News From Terre Haute, Indiana

April 22, 2013

READERS’ FORUM: April 22, 2013

The Tribune-Star

---- — Chickens should not be banned from residences

Chicken supporters of Terre Haute wish to see the County Council members amend the current laws that disallow chickens to be on residential property. In a county as diverse as Terre Haute, this means only a very small number of residents with large agricultural zoned properties could own a hen.

We would like to see our city list chickens as companion animals so that we may be able to have our chickens in our backyards. Most surrounding counties and cities have already amended their laws to allow hens and have had no increase in issues or complaints from neighbors. The county should be promoting self-sustainability, and allowing citizens to exercise their freedom to provide for their own families.

Some may oppose this forward change, but their arguments are usually based upon misconceptions rather than fact. If we are to have an educated conversation to solve this debate then we must make certain that it is one based upon truths and not fears. Chickens are educational to the children, and more docile than most dogs. They don’t charge the fences to attack you and they are calming in nature.

Argument: Chickens are dirty and smelly.

Fact: The average dog produces 12 ounces of solid waste per day. The average chicken produces 1.5 ounces per day. Six chickens produce the same waste as a medium house cat. Pet hens are far less likely to spread diseases than your cats and dogs. According to the CDC, backyard hens are the preferred way to stop the spread of illnesses, such as avian flu and salmonella, as they are a healthier alternative to large, densely populated factory farms, which contribute to such problems.

Argument: Chickens will damage property values.

Fact: There are numerous cities across the country that allow backyard hens, and real estate figures show that property values have been unaffected by the passing of ordinances related to the keeping of urban hens. New York, Portland, Chicago, Seattle, Raleigh, Savannah, and Boulder — cities with some of the highest and most solid property values in the country — encourage backyard hens.

Remember, neighbors who want to keep chickens are just that: your neighbors. They care about the value of their homes and the quality of life in their community just as much as opponents of backyard chickens do.

Argument: Chickens are noisy neighbors.

Fact: The noise level for the squawk after egg laying is up to 65 decibels at its very loudest, or about the same volume as a normal conversation between two people, and in the same range of noise volume made be an air conditioner, a washer, or a flushed toilet (none of which are banned.). A barking dog registers at around 100 decibels, and a pet parrot as loud as 135 decibels — far louder than a few hens. Yes, roosters are loud — no one is asking for roosters.

Argument: People who want hens should just move to the country.

Fact: This is probably the most ridiculous “argument” of all, if it can even be termed an argument. In the United States, no matter where you live, you have basic rights that allow you to enjoy your own property. Telling someone to move out of their home is not a real, workable solution to a problem.

Argument: Chickens are smelly.

Fact: Chickens are no less smelly than a pot-belly pig. In fact if properly maintained, chicken coops can hardly be smelled unless you are no more than one step away from the gate even in the hot summer months.

— Angela Levesque

Terre Haute

A challenge to Islamist dogma

I wish to challenge Dr. Hasan on Islamist terrorism.

He writes, “There are innumerable examples of terrorism committed by non-Muslims … Yet Rosenthal also sees an enemy in Muslims.”

Wrong! I have never nor would ever hold all Muslims culpable for the sins of jihadists.

Moreover, unlike Dr. Hasan, I do NOT see Islamist terrorism as no worse than those on the list he made — the Irish Republican Army, Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, the Aum Shinrikyo of Japan, Spain’s Basque terrorists, Italy’s Red Brigade, etc.

All on the list were regional or local threats or without the funding and global reach of jihad. With only one exception: Nazism, which, like jihad, wished to expand its poisonous doctrine worldwide.

The metastasizing pathology of jihadists intends to bring to fruition the great dream of Osama bin Laden by resurrecting and expanding the glory days of the Ottoman Empire and imposing a New Caliphate and Sharia Law on the entire world. Hardly the threat one could equate with the other non-Islamist terrorists.

The media and most politicians of the U.S. and many other nations appear anesthetized with political correctness and multicultural tolerance for all kinds of intolerance. Thereby we ignore or downplay an insidious strategy of world jihadist supremacy. This is not hidden but openly avowed in mosques and in public. If money is power, their strategy is far from moribund, although our leaders like to assure us that victory over al-Qaida and its growing affiliates is within reach.

A fact check indicates that diverse jihadists are extremely well-funded. Including surreptitious backing by wealthy Wahhabis and other supporters with deep pockets in oil-rich and rogue states betting on the supremacist dream, such as we find in the founding tenets of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Extravagant funding for al-Qaida and its allies also results from their intimate alliance with Mafia gangs that traffic in drugs, arms, prostitution, and the abduction and slavery of children and adults. Tons of money from these enterprises are laundered and easily find their way into Wall Street and other profitable investments.

The irony is that our country is broke but the jihadists are waxing rich with backing from some sources among the 57 Muslim nations. All of which pose the ultimate threat that Dr. Hasan appears to ignore. Namely, potential jihadist access to WMDs — radiological or “dirty” bombs (which can render New York or elsewhere unlivable for 10,000 years), small or “suitcase” nukes, bio-chemical weapons and massive cyber-attacks that could threaten our communication, energy, banking, military, etc., networks. There also can be explosive devices hidden in vehicles that can bring down buildings (such as we saw in Oklahoma City in l995) and small arms weapons, such as shoulder-held devices that can bring down helicopters or even jetliners with missiles.

We can expect mega-fireworks in the future far beyond the atrocity of 9/11. Yet Dr. Hasan somehow manages to slough off the cataclysmic danger of jihadist terrorism as no different than other villainies with far lesser potential.

I believe it is imperative to understand, expose, and challenge the genesis of jihad found in malicious, bigoted, and exhortatory passages in the sacred texts of Islam. All of these Dr. Hasan cavalierly ignores in cherry-picking the benign quotes from the Koran.

But note, Dr. Arthur Feinsod, we should be deeply thankful for the brave efforts of Dr. Abhyankar and many others throughout the country and the world who expose the contents of these texts. Knowledge and truth are not the enemy. Ignorance and half-truths are.

How else can we expect to awaken and galvanize a largely complacent world into action against a do-or-die ideology of extremism that would obliterate the values of a civilization we cherish?

As for the apostates that you and Dr. Hasan complained about, let me say that they have a right to free speech about how they feel about Islam, even if many disagree. Especially since they have been inside the Muslim community for much of their lives and have felt mentally, emotionally, morally, or physically wounded as a result. Including the women who have suffered genital mutilation.

And let us not forget that Islamic dogma decrees death to apostates.

— Saul Rosenthal

Terre Haute