Letters for August 3, 2006

More outdoor stupidity

Re “The right to bear oars” (SN&R Guest Comment, July 20):

I can’t remember a time when I enjoyed a Guest Comment as much as the one from Victoria Van Duzer!

As a cyclist in Sacramento, I spend a lot of time on the American River bike path. I’ve seen the “drunken oar-wielding breeders,” but I’ve also seen the other stupid people by the river: young mothers with the stroller equivalent of Humvees four across and oblivious to other traffic on the trail; cell-phone-using morons wandering back and forth aimlessly while I try to alert them that I am going to pass on their left; fellow cyclists who think the 15 mph speed limit is for everyone else but them because they are obviously delusional that they are not in Sacramento at all but in a time trial for the Giro d’Italia; parents with young children on bikes who are totally unschooled on the basics of trail safety; and last, but not least, drunken oar-wielding breeders so self-involved that they don’t realize they are carrying a raft right down the middle of a multiuse trail.

I have tried nicely to suggest to these folks safer ways to use the trail and have been spit at and sworn at and received dirty looks for my trouble.

I’ve also seen some horrific collisions and accidents caused by unsafe use of the trail. One cyclist was rendered a paraplegic, and a child was seriously injured falling from his bike without a helmet. (Note to fellow cyclists: Ever notice how all the tour riders wear helmets? You’re a better rider than they are?)

Perhaps if all these folks would just crash into each other, natural selection would have a chance to operate, but unfortunately they tend to hurt people who are trying to safely enjoy the trail.

Michael J. Hansen
Citrus Heights

There are atheists in foxholes

Re “Anniversary special” (SN&R Bites, July 20):

I would like to request Bites please recognize that despite the labels we choose—whether atheist, agnostic, freethinker, bright, skeptic or humanist—people with a naturalistic worldview have and continue to serve and die in our American armed forces, sometimes in foxholes. The late NFL player Pat Tillman, killed in action in Afghanistan in 2004, is but one example of men and women who have given their lives to do what they thought was right.

For more information, please visit the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers Web site at www.maaf.info/about.html.

Thank you for an otherwise factually spot-on commentary.

Kevin Schultz
Citrus Heights

More to Palestinian issue

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

Thank you for R.V. Scheide’s informative article.

John Batarseh is to be commended for suggesting the politics of inclusion and the one-state solution based on one person, one vote. The implementation of laws based on human rights and U.N. Resolutions 181 and 194 will provide security not just for Israelis, but also for Palestinians.

In the meantime, some facts should sink in: Israel currently has 9,015 Palestinians in jail, of whom 340 are minor children. There are 930 held without charge or trial (see www.imeu.net). No wonder the prisoners issue is highly sensitive for Palestinians (see also www.arab-american.net).

Mary Bisharat

Colonialism at work

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

Thanks to SN&R and author R.V. Scheide for this article.

The “old story” here is colonialism. As native peoples, the Palestinians have been subjected to the same colonial brutality as native Americans and Africans. Colonial Britain, which wanted a political foothold in the area, used the Jews as the United States uses them now—to promote foreign economic interests.

Without the millions in military aid that the United States gives Israel every year, there would be no blood bath today. Nor would Israel have nuclear weapons, nor would it be trying to drive out or kill the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. There might even be a one-state, secular democracy, so touted for everyone but Israel with its apartheid laws that discriminate against non-Jews.

Both Semitic peoples, the Palestinians and Israelis, are victims of anti-Semitism. Rather than embrace their Arab brother and sisters, Israel imports non-Jews, converts them and sends them to live in Palestinian territory. Bush’s fundamentalist Christian cronies support Israel’s violence because they believe the second coming requires the destruction of this part of the world, which means death for Jews and Arabs.

There is nothing predetermined about violence in the Middle East. Let’s get the United States out of Iraq, stop military aid to Israel and start supporting a Semitic-friendly, secular, life-promoting nation in what is now Israel-Palestine.

Maggie Coulter

Get over it, he says

Re “Shouting toward Bethlehem” by R.V. Scheide and “Lessons from internment” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R News, July 20):

The Palestinians refuse to control their fellow Muslim terrorists, who keep starting a fight and then hiding behind their children. The Jews merely took back the land that was taken from them.

That internment apartment looks a lot bigger than the one-bedroom apartment I, my parents and two siblings lived in during World War II. It certainly is better than the living conditions that 5 million GIs lived in during the war. The internees accepted money for their inconvenience. A half-million GIs never got to come home and complain about being held [drafted] for four years against their will or losing everything!

Get over it, already!

Lou Meyer

‘Natural’ doesn’t mean ‘healthy’

Re “Advertising insert” (SN&R July 20):

Surely, with all the advertisements you display in SN&R, and with your continuing presentation of articles attacking unhealthy environments and lifestyles, you should not have to carry ads for Natural American Spirit or any other tobacco company. No matter how they disguise things by using the words “Natural,” “American” and “Spirit,” they are still purveyors of a carcinogenic-containing, illness-and-death-dealing product. So there are no “additives,” presumably no pesticides, although they don’t state what they mean by “additives.” The stuff will just kill you more slowly; that’s all.

I expected more social responsibility from SN&R!

Martin R. Brittan

Jefferson the dope smuggler

Re “Sowing seeds” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Upfront, July 13):

I think you must have found one of my bills. I have that exact stamp and stamped all my $1 bills. I also stamp my $2 bills, because Thomas Jefferson not only grew hemp; he also smuggled seeds for rare varieties out of China, which was a capital offense over there.

Jimmy Sperling

Yep, straight people make gay people

Re “Try an angel instead” (SN&R Letters, July 6):

Let us set the record straight once and for all, shall we?

Jan Klein, who considers the truck-man’s sign “weird and repulsive,” but not acts of sodomy between two men, and others of her ilk need to understand that we who are anti-homosexual are actually correct in our thinking. No, I am not going to quote from the most influential book in the history of the planet Earth, though I very easily and rightfully could.

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.

Another nice, healthy dose of fact for all homosexuals out there (and you know who you are!): Every one of you who enjoys the blessings of life, who feels the joy of loving and in turn being loved by his or her “partner,” does this solely because of the heterosexual coupling of a male and female human being. This is non-debatable.

So yes, we who are anti-homosexual have every right to place a premium on the heterosexual lifestyle. Don’t be angry with us because you are homosexual, engaging in practices with each other that clearly you were not designed to be doing.

However, I guess the most amazing thing of all I have to report is that in spite of all the above truths, not opinions, there are still some who will write in next week and pathetically attempt to disagree!

But then again, maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised at adverse reactions to my unequivocal truths. We do, after all, live in a society of Jan Kleins—people who are more repulsed and disgusted by a sign attached to the side of a truck than by two people engaging in acts that are the very antithesis of our being. They say familiarity breeds indifference. Maybe for Jan Klein, but not for me. I’m sticking with the truth.

Cleo Greenleaf
Citrus Heights