America’s oil addiction

Regarding the Nov. 7 article on “America’s oil addiction,” the individual in question may have some security knowledge, what it is I do not know and PhDs don’t impress me anymore.

The following is true. The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is over 19 million acres and the oil companies wish to use only the worst 2,000 acres for oil exploration. Nothing lives there, including animals. Their analysis has determined that it will help put a significant dent in our use of Middle East oil, when we combine it with Canadian oil sand, our oil shale, deep (greater than three miles) off shore drilling in the Gulf, East and West Coast. This combined with additional refineries and use of coal gasification, nuclear energy and increased energy trade with Mexico and Brazil would make us virtually independent of the Middle East. Why don’t we do this? For the same reason we continue to have devastating forest fires in the West when we could have thinned out the forest of dead wood creating a natural break; the tree-hugging environmental groups and their minions in Washington. They would rather see people die of water depravation or forest fire than hurt a low-level animal that can easily be transported to another similar environment. Off- shore rigs have provided excellent habitats for undersea creatures and animals love the Alaskan oil lines because of their warmth, with the result of increased populations of forest creatures. In addition, technology has improved on the oil companies stewardship in the areas they are involved with.

Is ethanol the answer? Nope. It is just a way to make large corn farmers rich and hurt all downstream groups who use the corn for feed and food. It is about 20 percent less energy efficient than gas as well and cannot be transported via normal transport lines due to its corrosive nature, requiring trucking by poor mileage vehicles. It also requires adjustments in vehicles due to corrosive nature of ethanol on gas lines. Hybrids are nice, but they are expensive and are not that special from a mpg standpoint, based on the latest fuel economy calculation methods. Fuel cells still have a way to go and there is no wide use of hydrogen filling stations yet, as it cannot be currently cost justifiable. When we really get serious about oil independence and freedom from “radical Islam”, call me in the morning. Until then, don’t make me laugh. We have enough oil in the America, outside of Marxist hands that it will last until well into the next century. Are we ready to tell these anti-capitalist groups that we must make the tough choices that are in the best interest of the nation or do we support the likes of the Sierra Club who stand in the way of oil independence? I know where I stand. Do you?

S. Erwin Jacobs


Another day school?

The excitement and enthusiasm that has centered around the potential for a new community day school in St. Louis is wonderful yet misguided. How can this community support another day school? All of the day schools that currently exsist are barely able to keep their doors open due to financial struggles. The Saul Mirowitz-RJA is the only exception to that broad generalization except for the fact that they do not have their own building. Therefore, what this community should be working toward and must work toward is a Jewish community day school for grades K-12. This would decrease the financial burden that all of the day schools carry in order to keep their facilities maintained, their staffs paid, and their endowments (if there are any) consistently on the increase. A community day school would also allow the Federation to make one large allocation to one school which would greatly benefit everyone versus the formula used now to try and allocate equally to all of the five day schools.

As I have talked to several people about this proposition, most of them say, “It will never happen here!” I find that to be a disturbing and self-deprecating response to our community and what we are capable of doing as a whole. If this attitude persists, we will continue to have flailing day schools and possibly fewer than we have now all doing an average job of educating children because of the lack of funding that is necessary to keep the doors of these schools open. We can come together as a community and build a community day school if we are able to find mutual respect and understanding from the Reform, Conservative and Orthodox branches of Judaism. We must visualize a school that shares a kosher kitchen, administrative costs, a gym, a cafeteria, a library, a computer lab, services for special needs children, gifted education, secular classes and then separates for religious studies. We know there is already land available on the grounds of the JCC. And maybe the school could even use the facility of the JCC as part of its plan. This concept of a community day school has worked in other communities like Milwaukee, Wis.

Last, if an endeavor like this is ever to come to fruition, we will need the heads of all of the day schools, the rabbis from all three branches of Judaism, and the lay leadership that supports day school education to come together and work toward this wonderful goal. I do not think anyone would argue that in some ways we are a very segmented community according to which branch of Judaism one subscribes. However, this model is a way to build bridges amongst ourselves for the benefit of educating Jewish children and for the benefit of our community as a whole. Let’s not be our own worst enemy by refusing to sit down and devise a plan that can work for everyone. But above all, let us not create another day school that this community cannot financially support.

Rachel Katzman

Richmond Heights