Letters for June 14, 2007

Carbon footprint in mouth?
Re: “A smoked red herring” (Editorial, CN&R, June 7):

I see or hear comments on global warming pretty much daily from those who would be well-advised to leave the subject to those who have a better understanding of the many issues involved. I can’t recall anything, however, that quite matches your editorial in which you confuse carbon monoxide with carbon dioxide. I have included some information [a piece titled “Ban Dihydrogen Monoxide!"], which may be useful in future editorials.

Elden Cross

Editor’s note: While the greenhouse gas primarily cited is carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides from emissions have been classified as indirect greenhouse gases because of their interaction with other gases in the troposphere. This is why we labeled emissions as a man-made influence on climate change. (Incidentally, “dihydrogen monoxide” is H20—water. Check out DHMO.org.)

Meanwhile, professor Sharma says …
All column pieces in the June 7 issue invite response. However, one must be judicious.

The letter titled “A solution” states: “We can avoid foreign oil without beating each other up about driving. We could ask Congress to pay automakers to produce low-cost electric cars.” Fellow car drivers, please note that the electricity that is the basis of this solution can only be generated by power plants, both foreign and domestic. The number of power plants needed to fulfill the demand will require the use of fossil fuel in amounts that one cannot even fathom to state, creating pollution generated out of sight that will envelop this planet.

As is stated in the editorial “A smoked red herring,” pollution is pollution, irrespective of who makes it and where it is made. However, take note that carbon monoxide is not the main culprit. Furthermore, the claim that some scientists have jumped off the bandwagon is misplaced, as there never was a bandwagon of man-made climate change. The science has always been solid; only the political, economic and social implications have varied.

The claim in Letters that jet fuel burns at a given temperature is erroneous. The enthalpy [that is, heat content] released by the complete combustion of the fuel gives rise to a particular temperature in a closed system. The temperature measured in an open atmospheric exposure as a result of the combustion is necessarily lower. Indeed, if only part of the fuel is completely combusted, the enthalpy is less and the temperature realized is less.

Brahama D. Sharma

Patient’s research
Re: “Healing arts” (Cover Story, CN&R, June 7):

I enjoyed your story about creative modalities in cancer treatment, but I’d be interested in something with a little more meat. Creative therapies are very important, but there’s a much larger issue around cancer treatment that is unethical and should be criminalized.

Several points: Chemo has no positive impact on longevity for any solid-tumor cancer, although it will make you so sick you’ll wish you were dead. Doctors and hospitals make tons of money selling chemo drugs, and for getting you to sign up for clinical trials that, statistically, almost never benefit the cancer patient. Radical surgery has no verifiable positive impact on longevity in later-stage cancer patients. Despite billions spent on research, there has been no increase in longevity from traditional cancer treatments in over 40 years.

Meanwhile research on promising therapies has been stifled by the National Institute of Health, the American Cancer Society, eminent hospitals like Sloan Kettering, the American Medical Association and the FDA, because these natural therapies can’t be patented and they might negatively impact sales of these very expensive toxins sold as drugs.

By the way, there is as much hype about some “alternative treatments” as there is about conventional treatment. It seems like everyone is willing to take a cut of the blood money that becomes available when one is diagnosed with serious cancer.

Dan Jondron

Starkly defined
Re: “The L-word” (In My Eyes, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, June 7):

I heard many years ago a definition that has at least helped me understand the constant tension that seems to exist between the two different perspectives, and it has to do with how each side defines success. A liberal defines it by how many people are being helped; a conservative by how many don’t need help.

Added to that inherent conflict is politics, which makes both sides take positions that have a tendency to move to the outer edges of the debate and paint the other side with as dark a brush as possible.

Tim Edwards

Redirecting blame
Re: “Hobos, bums and vagrants” (Guest Comment, by Ishmael Raymon, CN&R, May 31):

I’m sure Mr. Raymon is where he’s at—poet and gardening business—because of his own “common sense and organized intelligence.” Others in the human race are not so lucky and should not be blamed for society’s woes.

Would Mr. Raymon enjoy the job of scooping crap out of drains; repairing junky, broken appliances and toys; or dancing with a harmonica for chump change? How about working in exchange for food? This is very demoralizing. I thought Lincoln freed the slaves.

Also, he wrote, “you won’t find many Latino immigrants among the down-and-outers.” These folks are the strong and young of their society. Go to Mexico, Mr. Raymon, to see who is living in the streets: poor people, beggars and scammers.

In a sheep’s clothing, Mr. Raymon’s solutions to bums are really cruel wolfishness. Hope is the last dollar in the poor man’s wallet.

Ann Navarro

Road warrior
Re: “Look beneath the surface” (Essay, by Richard Ek, CN&R, May 31):

Dr. Richard Ek does an admirable job of outlining the challenges and budget constraints facing the city of Chico’s road maintenance program. With only one-third of the necessary annual repair costs in the fiscal-year 2006-07 city budget, and no future increases deemed likely at this time, the potential severity of this problem is evident.

However, when addressing this problem, we need to go beyond the present situation and look at what could well accelerate the deterioration of our roads. I am referring to Baldwin Construction Co.'s request to the Butte County Board of Supervisors for a permit to begin a gravel mine operation on the M&T Ranch.

If approved, it is projected that approximately every 10 minutes, 10 hours a day, six days a week, for 30 years, 80,000-pound gravel trucks will be traveling through our community on roads that were not built for this type of industrial traffic. The token contribution Baldwin has offered toward road maintenance and repair won’t even begin to cover the capital outlay.

For this reason alone, the Chico City Council should publicly oppose the M&T gravel mine. The congestion, noise pollution, traffic safety, foul air and the other adverse effects these trucks will have on our quality of life should serve as an extra incentive.

Roger S. Beadle

Pension piece praised
Re: “It’s a CalPERS world” (Cover Story, by Ralph Brave, CN&R, May 31):

Thanks for your thoughtful and thorough article. Sadly, there are “lions, and tigers, and bears” in this truly fine world of CalPERS. Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, is sworn to destroy defined-benefit pension plans. Other well-organized and extremely well-financed efforts aim to, sooner or later, destroy CalPERS.

They have a competence or truth-telling challenge. They fail to mention who finances them. They select only “dotcom” downturn years to extrapolate data about CalPERS’ future. They churn out half-truths and lies based on “lectures” and “articles.”

The simple truth is that over a 20-year average CalPERS’ annuities to pensioners has been paid 75 percent by the return on investment of CalPERS, and the remaining 25 percent has been almost exactly split between employers and employees. There has been no “crisis” drain on the taxpayers, as employers’ contributions have not exceeded the rate of inflation.

I am grateful to you for telling the story accurately, and I am grateful to hear that CalPERS is becoming more proactive on the truly thorny problem of our time: health care.

Abe Baily

Editor’s note: Mr. Baily is secretary/treasurer of the Retired Public Employees Association of California.

It’s not paranoia if …
Re: “Stories” (From The Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter, CN&R, May 31):

Mr. Porter stated, “Have you noticed that cops tend to be paranoid? They may watch too much television.” Mr. Porter’s article has some similarities to a recent incident about a guy who shot and killed his father and then attempted to kill three El Dorado County deputies.

Cops aren’t paranoid because they watch too much television, but they are aware that there are a few people who want to kill them.

Brett Smith

An update
Re: “Palestine through her eyes” (Guest Comment, by Sharon Fritsch, CN&R, March 22):

I got a notice from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. They are planning to rebuild 300 Palestinian homes destroyed by the Israeli government, hopefully this year. See www.icahd.org/eng/.

I salute ICAHD for their dedication to peace.

Sharon Fritsch

Re: “Teeing off on disc golf” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, June 7): A reference to a lawsuit threat by Friends of Bidwell Park was incorrect. An attorney hired by a founding board member of FOBP wrote a letter to the city, raising the possibility of legal action, in February 2003. FOBP started in April 2003. This has been corrected online.