Lightning strikes near Guymon, Okla. on June 28. Numerous grass fires were…
Wet, wild, worse?
Re "Weather extremes may be the new norm," Aug. 24
It is missing the point to suggest that the weather we have had this past year (with its temperature extremes, violent storms, droughts and floods) may be the "new normal." These new weather patterns are but the tip of the iceberg, a faint indication of the truly horrendous weather that science has shown we have in store for us if we don't act now to head off the worst effects of climate change.
It is true that the weather has changed, but this new pattern will not last long enough to ever be considered normal, as we descend into an increasingly destabilized, extreme and unlivable climate.
It is the responsibility of the news media to alert the public about the dangers that lie ahead. The Times missed an opportunity to sound the alarm.
Somehow, I cannot feel very sorry for the good people of Oklahoma or Texas referred to in this article. Oklahomans voted for Sens. James Inhofe and Tom Coburn, both Republicans who deny climate change. Texas Gov. Rick Perry also refuses to accept science yet has "made a disaster declaration every month since December."
Come on, people. Connect the dots. We will not have environmental protection and slowing of the greenhouse gases that contribute to these changing conditions until Republican voters wake up and hold their representatives accountable.
Laurie Padolf Mokriski
Guarding our tax dollars
Re "A government e-vite to steal," Opinion, Aug. 21
Here in one place are two articles, one by Tom Campbell honestly suggesting a government stimulus so complex and difficult to judge that it becomes what Malcolm Sparrow is afraid of: a vehicle for gross fraud.
Sparrow is trying to point out that if the government creates programs that are out of control, taxpayers will try to take away the resources that fund them, no matter how well intentioned the program might be.
This is an example of the current split in our government. Does Washington know how to spend the country's tax resources better than the states, counties, cities or even the individuals who pay those taxes?
This question will be crucial in 2012.
State prisoners, local problem
Re "The prisoner shuffle," Opinion, Aug. 19
Lois Davis' solution to the shuffling of inmates from state prisons to county jails is for the state to pay the counties for the treatment of the shifted population. But if the state had the money, it would not need to shuffle the prisoners.
Rather, the state should check and act on citizenship status after a conviction. There are many non-U.S.-citizen criminals. The state could ask the home countries to house their own prisoners. Upon release, the felons would remain in their country of citizenship.
Also, prisoners enjoy a medical system that exceeds the services provided to California's honest aid recipients. Either include prisoners in the Medi-Cal system or, preferably, raise the medical services to the poor, elderly and disabled to the standards given to felons.
Davis raises the salient question of the healthcare implications of a transfer of 30,000 low-level felons from state prisons to local jails. She wonders whether local jail facilities can deal with the safety implications, and also questions how counties will provide and pay for the basic medical needs of prisoners.
Assuming the state transfers funds to the counties for inmate healthcare, the public health departments in all 58 counties may be responsible for providing some kind of prisoner safety net.
Linking sheriff's departments and local public health departments in all affected counties — with their various outpatient healthcare resources — could provide a solution to the healthcare needs of prisoners transferred to local jails.
Re "Obama should put consumer agency on his to-do list," Column, Aug. 19
I couldn't agree more with David Lazarus. It is hard to overstate the difference that a newly reinvigorated Consumer Product Safety Commission has made in children's product safety over the past several years.
The combination of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act and an agency that puts safety first will mean that dangerous products will be removed from the market quicker, new standards will be in place to make products safer and children will be safer.
To move back to deadlock caused by a shortage of commissioners will slow this process and leave children more vulnerable.
President Obama appointed a tough advocate in CPSC Chairwoman Inez Tenenbaum. Now he needs to give her a strong new team member to keep the momentum toward safer products going.
Nancy A. Cowles
The writer is executive director of Kids in Danger.
Re "College district hiring inquiry urged," Aug. 19
Kudos to state Controller John Chiang. An inspector general without an audit background is like a doctor without medical experience or training.