordering imperialistic war crimes of historical weight only extends the call for terrorists and 13th century freedom hating nut groups like al-Qaida, Hamas, etc., to overrun the planet. Even [President Barack] Obama, far and away the most liberal president this country has ever seen, has had to curb his actions as he discovered the true world picture.

Ted's Pollyanna position that McNamara was right only because he flipped in his nest as a dove from a hawk is the same old careless thinking that held open doors for Hitler, Stalin and Amin. Would he have laid belly up in Poland in 1939, suggesting Allies stay out of France and Italy because the war was unwinnable?

To suggest that Saddam did not encourage a civilized society to act defending freedom worldwide is not only peace monger rhetoric, and blatantly wrong, but supports a required practical, necessary response to tyranny and oppression.

The very chair Ted sits in was provided by those patriots standing on the value and universal just cause of liberty and freedom. No doubt any sane man abhors war, yet to maintain a balance over those insane who love it requires a defense, not white flag diplomacy and acquiescence to those choosing to pay the price in human lives.

To simply stand by as the Christian-hating Muslims march JackBoot style (albeit in sandals) across Europe, determined to kill all those non-believers, is not promoting human existence, but condemning the world to hate, murder and endless suffering.

Finally, when using the debacles of Vietnam (U.S. involvement) and Afghanistan (Russian imperialism) as examples of why we should refuse to stand on our God-given right to freedom only exposes his argument as insultingly naive. To think that these acts are only of extremists is downright foolish and ignorant. It might be of good purpose for Ted to dig out the YouTube videos of infidels being beheaded before he unlocks the door to his daughter's bedroom for the perpetrators to enter.

--Allan Roscoe, Boise

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