Letters for January 1, 2004

Not a guru
Regarding your editorial [“This is economic development?” Dec. 23], while there are a number of issues that need to be mentioned, the one that concerns me the most is the characterization of me as a “self-appointed economic-development guru.” You might want to look at the News & Review cover in September 2000 and a number of other N&R articles that have referred to me by that nickname. I personally detest that reference, and I have never used that word referring to me.

You also missed the whole point. The public should not subsidize public projects and pay wages any higher than required by the average wage in that classification.

To further back up my statements, here is a link to a study recently completed by the California Institute for County Government: http://www.cicg.org/publications/Wage_Comparison_Analysis_August_2003.pdf.

Read the study objectively, and I’d welcome a discussion with you on this issue.

Bob Linscheid

Idiots all
Well, it’s been around a month now since Arnold got elected governor by the typical band of idiots, and already California’s credit rating has slipped. We’re almost at junk bond status. Now would be a good time to say, “I told you so.”

I’ve been in the entertainment industry on and off for many years. Actors are stupid, selfish, self-centered, egotistical people. All they want is an ego trip. Very few of them, about 5 percent, actually care about the content of the show they are doing and its artistic integrity.

Nicole Kidman is a high-school dropout; Tom Cruise is a high-school dropout; Jude Law is a high-school dropout; Sean Connery didn’t even finish eighth grade. You ever try to have an intelligent conversation with a movie star? Forget it.

It takes about six years to get a college degree and a teaching credential just to teach grade school. Arnold has one of those bogus “mail order” college degrees that he got in about a year from a paper mill. He isn’t even qualified to teach kindergarten, and yet the idiot voters of this state elected him governor!

Joseph Conrad said that, “It is by folly alone that the world proceeds.” How right he was.

Michael M. Peters
Red Bluff

Don’t get mad
Current USDA effort to protect the $175 billion U.S. beef industry from the mad-cow crisis deceives American consumers.

Mad-cow disease had not been detected earlier because, until recently, USDA had been testing only 5,000 of the 35 million cows slaughtered annually (1 in 7,000). Europe and Japan test thousands every day.

The 1997 ban on feeding cow slaughterhouse remains to other cows, a common transmission path, is not preventing spread of the disease. A government survey found 25 percent of feed plants out of compliance, and the cow diagnosed Monday was born after the ban.

Americans do consume meat products containing spinal column and brain tissue, traditional carriers of the disease. During slaughter, muscle tissues are routinely sprayed with bits of these tissues. T-bone steaks, hamburgers, hot dogs, and beef fillings and toppings contain bits of the spinal column.

We can not determine the number of cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD), the deadly human form of the disease contracted by consuming infected beef, until we start examining the brain tissues of thousands who die of dementia each year.

Other animals raised for food are also capable of carrying, contracting and presumably transmitting the disease, but they don’t get to live long enough to manifest symptoms.

Folks in the meat industry should seek a more secure career. The rest of us should make a New Year’s resolution to replace meat in our diet with vegetables, fruits and whole grains.

Howard Thatcher

Buzz kill
The controversial Prop. 215—the “medical-marijuana” initiative—has raised its ugly head again in the news recently.

Passage of Prop. 215 was a dreadful and tragic mistake that will be long regretted. It was nothing more than a scam perpetrated on a well-meaning but gullible electorate. It was a way for drug users getting their feet in the door to facilitate the eventual legalization of all drugs.

The reference to “medical marijuana” is intended to imply that it is a medication essential in alleviating all the discomforts and pains associated with nausea, post-traumatic stress, post-menstrual periods, back pains, glaucoma—you name it.

The truth is there are all kinds of over-the-counter and prescription drugs that will very nicely take care of these maladies.

Marijuana is marijuana, no matter how you slice it, and it’s usually the first rung of the ladder to addiction of harder drugs. Unfortunately and tragically, because of politicians’ disinterest and law enforcement’s inability in stemming the drug traffic, thousands upon thousands of young lives are being destroyed. What is needed is a penalty so severe that no one would even dare think of dealing in drugs.

As a local columnist so aptly put it, “I interviewed several members of the county medical-marijuana movement, all of whom fit the rather unpleasant stereotypical image of your average dope-smoking burnout. … None of them had jobs, and all subsisted on unemployment, welfare and disability checks. …”

Joe Canzoneri

Federal bong hit
Josh Indar cites federal claims that “even small amounts of marijuana are illegal to possess, grow, or sell” [“Weed win,” Newslines, Dec. 18]. Perhaps he is unaware the U.S. government has cultivated and distributed medical cannabis cigarettes to a select group of patients, through a little-known program called Investigational New Drug, in existence since 1978. The feds use cannabis to effectively treat symptoms related to glaucoma, bone tumors, nail patella syndrome and multiple sclerosis.

This should come as no surprise when considering the rapidly accumulating empirical and clinical research data from around the world. These studies indicate that cannabis can provide symptomatic treatment for AIDS, Alzheimer’s and neuropathic disorders. The research is so convincing that Bayer Corp. is developing a sublingual cannabis inhaler, expected to be made available to patients in the United Kingdom next year.

Cannabis has medical value. As more Americans become aware of this fact, our laws will inevitably change to reflect scientific reality. Then prosecutors can focus on real criminals rather than sick and dying people who use an herb with their doctor’s recommendation.

To quote Robert Randall, the first recipient of federal marijuana, “History indicates the most trivial of facts can implode the most powerful dogma.”

Christopher Largen
Co-Author Prescription Pot
Denton, Texas