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Lessons from Thailand for all


m writing today as a recently returned Ashland resident from six months in rural Thailand. What I saw in this region impressed me in different ways. Some cultural aspects were so strange that I simply couldn&

t understand: For instance the taboo against kicking ones feet back.

Other things I saw were similar to the worst parts of America ... commercial greed and a lack of charity. In one hilarious episode outside an internationally known convenience store, I saw a monkey with bared teeth rob a woman of her slushy.

But generally, the farming and fishing folk of Phetchaburi lead an admirable lifestyle. They work with discipline and humility to reap the fruits of the earth. Most have no electricity, and a bed is a status symbol. And yet they&

re sustained by simple joys: homemade music, caring extended families, and a spicy, nutritious cuisine, often softened by a little cold beer.

Our energy-wasting society should follow in the footsteps of these poverty-stricken Thais. After all, the polar caps are melting and the platinum-hearted barbarians are battering at the gates of the last old-growth Redwoods. It&

s time to take a ... nap on a pad ... on the floor.

Sean Nelson

A future issue no longer


m sure you&

ve noticed the increasing severity of weather events over the last few years. Hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes, floods, are cyclical to some degree. But, rapidly melting ice-caps, glaciers, rising ocean levels, receding polar ice, and the highest yearly temperatures on record are not. Soon reversing this will become impossible. That will be within our lifetimes and make a Hell on earth for our children and succeeding generations. It is happening now, and it is happening fast.

Our administration ignores overwhelming scientific evidence and consensus, while actually editing it out of government reports, restricting public access to information and working to discredit facts. That is a recipe for disaster. Imagine many repetitions of Katrina-type events affecting massive areas throughout the world.

Many will occur even if we begin to change now ... but soon what we do won&

t matter.


60 Minutes&

recently reported on our government&

s efforts to obscure the facts:


Man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming reaches what he calls a tipping point and becomes unstoppable. He says the White House is blocking that message,&

the report stated.

This is an issue of greater magnitude than most every other issue: one that won&

t wait, nor that we can afford to ignore.

Please contact Walden, Wyden and Smith today.

Rob Hirschboeck

Cockburn a perfect fit

Your addition of Alexander Cockburn as a regular columnist brings a cold, keen, cutting and deeply informed voice to your editorial page. Great move, great choice!

Gerald Cavanaugh

Angry rhetoric offers little help

I have followed with mixed feelings the Tidings&

numerous changes regarding their editorial policies over the course of the last year or so and, &

as hope springs eternal&

I kept an open mind as I read the Tidings Editorial Board&

s latest notice in Friday&

s paper. Based on the short biographies included in that column, it appeared that the Tidings was attempting to introduce some new and worthy voices in an effort to raise the level of discussion from its usual sad rhetorical state.

Unfortunately, Alexander Cockburn&

s first offering disabused me of any notion that here was a commentator intent on raising the level of discussion beyond fallacious mudslinging and PC demagoguery. His allusion to &

Israeli death squads&

manning an imaginary xenophobic Mexican-American border fortification at the behest of allegedly right-wing Democrats such as Hillary Clinton is not just nonsense, it&

s ultra-extreme left-wing propaganda with no purpose other than to perpetuate the demonization of the only secular democracy in the Middle East while bashing the only element of the Democratic party willing to try to find the middle ground in our nation&

s highly volatile debate regarding the critical issues of immigration and homeland security.

Are there morons running our country as Cockburn alleges? Absolutely! But they are no more reprehensible than the self-proclaimed pundits who contribute nothing to the national political dialog but rhetoric and rage.

Bruce Klein

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