Closing the Barn Door

Beastly Legislation

Of course, bestiality is . . . well, it's bestiality; enough said. However, don't our state senators have more meaningful work to accomplish than drafting laws that impact the most minute percentage of the population ["Closing the Barn Door," Nov. 9]? The last time I checked, bestiality was not even among the top 100 issues that concern voters. I'll have to pay more attention to that next citizen phone poll.

Scott W. Marlow

Seattle

Animal Sex Police?

While I am certainly not an advocate of bestiality, it seems like Pam Roach's approach to protecting animals is more about controlling human sexual behavior ["Closing the Barn Door," Nov. 9]. I see no real benefit to her proposed legislation. My first impression was, "The ol' Republican Sex Police are at it again."

If Roach is really concerned about animal welfare, she should visit a few animal research labs. Particularly those used for vanity purposes like cosmetics. Maybe next time she makes up her face and gets a compliment on her complexion, she should thank the countless animals that had to suffer for days on end so the lab could come up with a nontoxic version of her face cream.

If Roach was really working for the people, she would try to come up with a solution, like offering social help to those involved in such activities or requiring mandatory treatment. This approach would help the animals as well as the perpetrators. But when did you ever see a Republican offer a social solution?

One other gripe I have about Roach's logic and similar arguments made by lawmakers on other social issues is their conclusions. It seems like anyone who may view or partake in pornography is a future child molester. This is the same as saying anyone who smokes marijuana will end up doing heroin. These are the types of scare tactics used by our legislatures to pass laws.

To me it seems like Roach is more concerned about building her political base than actually protecting animals. We already have animal abuse laws on the books, no need for more laws. Our country has too many laws as it is. We are regulating ourselves out of existence. Before long it will be illegal to wake up. I would recommend that Roach amend the existing law, and not come up with a whole new set of laws and regulations.

M. Donely

Fall City

Pro-Piracy?

I was very surprised to see Seattle Weekly condoning the theft of copyrights in the Jay Ruttenberg article [CD-R Go!, "The World Isn't Fair," Nov. 9]. I wonder if you would give the same space to me so that I can propose that we steal articles from your Web site and others to make up our own online newspaper?

No! I didn't think so, but it's OK to steal music copyrights, is it?

Andy Ferguson

Manager, the Undertones

Devon, England

Velvet and Valium

So glad to see someone blowing John Cale's horn [CD-R Go!, "Six Degrees of John Cale," Nov. 2]. And glad to see Laura Cassidy highlight something from Paris 1919, which was a hugely influential album for me. Of the records he made in the 1970s, Vintage Violence, Slow Dazzle, and Guts seem to get the most attention. For my money, Paris 1919 and Fear are both much better records, and both were records that I listened to over and over and over again in the early 1980s, especially Paris 1919. That record is like vinyl Valium. Honi Soit is also an interesting record, not as consistent as the other two I mentioned, but worth buying even just for the lead-off track, "Dead or Alive," which is brilliant.

Lou is still my favorite Velvet, but I've probably listened to Paris 1919 more times than I've listened to all my Velvet Underground and Lou Reed records put together.

Dave Dederer

Seattle

Flood Follow-up

"The Super Flood" [Oct. 19] presents a dire picture of lahar hazards from Mount Rainier. Such hazards are indeed serious, but not as catastrophic as author Frank Parchman portrays. Consider the following facts about Mount Rainier lahars:

Of some 60 lahars in the past 10,000 years, almost all occurred during eruptive periods. Eruptions give precursory warnings of days to months, so lahars triggered by eruptions can be anticipated.

The gigantic Osceola Mudflow was 20 times larger than any other lahar since the Ice Age and was clearly triggered by an eruption. A key condition that led to the Osceola, extensive weakening of rocks in the summit and core of the volcano, no longer exists. Such a huge lahar is improbable now.

Only the west side of the volcano remains susceptible to a lahar caused by avalanching of weakened rocks, which means such lahars threaten only the Puyallup and Nisqually valleys—not Seattle.

Only one of the large lahars caused by avalanching of weakened rock remains uncorrelated to eruptions—the 500-year-old Electron lahar that flowed through Orting town site. Concern about its origin led to deployment of the Puyallup Valley lahar-warning system.

No lahar in the past 10,000 years has entered Elliott Bay or Lake Washington, or generated tsunamis there.

Erosion and re-deposition of eruption-generated lahars closer to the volcano formed Rainier sand deposits along the Duwamish Waterway. Eruption would precede such lahars. Safety procedures could limit threat to life, but buildings and infrastructure would be vulnerable.

James Vallance and Tom Sisson

Research Geologists, U.S. Geological Survey

Frank Parchman replies: In working with dozens of USGS scientists over the recent years, I have come to find out the wide variety of interpretation these professionals can have even when using the same facts or data. USGS literature, which calls Mount Rainier "America's most dangerous mountain," is replete with scores of references stressing the dangers the mountain holds from the lahars that can be caused without eruptive activity. To claim, "Eruptions give precursory warnings of days to months, so lahars triggered by eruptions can be anticipated," demonstrates the type of scientific hubris and overstatement that I know would raise the hackles of some of the world's top volcanologists I have interviewed. Just last March, Mount St. Helens exploded in a plume of steam and ash that jetted 37,000 feet to the sky in an event that was totally "unexpected" by scientists. The same size occurrence could cause a major lahar on Rainier.

In USGS Professional Paper 1547, published after the discovery of Rainier lahar deposits near Seattle's Terminal 107, scientists wrote: "The inundation area of a modern cohesive lahar of the same size could extend to Puget Sound through Tacoma along the Puyallup River and through Seattle by way of the Green River system and Duwamish Waterway." Scientists go on to say that the coverage area of such a lahar could be up to 40 percent more today because of the lack of forest and other obstacles. It was after the Terminal 107 discovery that the USGS put Seattle and Elliott Bay on its hazards map for lahar. Almost every scientist I interviewed, including James Vallance, said Mount Rainier lahars could cause tsunamis.

Vallance and Tom Sisson are recognized as among the top scientists in their field, and they should be listened to, but their voices are only two of many and do not reflect the published and accepted record that the USGS has put forth in scores of articles and hazard reports about Mount Rainier lahars.

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