Letters for December 29, 2005

Think ahead
Friends may come, Friends may go.

Early intervention as one strategy for gang prevention! Novel thought?! I am appalled that our schools lack (state/federal) funding to provide support services for students, particularly at the upper elementary/junior high level. We recognize the need. We can identify the at-risk student, but we just do not have the funds needed to provide the appropriate trained personnel to provide the service(s).

I have family/friends who are correctional officers’s for Pelican Bay State Prison. My sister is an ICU heart nurse who has been ordered to treat hard-core criminals. I am shocked at the high level of medical care our inmates receive, yet there are many students who lack basic treatment to be successful in the classroom. Where do we want to spend our dollars to get the most “bang for our buck?” (No pun intended). Does pouring money into our penal system make more sense than trying to prevent individuals from ending up there?

My heart breaks for the Semore and Siordia families. Loss of life affects everyone. It has an impact on our family. It opens doors for dialogue.

Freddy Siordia and my son were elementary school playmates. Freddy was a funny and polite boy. The Siordias were not rich in material things but they seemed wealthy in what really mattered, love for each other. They seemed like a hard-working, happy family. I am deeply saddened and wonder what happened to our old friend Freddy.

Gail Hemmingsen

Old throwaway
This is my comment about Anthony Watts’ reaction to the News & Review’s editorial about those who showed up at his campaign kickoff [“Good political climate,” Letters, Dec. 15].

It starts with the old saying, “You are judged by the company you keep.” It’s a pity that not even one of that illustrious group of his campaign supporters could even be remotely considered a Butte County “lefty,” or environmentalist!

Why are some employees of KHSL-TV so sensitive to stories written about them in that ol’ “throwaway” tabloid, the Chico News & Review?

I am reminded of a phone conversation I once had with Anthony when I was calling channel 12/24 to report my backyard temperatures, one fine weekend day. He had recently returned from Alaska and reported to me that its glaciers were “fully stocked!”

So, I say if Mr. Watts wants the News & Review to ask him questions, maybe one of them should be what the candidate thinks about the theory of global warming, at this point.

Oops! I guess I just did.

Jay Castor

Oily politicians
After Congress stripped controversial Arctic oil drilling provisions from the budget, pro-drilling advocate Sen. Ted Stevens just couldn’t accept defeat. Now, he is trying to pass it by attaching it to defense funding.

This is a dirty, last-ditch effort by some Republicans to sneak Arctic drilling through Congress. They are even willing to hold up funding for our troops to do it.

I support my senator in blocking any version of the Defense bill that would open the Arctic up for oil drilling.

Arctic drilling has nothing to do with a Defense Department bill. Including controversial drilling provisions in a bill that funds our troops is dishonest and dirty.

Sen. Stevens is holding up funding for our troops so that he can line the pockets of his big oil cronies.

Even military leaders are angered by this move to bury Artic drilling in the Defense appropriations bill. A group of top generals, including former Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni, sent a letter to Sen. Bill Frist criticizing these backdoor tactics.

Congressional Republicans have tried similar tricks in the past. They couldn’t pass drilling provisions in the budget, so now they’re trying to sneak them into the Defense bill.

Drilling in the Arctic Refuge won’t help us at the pump or reduce our dependence on foreign oil, but it will line the pockets of big oil companies that are already recording record-high profits.

Adam Moes

Nothing new here
Rep. John Doolittle, R-Roseville, issued a statement Dec. 14 attacking those he terms as “aggressive, politically correct activists who have hijacked America’s favorite celebration.” As an ordained minister, citizen and voter, I was shocked and insulted by his statement. This is typical of the divisiveness and polarization practiced by the current administration and reflects an un-Christian attitude.

I agree that Christmas has been commercialized and secularized. However, this has been the case for decades. It is a smokescreen and diversion to rant about political activists. The truth is this celebration was hijacked long ago to coldly increase the wealth of the special interests that control Rep. Doolittle.

Doolittle and his kind want us to believe they have a monopoly on morality and religious correctness. This is a distraction from the blatant immorality practiced by Doolittle and others who are beholden to those who pay for their election campaign. How can Doolittle preach to us about morality and religion while his name is connected to the Jack Abramoff bribery scandal?

I can only imagine where Doolittle’s co-conspirator Randy “Duke” Cunningham would stand on this issue. No doubt he would also viscously attack those who oppose his view of how Christmas should be celebrated. I am curious to know the content of Cunningham’s prayers this holiday season.

Rather than using media access to publicly insult their constituents, our elected officials should be reaching out and listening. I think the message they would hear includes moral concepts like honesty, integrity, humility, forgiveness, acceptance and compassion; concepts that should be in fashion throughout the year

Lee Laney

Cost of Iraq War
The daily cost of the Bush pre-emptive strike, war of lies and occupation of Iraq is now estimated to be costing the American taxpayer $5.6 billion a month! Think about it; that is more than $186 million a day! Or if you like, $7,777,777 an hour! Or how about $12,962.95 a minute!

This conflict ginned up by fat-cat corporate raiders and right-wing neocons is bleeding this country dry. The cost of this misadventure is on top of the basic annual Pentagon budget of $500 billion (half-a-trillion dollars) a year. However the true cost is even greater as the “Compassionate Conservatives” start slashing domestic budgets in an attempt to do what—certainly not curtailing government spending.

At stake: food stamp benefits for 300,000 Americans; six million poor American children face health care cuts in Medicaid; 270,000 American kids will lose child-care assistance; proposed elimination of foster care assistance to many American children, this from a political party that repeatedly tells us of it commitment to families.

Oh yeah, if that is not enough to make you wonder what the priorities are in this administration, the next round of proposed tax cuts of $70 billion will find three-fourths of it going to the wealthiest 3 percent of Americans.

My fellow citizens, we are turning into a debtor nation, sinking into the status of a “superpower” with a Third World citizenry. When do we cry out, “Enough, already"?

Christopher Mehne