Letters for April 7, 2005

The nutty professors
Re: “When ‘Little Eichmanns’ died in New York,” CN&R Essay, March 10, 2005.

Butte College English Instructor Jaime O’Neill criticized Colorado ethnic studies Professor Ward Churchill for his vulgar comments about the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack. Most of what he said about Churchill the individual was right on the mark. However, O’Neill was completely off target and seems to have oversimplified the significance of ethnic studies in the university curriculum by describing professors of that discipline as “nuts … who misrepresent our nation’s history.”

On the contrary, we teach both the good and bad parts of American history and try to provide students the opportunity to understand how the social, political, economic and emotional climate in this country has historically and contemporarily impacted the education of people of color. Besides, based on his comments, O’Neill may have left the impression that “nutty” professors are only confined in ethnic studies. The record will show that alleged “nutty” professors are all over the academic disciplines.

Here is one in O’Neill’s area of concentration—English—who truly fits the “nuts” label, among other things:

According to The London Daily Telegraph of March 20, 2004, a Scottish professor of English literature who had opposed the introduction of female undergraduates at St. Andrews University, habitually opened his lectures by requesting, “Would all the ladies present please cross their legs?” He would continue: “Good. Now that the gates of hell are closed, we will proceed.” I am looking forward to my colleague sharing with us stories about “nutty” professors in his field.

Hassan Sisay
CSU, Chico ethnic studies professor

Extreme marching
I have visited Rep. Wally Herger in Washington, D.C., and here in my hometown of Chico. At that time I lobbied him regarding increasing funding in the foreign-aid budget for family planning.

Herger told me he did not support the foreign aid because he believed it more important to take care of the needs of the people in our own country.

His position, as stated then, is fully inconsistent with his recent vote to support more funding for the war in Iraq. Further, this war has nothing to do with helping the people of Iraq, who have suffered tremendous loss of lives and horrific casualties; it has everything to do with the agenda of the extremists now in control of the White House. To date, Herger marches in lockstep with their agenda, and it is very discouraging.

While we spend billions more for this insanity, we are closing our local schools. I wish people would connect the dots better!

Tanya Henrich

The real story
Tom Gascoyne’s March 24 Inside View devoted substantial ink to criticizing my father Jim Gregg on an issue he brought forth last year regarding misuse of grant money by the Chico Unified School District ["Everybody’s a critic"]. Gascoyne apparently felt the need to justify why CN&R didn’t run the story while the Enterprise-Record did. As background, the school district was given a grant by the state to purchase materials and set up programs for non-English speakers within the district. This money was supposed to be used exclusively for this purpose. The district, however, diverted the money to its general fund. When it was caught, it was ordered to pay back the $337,000 over a three-year period. The district’s explanation was this kind of thing had always been done and it was an honest mistake.

The evidence suggests the possibility that Scott Brown knew all along what he was doing. At the very least his excuses are the same ones Jeff Sloan used for his accounting problems, and Sloan lost his job. The unanswered question is why Scott Brown and the district were not held to the standards applied to Sloan. So why not look into it? If there is nothing to it, then don’t do the story. You weren’t around in the ‘70s when Deep Throat was picking someone to talk to. If he had picked you, Nixon would’ve finished that second term.

Michael Gregg

Bitter fruit
I was disturbed by your editorial crediting President Bush with the flowering of democracy in the Middle East [”The fruits of catastrophe,” March 17]. I hate to be churlish, but this administration has done more to undermine democracy in its own country—from election fraud, to the shrinking of our civil liberties as a “patriotic” act, to using its at best 50-percent mandate to recklessly lead the country into illegal wars and economic crisis.

Is it churlish to suggest that Bush had the goal of overthrowing Hussein (as his oil-lusting father had failed to do during his administration) long before the tragedy of 9/11? The terrorist attacks, which by many accounts we were warned of and could have been prevented, gave him an opportunity to lie, delude and strike fear into the American public. He falsely identified Hussein as a force behind the attacks and an ally of Al Qaeda. When that was proven to be a lie, he claimed that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that posed an immediate threat to the United States. When that was proven to be a lie, he came up with a new reason to topple the government that sat on the second-largest oil supply in the world—that it was the god-given duty of the U.S. to bring democracy to the people of Iraq. He chose to do so by illegally invading a sovereign nation.

Democracy is learned by example. Perhaps a better example for the world would be free and fair elections in our own country and demonstrating that all people are created equal by providing homes, jobs, safety, health care and education for all of our citizens. What if we spent billions of dollars on that here and abroad? A true flowering would emerge, and it would indeed be churlish, then, to deny the legacy of the government that accomplished that.

Roger Montalbano

Snake oil security
The whole Social Security reform issue is but a ruse to create a windfall for Wall Street.

Let my situation serve as a caveat: Upon retirement I entrusted all my funds (IRA and 401k) to one of the largest brokerage houses in the country.

Eight years later I had lost 60 percent of my investment, including my house, and was forced to move into a mobile home park.

Beware of snake-oil salesmen and wolves in sheep’s clothing!

Joe Bahlke
Red Bluff

Pancakes and eggs
This is a heartfelt thank-you to all the businesses and individual artists who participated in the silent auction at this year’s Pancakes for Peace breakfast. We also want to thank the hundreds of people who came to eat and the kids who had fun at the egg hunt.

We apologize for the oversight in not having vegan entrees, and will take care of this, as well as some coffee problems we had, for next year’s event.

Once again, thanks to all who participated.

Paul O’Rourke-Babb
Chico Peace and Justice Center