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What Do You Think?

July 27, 2008

Editor's note: Each week, The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, www.herald-mail.com. Readers also may submit comments about the poll question when voting. Each Sunday, a sampling of edited reader comments will run in The Herald-Mail.

Last week there were three poll questions. The first question was: Are you more likely to go to Washington County's Ag Expo now that it offers both rides and agricultural exhibits?

"No. It's too hot! I'd rather be inside enjoying something else in air-conditioned comfort, like a museum or movie, or home activities.

"The Ag Expo is educational for children and the rides are an added attraction."

"Always, agricultural expositions deserve support from city dwellers as well as those whose occupation is agricultural in nature. We depend on our farmers more than any other group, and their accomplishments mean a better life for all of us. The rides attract children, and these children need to know about the farms, too. For most, school does not teach them about farming and its benefits to them. As far as they can tell, milk comes from a bottle in the grocery store. Really, the vast majority of children cannot tell a cow from a kangaroo."

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The second question was: Should the use of plastic shopping and grocery bags be banned for environmental reasons?

"I think most of the plastic bags are made from oil so we can save on the amount of oil we import and switch to other products that are renewable, although this will mean higher cost for the stores and us 'til we get a cost-effective replacement. Also, it will keep the old bags out of the dump and off the landscape."

"Does anyone remember when we had to switch to plastic bags to save the trees?"

"I am a huge advocate for protecting the environment, but I'm also a huge advocate for keeping the government out of private enterprise. If by 'ban,' we mean government ban, then I'm against. It should be left up to the store owners and corporations to make that decision."

"Ya know, you can do like we do. TAKE YOUR OWN BAGS!! Or when you need to take a plastic bag, you save them and then take them back and stick them in the 'recycle your bags' box at the supermarket, which recycles them into more bags. Shopping bags are low-grade commercial plastic and therefore highly recyclable into more low-grade plastic."

"No, it is only a test and does not apply to all plastic bags. I believe they want us to use those cloth bags, which can leak and add cost to your grocery bill if you do not have enough. There will still be small garbage bags and other store bags like Sears or Target to use. I guess I'll have to use them if this happens. The other store bags are stronger and larger."

"Plastics are made from oil, but these plastic bags will not make any impact when you consider all the plastics in our lives - even parts of our cars are plastic, a lot of electronics, food containers, furniture, clothing and many more. When you add all of the uses of plastic together, you can see the bag issue will not make much of a difference."

The third question was: Should state police be permitted to spy on peace and anti-death penalty groups?

"The answer should be yes only if there is evidence there is a law being broken like drugs, terrorist activity or other crimes. The answer is no if they have done nothing illegal. This is not the '60s with the destruction of property and attacks on our service personnel by the peace demonstrators."

"I say yes. Those of you that are against it would be the first ones to point fingers if something bad happened during these protests. At least if the police are within the crowd watching, they would be right there to help prevent something drastic."

"We live in a country where anyone can spy on anyone. Cameras are everywhere."

"This isn't about cops being present and watchful at protests. It's about them posing as activists and attending planning meetings to take notes and reporting you to the Department of Homeland Security database as persons of interest. One man who organized petitions at farmers markets was reported as an 'anti-government terrorist,' like he was trying to sell poison cookies at the bake sale or something!"

"Welcome to a nation where being pretty much anything other than one of the head of cattle mesmerized by the administration is enough to make you a 'person of interest' and therefore a 'terrorist.' This is worse than McCarthyism because this encompasses anything and everything you could possibly stand for. I'd like to believe that there's still freedom somewhere in this country and that the law still means 'innocent until proven guilty.' Usually, that means you actually have to DO something before law enforcement is camped at your backside."

"Innocent until proven guilty? What a joke. This is America. We are guilty until proven innocent! Think not? Why are people arrested and incarcerated, sometimes having to post unconstitutionally high bonds only to be found not guilty at trial? The whole institution is corrupt and foul."

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