Letters for August 2, 2007

Love those cocks and hens

Re “Chicken George” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, July 26):

I just read the SN&R article about George Stayner. Great job!

My son and I own and show four breeds, two large and two bantam. We have no interest whatsoever in cockfighting. Our chickens are breeds that have long been domesticated and raised for their utilitarian qualities. Yet they will fight each other whenever they get the opportunity, the hens as well as the cocks. We keep them in their hatch groups; if they grow up together they are more tolerant of each other.

I read a quote from a humane-society person once that claimed fighting cocks were tied in sight of each other to keep them provoked to fight. This is not so. Once birds are settled and get to know their neighbors, things are peaceful. Our show birds are kept in cages, not tied out, and we keep them in the same pens as long as we can, just to ensure stability.

I think it’s disgraceful that the birds on Tokay are not being properly cared for. It doesn’t take much of a brain to know that animals need water. Are they being fed? Or is that as haphazard as the watering? It concerns me that people in positions of authority appear to know so little about proper poultry maintenance.

There are other issues about which they get confused, also. For example, one of the breeds we raise is Old English Game Bantams. The cocks for this breed are also dubbed for show. Some humane-society folks think that everything that’s dubbed is a fighting bird, and that if their spurs are trimmed, this is further evidence of fighting. This is just not so. We keep spurs trimmed for show, to keep the birds from accidentally tearing one off in the netting, and for our own safety.

If the rule about one rooster is passed and enforced, that will pretty much keep us and other people in Sacramento County from raising and showing exhibition poultry. It’s already a challenge to find a place in the county where formerly city-slick neighbors don’t raise a commotion.

Our area is important in the chicken-show world. The Pacific Poultry Breeders Association holds a show on the last weekend in January at the fairgrounds in Stockton every year. It’s the biggest poultry show west of the Mississippi. Exhibitors come from all over the western states to participate.

Raising chickens is a joy—George Stayner is right about that. It is a lot of work, and those who do it end up losing money. You have to deal with wildlife problems and your neighbors’ cats and dogs, and every time there’s an avian disease, you have to worry that someone from the government will come around and destroy all your birds, whether they’re infected or not.

You don’t raise poultry for long if you don’t love it.

Janice James
via e-mail

Not ironic at all

Re “What’s with the Russians?” by Pat Lynch (SN&R Essay, July 26):

Thank you for such an enlightening column on the Russian immigrant community here in the Valley. What a pile of steaming excrement.

First of all, I am not Russian, Baptist, an immigrant or gay, so I have no personal ax to grind.

This article is nothing but racist crap. Lynch’s unnamed so-called Russian/Soviet expert added nothing except for the term “Gola-boy.” Has this person ever really been to Russia? Does he speak the language? Does he know anything about the history of Russia and the Soviet Union? Obviously, Lynch does not since she turned to this person for expert advice. I am not quite sure if Lynch has the talent to be a novelist, but she certainly has the imagination.

Instead of seeking a way to find some kind of dialogue between the gay community and the Russian community, Lynch wishes to wedge the Russian community from the Valley community in general with her little essay/exposè. At least bring some facts on who the people of this Russian community really are, instead of speculating about how all of them are fundamentalist gay bashers.

For some ideas on future essays for Lynch, may I suggest the following topics: 1) All white people smell funny when they are wet, 2) All Irish people drink excessively, 3) All black people are lazy, 4) All gay men are pedophiles, 5) All lesbians have mullets and ride Harleys!

And most of all, shame on SN&R for not taking a blue pencil, a rubber glove, a paper towel and cleaning that mess up!

Keep up the (mostly) good work.

Mike Kline

In defense of Lincoln

Re “Bad leftists” (SN&R Letters, July 26):

In his letter about William J. Hughes’ guest comment, William D. Platt refers to President Abraham Lincoln as “responsible for the deaths of over half a million Americans and the instigator of the greatest power grab by any government in modern times.”

While the initiation of the American Civil War was indeed complex, the primary factor was the insistence by wealthy Southern landowners of spreading slavery into Kansas and beyond into the Western territories. Lincoln actually did everything in his power to seek compromise and to avoid the outbreak of hostilities, much to the chagrin of the abolitionists in his own party. When the secessionists captured federal properties in the South, culminating in the attack on Fort Sumter, Lincoln had no other choice but to take military action.

It would be interesting to know what Mr. Platt would have done a century and a half ago if he were in Mr. Lincoln’s shoes, and if he is not ashamed and appalled by the institution of slavery in our history.

Marc Brandes

More than one war

Re “By the numbers” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Essay, July 19):

My heart breaks for the truth of Jaime O’Neill’s words. But even more devastating and closer to home is another perspective: by the numbers.

One thing we can count on: More dead in America.

Though more than 3,500 brave Americans have died in Iraq over the past few years, we kill that many of our children every day by abortion. Where is the outcry, where is the outrage from liberals? To quote O’Neill, do they “take the long view, far from where the killing gets done”?

O’Neill points out the years of life denied the 3,500 soldiers. Try this on for size: This year alone, abortion in America will deny 91 million years of life (1,300,000 times 70). You and I kill 1,300,000 of our own children every year by the American holocaust called abortion. It is not about a choice, but about bloodshed.

O’Neill is right about there probably not being a number large enough to count the tears of those families shed for the 3,500 dead men and women, and therein lies the heart of the problem. Where are all the tears for the dead babies that are daily ripped apart in the womb and tossed into dumpsters? We drive by the killing fields—the abortion clinics—every day and pay no attention.

For those readers who believe in God, does not your heart tell you that God is pro-life? And, by the numbers, God is about ready to count America out unless we exhibit a white-hot inner flame of holy discontent for abortion, which is the real war America is fighting.

Terry McDermott

He’s over the fence!

Re “The Mexican invades Sacramento” (SN&R Feature Story, July 19):

Welcome to SN&R, Mexican! I’m a gabacho that is engaged to a Latina and often have to laugh at your criticisms/witticisms that apply to me!

Que le valla bien ese!

Kevin Kolbek
via e-mail

Karis deserves both his fate and salvation

Re “The making of a killer” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, July 5):

Your writer and Mr. Karis’ defense attorney are to be commended for their hard work and diligence in presenting such a tragic story. For a book-length treatment in a similar vein, I would recommend Fox Butterfield’s All God’s Children, which traces the family history (more than 100 years!) of New York prisoner Willie Bosket.

Mr. Karis chose not to allow his personal and family history to be presented in court, possibly preventing his death sentence. This does not absolve him of guilt or responsibility for his terrible crimes. He knew right from wrong, and he remains responsible for his actions, his history and drug addictions aside. He may deserve his earthly fate. However, let none of us take an attitude that we are any better than Mr. Karis. May God have mercy on his soul and may Mr. Karis, before he dies at the hand of the state, find forgiveness through Jesus Christ and faith in Him who is the only living Lord and Savior.

B.J. Mora

But still she writes!

I find SN&R boring, trivial and loathsome. Your articles have no significant meaning to them and no new writers in the last decade or so. I am tired of reading articles by egotistical blowhards and insensitive, clueless clods. For a change, get more new staff to write more exciting articles, like L.A. Weekly.

Breonna Jackson
via e-mail