Letters in the Editor's Mailbag
Byline: The Register-Guard
A more modest plan for Civic
Good grief! If memory serves me, the Eugene Emeralds balked at spending $35,000 for assorted repairs on Civic Stadium. The Eugene School District wanted to sell the whole works, as is, and the Ems couldn't raise the funds to buy it, so made a deal to move to PK Park. Now, the idea is to spend $70 million to turn it into a soccer field.
Does anybody really think soccer will draw more than baseball? If the Ems couldn't come up with money to maintain the place, will a soccer club be self-supporting? Or will we be paying for this?
Do we realize what the total cost of that will be, with interest? Holy cow! A total makeover like that will leave us with another concrete, metal and plastic tinkertoy like PK. No thanks.
How about putting a nice metal roof on the old girl and spending the $35,000 on the other repairs? At least we'll still recognize it. Even if it's only used for summer league softball and such. How much does the school district want for the place?
Court may revert to 18th century
The Register-Guard (editorial, May 19) is right in recognizing the significance of the Supreme Court's decision that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment proscribes sentences of life without parole for juvenile criminals who do not commit murder. Equally significant is the fundamental difference in the constitutional interpretation justifying the majority and minority opinions.
Justice Anthony Kennedy's majority opinion held that while permanent life sentences for juveniles were not historically deemed cruel and unusual, under "evolving standards of decency" they should now be considered unconstitutional.
Justice Clarence Thomas, joined by Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito, asserts that the Eighth Amendment was originally understood as prohibiting torturous methods of punishment, "specifically methods akin to those that had been considered cruel and unusual at the time the Bill of Rights was adopted." Terrance Graham's life-without-parole punishment, constitutional back then, therefore should be constitutional now.
Will the Scalia-Thomas-Alito "original intention" approach to constitutional interpretation - usually joined by Chief Justice John Roberts - be the court's future trademark? Or will retiring Justice John Paul Stevens' reasoning, reflected in his concurring opinion, hold sway: "Society changes. Knowledge accumulates. We learn, sometimes, from our mistakes."
Today, the choice between "knowledge accumulates" and "original intention" is in the unpredictable hands of Kennedy. But with court appointments subject to confirmation by a Senate bending to tea party "take back our country" demands, we could find ourselves taken back judicially to the 18th century. Cruel and unusual? In the 21st century, that would be callous and bizarre.
Too much news of religion
On May 16 The Register-Guard once again features a religious story, this one on the cross removed from Skinner Butte. I regard this as a story with little interest.
As the newspaper seems to have numerous reporters willing to cover anything related to religion and does not hesitate to put forward its recommendation as to who we should vote for in elections, how about putting this talent to work in rating the various religions, churches, sects, branches, etc., and telling us which church the editors recommend and why?
Explaining the tea party
OK, I think I've got it figured out about those wild-'n-wacky t-partayerz:
Everything they get from the gummint (their word, not mine) - Medicaid, Medicare, veterans benefits, Social Security, farm subsidies, fire and police department services, public roads, testing of the medicines they use, etcetera ad infintum - they deserve. …