Student exchange builds bonds

The Japanese ag exchange student story is an invitation to ranchers and farmers to share in being an ambassador for America. These young Japanese are polite, inquisitive and light up any room or gathering they are at. They smile and laugh readily and are eager to explore America, its customs and cuisine.

This exchange program strengthens our nation's bonds with Japan, and just coincidentally opens their markets to our ag products.

Their yearlong internship can be on any farm or ranch in the Western USA.

I would opine it is the most successful program at Big Bend Community College in Moses Lake, Wash.

William Riley

Soap Lake, Wash.

Fire settlement 'insanity'

Did I read your article "Sierra Pacific settles over fire" in the July 20 paper correctly? To read that Sierra Pacific and other private landowners have to pay $55 million to our government for a very unclear situation has to be one of the scariest things I have read in recent times. I wish that the story had contained a few more facts so that it may have been easier to understand this settlement decision.

To have a judge indicate that a certain party will be held liable, even if they are found to be not at fault, is ludicrous in my view. I am very glad that I am near the end of my productive life in this country. It has to be scary to be a successful businessman and know that you could be held financially accountable for something you did not do.

If my assumptions are correct, at some point this insanity has got to stop before it destroys us.

Quinn J. Murk

Siletz, Ore.

Cartoon distorts president's words

I find it so disappointing to have a fairly reasonable editorial ("Success rooted in self-interest," July 27) accompanied by a cartoon prominently featuring a demonstrable lie.

The president's comment "You didn't build that" was absolutely clearly referencing the infrastructure every business needs to operate, such as highways and electrical systems, not the business itself.

To pretend otherwise is disappointing and sad from a paper of the Capital Press's stature. For shame.

Dan Keeley

St. Paul, Ore.

TSA protection trumps liberty

I too value liberties that government keeps eroding. Moreover, I deeply sympathize with a recent columnist's bitter disdain for air travel passenger screening, but the writer makes two glaring errors that shoot his own argument down.

First, he blames the Transportation Security Administration and the American government when it is not they but worldwide Islamic religious bigotry causing the problem. Yes, yes, spare me the knee-jerk political correctness psychobabble about how not all airplane bombers are Muslims. Airline terrorism didn't begin on any scale until Muslims began trying to force their ideology on the modern world and they are consistently behind almost all of the attempts upon airliners.

So the contempt would be better directed at Islamic bigots, not at the American government and the hapless TSA charged with the thankless task of ensuring our airliners make conventional landings instead of raining down in burning pieces.

Yet the worst error the letter makes, while perhaps emotionally understandable, is his sadly overworked accusation that airline counterterrorism "could be achieved in other ways" which, curiously, the writer neglects to detail a single one of. What "other ways" exactly?

I've no skin in the TSA but I've been a career police pilot and I'm inclined to say that any complaints about airline screening that do not include a workable better way are what's called useless whining.

TSA faces two very difficult problems that don't seem to me to have easy solutions.

One is that it is far, far more difficult than most critics appreciate to keep bombs, gases, acids, garrotes, knives, guns, ice picks, flammables, razor blades, plastic shivs, poisons and heretofore unthought of other hazards off public airliners. And many are they out there devoted to killing infidels for Allah who are perfectly willing to load these items into an amputee little girl's prosthetic leg or a confused elderly lady's colostomy bag.

The other delicate issue is that TSA must work around America's asinine social obsession with not "profiling," which silliness obviates one of the most effective tools for successful air passenger screening. Again, save the PC whiplash about how profiling doesn't work. Done right it simply does work, very well, as the world's safest yet most threatened airline, Israel's El Al, has conclusively proven for decades. Israel cannot afford to surrender safety to self-righteous PC finger-waggers. We can't either; we just haven't had enough bodies raining down yet to figure that out.

One reason those bodies haven't rained down enough yet is that TSA has done one superlative job of protecting us in spite of being criminally denied the single best tool to do so, skilled profiling, and despite the grossly misplaced contempt of the very people they're working so hard to save.

William Slusher

Okanogan, Wash.

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