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Letters: What Do You Think?

This week: Climate Change--Deal With It; and Israel Seeks Support.

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Climate Change: Deal With It

President Obama has done a lot I agree with, but there’s a lot I don’t support, too.

I think he should close Guantanamo, end the war in Afghanistan faster, use that money for urgent domestic priorities, and enact much stronger legislation to solve our health care crisis and prevent Wall Street and the Big Banksters from wrecking our economy again.

But the most urgent issue we face is stopping and reducing climate change. Sure, unlike Romney and most Republicans in Congress, Obama admits it’s happening and needs serious attention. But he hasn’t done nearly enough, from the failure at the international Copenhagen conference of ’09 to his barely even mentioning the issue during the campaign until super-storm Sandy, the latest extreme weather event, forced him to.

Another example is the Keystone tar sands oil pipeline proposed by energy giant Trans-Canada. Our leading climate expert, James Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, has said that if the pipeline is built and that dirty oil is burned, it’s “game over for the climate.”

A year ago, Obama delayed the pipeline project, saying it needed more time for review. Yet at the same time, he’s allowed work to begin on the lower half of the pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma, sparking a protest movement of ranchers, environmentalists and citizens concerned about their land and water as well as the climate.

On Nov. 18, thousands demonstrated at the White House as part of a 20-city tour by author/activist Bill McKibben of 350.org and other environmental leaders.

Locally, I recommend two ways to let Obama and Congress know you want stronger action to protect the environment and build a clean energy economy. Sign up for a monthly national action alert postcard from the Amherst-based organization 20/20Action (www.2020Action.org, 413-549-8118). And go to www.climateactionnowma.org to join local projects and campaigns.

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Israel Seeks Support

On November 14th—in response to an escalation of rocket attacks from Gaza—the Israeli Defense Forces initiated Operation Pillar of Defense. Since the launch, and the killing of Hamas Commander and Chief of Staff Ahmed Jabari, Hamas has launched both a military and public relations campaign to destabilize and delegitimize the State of Israel.

Hadassah, the Women’s Zionist Organization of America, has worked tirelessly over 100 years to ensure the delivery of quality health and education services to the people of Israel. In doing so, we have created a bridge to peace by treating all people, irrespective of their religion or ethnicity, including large numbers from the Palestinian Authority. It is essential that the world community understand the facts on the ground.

Israel used enormous restraint amidst an intolerable barrage of attacks on its citizens.

With the attacks intensifying, it became necessary to address Hamas’ terror campaign and reestablish greater security for the Israeli people by launching Operation Pillar of Defense.

Four and a half million Israelis, over half of the Israeli population, is under rocket attack. Over 1,000 rockets have been launched into Israel from Gaza this year.

Three hundred and sixty rockets have been launched in the last 48 hours. Numerous adult fatalities have occurred and 150 Israelis have been wounded, including two infants in serious condition, since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense.

Hamas places its missile launchers in hospitals, schools and densely populated civilian sites, in effect using civilian shields to deter Israeli counterattacks. Israel makes great efforts to avoid civilian casualties in its efforts to neutralize the Hamas missile capability.

The United States government—from the President to the members of Congress—has committed its support for Israel’s right to self-defense. We look to the world community for its understanding and its support of peace for the people of Israel.

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Diplomacy by the United States and Western countries has been given a chance, but it has not worked to deter Iran’s nuclear program, and Iran continues to develop its nuclear weapons.

Israel cannot allow Iran, and its irrational leadership, to have nuclear weapons because two or three nuclear detonations could wipe out Israel. Therefore, Israel must strike Iran with a multi-pronged attack, and it will only have one opportunity to neutralize the Iranian nuclear threat.

Israel’s military will have to be on general alert for an Iranian counter-strike using conventional weapons. It is doubtful any of the other countries in the Middle East will come to Iran’s aid.

Israel cannot count on the Obama administration to come to its aid. President Obama erroneously believes sanctions will work to halt Iran’s nuclear armaments program, and at the same time he warns Israel not to strike Iran. Obama, with his coddling of Arab countries, is not a friend of Israel.

Israel’s survival depends on military action against Iran.

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The Casinos and Historic Preservation

As the city considers a location for a proposed Casino, the Historic Preservation Community and citizens of Springfield should be concerned about our architectural heritage that will be threatened in each of the proposed sites.

The Historical Commission has already called for there to be a review and survey of the buildings in each of the proposed sites and this is a very good start. The south End area was surveyed years ago but already some of the buildings of significance have been lost and many more are threatened.

On Page Boulevard the old Stevens Duryea plant was taken down on the Casino site but the architecturally and historically significant Westinghouse building still stands and is in good shape.

The North End site contains the Kitteridge building and is worthy of study to assess its architectural and historical significance.

The South End site is of real concern as it contains many important buildings, many of which MGM has already indicated will be either demolished or suffer façade ectomy’s and become simply a characature of what they were.

In this area is the Spriritualist Church, the State Armory, 73 State Street which is the old United Electric building with its beautiful stain glass atrium. Also Howard St School, the 1884 Rescue Mission, the restored Edison Theater Block on the corner of Bliss and Main and the Chapin block across the street.

Though National Register Status does not automatically protect these buildings, it may be argued that the issuing of State licences for Casinos and other government involvemement that goes with Casinos, should require a review by the local and state Historical Commissions.

Also Public outrage at the possibility of many National Register Buildings being destroyed for a Casino should stimulate the developers to integrate these buildings into their plans.

The citizens of Springfield and the Valley need to speak out at local meetings about the importance of saving these historical assets.

Posted by Jim Boone on 11.30.12 at 5:00
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