Letters to the Editor

By Montecito Journal   |   June 13, 2019

A Strange and Risky World

We have a president who has led his caretakers in the Republican White House to think it is reasonable to insist on a petty hiding of a destroyer docked in Japan during the president’s recent visit because it has the name of a Republican senator, a former prisoner of war who happened to disagree with the president on healthcare. This is the president who as a college student found it convenient to avoid the draft by claiming a non-significant medical exemption at the time the law of the land included a military draft for most of us; volunteering was always an option for the common guy, including real patriots.

Did the president’s handlers know that the destroyer was named for not only Senator McCain, but also his father and grandfather, both of whom were decorated admirals who devoted their lifetime to naval service from World War I through Vietnam?
Luckily this time, we had Admiral Sawyer, commander of the Seventh Fleet in the Pacific, present to rescind the order hiding the destroyer.

Who will be there to rescind orders that might emanate from the White House to use nuclear weapons when they could be avoided?

Robert L Turner

(Editor’s note: I don’t know who’ll be there to rescind some out-of-control U.S. president with his finger on the nuclear button, but clearly, the bigger danger is that of the nuclear arsenals of Pakistan, India, North Korea, and likely soon, Iran. Let’s hope each of those countries has its own Admiral Sawyer to stay the destroying digits. – J.B.)

Memorial Day Draw

Dan Seibert holds off the rain for Ann Hefferman, as she works on her Memorial Day Mission chalk drawing

I was up at the Mission on Memorial Day weekend to assist my friend Tara Burnley with her drawing. We knocked it out by 6 pm, knowing Sunday was going to be rainy. Very early Sunday morning I went up to the Mission and saw my friend Ann Hefferman working on a small part of her drawing, plastic peeled away as she worked. Then the skies opened and it began to rain. This photo is the real thing. I sat on a chair next to her with my very large golf umbrella as she continued to draw. However, even the very large umbrella was no match for Mother Nature. Fifteen minutes later we walked off. And the happy ending is Monday was bright and sunny all day, and the drawings were good.

Dan Seibert
Santa Barbara

Magical Mascota, Mexico

Situated within a mountain valley, 60 miles east of Puerto Vallarta, Mascota is one of Mexico’s “Most Magical Towns.” It is a picturesque small town, graced with classic 17th-19th century Spanish-Colonial architecture replete with meandering cobblestone streets flanked by brilliantly painted adobe buildings, some dating back 400 years. Mascota residents are jovial and hospitable, respecting age-old traditions, and contributing to the magical atmosphere unique with the Mexican culture. 

This winter, I will be teaching another plein air painting workshop there. The workshop will be held from January 7 to January 10, 2020, during the dry season. Mascota is the hometown of fellow artist and co-organizer Filiberto Lomeli, whose family has lived in the town for almost 200 years. 

Half the workshop slots are already filled, so if your readers would like to participate in this extraordinary and unique experience, please advise them that they should reserve their spot today.

Cost is $500 per person (hotel, food, airfare, and transportation not included), and reservations must be in by December 1. For more information, go to: thomasvanstein.net/mascota-workshop, or email me: thomasvanstein48@gmail.com. My phone number is 805-962-2776.

Oh, and we’ll be doing a full-moon painting on January 10!

Thomas Van Stein, M.A.
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: I have three Thomas Van Stein nocturne paintings. Mr. Van Stein’s night painting of Montecito’s Casa Del Herrero (under a full moon) is my most cherished work of art. Thomas is not only an admired and successful painter; he’s also a bit of a crazy (but safe) guy. If you are serious about painting, or serious about spending four days (and especially) nights with a brush master, you should consider Thomas’s offer. I know I would, but I’m no artist. – J.B.)

Artist Thomas Van Stein with his “House By The Blue Bay,” painted in 2011 in Iceland

Kudos for Kale

June 17 is “National Eat Your Vegetables Day.” Of course, I’m vegan, so every day is “eat your vegetables day” at my house. Eating veggies and other tasty vegan foods rather than meat, eggs, and dairy “products” helps protect the environment, stop animal suffering, and prevent life-threatening illnesses.

Researchers at the University of Oxford believe that going vegan is the “single biggest way” to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, alleviate world hunger, and conserve water and land, which would also help prevent the mass extinction of wildlife. Vegans also spare countless cows, chickens, pigs, fish, and other animals from pain and suffering, and vegans are less likely to suffer from heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other diet-related diseases.

And versatile vegan foods generally cost less than animal-based foods, especially since vegans usually don’t have to shell out more money for statins, blood pressure pills, and weight loss plans.

So celebrate “National Eat Your Vegetables Day” and all of “National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month,” by enjoying pasta primavera, vegetable fajitas, hummus and veggie wraps, grilled vegetables, and other delicious veggie-based dishes. See www.PETA.org for free vegan recipes.

Heather Moore
PETA Foundation
Norfolk, Virginia

Changing The Rules

While Americans were not looking, the Democrats and some Republicans have been working on a plan; it’s called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. Tens of millions of dollars have been spent toward implementing it. Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have joined it.

This plan is designated to eliminate the influence of the Electoral College in choosing America’s President. This would end the diversity now embodied in the federal system with its division of power, between Washington and the various states. The Electoral College and the divisions of power are features of the Constitution. The National Popular Vote Movement does not propose to amend the Constitution. Instead, it proposes to circumvent it, in the name of “democracy.”

How would this work? Instead of abolishing the Electoral College, which would require the support of two-thirds of the states, the Dem’s plan is to put together a coalition of states representing 270 electoral votes that would agree to award all their votes to whoever wins the national vote. If the popular vote is won by 10 votes, every state in the compact would award 100% of their votes to that party, even if the majority of the voters in their state voted against them. The bottom line of this “devious” plan is to eliminate the influences of rural voters or “Middle America.” This would give large cities an electoral lock. Simply put: California and New York would decide every election.

This is a very dangerous plan. Do we want large cities, in blue states, where there is increased crime, homelessness, drugs and illegals to choose our president and determine the direction America goes every election? I say no.

Diana Thorn

(Editor’s note: There will no doubt be a constitutional challenge to this “interstate compact” long before it ever gets implemented. The likelihood is that the Supreme Court will strike it down as being “unconstitutional,” which it surely is. – J.B.)

The Power Structure

5G uses ultra high frequencies with high intensity and millimeter waves that do not travel through objects or as far as 4G or 3G.

Mini cell towers will be required every 6 to 8 houses across the country. A low powered exposure right next to someone is more dangerous than a more powerful exposure far away. One protection weapon is to get a “Wi-Fi Router Guard”.

Remember: cancer risks increased approximately 45% in 1994 when cell phones and micro wave ovens started to be used by most people (not me).

Morten Wengler

(Editor’s note: Though there are always concerns (microwave radiation can be dangerous at high levels), nobody here can verify your “45%” cancer risk increase. But, 5G is coming, so let’s be prepared. You should tell us more about that “Wi-Fi Router Guard. – J.B.)

Not So Fast

An interesting story from ClimateDepot.com reports that signs proclaiming “Gone By 2020” have quietly been removed from Glacier National Park. 

Could it be that climate-change computer “projections” and the “experts” were wrong? How is this possible? 

At the Many Glacier Hotel in Babb, Montana, the USFS recently removed two large steel trash cans which depicted a “before and after” carving of the Grinnell Glacier between 1910 and 2009. The artist’s rendition shows a dramatic and significant shrinkage between those years. Who says that consensus science, as faced by Galileo in 1663, and artistic interpretations can’t be combined to educate park visitors? 

However, a video published at www.WATTSUpWithThat.com shows several “melting glaciers” which are now larger than they were in 1910, with some showing up to 25% growth since 2010.

A research article, at the WUWT site, by Roger Roots, Ph.D. used GPS measurements compared against old black and white photographs to confirm that the nearby Jackson Glacier and other minor ice floes have actually increased in size since 2006. Dr. Root noted that the US Forest Service has removed a popular diorama sign in the GNP visitor center entitled “Gone By 2020” with a new engraving indicating that the glaciers will certainly disappear in “future generations”. To be sure, we fragile, cocksure, sentient beings (along with everything else) will disappear in about 4.2 billion years when Mr. (or Ms.) Sun shrivels away.

Perhaps GNP signs should be inviting visitors, especially women and children, back to the park in 5,000 years to see the upgraded, diorama-hologram expertly guided from within a giant ice cavern.

The useless “Gone By 2020” signs could be recycled by the 21 Democrat presidential candidates.

Cautiously pondering global warming,

Dale Lowdermilk
Santa Barbara

(Editor’s note: If current forecasts are correct [and, hey, aren’t all forecasts always correct?] Global Warming chatter is about to cool down as our Sun experiences an 11-year Maunder Minimum and Earth’s climate breaks out into Global Cooling. Curiously, the Maunder Minimum exactly coincides with Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s “The Earth only has twelve years left,” or something like that. In any case, we admire all those scientists and non-scientists at work trying to clean up and save the environment for future generations. We really have made a gigantic mess of things, though it’s not too late, we believe, to begin to right the wrongs. – J.B.)

Craggy Chooks

British artist Paul Day with his large bronze chickens that now inhabit a meadow in New Zealand

Please forgive me this brazen sales pitch, but I have been repeatedly asked if the big New Zealand chickens would ever hatch into smaller ones.

Well, finally, they have and so if anyone would like a set in bronze, please let me know and I will have one cast for you. 

The cost for all three sculptures is €5000 plus shipping costs. There are now 19 sets available of 25, six having already gone.

Please don’t hesitate to ask me for more information. The cockerel measures 22cm tall. E: paul@pauldaysculpture.com. Telephone number: +33 (0) 787240649

With good wishes and, once again, my apologies for this shameless piece of marketing.

Paul Day
London, England

There are currently 19 miniature replica sets of Paul Day’s giant chickens left

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