Forum, Sept. 23: A Threat to Our Health

Friday, September 22, 2017
A Threat to Our Health

Oh, no! Another two weeks of being bombarded by lies about health care plans by congressional Republicans. My health can’t take much more. Every morning I read the newspaper and listen to news detailing more outrageous corruption and idiocy within the Trump administration, and now I have to again watch the macabre grinning faces and grinning eyes of Republican senators and congressmen spewing canned, misleading rhetoric about health care in America.

I have to go outside and do several hours of gardening and yard work to release my anger and anxiety. I go to yoga classes every afternoon now and am especially diligent at deep breathing exercises and relaxation. When the senior center offers it, I do tai chi and bone builders classes; when it rains, I pay for Pilates classes at the gym. I’m trying to avoid turning to medication.

Then when I watch the evening news, it starts all over again, and now we have to relive the abomination of the useless, immoral Vietnam War on PBS, learning how our elected leaders then were even more corrupt about prolonging it than commonly known. I had an older brother whose life was tainted by his service in that fiasco. To watch the hypocritical draft-dodger coward Donald Trump try to provoke a nuclear war with North Korea is the last straw.

Please, somehow rid our government of our grotesque incompetents in power in Congress and the White House.

Alice Morrison

Newbury, Vt.

It’s a Climate Crisis, Actually

Sometimes I wonder how many times we bang our heads against the wall before we get to the other side, then recognize we could have used the door. Case in point: the humanitarian support we donate to those assaulted by ever-more-devastating hurricanes. Taming the storms might be cheaper than annual repairs. Scientists the world over agree the intensity of these storms is due to warming of the oceans, which in turn is due to our increasing release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

I watch TV news in the evening and, as of late, am amazed at how little the commercial broadcasts mention the changing climate as a factor in storm severity — in comparison with Public Television’s reporting. Print seems to do better than both. For example, the Valley News has presented many opinion pieces and Forum letters attesting to it. The Sept. 9 editorial cartoon depicted “Our Fearless Tweeter’s” storm-track march from the Caribbean to Florida, and below it was a column titled “Climate Change is Making Storms Worse.” Note in the drawing, the wreckage left behind Donald Trump on matters such as race, health care and science; meanwhile, he’s bearing down on peace and democracy.

Maybe people have become inured to “climate change.” When I hear the phrase, I’m reminded of the aphorism “Change is good” — which is not the case in this. To many others it might sound like “blah, blah, blah.” So I’m suggesting using George Monbiot’s term “climate breakdown” to eliminate complacency. If that’s too strong a pill to swallow, “climate crisis” may be more palatable.

I’m not just championing one phrase over another: The alt-right’s masters accept terms such as “climate change” but would have a conniption over my suggested ones. Bring them on! I urge my peers to make a conscious effort to call it what it is. I hope the press will do the same, and I call on the Valley News to change submissions using “climate change” to “climate crisis.” If this catches fire, maybe by the next election cycle Hurricane Donald will have blown on by.

Kevin McEvoy Leveret

White River Junction

Baseball Takes Its Time

Recently, a baseball fan impersonating a sportswriter asked: “Why do baseball games take so long?” As a result of having wasted 43 years of my otherwise productive life on hundreds of baseball fields, I shall try to answer that question.

The simplest answer would be because that interlocutor doesn’t hold the game ball. A more precise answer: Baseball players, and not spectators, control the game.

The pitcher is being paid roughly $10,000 for every throw. He hardly wants to rush a delivery that might lose the game. Not only that, but when he releases it, he has to consider the fact that he is relinquishing control of a very hard, 5.25-ounce sphere to a man swinging a 34-inch wooden bat at perhaps 100 miles an hour. If contact is made, that ball could come right back at him. Ouch.

Standing idle, waiting to see what will happen next, are the batter, base runners and eight other fielders. Each of these consider themselves philosophers in cleats. (The Greeks had Plato; the Yanks Yogi.) It takes time to come up with such axioms as “the ball had eyes” or “stick a fork in it.” Because it takes effort to come up with mental floss, and those players waiting for the pitcher need time to ruminate, they invent ways to stall action.

Baseball, of course, is an elaborate game of keep-away, played on a field with well-defined geometric shapes. The diamond includes a pentagon, squares, spheres, rectangles and right angles, and games are well-formulated around a series of odd numbers. Although baseball would be an absolutely perfect game without coaches and umpires, each of them provide added suspense, giving ample reason to debate every one of their many deliberations. So the players must pause after every decision, thus allowing time for adjudication.

Seriously though, my guess is that all those commercials, which help pay players’ exorbitant salaries, make it longer.

Ralph Epifanio