Letters for November 18, 2004

Remember Pearl Harbor?
A more striking parallel than what reader W.R. Fiedler cited in contrasting November 1939’s pre-emptive invasion of Poland by (he asks us to guess who) [to the invasion of Iraq] is assuredly Dec. 7, 1941 [“Here we go again,” Letters, Nov. 11].

With the might of the United States then threatening Japan by saber-rattling at their doorstep in Guam, Wake Island and the Philippines, Japan’s military leaders opted for a pre-emptive strike at our battleships and military installations at Oahu. It’s ironic that our rallying cry after Dec. 7, 1942, to “Remember Pearl Harbor” is now the focal point of numerous Arabs with “Remember Baghdad.”

Thomas Drake

Table talk
W.R. Fiedler is absolutely right. History repeats every day at the dinner table. In the real world, fascism and communism, marriage and divorce, homosexuality, war and peace all start at the dinner table. Is anyone still eating meat?

Ed Tate

Not in my neighborhood
For many decades Hooker Oak Elementary in Chico has functioned as two schools. One half of the school has been touted as an Open-Structure Program, and the other half has been successfully functioning as a traditional neighborhood school that most of us grew up with.

Some supporters of the Open-Structure Program consist of active, vocal parents who drive their children from all over Chico to participate in this program. These parents have made many attempts in past years to squeeze the neighborhood program out. They now have a proposal in front of the board to not only squeeze the neighborhood children out but to make the school a K-8 program.

There are so many things wrong with this idea, one of which is that this appears driven by their ongoing elitist attitude. They try to camouflage this with words such as, “It offers choice.” Certainly not the choice of the neighborhood residents or the teachers of the neighborhood school program.

It may not be so bad if the neighborhood children had first grab at the slots, with those not living in the neighborhood being given those slots that are left. But I think we all know that that will not happen. I say that if they want this program, then promote it in a charter school setting and farther away from my public-supported-education, neighborhood school.

Kathleen Lydon

Health biz
I received a phone message from the office of Rep. Tom Reynolds inviting me to participate in the National Republican Congressional Committee Physician Advisory Board. I returned the call twice on two consecutive days, the second time to clarify what I had heard the first time. Both return calls consisted of a recorded message from the congressman, followed by an invitation from one of his staff to join the Physician Advisory Board, and both times I was invited to be the honorary chair from California, with an opportunity to attend a black-tie dinner with the president.

The congressman’s recorded message was geared toward physicians and dealt mostly with medical-malpractice reform. He spoke of “trivial lawsuits” and “greedy trial lawyers.” He briefly mentioned managed care but said nothing about greedy managed-care companies. Although malpractice insurance is a serious problem, it is not the only serious problem in health care today; not a word was said about the more than 40 million Americans without health insurance. When I said to the congressman’s staffer that for me a very important issue is lack of health insurance for many millions of Americans, the initial response was—silence. Eventually I was told, “We’re just trying to move the president’s health care agenda forward.”

It appears that the Republican health care agenda is not really about health care; the Republican health care agenda is about the business of health care.

Victor Mlotok, MD

Turkey reservations
Here are the top 10 reasons to skip the turkey this Thanksgiving:

10. You won’t spend a sleepless night wondering how the turkey lived and died.

9. Fruits and vegetables don’t have to carry government warning labels.

8. You won’t have to call the Poultry Hotline to keep your family alive.

7. Your body will welcome a holiday from saturated fat and cholesterol.

6. Commercial turkeys are too fat to have sex. Could happen to you.

5. You are what you eat. Do you really want to be a “butterball"?

4. Your kids can tell their friends about their cool “unturkey.”

3. You won’t sweat the environmental devastation guilt trip.

2. You won’t fall asleep during the football game.

1. Your animal rights friends will cherish you.

Millions of vegetarians across the United States find these reasons sufficiently compelling to celebrate the joyous Thanksgiving holiday without the carcass of a dead bird on their dinner table. The menu may include an “unturkey,” lentil or nut roast, stuffed squash, corn chowder, or chestnut soup, candied yams, cranberry sauce, pumpkin or pecan pie and carrot cake.

This Thanksgiving, let’s give thanks for our good fortune, health and happiness with a gentle, cruelty-free feast of the fruit of our earth’s bounty: vegetables, fruits and grains. An internet search on Vegetarian Thanksgiving will provide more recipes and other useful information than we need to know.

Howard Thatcher

Slipped discs
Thank you to Dennis Beardsley and the members of the Bidwell Park and Playgrounds Commission who attended the Nov. 13 meeting at the site of the proposed disc golf course. I was encouraged by Dennis’ comments that he will recommend that no changes be made to the course until the Master Management Plan is completed.

My hope is that all in attendance were able to absorb the wealth of information presented, particularly comments made by local experts, City of Chico Urban Forester Chris Boza and NRCS soil scientist Andrew Conlin, and that park commissioners will apply what they learned from these scientists to the planning and management process. Perhaps each of the experts will be willing to submit a written summary of their discussions for the public record.

The most telling evidence of how damage to the site occurs was made apparent at the beginning of our tour. Novices in the group were handed discs so they could experience the sport first-hand. Watching the discs sail out in unexpected directions, far to the right and left of the target, it was easy to visualize how so much damage is done to vegetation and shallow soils by the impacts and retrievals of hundreds of such tosses.

It is the responsibility of the commission to protect the resources in the park. Recreation and resource conservation are not mutually exclusive. But in listening carefully to expert testimony today, it is clear that in this particular area the existing resources cannot support this type of use.

Patsy Schutz