Keeping tabs on Carlson
Have you noticed how Republican gubernatorial candidate John Carlson never mentions his days at KVI radio [see "Carlson's head trip," 10/19]? Perhaps he is embarrassed by what he said when he wasn't running for office. Anyone who listened to Carlson's talk show knows that his current slick demeanor masks a radical agenda. I listened to Carlson and other hosts on KVI because it's important to keep tabs on our nation's right-wing extremists. KVI is home to Rush Limbaugh, the one who uses "FemiNazi" to describe any woman who doesn't stay home barefoot and pregnant. Limbaugh endorsed Carlson for governor, which is hardly surprising considering that Carlson is almost as far right as the truly scary Ellen Craswell.
Carlson's diatribes against liberals, environmentalists, homosexuals, and secular Americans were standard fare for hate radio. But it's frightening to think that someone who spews disdain for entire segments of our society might gain the reins in Olympia. Gary Locke doesn't hate, and he doesn't polarize. Locke works for all citizens in this state, not just those of his own political party. Carlson has conveniently reinvented himself just in time for the election, but we all need to look beyond his slick talk. Concentrate on what he says, not on how he says it.
MATTHEW J. BARRY
I'm disappointed to see Michael Hood, in his generally fine piece on John Carlson ["Carlson's head trip," 10/19], fall for the line that the fate of the four Lower Snake dams, and the salmon they're killing, are none of the Seattle City Council's business.
Nonsense. Seattle City Light is a large buyer of BPA power, which means we're one of the larger purchasers of power from the Lower Snake projects. The City Council is the governing body of Seattle City Light. Utility boards throughout the region have voiced their opinions on the fate of the dams—most of them dead set on saving the dams. Why is it OK for the rest of the region's utilities to weigh in on the debate, but it's "arrogance and buttinskyism" when City Light's board speaks up on the environmental implications of the Lower Snake dams?
We can argue about whether the council resolution in favor of bypassing the dams is likely to be politically effective, but to argue that it's none of our business whether dams that supply power to our city are killing salmon in unreasonable numbers—well, that's just plain wrong.
NW ENERGY COALITION
Re: "Carlson's head trip," 10/19: "If Carlson loses this race, and the odds are against him, he'll be perfectly positioned for a Senate run in 2002." Really? For which Washington seat? Patty Murray was elected in 1992 (with my help), reelected in 1998 (without it), and is up in 2004. Slade Gorton was elected in 1988, reelected in 1994 (despite my best efforts), and is up this year, with the term expiring in 2006. Was Michael Hood (or his editor) suggesting that Carlson would run in 2002 in Oregon, Idaho, or Montana, all of which have senators up for reelection that year? Now, that would be a story.
MICHAEL P. MAHONEY
Do I look like a fool?
In your article about John Carlson ["Carlson's head trip," 10/19], he mentions that he will not go against the will of the people when it comes to abortion. He then goes on to say that he would support a ban on so- called "partial birth abortion," which would reverse the people's decision to strike down I-694, that would have outlawed this mythical procedure.
Back in August, I sent an e-mail to John Carlson asking him if he was pro-life and if Roe v. Wade were overturned, would he support a law that would make abortion illegal in Washington state? The Carlson campaign responded with "John Carlson is pro-life and believes abortion should be legal in cases of rape, incest or to save the life of the mother." It appears Mr. Carlson has two different truths for two different groups. In reviewing a list of his supporters and finding several prominent anti-choice leaders, as someone who cares about reproductive rights, I would be foolhardy to back him.
As far as Geov Parrish expecting me to support Ralph Nader [Impolitics, "How bad is Al?" 10/19], he can forget it! Why should I support some prima donna who went on Face the Nation and had no clue as to what he would do about the current Mideast crisis, shortly after appearing on Saturday Night Live with the misogynist rapper Eminem (if it was a white supremacist band Nader would have walked off the stage)? As for Naderite arguments that Al Gore is not pro-choice, based on very old records that he has since recanted, I'm not relying on their arguments either.
As for the Naderite nay-saying, I keep hearing that George W. Bush is unlikely to appoint anti-choice Supreme Court justices. Do I have the word "fool" written on my forehead? George W. Bush has a pool of "Constitutional Constructionist" (anti-choice theocrat) judges to choose from. They sit on Federal Courts across the country. This ample an opportunity did not exist for Ronald Reagan or Daddy Bush. But thanks to the fact that Ronald Reagan and Papa appointed plenty of extreme conservatives to Federal Circuit Courts, Dubya has quite a menagerie of judges to choose from in order to fulfill his promises to the Christian Right.
As far as I am concerned, the weaknesses of Nader are many and I would not vote for him even if he could win, let alone forfeit a vote to George Bush. Gore is the best bet in a gambling match I did not ask to take part in. As a woman, I resent boys on the left and right expecting me to back their worst bets in a game where I have the most to lose.
In his closing statement against a Nader candidacy [4th & James, "No thanks, Ralph," 10/19], James Bush stated that Nader "isn't the guy likely to get elected president." Would James Bush still believe that Gore had a chance of winning if he were behind W. 20 or 30 points this late in the race? Probably not, so to employ this logic the voter would need only to read the daily polls of 800 or so persons to determine for whom they should vote. I can only imagine such machinations of decision formation: "Should I vote for an easy winner, or am I in the mood to help pull off an upset?"
James Bush bases his logic [on] his all-too-typical American attitude that his single vote should actually matter. Agreed, voting is meant to be an individual exercise, reminding those in power from where such power comes. However, voting is akin to taking a census, and no one is served by advice such as James Bush's if this "census" isn't accurate. Rather, voters would be best served by pundits who have no affinity for any candidate to be advised to submit an unpunched ballot. In this way, voters still exercise their right to vote, and the politicians may realize their support is not what they had believed.
Too many people believe the process fails them if their candidate does not win. If people really want to make a difference in the world, they should vote for whom they want and then follow that vote with real participation through volunteer or other direct activities—something which does actually matter. Anything less results in the current hollow democracy we currently have.
Your article "Pelting the trappers" [10/19], which in essence glorifies a psychotic hobby harking back to the days of Buffalo Bill, seems to have been written by a gullible trapper-groupie who has swallowed the twaddle "trapping is how I respect animals" hook, line, and sinker.
Cardinal among the arguments against Initiative 713, which would ban the outdated practices of trapping and poisoning, is the tired, callous assertion that these cruelties are necessary "tools" for the proper control of wildlife. Some have gone so far as to suggest that the voting public be left out of the decision-making process when it comes to these issues, fearing voters will listen to their conscience instead of the science of wildlife management. These opportunistic advocates of science believe such animal issues should be left in the hands of willfully detached game managers, who follow a special interest-driven discipline, employing such terms as "harvesting" and "culling surpluses" in reference to nonhuman animals.
But there are other schools of scientific thought voters should consider when judging the morality of luring an animal to a trap set to snap down on its leg: behavioral sciences that can help us perceive the pain and mental anguish a victim suffers before a trapper arrives to club it to death. The emerging science of cognitive ethology, for example, has established that animals are capable of the same basic emotions we humans experience. Yet opponents urge us to abandon emotions when voting.
I-713 incorporates science and conscience to reflect advancements in our understanding of animals, and would ensure that pets and wildlife in Washington will no longer suffer the cruelty inherent in trapping.
The Nina Shapiro article on Initiative 713, "Pelting the trappers" [10/19], contains inaccuracies too glaring to ignore.
Trapped animals do not undergo an "agonizing struggle," still less "for as long as 24 hours." Slip a longspring trap onto your hand and you'll find your limb numb in about five minutes or less.
How do the bunny-huggers think animals die in the wild anyway? Old age with an IV drip of painkillers? Try starvation, disease, predation. Next to nature, a trap is merciful.
And it's about time this silly contention that "It's the human population that is moving into the habitat of wild animals" is given the contempt it deserves. Every square foot of this planet is wildlife habitat, and for those who think humans don't belong—I invite you to leave.
We invite humans—bunny-huggers and non-bunny-huggers alike—to write to us: Letters Editor, Seattle Weekly, 1008 Western, Ste 300, Seattle, WA 98104; fax to 206-467-4377; or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include name, location, and phone number. Letters may be edited.