Mail April 23-29, 2008 

Get Over It

Ted Rall rants and raves about the illegitimacy and illegality of President Bush because of the 2000 election results (BW, Rall, "Don't Move On, Start Over," April 9, 2008), yet in the ultimate rule of law, the Supreme Court validated that election.

Bush then was elected president fair and square with no contretemps in the 2004 election. That certainly established his present legitimacy.

Rall hallucinates.

—Milt Adam, Sun Valley

Love To Hate Jack

Until reading a hate-mail letter today, I wasn't aware that I had been quoted in last Sunday's Spokesman Review, speaking of the death penalty, in Betsy Russell's article about the Joseph Duncan sentencing phase that is now ongoing at the Boise Centre on the Grove.

The letter, from Brett Chapman of Post Falls, states that I'm a "repulsive and indignant moron." He goes on to say that the "only stain on the criminal justice system is your failed and pathetic organization. Nobody cares what you think. You are a perverted left-wing nut who hates America. The ACLU is an absolute disgrace along with George Soros and his crowd. Please hurry and step down from your lofty perch so another misguided dolt can take your place."

I think that is one of the best written pieces of hate mail I've received (which isn't saying much, I agree). And it'll probably be my last, at least as the ED of the ACLU of Idaho (BW, Feature, "Loving And Leaving the ACLU," April 9, 2008).

—Jack Van Valkenburgh, executive director, ACLU of Idaho

Rated R at McD's

Why is it that McDonalds and Albertsons are able to rent R-rated movies out to any person with a debit or gift card that any teen can purchase, for use at a Redbox without any human control?

Theaters and video stores monitor age restrictions, but the only thing a Redbox requires is a check mark by a disclaimer that they are 18 years of age. Real deterrent there, especially since you have to be 18 to consent to a legal contract.

Two titles a parent may be concerned with for instance are Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Explicit sex scene at the very start. Sex and Breakfast. They skip the breakfast. Constant reference to all aspects of sex.

As the owner of Video Memories rental store for almost 25 years, we have every renter's age in the computer to cross-check age restriction requirements. Parents' permission is needed to override. We divide our store so that R-rated movies are separate from PG so that parents can monitor their youngsters. Even Walmart checks ID to sell a DVD. (Remember the days of cigarettes in vending machines?)

I have brought this to the attention of Mayor Dave but he felt it was a state issue.

Is it a life or death issue? No. But do many parents care? Yes.

—Jerry Anderson

Still Missing The Dam Point

For over 10 years, the Bonneville Power Administration and the State of Idaho have been gambling with the fate of Idaho's salmon.

In deals announced in April with three lower Columbia tribes and the State of Idaho, BPA placed another billion-dollar bet on habitat and hatchery projects that scientists say won't restore our wild salmon. These projects may be worthy endeavors, but they won't restore Idaho's wild salmon.

For over a decade, a majority of fisheries biologists have agreed that the surest, and probably only way to restore Idaho's wild salmon is to remove four Snake River dams in Eastern Washington. BPA's claim that habitat and hatchery work will restore wild Idaho salmon is akin to arguing that you can cure a tumor with aspirin. It's just not enough. BPA and other agencies have already spent $7 billion on salmon measures, with little to show for it. Spending another billion on projects that won't solve the problem makes no sense.

BPA's deal with Idaho dedicates $13 million to Idaho's sockeye hatchery "broodstock" program. This program was begun in the early 1990s as a temporary strategy to stop sockeye extinction. The investment in sockeye hatcheries may allow a few more red fish to return to Redfish Lake each year, but it won't be enough to bring the sockeye back to self-sustaining levels.

We see the need for a long-term strategy that reduces reliance on intensive-care hatcheries, and allows salmon to sustain themselves in healthy migratory habitat.

Science has shown that collecting baby sockeye salmon (and other species) for transportation around the dams in barges and trucks won't restore them. We've been trying that for 30 years, without success. Yet, in its agreement with BPA, the State of Idaho has again pledged allegiance to barging. This is a major error, and we don't have much time left to fix it.

Only four sockeye returned to Redfish Lake in 2007. If we do not focus our efforts where the real damage is done soon—on four unnecessary dams and reservoirs in Washington State—our Redfish Lake sockeye have no real hope.

—Bill Sedivy, executive director, Idaho Rivers United

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