Letters for August 10, 2006

Pry those cars from a hot, dead planet

Re “The new nukes” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, August 3):

While R.V. Scheide does a good job covering the resurgence of interest in nuclear power, it is worth pointing out that nuclear power is still a potentially very dangerous solution to our energy woes.

The real problem is that Americans aren’t willing to consider any option that requires us to divorce ourselves from an energy-hogging way of life. We’ll embrace those nukes we once abandoned as too dangerous because it’s too much work to conserve, develop alternative energy sources, and realign our culture to live with much less energy from fossil fuels. The general attitude seems to be that we’ll give up our cars only when you pry them from a hot, dead planet.

Jan Klein

If it works, don’t fix it

Re “Yep, straight people make gay people” (SN&R Letters, August 3):

Cleo Greenleaf of Citrus Heights writes, “Believe it or not, the male sexual organ was actually designed to enter the female vagina, the end result of this heterosexual coupling being the production of another human life. This is biological, anatomical fact, not some feel-good opinion promulgated by those who want their particular form of sexuality accepted by the general culture.”

Without making moral or other kinds of judgments about homosexual behavior, and while emphatically affirming myself to be a heterosexual in every shape and form, as a retired professor in a science discipline, I must question the claim made later in the letter by Greenleaf that the above statement is an expression of truth, not an opinion.

Unlike the graphic description given by Greenleaf, one can paint vivid mental descriptions of the behavior of males in which no homosexual acts were carried out and his graphic description of one heterosexual act was also absent, but still the non-reproductive acts happen to give the biological consequences of ejaculation.

How can one assert that the male organ was “actually designed” exclusively for the activity so graphically described by Greenleaf, when the truth is that it works in so many other ways?

Brahama D. Sharma

Setting priorities

Re “Too long, too many gone” (SN&R Guest Comment, July 27):

As a descendant of a very small minority of original Indians who once lived in the Hetch Hetchy Valley, I was going to write a letter about one of our beautiful areas—until I read Rhonda Erwin’s Guest Comment. Her piece affected me more, even though the state is currently embroiled in the Hetch Hetchy Valley discussion.

You see, many of my own young family members, descendents of Yosemite, Hetch Hetchy and Mono Lake Indians, are fascinated by “gangsta” culture and rap music. Gang violence has crept even onto reservations and rancherias throughout California. Many young Indian people, in addition to teens in other minority communities, want to emulate the gangsterism they see on TV and in movies. A lot of that destructive behavior is considered “cool,” while education is seen as “acting white” or “nerdy.”

Ms. Erwin’s essay on the death of the young woman and the spiraling teen violence touched me. It is a sad fact that many young people see carrying guns as cool. Once education was seen as the way out of poverty; now, youth want quick easy money and think acting bad is good.

It is the media, music and other corporate interests that produce a quick buck off the misery of our next generation. That garbage has even touched the next generation of those Indian people who once picked acorns in Hetch Hetchy Valley.

Many of our people would love to see Hetch Hetchy Valley returned to its splendor. Many of our people are split on the cost of restoring Hetch Hetchy. Maybe the $3 billion to $10 billion that it would cost for restoration would be better spent saving that next generation of children and youth instead. It depends on our priorities.

R. Dandridge

Rich folks’ quality of life

Re “Quality of life” (SN&R Bites, July 27):

The chutzpah of some promoters of a new arena is unbelievable. So now it is a “quality of life” issue to watch grown men and women in their underwear playing a kid’s game of running up and down a court chasing a round ball. I would say taxing the general public to line the pockets of a couple of billionaires certainly enhances their “quality of life.” One way to put an end to this silly season is to vote no on the Quality of Life Measure this fall.

James G. Updegraff III

Idiom for idiots

Re “How’d they break the sunrise?” (SN&R Letters, July 20):

I couldn’t believe the letter someone sent in criticizing Kimberly Edwards for saying, in her article “After the flood” (SN&R Guest Comment, July 6) that “power tools and Spanish broke the sunrise,” as if it were somehow pejorative.

This displays a complete lack of knowledge and understanding of a simple and commonly used English idiom. Anyone who really knows English would recognize that she meant that those sounds broke the silence of the sunrise. That in no way imputes anything negative to those sounds themselves, except perhaps the idea that few people appreciate having any sound accompany the sunrise on any given day.

This is a perfect example of the kind of knee-jerk, arrogant, ignorant hostility that has come to typify American political and moral discourse.

People talk about things about which they have no real knowledge and don’t bother to do any specific research before they formulate their opinions and start spouting off about them and attacking other people. Is it wrong for me to suggest that the author of that letter should get a little more information—or maybe a translator—before he lashes out at another person so viciously? Accusing someone of xenophobia is only slightly less serious than accusing them of racism.

So many of our social problems arise out of avoidable misunderstandings like this. I despair to think that our educational system is failing us at this level.

I’m sure that Mr. Romero is an intelligent man. With all due respect, it is sometimes not enough to merely think before speaking. Even an intelligent person has to have all the facts before they can come to a reasonable conclusion. I believe that everyone shares that social responsibility. We owe each other at least that much.

Angela Tierno

Back to Oslo for peace

Re “Shouting toward Bethlehem” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R News, July 20):

Thank you for covering the protest at 16th and J streets in support of the people of Gaza. Israel’s brutal reinvasion of that territory has resulted in a humanitarian crisis due to destruction of infrastructure, continuous shelling and the refusal of the Israel Defense Forces to allow humanitarian aid to reach the citizens of Gaza. The media rarely present the Palestinian version of events in the occupied territories, and R.V. Scheide’s article was welcome.

Most U.S. citizens do not know, because the media do not point it out, that Hamas observed an 18-month cease-fire, while Israel continued to shell Gaza. Because Israel “got away with” its actions in Gaza, it was emboldened to attack Lebanon. The plan for a three-week blitzkrieg against Lebanon was being circulated by Israeli leaders a year ago. It only needed an excuse to be implemented. Obviously, the goal was not the return of Israeli soldiers, either in Gaza or Lebanon, or Israel would have negotiated for their return.

Now the world is faced with a new humanitarian crisis and the threat of a widening war.

It is time to curb Israel’s ambitions in the region. Israel, with territory of about one-sixth of the size of California, has the world’s fourth-largest military. Military aid and weapons transfers to Israel from the United States have nearly doubled since 2001. Let’s not be fooled by the propaganda that Israel is weak and a victim in relation to its Arab neighbors, or in relation to the Palestinians. Since the Al Aqsa intifada began in 2000, three to four times the number of Palestinians have been killed as Israelis.

If we want peace in that beleaguered land, we must return to the principles of the Oslo accords: land for peace and a just, negotiated settlement between Israelis and Palestinians.

Edwina White

First-rate movie coverage

Re “Art-house blues” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R Feature Story, July 13):

I just got back from vacation and returned to a stack of recent SN&R issues. I hope that I’m not too late, but I’d love to comment on Jonathan Kiefer’s wonderful piece “Art-house blues.”

Kiefer’s article is just one example of why SN&R’s movie coverage is now head and shoulders above The Sacramento Bee’s. I’ve always depended on SN&R for its astute arts coverage, and now that the Bee’s take on film has severely diminished, I also rely on it for your first-rate, thorough movie coverage.

I don’t write letters to newspapers too often, but I just had to say “Bravo!” and keep up the great work. You’ve made this moviegoer very happy. Thank you.

Carlye Benedict