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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


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For the week of July 17 - 23, 2002

Opinion Columns

A new ‘green’ goes 
to war—budget wars

Commentary by PAT MURPHY

Americans in 1943 were bombarded by the American Tobacco Company’s relentless World War II ads on radio and billboards, and in magazines and newspapers — "Lucky Strike Green Has Gone To War!"

Because chromium, an essential chemical in ink, was diverted to wartime uses, Lucky Strike could no longer obtain green ink for the cigarette’s distinctive package. So Lucky Strike turned the shortage into promoting a new white pack of cigarettes, which endures even today.

Now, almost 60 years later, another famous green color is falling victim to war — the green of the U.S. Forest Service’s vehicles is slowly being abandoned as part of the federal budget wars.

As the Forest Service replaces vehicles with new models, new additions aren’t being painted the signature green, a shade somewhere between forest green and pea green, but are left white, like the Lucky Strike packs.

I’m told by Kurt Nelson, Ketchum district ranger for the Forest Service, that painting a new vehicle green costs somewhere between $1,200 and $1,500.

Put in terms understood in the Wood River Valley, that’s equivalent to 80 to 100 annual $15 trailhead passes to pay for the costs of painting a single vehicle green.

Even those with no aversion to firearms find the idea of arming airline pilots with handguns odd.

For these reasons:

If an airline pilot is forced to use a gun on a passenger who’s invaded the cockpit, it therefore means that (a) our highly-touted airport security has failed to detect weapons or a dangerous passenger, (b) dozens of other passengers on board have failed to subdue a passenger hell-bent on reaching the cockpit, and (c) the aircraft’s new locked, bulletproof steel cockpit door has failed to stop forced entry.

So, the likelihood is that a crazed passenger who’s eluded all those obstacles and security measures probably couldn’t be stopped from creating havoc in the cockpit by gunshots in the few feet of a cramped flight deck between entrance and controls.

Last week’s column incorrectly noted that President Bush waited 34 months – it actually was 34 weeks – before filing papers with the Securities and Exchange Commission about his insider director’s sale of $848,000 in stock in a Texas energy company shortly before it reported a $23 million second quarter loss and 16 days after he was told of the company’s declining fortunes.


The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.