Thank you to Knute Berger for exposing the Discovery Institute's promotion of "intelligent design" and the unintelligent support that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gives to the institute [Mossback, "A Back-to-School Column," Aug. 31]. "Intelligent design" is just another right-wing load of baloney foisted on the American people like trickle-down economics, Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, uranium from Niger, the so-called "threat" of same-sex marriage, and the "benefits" of privatizing Social Security. Nobody as smart as Bill Gates should be duped into supporting such nonsense. Obviously, if there was such a thing as intelligent design, Windows would work better, wouldn't it?
Janice Van Cleve
Knute Berger should study more. Natural selection and intelligent design don't conflict [Mossback, "A Back-to-School Column," Aug. 31].
Natural selection is like a multiple-choice test: If the right answer isn't already there, it can't be selected. It never makes better answers, but throws lots away. Intelligent design is like an essay —the writer can create a wonderful body of new information.
Natural selection works well on existing genetic information. However, Darwinism needs beneficial new information continuously injected into the genes to explain the origin of the species. Science just isn't observing this. I think this is why so many people doubt evolution. Darwinists can't decide on an explanation for the origin of life. Transition fossils don't exist, so they explain that a dinosaur laid an egg and a bird popped out. How did the same structures evolve again and again in different environments? The way I see it, there is a lot of faith in Darwinism.
Intelligent design easily explains these questions. That qualifies it as a workable theory. And yes, there is faith in it as well.
If the tests that SETI uses to find intelligence in the stars were applied to Earth's biology, wouldn't they find that the design showed intelligence?
Stop Corporate Media
Regarding "A Merger Proposal Emerges" by Roger Downey and Chuck Taylor [Aug. 31]: I am a lifelong Republican. But what is being done by the GOP-controlled Federal Communications Commission, media conglomerates, and their high-paid lobbyists is anti-democracy.
If Seattle Weekly is gobbled up by New Times, it's no big deal. We lost local control when the Weekly went bye-bye to Village Voice Media.
If recent FCC history repeats itself, the GOP majority-to-be will push for joint TV/newspaper ownership in the same markets. Why? Because it's good business for Wall Street. And for the folks who support George Bush. The last attempt by the FCC to deregulate broadcasting was defeated by a public outcry of 2 million citizens who said democracy was in danger because of current U.S. media-owner concentration.
Five mega-owners now control a majority of the media. In 1983 there were 50. Show me a conglomerate that kept the same news staff or added to it when purchasing a locally owned broadcast facility. It would be rare indeed. For the most part, conglomerate purchases are made to be more efficient.
What we have is business-minded owners deciding that local news can "go to hell." The bottom line rules. If the trend is allowed to continue, the local news will become shills for promotions in order to lure advertisers.
We cannot allow big business to run roughshod over local ownership and local news. It's un-American and a threat to freedom and democracy.
Boeing's Wine Pioneer
I read with interest Roger Downey's Sips column on "The Boeing Style" [Aug. 31]. As one there at the beginning of the wine club in the dark days of the early 1970s, I think there is one person who really helped get the club started. Arnie Rinta was a manager of Boeing Recreation. Many will remember those days of massive layoffs. Arnie was interested in a proposed new club, but the company was reluctant to approve anything that could cost money, especially a club with alcohol involved. Arnie believed that the Boeing Recreation Clubs were a way to boost morale of the remaining workers, and if we wanted to form a new club, he would do what was needed to get approval. After many months of making proposals, answering questions, and writing and rewriting bylaws, Arnie got us approved. However, we may have been the only winemakers club that had to have "dry" meetings. We could not have any alcohol on company property. Arnie even found us a way to get enough money to buy an Italian grape stemmer-crusher machine and have it wired in at one of the cafeteria's kitchens in time for the grape train's arrival in Georgetown in the fall. This was long before grapes were generally available from Eastern Washington.
I am sure Arnie can take some satisfaction that his work many years ago has been so successful.
Fix the Viaduct
Tunnel or new viaduct ["State to City: Forget Tunnel," Aug. 24]: Why in this age of blown-up city, county, state, and federal budgets aren't we talking about some way to retrofit the existing structure? If the viaduct is supposedly so damaged that it could fall down in the next decent-sized earthquake, why aren't we doing the morally and legally correct thing and fixing it now? The seawall is a separate city issue and should be addressed as such.
We have the technology to repair, structurally secure, and resurface it while still keeping at least portions of it open during the construction. It seems pretty simple to me. We get a safe, improved viaduct that should last another 30-plus years and way less traffic impact, and the work starts sooner rather than later. In a perfect world, we would have a tunnel and a beautiful transitional park (or maybe just more privately developed buildings blocking the views they want opened up), all the wiring would be underground, streets would be repaired, people would quit running red lights, and someone would pick up the trash on the playground across from my house besides me. But we are in an era of beer budgets across the board, and urban dreamers and planners with champagne tastes need to get real. We've got a populace that has decided that they don't even want to pay for the basic services the government provides them because they fear the inability to budget and spend properly, so now is not the right time to push vanity projects.
Where is the real leadership on this issue? If the viaduct does indeed fall down after we've been told it might, who is liable? Maybe there should be disclaimer signs at either end: "Drive this structure at your own risk!"
More Gypsy Music
It was a delight to read the informative and well-written article on Balkan Roma (Gypsy) music by Keith Harris in the Aug. 24 Weekly [Useful Noise, "When in Romania"]. For people who love this exciting and vibrant music, I suggest they come to Town Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m. for a performance of "Bulgarian Be-Bop," featuring those great stars of fast and furious Bulgarian wedding music, Roma musicians Ivo Papasov, Yuri Yunakov, Neshko Neshev, and Salif Ali. Come at 6:45 and hear a talk on the music by expert Carol Silverman. And folks should bring their dancing shoes, 'cause even if they don't know how—they will!
Director of Community Programs, Town Hall, Seattle
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