Past was not prologue

When American deaths to the coronavirus surpassed our combat deaths in World War II, comparisons became inevitable, and the contrasts teach a useful historical lesson.

Hindsight, of course, is far easier than foresight or insight, but hindsight is history, and a brief backward glance shows big differences between the two global calamities that can give us clearer foresight and insight into why the same country that was able to rally behind the war effort was unable to do so with this virus.

When Franklin Delano Roosevelt asked for public sacrifices, America came together on gas rationing, curfews, rubber drives and war bonds, etc. But when doctors finally figured out what a difference mask wearing makes in the pandemic, we couldn’t even agree to that simple sacrifice. Instead, masks became political symbols. ...

After Pearl Harbor, FDR gave rousing nonpartisan speeches and made the urgency clear. Our current president first called the virus a hoax and then decided to gamble on division rather than unity, and the results were tragic. ...

Yes, that’s hindsight. But it can give us a clear vision for our need to elect future leaders who understand that united we stand, divided we fall. To lose more lives in one year than in four years of a world war has hopefully given us enough foresight not to be duped again by selfish ideological men who don’t care if the ship sinks as long as their banner is flying and they have enough lifeboats for themselves.

Mike Ruskovich

Grangeville

Invest in fish

I’m writing in response to the study that puts the blame for poor returns of Snake River salmon on conditions in the ocean instead of the dams. The Comparative Survival Study has compared the smolt-to-adult returns of wild chinook and steelhead from mid-Columbia rivers (Yakima, Snake, Umatilla, John Day and Deschutes). These populations show similar patterns of SARs in response to ocean conditions (good and bad). The main difference is that all the other rivers have consistently higher SARs, and at levels that would recover Snake River fish (CSS reports at www//fpc.org).

Just like wind and solar, hydropower does not always match up with our needs. The four Snake River dams produce the most power in the spring when our needs are the lowest, and the least power in the summer and winter when our needs are the highest.

We should replace the power from these four dams with the following:

l Capabilities to store excess green power for later use.

l More wind and solar.

l Methane collected from large dairies and feedlots. This would reduce global warming by burning the more potent green house gas methane, and increased carbon sequestration from the vast areas the fish fertilize.

For about the same amount of money and effort to keep these dams and at best prevent the fish from going extinct, we could take the actions that have the best chance to recover the fish, do more to reduce global warming, make our power system more reliable and improve our economy.

Russ Kiefer

Boise