Letters for November 10, 2011

All-American music

Re “Audiovisual adventure” (Music, by Robert Speer, Nov. 3):

Twelve years ago my wife, Joan, dragged me along to Laxson Auditorium to listen to symphony music (ugh!). I have never stopped thanking her! I got hooked big time!

On Sunday, Nov. 13, at 2 p.m. at Laxson Auditorium is an “all-American” symphony not to be missed. What could be more American than Ansel Adams, Dave Brubeck, Richard Rogers (remember TV’s Victory at Sea theme?), Aaron Copland and George Gershwin?

If you ever thought you’d like to give symphony music a try, this is the one. I can hardly wait—you will not be disappointed. Who knows, you might just get hooked like I did!

Rupert McDowell

Editor’s note: In addition to the Sunday-afternoon show in Laxson Auditorium, the program is being performed on Saturday evening at 7:30 at the Cascade Theatre in Redding and on Sunday evening at 7:30 at the State Theatre in Oroville.

Teaching or preaching?

Re “Chapter on Islam touchy subject” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Graham, Nov. 3):

My children did the same assignment, which then stimulated a marvelous discussion that took the greater part of a three-hour drive (one of our best trips to the Bay Area ever). They then read some of the Quran and the Bible for their own comparisons.

I was thrilled to see their minds open to other cultures and possibilities of thought. My kids are thriving at this point in their lives, so I see nothing but benefit.

Barbara Morris

The United States is a great country, and we always heard that it is due to diversity as well. But today we don’t see tolerance to diversity under the guise of patriotism or whatever. This is surely very sad.

There are not any two faiths like Christianity and Islam that have so much in common. Islam respects Jesus as a messiah, as a mighty messenger of God. Read for yourself in the Quran on www.tafheem.net. God bless you.

Muhammad Khan, MD
New York City

Keeping sled dogs healthy

Re “Iditarod deceptions” (Letters, by Margery Glickman, Nov. 3):

Blynne Froke and teachers using Iditarod engage students in reality-based, technology-rich, content- and curriculum-driven experiential learning projects to build 21st-century skills. Glickman has no idea what happens with the race or in classrooms. For her to assume details on what children are provided is as inappropriate as her comments about Iditarod.

Ms. Glickman’s statements about the race are taken out of context, misleading, and purposefully exclude information clarifying research over the past two decades that created protocols that have made improvements for not just sled dogs, but also family pets. We have yet to see one cent from Glickman, the Sled Dog Coalition, or similar organizations, donated for sled-dog care or research studies.

Iditarod has a long, well-documented history of excellent dog care and highest concern for dogs. When problems have been identified, solutions and protocols have been put in place. No dog deaths for the last two consecutive years support the efficacy of those protocols. The veterinarian team is dedicated to the mission of healthy sled dogs from birth through their retirement.

Diane Johnson
Iditarod Education Director
Aberdeen, South Dakota

The Iditarod is a great learning experience. Many children from around the world look forward to it and follow it for the 14 days it occurs in March.

I have been up close a few times at the races in the cold conditions. The people are the most selfless and loving people in the world. The dog care is fantastic, and the vets do a great job of keeping the athletes happy and healthy. If there is any hint of a dog being sick, it is pulled off and given excellent care.

It is wrong for people who have not experienced the race to make comments that are untrue about the race. No dogs have died in the past few years, and I would be very surprised if any in the future do as a cause of the race. The Iditarod dogs are a select group and treated very well.

Marc Sidell
Medina, Wash.

A security issue?

I have just returned from three weeks in Palestine-Israel, and what I saw was appalling.

It is always said that Israel does what it does to the Palestinians for security needs. Instead I saw Israelis guarded by numerous soldiers walk through Palestinian markets in East Jerusalem chanting insults such as “Down with Arabs! Death to Arabs! This is our land!” What security needs does that meet?

I saw Israelis throw down feces and dead animals onto nets hung over Palestinian farmers’ markets in Hebron. What security needs are met with these actions?

While I was there two Palestinian children, ages 6 and 4, were shot and killed by trigger-happy watchtower guards because they were playing too close to the 30-foot-high separation wall. What security risk was that?

Israel cannot achieve security until it stops its abusive and oppressive behavior, and its illegal occupation—and illegal confiscation—of Palestinian lands, not to mention its continued expansion of illegal settlements.

Sandra O’Neill

An ‘inadequate option’

Re “Treatment from a distance” (Healthlines, by Robert Speer, Nov. 3):

Doesn’t the idea of telepsychiatry seem a bit shallow?

As a college student living in Chico, I can absolutely relate to the generalization of students as a vulnerable group who are young, unformed, far away from home, experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and too often making bad choices. And yet the university’s Band-Aid to this problem is to sit a struggling individual in front of a computer screen for an awkward conversation to a technological device?

It’s laughable that we are given the same psychiatric resources as inmates at Butte County Jail. The healing process relies so much on human connection and the talented, educated psychiatrists with their innate ability to form a trusted bond with their patients. Even the simplest physical connection, like an introductory and closing handshake, can be comforting and reassuring.

Telepsychiatry makes it an impersonal experience with too much reliance on technology. I hope the university will provide more than just this inadequate option for psychiatric help. Step aside, technology; let the professionals take this one.

Jenn Zarubin

Editor’s note: As the article stated, students are also free to see Dr. Nielsen in his office.

He’s no Stones fan

Re “Rolling stoney” (Music, by Jaime O’Neill, Oct. 27):

Chico is lucky to get any touring bands coming to town. The Sierra Nevada Big Room after many years has finally booked shows that attract a younger audience. After reading the review by Jamie O’Neill, I was embarrassed to be living in an ignorant, old-fashioned, “back in my day” town where finger pointing and harmless jabs seem to be the status quo.

The review wasn’t a review of the music, it was a daft comment on the people who attended the show. The very people who paid their money to support the local music scene and Sierra Nevada Brewery. People who didn’t stay home complaining about the kids these days.

You don’t have to be high to realize that Chico normally is like that Holiday Inn in Omaha that O’Neill is so fond of. If you are going to print a review of a show, why can’t it reflect the people, our community, sharing a good time together?

By the way, who goes to a Stones show sober? It would be hard to call you a real Stones fan.

James Beeker

Liberty means liberty

I want the country that stands for liberty and justice for all to perform on the contract. Our war on drugs is an unjust usurpation of our liberty. It infantilizes all citizens; they know no better, treating us as children or chattel.

One of our country’s charges is to promote the general welfare, but it has instead been diminished—in the name of purification. Political, religious and racial motives have always been at the base of the edifice.

The nature of human behavior compels us to desire changes in our consciousness from time to time. We are hardwired for it. We all respond in ways that are as unique as our DNA.

Citizens of this great union are indeed blessed with more rights than many other peoples. But when the Founders said liberty, they fucking meant liberty. And for justice, all of the drug crimes are consensual. Who is getting justice when there is no victim, but the governance is offended by an affront to its law.

Liberty and justice for all. It should not that tall an order for Americans.

Jay Bergstrom
Forest Ranch

More on teaching Islam

Re “Chapter on Islam touchy subject” (Newslines, by Meredith J. Graham, Nov. 3):

I am an elementary school teacher, and I thought this issue was solved years ago. Children have been learning about religion in sixth grade for many years now. One of the best explanations for why and how this should be done can be found in a booklet entitled “Moral and Civic Education and Teaching About Religion.”

The basic guidelines are: 1) The school’s approach to religion is academic, not devotional; 2) the school strives for student awareness of religions, but does not press for student acceptance of any one religion; 3) the school sponsors study about religion, not the practice of religion; 4) the school exposes students to a diversity of religious views; it does not impose any particular view; 5) the school educates about all religions; it does not promote or denigrate any religion; and 6) the school informs students about various beliefs; it does not seek to conform students to any particular belief.

People are far less likely to behave violently toward others they understand. This is why it is crucial to teach our children about the major religions other than their own. This is also why they need to learn about the lives of people who are of other nationalities, languages, disabled, social classes, sexual orientation, and so on.

Brian Anthony Kraemer

A steamy question

The label reads: protein 41%, total fat 26%, cholesterol 25%, sodium 2%, calories 240, and $3.99/pound. What about the water content in this hamburger? This was supposed to be quality lean meat! As I squeeze my hamburgers into patties, water flows from the meat. What is the source?

I know livestock growers used to “fatten” up their animals prior to auction by feeding them copious amounts of H2O. The rancher got the animals thirsty by feeding them salt. Of course, the added weight brought a higher price without improving the quality of the meat. Have butchers learned the same trick? If so, the Food and Drug Administration should require labels showing water content.

I performed a crude experiment. I squeezed my pound of hamburgers into patties while catching the dripping water in a measuring cup. The collected water was approximately one ounce (not counting that stuck to my hands). Taking 1/16 of $ 3.99 per pound, that amounts to 25 cents per ounce I paid for water. Compare this to 3-4 cents per ounce of pure bottled water, which I consume. Most of the hamburger water goes up in steam with the cooking, and I get no nutritional value.

My colleagues remind me that the water content of live animals is 70 percent. However, this water should be bound up in the cells, and not respond to my mechanical squeezing. Much water is lost in cooking. Maybe a reputable butcher could help me in the solution to this steamy question?

Dick Cory