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War, peace, politics, fish


We begin our political coverage this week with the Arcata City Council race, a relatively tame one, to be followed by Eureka, 5th District supervisor and other local political contests in future weeks. In addition to our regular news section, we have a very thought-provoking opinion piece by Dr. Stephen Kamelgarn, which first appeared in last month's Humboldt-Del Norte Medical Society Bulletin, on how hospital health care costs are not only not equal, sometimes they are not even close.

This week readers will also find a four-page pull-out section, called an "advertorial" in newspaper circles, from the Institute for the North Coast. (An advertorial is paid advertising space that presents information in a format similar to a newspaper or news magazine.)

The Institute previously published four editions of its Prosperity Review (formerly called Prosperity Journal) which ran as inserts in selected newspapers throughout the county. If you missed the previous editions (text only can be read online at, they follow a certain format: a series of related articles focusing on one of the county's industry clusters critical to the economic health and quality of life on the North Coast. Because inserts in newspapers can be overlooked, I lobbied hard to convince the Institute to let the Journal publish these reports in order to increase visibility, readership and dissemination of this important material. We look forward to partnering with the Institute to publish these quarterly reports in the future. (By the way, Prosperity Review is written and edited by Jim Hight, a former staffer here at the Journal.)


OF COURSE ALL of this week's news of the North Coast pales in importance when compared to the growing threat of war this nation faces.

The sheer volume of information instantly available these days -- from the all-news networks, the Internet and talk shows -- is overwhelming and I usually check national news infrequently. However, since our own congressman was featured rather prominently in this week's headlines, I spent some time plugged in to follow the still-unfolding drama. What did I learn? Radio talk show callers saying Mike Thompson is a traitor? Mike Thompson should be tried for sedition?

Not the Mike Thompson we know -- the Vietnam vet who serves on the House Armed Services Committee.

As I'm writing this column Tuesday, he's on a plane back to D.C. from Iraq. From talking with his staff and from weekend news reports, the trip undoubtedly will provide worthwhile information for what will probably by one of the most important votes he will ever make.

For keeping an open mind, for speaking out against the repressive Hussein regime in Iraq and in favor of vigorously pursuing a peaceful U.N.-backed solution to the crisis here at home -- and especially for refusing to be bullied by either those beating the war drums or knee-jerk pacifists -- I'm still happy with this congressman I voted for.

What I am disgusted with this past week is President Bush's outburst about going after Hussein because "this is the guy who tried to kill my dad." And I am disgusted with his arrogance in telling the U.N. it is irrevalent, because that is exactly what he is saying. And I'm disgusted with the new, very offensive phrase "regime change," which unfortunately even Thompson is using, as if this is a normal foreign policy term.

Finally, as long as this is my soapbox, I will say out loud what many are saying privately: That I am thankful for that massive fish kill on the Klamath River last week, estimated to be as high as 30,000 some biologists. Here we are just four months into a 10-year plan and as one friend put it, "We get a message from God."

By the time you are reading this Thompson will be back home holding a press conference to focus attention on the Klamath (in addition to further preparing for the congressional war resolution). On Wednesday activists are arranging a shipment of dead Klamath fish on ice to be delivered to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton following Thompson's press conference.

Message from God, indeed.



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