Letters for September 24, 2009

More on furloughs

Re “Wrong on furloughs” (Letters, Sept. 17)

Unlike Chico State, the UC campuses are handling similar pay reductions and furloughs without reducing instructional time. But then the UC faculty does not kowtow to union demands. It sounds like Dr. Grosscup is “time challenged.” I’d be happy to sit down with him and come up with an appropriate schedule that benefits the students he is paid to serve.

Tim Hansen

‘Hands off our water’

Re “We’re more important” (Letters, Sept. 10):

Letter writer Drew Hamerto, of Lake Forest (read: Los Angeles), complains that our water focus should concentrate on human needs. If those needs were drinking and bathing, then it might be easier to agree with him. Here’s the problem, though: Those “needs” for Hamerto et al. include green lawns, swimming pools, golf courses and fountains in a friggin’ desert.

To us, the Delta is our back yard. To Hamerto, it’s an abstraction, sort of like we Northern Californians feel about SoCal’s unshakeable thirst.

Drew, you’ve chosen to live in vast and increasing numbers in an unsustainable manner in an inappropriate place fundamentally unsuitable for human habitation, and you’ve gotten so used to having water shipped in so you can maintain your tenuous lifestyles that you have learned to take it for granted.

You want dams for water storage? Build ’em in your own neighboring mountains to store the water that currently runs out to sea in the Los Angeles “River.” Why not try seawater desalination?

But you’d rather steal water from the north and ship it south in a canal. What idiot would do that? How much would be lost to evaporation? How much would it cost? Who would pay? With what money? Would it solve your self-created problem? It’s wasteful stupidity.

We’ve seen what your unquenchable thirst did to the Owens Valley. Hands off our water.

Robert Quist

Herger isn’t the only one

Re “Wally and the terrorist” (Letters, Sept. 10):

I took some cold-comfort in Joe Wilson’s idiocy at President Obama’s speech to Congress, inasmuch as it confirmed that California’s 2nd Congressional District is not alone in being represented by an incompetent. And higher education doesn’t seem to matter much with regard to competence in public office. (Wilson’s got a law degree; Wally Herger never finished college).

So what defines competence in public office? Well, one characteristic has got to be understanding the repercussions of your actions, whether you’re yelling “You lie!” at the president while he’s addressing Congress, or you’re being a cheerleader for extremist rhetoric at a town-hall meeting. These displays of divisiveness and bitter invective have little to do with health-care reform, and a lot more to do with channeling a deep-seated intolerance based on ignorance.

If [letter writer] Scott Hubbard is interested in context, you’d think he’d be the first to understand this. What are the wider implications of actions like those of Herger and Wilson? In what context are these incidents taking place? They are taking place in an environment of fear, anger, conspiracy theorizing and prejudice.

Dave Sanford

More on Bert and Wally

Re “Big time for Wally” (From This Corner, by Robert Speer, Aug. 27):

Mr. Speer’s column does not even begin to delve into the issues boiling underneath its sound-bite surface. It seems that there is little to no curiosity about what would inspire Bert Stead to call himself a “proud right-wing terrorist,” nor the supportive response he garnered from the audience and Rep. Wally Herger.

Though I do not know his mind, I imagine that Mr. Stead was referring to the fact that recent publications such as the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) report of Feb. 20, 2009, and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report of April 7, 2009, have taken to labeling vast swaths of the American public as “potential terrorists.”

Included in these lists are military veterans, presidential candidates Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin supporters, detractors of the Federal Reserve, third-party voters, anti-abortion activists, Second Amendment supporters, and people displaying “anti-government” bumper stickers, among many others.

So, it appears that it is not Mr. Stead describing himself as a terrorist, but rather a comment on those who would treat him as a potential terrorist for his political and social ideologies. If you have no desire to stand up for your right to free speech and free opinion, then what do you stand up for?

Marlene Olson

As the media spotlight on Congressman Wally Herger fades and he returns to his comfortable position of obscurity, it is important to keep in mind what transpired at the Redding town-hall meeting. While Congressman Herger’s gleeful response of political rhetoric to the self-proclaimed “right-wing terrorist” exposed his true character, what has transpired since should really be a wake-up call to the voters of the 2nd District.

Herger’s action, and in many ways inaction, goes beyond condoning this type of inflammatory rhetoric; it encourages it. It is becoming all too obvious that we are losing our sense of decency. Our forums for collective discourse, namely our town halls, have become the assembly ground for people who use the pretext of patriotism as a means to shield themselves from constructive dialogue.

We have good reason to be concerned when the likes of Congressman Herger and other political hacks encourage divisive rhetoric and political grand-standing that is truly a detriment to our country’s well being. These are disgusting displays of hatred toward our president, and Herger should be ashamed for encouraging it. And shame on us if we vote to return him to Washington in 2010.

Roger S. Beadle

We’ve got it good

I have recently got back in the swing of going to local concerts, and it got me thinking about just how lucky our community is. The people who promote and put on these shows really deserve our thanks for bringing us really great music in some really fine and intimate venues. I really do not have to travel to hear live music, because the stuff I like comes to me.

While most of these concerts are very affordable, I understand some people may not have the funds to attend them, but there is a fair amount of free music in our area. This last weekend, I attended the Chico World Music Festival, and I was completely knocked out by all of the acts. One of the many great, and absolutely free, performances was by Chico’s own MaMuse. This is a group you can sometimes find busking at the frmers’ mrket.

With all of the terrible corporate radio many of us are sometimes forced to listen to, it is nice to floss our brains with decent and honest music. Again, thanks to everyone who makes that possible.

C. Kasey Kitterman

Editor’s note: The Chico World Music Festival was presented by Chico Performances, which is affiliated with University Public Events at Chico State.

A voice from Pakistan

The ends don’t justify the means. I am against U.S. drone attacks killing civilians in Pakistan. Much more effective is the approach outlined in Three Cups of Tea. You might want to read a Pakistani perspective, written by 17-year-old Hassan. He’s one of the respondents for my book on global youth viewpoints. (If you know young people in other countries who would like to be part of the book, e-mail gkimball@csuchico.edu.)

“Pakistan is witnessing an unabated increase in U.S. drone attacks on its territory since the new administration of President Obama. Citizens of the tribal areas had pinned their hopes on Obama’s ‘Change,’ expecting him to end the current U.S. policy and spare them continuous brutal attacks that started under Bush.

“The numerous losses of innocent lives, especially among children and women, anger Pakistanis of the tribal areas. These locals are known for taking revenge and would take up arms to kill scores of the U.S. troops. This scenario is well exploited by Taliban and Al-Qaeda, who gave these furious people the platform to seek revenge. These drone attacks have displaced thousands of people who have left tribal areas. The government has completely ignored those devastated people.

“While America wants to ‘win hearts and minds’ of Pakistanis in the ‘war on terror’ and befriend Pakistan, Pakistanis have vehemently rejected such an approach they see stained with blood. In fact, recent surveys reveal that Pakistanis consider America a reater threat than the Taliban.”

Gayle Kimball