Letters to the Editor
Carne en fuego
In Roll Up Those Sleeves “Casselman” was correct in noting that Obamacare’s rollout hasn’t been as smooth as its proponents would have liked. Whether or not it is the unmitigated disaster he claims it is remains to be seen. Big public policy initiatives have historically wobbled rather than sprung out of the gate, and Obamacare is no exception.
“Casselman” was flat wrong about everything else. He cites the alleged good intentions of Ted Cruz and his fellow teabaggers, as well as the talent pool on the Right. Really!? The teabaggers intend on fulfilling Grover Norquist’s desire to drown the government baby in the proverbial bathtub by whatever means possible; Ted Cruz intends on being fuhrer. The Right Wing talent “Casselman” cites is a pitiful list of 2nd stringers with little to brag about or offer. Except for Newt Gingrich, the author of the modern GOP’s strategy of stonewalling everything to the point of shutting down the government, none of this so called talent has any particular accomplishment to cite or program to offer. And Limbaugh etc. will continue to see to it that any signs of intelligence or wisdom on the Right will be extirpated without mercy, guaranteeing that whoever the GOP puts up will be correctly seen as lunatic by those who do not buy their news and opinions wholesale off the Fox News shelf exclusively.
“Casselman” says there is a difference between opinions and facts, and in the standard modern Right manner offers a lot of the former and none of the latter to back his judgments up.
But where “Casselman” really rolls off the rails is in his final statement about “democratic capitalism.” Despite what his and probably your grade school history taught you, democracy isn’t necessarily capitalist, and capitalism has little use for democracy. That they work in any kind of concert is one of our most enduring and pernicious myths. Our country has historically done a good job of managing the tension between these organically opposed systems, but they are apples and oranges, and together they make an unpalatable fruit salad because while people vote in democracy, money votes in capitalism- and the difference matters.
People and money don’t necessarily want the same thing. My favorite recent example is the water wars over in Paso Robles on the Central Coast. Readers familiar with the area have seen the formerly barren hills east of town transformed into a Central Coast Napa Valley. But all those vineyards require water, and as a result of groundwater pumping the water table has fallen so much that local wells are running dry, giving long time residents the option of either incurring big costs drilling far deeper wells that will eventually run dry as the wineries continue ground water mining, or selling their now nearly worthless properties to the people who made them so.
Needless to say they are upset about this, and the wineries are aware of it. As a result the wineries are promoting a ballot initiative that would change the way the local water board decides these kind of issues from one man/one vote to one acre/one vote. That they would have the nerve to actually put this blatantly undemocratic initiative on the ballot indicates how ascendant capitalism is at the expense of democracy now.
This is not to dis capitalism, but the economic sphere isn’t the entire universe. Democracy is subject to abuse as well; the people could vote for their own subjugation, and indeed are being enjoined to do so by millionaires who would like to be billionaires and want you to forego your Social Security and access to medical care, among other things, to enable them. “Casselman’s” blindness to this indicates that he has drunk the tea.
Please stick to local news and politics, and the overripe adolescent frat boy humor- you do a great job at both. But please leave the national political commentary to people who know what they are talking about and can make a legitimate case for it. And leave the teabaggin’ to talk radio, the right wing blogosphere and the frat house where it properly belongs.
Editor’s note: While Mr. Lowgren places Mr. Casselman’s name in quotes as if he doesn’t exist, he does exist, lives in Minneapolis, and doesn’t use a pen name.
The Lawrence collection
I was not acquainted with Andrea when she was alive…I mean, I knew who she was, but I didn’t really KNOW who she was…until…Mammoth Lakes Friends of the Library received an incredible gift from Andrea and her family…her rather immense collection of books.
In order to utilize Amazon.com and Alibris for listing valuable books online, it is necessary for the MLFOL Vintage Book Committee to review each book to determine its value. So with the assistance of Jo Bacon, fellow committee member, and O.J. Zeleny, new committee member, we painstakingly started the job of evaluating the collection in August 2013.
As I went through Andrea’s collection, I began to realize what a exceedingly well read person she was. We found books on skiing, the Olympics, nature, history, philosophy, her home state of Vermont and most of all, conservation of not only the Sierra, but of the Earth itself. I felt like Andrea and I had become friends posthumously by my simply seeing what interested her.
Andrea liked to make notes and kept mementos from many of the authors. You’d find letters from them telling Andrea about the book and how pleased they were that she had shown an interest in their writings. Many of the books were inscribed to her and signed personally.
The most poignant of these was a beautiful book of Yosemite photographs by Galen Rowell, simply inscribed and signed, “To Andrea Lawrence, a kindred spirit of the Sierra. Best Wishes, Galen Rowell.” I was tremendously moved when I read this as both Andrea and Galen are with us no more…except in spirit.
Her collection surprised everyone as to its breadth and length. In the end, the committee has over 27 boxes of books that Andrea left in her library. On Friday and Saturday, November 29th & 30th, Thanksgiving Weekend, from noon to 5:00 p.m. both days, the Friends of the Library will have a book sale at the Mammoth Lakes Branch Library that will include all of Andrea’s books. Proceeds from the sale will go to the library.
Please join us and look at a photo display of Andrea Mead Lawrence and possibly find a book of hers that you would like to own. I have picked out my book already. It’s a rather tattered old paperback of Mary Austin’s “Land of Little Rain” from my “new” friend, Andrea Mead Lawrence.
Mammoth Lakes Friends of Library