Not paying the bills

Competition is good. Dedicated teamwork for achieving a goal is admirable.

Why, then, did reading the Sept. 9 Lewiston Tribune article about the annual Scratch for Schools contest make me sad — and a little ill?

No doubt this was a fun, lively event but it’s like throwing crumbs to the poor when what they need is the whole, fresh loaf.

Make no mistake, I have great respect for the “winning” Cottonwood School District. But it is disheartening that area educators must scratch for a symbolic pittance while our legislative lords horde our money and keep a safe distance from the reality of education poverty in Idaho.

Scratch for Schools seems an odd way to fund the basic essentials of equipment, books and technology. Can we do better?

Yes. First, mark 2020 as the year we send the C-minus truants home and elect qualified, enthusiastic pro-education representatives.

Second, we can invest in Idaho through the new education initiative (coming soon to a neighborhood near you) as an important, critical Idaho way to support and supplement education while we wait for a Legislature willing to adhere to its constitutional obligation of fully, adequately funding all aspects and levels of public education in Idaho.

Shelley Dumas


Gaining ground

Alzheimer’s disease is increasing in frequency as our population ages. The number of Alzheimer’s patients in the U.S. is presently estimated to be 5.5 million and is predicted to reach 15 million by 2060 (Alzheimer’s disease Association, September). Alzheimer’s is ultimately diagnosed by the presence of extensive brain distributions of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Both are highly damaging to neurons located in regions of the brain concerned with learning, memory and cognition.

Over the years, it has been proposed that these detrimental changes cause Alzheimer’s. The major contributor to plaques is a protein called beta-amyloid. Thus, several pharmaceutical companies designed drugs to block the production and deposits of beta-amyloid in the hopes of preventing their formation. With many of these drugs, patient clinical trials had to be stopped prematurely because of unwanted side effects. One drug made cognitive abilities worse than treatment with a placebo.

Many experts have now concluded that accumulations of senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles are consequences, rather than causes, of Alzheimer’s and point to upstream changes, including chronic neuroinflammation, oxidative stress, head injury (as seen in concussions) and other possibilities.

Thus, the elimination of one prominent theory regarding the cause of Alzheimer’s allows research efforts and resources to refocus on other more likely candidates. Some of these resources have been directed toward the development of reliable early detection techniques to diagnose Alzheimer’s via monitoring saliva, serum, cerebrospinal fluid, neuroimaging biomarkers and behavioral testing. Fortunately, much progress has been made in this area.

Jay Wright


Trump wins

Democrats are giddy about whistleblowers providing evidence that President Donald Trump demanded election interference from foreign powers. They think they’ve got the goods on Trump and he’ll be booted from office. They do, but he won’t.

Trump asked Russia for election interference during the 2016 campaign and recently asked Ukraine, Australia, Italy and China to help with his 2020 campaign. All of which is illegal, but who is there to enforce the law?

The Federal Elections Commission has repeatedly informed Trump his actions are illegal, but the FEC is just a watchdog committee that relies on the Department of Justice to enforce the law.

The DOJ is run by Absurdity General William Barr, the guy who grossly misrepresented the Mueller Report and refused to indict Trump for the 10 instances of obstruction of justice documented in that report. Barr also refuses to indict Trump’s staff for repeatedly violating federal laws prohibiting staffers from partisan campaigning while on the job.

Our justice system no longer follows the rule of law, but Democrats can bypass the corrupt DOJ, impeach Trump and throw him out, right? Nope. Our legislative checks-and-balances were destroyed by Trump’s partisan court appointments.

We are now in the era of social media adjudication. Trump allocated $10 million for his anti-impeachment social media propaganda campaign. In Trump’s world of “alternative facts,” truth doesn’t matter. Only collective opinion counts.

Meanwhile, Democrats are stuck in the past, mistakenly believing that facts and the rule of law are still relevant.

Paul Oman


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