Letters for January 28, 2010

More on Gaza

Re “A long, strange trip” (Newslines, by Christine G.K. LaPado, Jan. 21):

As a peace activist from Austria who also took part in the Gaza Freedom March, I should like to make it clear that the Egyptians and Israelis would not be able to uphold this siege if it were not for the billions of dollars they have received from the U.S. government. I am convinced that most Egyptians disapprove of what is being done by their government (the steel wall being built between Rafah and Gaza with the help of U.S. advisers) and what was done by their security police during our stay in Cairo.

Then again, when considering the treatment by the police in Italy (that is, at the time of the anti-globalization demonstrations, when one man was killed), although I would not wish to condone the actions of the Egyptian security and riot police, we were not attacked with tear gas, clubs, police on horses, etc. I dare say, were we able to enter Israel, which is highly unlikely, the treatment would have been quite different. We were completely restricted in our movements in Cairo and watched, however.

Paula Abrams-Hourani
Vienna, Austria

Heavy hand in Haiti

Re “The U.S. and Haiti” (Guest comment, by Joe Krulder, Jan. 21):

Mr. Kruder’s comment provides a good start. Yet there are contemporary events in need of mention. In 1991 and 2004, Jean Bertrand Aristide, Haiti’s first democratically elected president, was overthrown in U.S.-backed coups and replaced by thugs of the terrorist group FRAPH.

Among his “crimes” justifying his removal were literacy and social programs for the poor, depoliticizing the military, wanting the rich to pay taxes, and trying to forestall the International Monetary Fund’s privatization, with American backing, of the economy.

The coup worked. Its economy now privatized, Haiti’s only flour and concrete factories are closed, so Haitians have to import both products. From where? You guessed it: the United States.

Beau Grosscup

Shelter in shambles

Re “Shakeup breeds worry, hope” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Cooper, Jan. 21):

I really encourage the CN&R to take a deeper look into this situation. The Butte Humane Society is in dire condition, and many animals are being treated poorly, with disrespect, or out and out abused.

The group of women being insulted in this article by being referred to as the “cat militia” are the same women who are asked by staff and board to teach volunteers and court-ordered community-service workers how to clean and sanitize many of the areas in the shelter. Until just recently, volunteers and court workers were the only people doing these jobs.

It comes as no surprise to me that the board would fire the director. Aside from the hundreds of animals in the shelter, shivering, terrified and forgotten by the public, there are dozens more in the loving homes of the foster volunteers. It pains me to hear these people who have opened their homes being bad-mouthed without any opportunity to defend themselves.

Steffany Ratcliff

Hypothetical question

Re “It’s just common sense” (Editorial, Jan. 7):

What if a young man had poor grades and was repeatedly disruptive in class? What if this same young man insulted his teachers and their aides? What if he went hunting before class and left his guns in his truck parked near, but not on school property? What if a police dog tracked those guns? And, finally, what if this young man was black, or Asian, or Latino?

Lynn H. Elliott

Editor’s note: The writer is referring to Gary Tudesko, the Willows High School student who was expelled after gun-sniffing dogs found unloaded shotguns in his locked vehicle that was parked off-campus. Last Friday (Jan. 22) the Glenn County Board of Education reversed his expulsion on appeal.

‘A loophole for stripping’

Re “Live girls! (Nearly) nude!” (Scene, by Ken Smith, Jan. 21):

After seeing this [show], and being a customer and fan of Gearhead, I am going say it was a massive bust. As the dancer in the interview, Lacey, stated, it’s “a strip club without the stripping.” Aside from the occasional nipple slip or dancer throwing her legs apart wide enough to where there wasn’t decent enough coverage, it came across more as a loophole to sneak around city ordinances than any kind of burlesque or go-go dancer show.

None of the girls demonstrated any skill or ability in dance. I would like to see more of a traditional burlesque show or even an upbeat go-go style of dance for a fun college atmosphere.

It would be more worthwhile going to Centerfolds just outside of Chico, or the bar Harleys Body Shop offering dance in Oroville, or any of the other surrounding cities’ clubs, for that matter, because then you know what you’re getting yourself into for the extra cash with less disappointment.

Michael Morse

A better way to die

Re “The meter’s always running in the death cab” (Essay, by Jaime O’Neill, Jan. 14):

Mr. ONeill’s essay generated some heated responses [Letters, Jan. 21] but no mention of hospice care as an alternative to the scenarios he described. Hospice offers patients dignity at the end of their lives and support so people can stay at home or in a home-like environment. I have found families are often relieved to know they have another option.

Unfortunately, medical schools do not prepare physicians for end-of-life care. Only recently has hospice and palliative medicine become an option for physician specialization.

Aldebra Schroll, M.D.

Our shallow education

I would like to share something with my fellow Americans: I think that the education system in the U.S. sucks!

And the worst of all is how oblivious my fellow Americans are to that fact, how small a place it occupies in mass mentality and media, and how little is being done to improve the situation. I don’t know when it started and how deliberate the systematic degradation of the school system is, but it looks very dangerous to me to have such a time bomb ticking in this beautiful country! That’s the worst terrorism, as far as I’m concerned.

I travel a lot. I will teach my courses in conscious procreation in 12 countries in 2010. So I see how people live, learn, get married, have children, and die in many different corners of our planet.

What’s going to happen to this country if young people know only how to read, write and count? When science is missing from the curriculum, other languages, the history of mythology and religions of the world, classical literature, arts, etc. … Are they going to forgive us for making their world so shallow and small? What happened here?

Elena Tonetti-Vladimirova

A better way to fight

Our military presence and actions in the Middle East are creating more terrorists than we will ever be able to kill. The use of drone (unmanned) planes operated by people in the United States targeting alleged individual terrorists and killing many civilians is a sure way to create terrorists and perpetuate terrorism.

President Obama has requested a large increase in the number of drone planes. They give Americans a no-risk way to kill alleged terrorists which they supposedly identify by aerial photography.

Many more civilians than terrorists are being killed.

We can’t afford these wars: not in terms of lives lost, money spent or terrorists created through our actions.

It is estimated that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will cost American taxpayers $1 trillion.

Author and humanitarian Greg Mortenson is using the correct way to change people’s beliefs: build schools. Read his latest book: Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books not Bombs in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He has been responsible for 120 schools in these countries using no government funds.

We would be so much safer if we gave our money to Mortenson’s nonprofit, The Central Asia Institute, rather than the federal government.

Norm Dillinger