Letters for March 29, 2007

Counterpoint point …
Re: “A view from the other side” (Comment Counterpoint, by Meredith J. Cooper, CN&R, March 22):

I appreciate the great courage you displayed in writing an editorial that acknowledges Israel’s right to defend itself. This is not a popular position in these days of insensate rage against that country and Jews in general.

Most people do not take the historical perspective, as you say, and simply see the results of the continuous wars, each of which has been initiated by the Arabs. In proper context, it is obvious that if Palestinians wanted peace, there would be peace. Unfortunately, despite what their apologists say, the Palestinians themselves have repeatedly pledged themselves to war.

I would point out, however, that Israelis of European descent constitute only a plurality of the population. Just as many Israeli Jews were refugees fleeing persecution in the Middle East and North Africa, from Morocco to Afghanistan.

Ari Cohn
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Editor’s note: Ari Cohn is a former Chico Enterprise-Record reporter.

… and counterpoints
For the first time the News & Review offered a Comment Counterpoint to the Guest Comment. Having viewed the film Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land (along with lots of research), I wasn’t surprised that this came at the moment a guest commentary mildly represented the horror of Israeli occupation policy.

Criticism of Israel is the third most politically incorrect thing a U.S. citizen can do. (Israeli citizens are allowed to criticize their government.) According to right-wing Zionism, such criticism is not to go unpunished (just ask Jimmy Carter), and even the slightest criticism is not to go unanswered.

Since Ms. Cooper assured me that the counterpoint feature was new, I assume the N&R got the call to provide “balance,” as the Zionist lobby labels it.

Fine, balance is good. I trust the N&R commitment to it will continue, especially in response to the many times and venues in which Israeli occupation policy is presented as benevolent. Otherwise, the N&R has been caught with their pants down and their pro-circumcision bias showing.

Beau Grosscup

Editor’s note: The Comment Counterpoint came from our associate editor’s desire to express her personal opinion in response to the Guest Comment. We may use this feature again to accommodate opposing viewpoints.

Re: “Unpopular sentiments” (In My Eyes, by Evan Tuchinsky, CN&R, March 22):

You’re right! I’m writing my first letter ever to a paper.

You stated, “I don’t happen to share Sharon Fritsch’s perspective” (in her Guest Comment, “Palestine through her eyes”). The only “perspective” I see is the in the first paragraph. Which of the three sentences do you disagree with? The remainder of the Guest Comment relates her experience with the Christian Peacemaking Team in Palestine, not perspective.

Ms. Cooper says she traveled with “more of a focus on history than current events.” She then gives a history lesson and her personal perspectives. She does not include in her history the nature of the 1948 occupation of Palestine by the Jews and Western governments.

Was this similar to our current occupation of Iraq and the hope of the powers that be to remain in that region for at least 58 years? I believe that if Ms. Cooper had studied the history of the Palestinian people during these years, she would understand why the prime minister said his people have the right to continue their resistance against Israel.

If Ms. Cooper had written about her experience as Ms. Fritsch had, we would have two newsworthy accounts. Instead we have the usual media blast against the truth we do not wish to acknowledge.

Alice McColloch

District in denial
Re: “Superintendent won’t look back,” (Newslines, by Robert Speer, CN&R, March 22):

My child didn’t go to Marsh, I’ve never met Jeff Sloan, and I’m not considered a Sloan supporter. What I do support is accountability and rational decision-making.

Superintendent Francisco’s focus on “moving forward” amounts to ignoring the situation. It shouldn’t matter if the problem happened three days ago or three years ago; if there still isn’t a solution, you’ll continue to be haunted by the problem.

And haunt us it has. For years, this issue has polarized this community, taken up countless pages in the newspaper, cost taxpayers thousands of dollars to litigate versus educate, and siphoned hours from people’s lives.

The district has consistently engaged in the three D’s of defense: deception, denial and delay. Now, their own delay is being used as the excuse that so much time has passed we need to “move forward” to focus on student learning.

Children learn what we teach them. Should we teach them that once a bad decision has been made the only thing to do is move forward, or should we teach them to fix their mistakes? As Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Now is the time.”

Laura Ainsworth

Abuse continues until its effects are reversed. Survivors of abuse suffer until this happens. It’s now evident that Jeff Sloan was abused.

We care about people’s lives, such as the future careers of CUSD students. So, we also care about Sloan’s career. We don’t put valuable effort into educating people to let them get chewed up later in life.

Many tragedies cannot be averted. So, when we can reverse a tragedy, we do. Even if there is no investigation to expose anyone who submitted to an abuser’s demands, why not reinstate Sloan to a comparable position based on information already recovered?

“Seeing no evil” is denial. Seeing and reversing the effects of negativity is positive. On behalf of all abuse survivors, Sloan should no longer be deprived of what he rightfully earned.

Irene Cardenas

Not so hot
Re: “Global warming is universal” (Guest Comment, by John C. Callaway, CN&R, March 15):

I find Mr. Callaway’s assertion—"The media have contributed confusion to the subject of climate change because journalists are trained to give equal time to all opinions concerning a particular subject. This practice fails to recognize that a majority of scientists agree that human activities are now swamping all other physical processes determining climate"—very troubling on two counts.

First, presenting both sides is not a failing, but rather a requirement on such weighty issues. Global-warming religionists are asking us to change the nature of our existence due to a consequence they cannot prove. Free speech and peer review of ideas are what science is all about. Ideas are supposed to be challenged to see how they hold up against alternative views lest they be wrong.

Second, not every scientist agrees with the idea of man-caused global warming. While we have seen much in print on one side of this matter (thanks to a press that wants to peddle only one view, regardless of Callaway’s claim to the contrary), we are just beginning to see the counterarguments emerge. One recent article on the effects of solar activity showed that the things we are seeing align much closer with that explanation than the man-caused argument.

Let’s let the voices flow free and arrive at the right answer.

Mike Malloy

Also not so hot
Re: “Weatherman’s tip” (Letters, by Anthony Watts, CN&R, March 22):

Anthony Watts as usual cites non-original reference on matters of science, a practice strictly forbidden in the parlance of discussions involving science. Even though politicians of all stripes have become embroiled in the rhetoric about global warming, which has spawned commentaries from laymen of all stripes, please get information from bona-fide scientists in the field. These scientists are fully capable of presenting in a rigorous manner the crux of the issue to those who are not scientists themselves.

Mr. Watts, as a “weatherman celebrity,” is not qualified to admonish anyone about global warming by citing references that are not original in nature, as he is not competent to evaluate these original references. This is evidenced by his use of the subject of “thermodynamics” in the past, which was challenged by this retired professor of chemistry.

Brahama D. Sharma

I find it interesting that Anthony Watts, and other conservatives, are so skeptical about global warming. On this issue, they demand absolute, iron-clad proof before any action should be taken.

Where was this skepticism when our country really needed it? Why is it that the threshold for going to war is so much lower? I don’t get it. I could respect consistent skepticism.

David Linzer

Ironic objections
Re: “ ‘the dead’ zone” (Letters, CN&R, March 22):

The irony of having those who still support Bush’s folly in Iraq being against the posting of the names of those killed in Iraq! I suppose the ones backing Bush in Iraq feel so guilty that they strike out in anger when the names of the dead are listed or crosses are put up to honor them.

Whether they’re against or for or indifferent about Iraq, most Americans agree that America should recognize and honor those who have been killed. Additionally the taxpayers (especially the wealthiest) would overwhelmingly agree to pay for the medical care of the wounded—something Bush has failed to do.

The Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D.C., is the most visited site in that city. It is outside and open 24/7. And guess what, all 58,200-plus names are on the wall in the rain, snow or sunshine.

Bob Mulholland
101st Airborne (1967-68)

Study up, politicians!
Re: “One man’s mission to protect the Constitution” (Newslines, by Laura Hauser, CN&R, March 15):

I wonder if our elected officials are even aware of what the Constitution says. Surely if they were to read it, some of their ridiculous legislation would not even be considered. They need to be reminded about what they are sworn to defend and uphold.

I think the American people should send truckloads of copies of the Constitution marked “this is your job description.” It would remind them who they work for.

Bill DeWolf
Trinity Center