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Saturday, September 14, 2013
VA spends on solar while vets wait
Everyone, especially veterans, should be incensed when reading the announcement in this newspaper on Sept. 6. The headline trumpets, “Salem VA center will soon use solar power.” The subheadline clarifies that the installation will supply about 10 percent of the medical center’s electricity needs. There are 6,000 panels, sitting on six acres costing $5 million.
Assume the panels will save about $160,000 and diminish 0.5 percent in efficiency annually. That means this installation will pay for itself in about 34 years. Reports suggest the estimated life of solar panels is about 40 years. In addition, $3.5 million is being spent on a new water tower as part of an emergency preparedness program.
Last year, a $1 million fence was erected for security reasons. Millions are being spent on security and preparedness as 411,000 veterans await resolution of their compensation and disability claims.
Our government in general and the VA in particular have their priorities confused. The men and women who fought on the front lines are at the back of the spending line.
Kerry should learn to zip the lip
In World War II, the slogan “Loose Lips Sink Ships” reminded the public to be mindful of what they said. In a modern redux, the slogan takes on new meaning exemplifying the law of unintended consequences.
President Obama defined a “red line” for Syria, who then defiantly crossed it. In the political scramble to assume a world leadership position, Secretary of State John Kerry made an off-script remark that completely altered the course of action.
Sensing opportunity, Russian President Vladimir Putin deftly seized the day, casting Russia as the chief power broker on the world stage. Perhaps our leadership might benefit by recalling a simple slogan from our history.
DR. DAVID E. JOHNSEN
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