The week in comments: Tanning tax, BP oil spill, YouZeum, rural broadband

Monday, July 5, 2010 | 11:42 a.m. CDT; updated 11:55 a.m. CDT, Monday, July 5, 2010
A BP worker power-washes booms that have been collecting oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday in Cocodrie, La. A column on the oil spill published this week got readers talking.

Every week, readers of offer their opinions on the news and the Missourian's coverage of it. Here, we offer you a digest of some of the conversations we found most interesting. Click any of the links to join in.

Tanning tax rolls out Thursday
Comments: 6 / Commenters: 4

A 10 percent “tanning tax” that was part of the federal Health Care Reform Bill took effect July 1.

Reader John Schultz mentioned President Obama’s campaign promise that no family making less than $250,000will see a tax increase.

Tim Dance and Gregg Bush say that if you don’t tan then you don’t pay the tax so the tax doesn’t break President Obama’s pledge.

COLUMN: Playing the blame game in the BP oil spill
Comments: 24 / Commenters: 7

J. Karl Miller's opinion column on the BP oil spill drew a significant number of comments, and facilitated a lengthy debate between a number of readers. He wrote, "Although there is little doubt BP will shoulder most of the blame and costs, some of the panning has been petty and of little import. The silliest of the critics have been members of Congress, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times and several columnists who castigated the industry for including walruses in their ecological protection plans."

Commenters disagreed with conclusions and facts in the column, further commented on each other's responses and offered their own accusations of blame and mismanagement of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Gregg Bush said, “Seriously? The historical data of rig accident research shows the last major U.S. oil spill occurring in 1969 — not a bad safety record. You must mean the Santa Barbara spill. Rig accidents are not the only cause of oil spills. And your use of a narrow criterion is specious at best and intellectually dishonest at worst.”

Mark Foecking said, “You must remember that BP does not create the demand for petroleum fuels. We do. All of us. And we want an abundant supply of them and we want them as cheap as possible. If this hadn't happened here, it would have happened somewhere else. Think about that the next time you start your car."

Don Milsop responded to Gregg and Mark: “Unless you and every other wacko in the world is going to run naked in the woods and only eat dead roots, then you are just spewing and not really serious about cutting your dependency on oil and 'saving nature.'”

Finally, J. Karl Miller chimed in on the response to his column: “Inasmuch as I have been performing some of my civic duties for the County Clerk in support of the pending primaries, I had no idea my last opinion column had generated so much comment, pro and con as well as generating original thought. It appears that a good time was had by all and some good ideas surfaced among the humor.”

COLUMN: What to do with a problem like the YouZeum
Comments: 4 / Commenters: 4

Columnist Molly Harbarger details possible new uses for the YouZeum building, as the struggling museum looks for a buyer.

Reader Rachel Krause wrote that the building could be used as a grocery store to serve the downtown area.

Mark Foecking was concerned that the space would require too much remodeling to become a grocery store, but thought the State Historical Society should move there.

TODAY'S QUESTION: Should the government fund broadband service for rural areas?
Comments: 1 / Commenters: 1

The access to broadband internet in rural parts of Missouri remains an important issue for many communities across Missouri.  The cost of providing such services often leads service providers to look to larger markets.

Bill Rohde said, "There is no business case for broadband deployment in rural Missouri. Too high of costs and too few subscribers."

He goes on to say, "The federal Universal Service Fund, mandated by Congress, has worked well to bring rural America telephone services that are comparable in quality and price to those in urban areas. This program, or something similar, is needed to deploy broadband to our rural areas. Unfortunately, the FCC's proposed Nat'l Bband Plan (NBP) if passed will phase out the Universal Service Fund. The NBP also proposes to help fund 100 Mbps services to urban America but only 4 Mbps to rural America. This is bad news for rural areas and will create a digital divide. I think rural America needs access to more than 4 meg for education, public safety, medicine, economic development, etc. Congress and the FCC needs to hear from rural America. Speak up now, before it is too late."

(Update: Missouri communities have been awarded federal stimulus funds to expand broadband access.)

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Mark Foecking July 5, 2010 | 6:15 p.m.

I think it's clear, by our posts, both Gregg and I are serious about cutting our dependency on oil, and other forms of fossil energy. I used about 10 gallons of gas last year. The average American driver uses 500. I use, on the average, 10 kwh/month from CWL. The average Columbia household uses 850.

Please don't make it look like we're not "saving nature". We're saving precious resources for your children's needs.


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