Letters for October 29, 2009

Was it swine flu?

Re “Preparing for the pandemic” (Newslines, by Stacey Kennelly, Oct. 22):

This story is much appreciated by those of us who are totally confused by all of the hype and fear surrounding the swine flu.

However, as an average citizen and mother of a toddler, I am still confused. My son had a fever of 104 for four days, and the pediatric nurse said it definitely wasn’t swine flu because he wasn’t throwing up. Was this nurse misinformed, or is this being left out of the information passed on to the general public?

Emily Brannen

Editor’s note: Local pediatrician Dr. Amy Dolinar confirmed that, while the swine flu has symptoms of high fever—104 degrees, even 105—that can last up to seven days, as well as body aches, headaches and respiratory difficulties (runny nose, sore throat, coughing and difficulty breathing), one can also have upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, though the latter symptoms are less common. The children who are getting really sick from the swine flu, she said, are typically progressing into pneumonia or meningitis. The best treatment is prevention by getting the flu shot.

Wasting blood and money

Re “Toward an Afghan strategy” (Editorial, Oct. 22):

In the spring of 1967 two Marine battalions plus supporting arms conducted a 10-week-long operation in southern Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. The operational area was 20 square miles of mostly rice paddies and a few low hills.

Just to make it clear, that was about 2,000 Marines operating in a square less than five miles by five miles. We had artillery, tanks, airplanes and helicopters. Ships offshore provided additional artillery support.

We did not have enough manpower to control just this small bit of countryside. We killed lots of people but still we couldn’t pacify the area. Later, a much larger U.S. Army unit replaced us in the same area and used much less discretion in who they attacked—and despite the murderous efforts of soldiers like Lt. William Calley and Capt. Ernest Medina, they couldn’t control the area either.

Much American and Vietnamese blood was shed in just this tiny part of Vietnam, all for nothing.

People don’t like foreign soldiers in their back yards. They will resist—and when their kids and old people start getting killed, it only adds fuel to the fire. Just think about it—we would be exactly the same way if it happened to us.

You can add thousands and thousands of troops in Afghanistan, but you will never have enough to defeat an insurgency that is dead set against you. We are just wasting blood and money there.

David Kensinger

I have a simple way to put an end to the Afghanistan war. All we need is a plane full of Roundup, and a couple fighter jets for cover. We take the plane full of Roundup and spray all the poppy fields. Bam! They have no funding for their side of the war, no one dies, and in the same swoop drugs decrease around the world! Sound simple enough?

Darren Johnson

‘A shameful breach’

Re “Big money on campus” (Editorial, Oct. 22):

Thanks for the editorial describing how Michael Pollan was denied a solo lecture at Cal Poly due to a threat by Harris Ranch to withdraw its $150,000 donation to support an on-campus meat-processing plant.

I am a 39-year-old student in an agriculture class at Chico State titled “Food Forever: Comparisons of Sustainable Food Production Systems.” While the written material corresponds to the theme, the instructor continually advocates for the use of artificial fertilizer and pesticides and genetically modified organisms in food. He argues that organic methods are too laborious, are not cost effective, and could not provide enough food for the world.

Your article raises many questions: Has Monsanto taken over our schools now as well as the government? Is Chico State accepting donations from large agribusiness companies as well in order to influence our future farmers? Due to budget cuts from the state, will the CSU system become reliant on large donations from private companies? Will these companies use their money as leverage to control academia? Will they use it for censorship? Is the First Amendment for sale?

As the L.A. Times stated in its editorial on the incident, “Agribusiness gets plenty of opportunities to preach its point of view at agricultural schools such as Cal Poly, where the likes of Monsanto and Cargill fund research and most professors are trained in modern practices. Students seldom get to hear voices like Pollan’s, though. The university’s attempt to dilute his message in order to placate a donor is a shameful breach of academic freedom.” I agree.

Christina Anthes
Student, Chico State

‘Don’t wipe nights’?

Re “One ply is enough” (Earthwatch, Oct. 15):

I see environmental groups have elevated their lunacy to new heights, with the Natural Resources Defense Council now suggesting that America begin using harsher toilet paper because softer tissue endangers old-growth forests.

So what does the future hold? Will there be a new EPA division established to enforce new laws passed by Congress to ensure our toilet paper is rough enough? What will this new division be named, the Office of Posterior Irritation? What will the enforcement officers be called, irritation investigators? How will they perform their duties? Will citizens be subject to weekly, monthly or annual exams to make sure they are properly irritated?

I know how to save money locally: Combine the local Posterior Department with the Air Quality Management District, and the “don’t light nights” can be combined with “don’t wipe nights.”

Tom Dowd

The fame game

I went to hear the famous African-American poet Nikki Giovanni at Chico State University. She talked a lot about God and Christianity, seemingly not aware of other religions in the world. I felt that I was listening to an old aunt talking about mom, pop, grandma and the pleasures of being a black woman. Clearly she did not like Obama that much. The only thing that was missing on stage was the American flag.

“Now there is fame! Of all—hunger, misery, incomprehension by the public—fame is by far the worst. It is the castigation of God by the artist. It is sad. It is true.”–Pablo Picasso.

Jerry Harris
San Francisco/Chico

Tunnel vision

I want to thank everyone involved in opening the bridge and tunnel in Annie’s Glen. It is now possible for pedestrians and cyclists to go from downtown to the rest of the park without crossing in front of the fast-moving traffic on Cypress and Pine streets. It makes travel in that area so much safer and easier.

I also want to thank all of the volunteers who spend their time and energy making the jewel of Chico even more beautiful. Thank you all.

Sandee Renault

Friday night lights

What a fabulous Friday night in Chico! The [Oct. 16] Almond Bowl game was a success for the entire community, and not just for the thousands of us in the stands.

The faculty, staff and parents of all the wonderful students who worked so hard to put together a fun and festive evening should be very proud! Student-government groups from both schools dressed up the stadium in a sea of blue/white and red/gold. Both the Pleasant Valley and Chico High marching bands were a joy to watch as well as listen to. Cheerleaders from both schools were lovely and energetic. “America the Beautiful,” performed by the PV Choir, added a special touch. And, of course, the student athletes of the rival squads played their hearts out and provided great action on the field.

And let’s not forget the sports boosters groups from both campuses and their hard work raising a tremendous amount of money for high-school sports programs, raffling off a new Toyota Prius from Chuck Patterson’s Toyota. On behalf of all parents of high-school athletes, let me just say, “Thank you all very much.”

Great weather, great football, great kids. Very well done, indeed!

Jolene Francis