Letters for December 13, 2007

Covered in Chicago

Re “What’s a fraggle-stick car?” by Jackson Griffith (SN&R Trust Your Ears, December 6):

Let’s take Jackson Griffith’s ideas to feature music from California at the Sacramento International Airport and feature local musicians at Starbucks (both good suggestions) to one more level: Why not exclusively play music from locally associated musicians at the airport and sell their CDs at a kiosk (with headphone listening stations)? Lord knows there’s lots of browsing time at the airport these days, and audiophiles just may help spread the news that Sacramento has a wealth of creative talent in all genres.

While recently listening to some Hammond B3 organ jazz-funk at a Chicago airport layover, my 13-year-old son made the sudden, unexplained pronouncement: “Cake.” And sure enough, some of the Windy City’s finest were grooving through “Never There.” We are covered in Chicago. Why not here?

Mark Halverson
Fair Oaks

Too hot

Re “Kyoto: 10 years later” (SN&R Feature, December 6):

Thanks, SN&R, for this timely (same week Al Gore gets his Nobel Prize) reminder of the U.S. policy to bury our heads in the (hot) sand. Now that Australia’s thrown out their science-deniers, we’re the last industrialized nation to refuse to sign on.

Of course, we’re also the last industrialized nation to execute criminals, and to have elected leaders who can’t agree on the definition of torture, and … you get the picture.

Tammy Holland

Limit computers …

Re “The infinite cage” (SN&R Guest Comment, November 29):

Tammy Duncan’s guest comment has done everyone a great service by illustrating that computers have a very limited role in turning students into well-rounded, thoughtful adult citizens. The same is true for home computers. Gathering and giving information are what computers offer.

Learning is most useful and interesting when it involves the head, the heart and is hands-on. As in Ms. Duncan’s vision, learning basic human skills must mean interacting with real things and real people.

The last 10 lines of her article brilliantly sum up where education should be taking us: to an adult level where we accept the responsibility to use our natural resources moderately and wisely and treat our neighbors with reasonable patience and tolerance.

This article is a keeper.

Mike Ferrick

… and turn off the screens

Re “The infinite cage” (SN&R Guest Comment, November 29):

Congratulations and a sincere thank you to Tammy Duncan for having the clarity of vision to hit the nail on the head in her essay and for having the courage to put it in writing. In spite of its accuracy, it probably isn’t a popular opinion. It seems that almost everyone in this country is addicted to one kind of screen or another. If it isn’t computers, it’s televisions or movies.

Here’s a novel suggestion: Let’s all turn off our screens (virtual reality) for one month and do something real (even something small) to make this world a better, more peaceful, more sustainable and interactive place.

Too tough? Look down that alternative road a ways, as Tammy has obviously done.

Thomas Lambie
via e-mail

Told you so

Re “Don’t ask, don’t tell at City Hall” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Upfront, November 29):

Cosmo Garvin is utterly correct and understandably concerned that the Sacramento City Council used a closed session to discuss and decide on filing a friend of the court brief supporting gay marriage. Not because of the result, but because of the unlawful procedure used to reach it. The Brown Act allows local councils, boards and commissions to conduct a closed session dealing with litigation only “when discussion in open session concerning those matters would prejudice the position of the local agency in the litigation.” (Government Code Section 54956.9).

Reading the litigation exception to the open meeting rule of the Brown Act narrowly, as is constitutionally required under Proposition 59 of 2004, there’s simply no way that an open discussion could have prejudiced the city’s legal “position” in this case. The city was not a party and, in a friend of the court brief, could have nothing to stand on other than its view of the law—no confidential witnesses or surprise evidence, no facts that if disclosed could have led to a “loss,” no conceivable discussion that if exposed could have weakened the effect of its brief. The only possible explanation is political—members of the council wanted to support gay marriage without the heat of having to deliberate the matter publicly, with the accompanying exposure to criticism. And as officials in San Diego and Davis who did discuss and decide their participation obviously were aware, political decisions are not entitled to secret deliberation simply because they authorize taking a position supporting one side in a case that will be decided in court.

The council may think its closed-door handling of this matter provided cover from close and contentious scrutiny of its members’ personal views on the subject, but ironically it provided its critics with a basis for a lawsuit seeking to reverse its decision for having violated the law. Now that would be litigation that would indeed qualify for closed-session consultation with counsel, since it’s a case that the city might well lose.

Terry Francke
Californians Aware, Carmichael

But you read us!

Re “It wouldn’t be radio without the knobs” (SN&R Bites, November 29):

I thoroughly enjoyed your article about talk radio. What a hoot.

I believe I remember Terry Gross reporting that Rush Limbaugh’s numbers had actually slipped to 10 million listeners some five years ago, with the caveat that Arbitron ratings can be read in a myriad of ways.

Our favorite neurotic-yenta genius (with her stockings rolled down to the ankles), Dr. Savage, says he has upward of 20 million listeners as opposed to the 10 million that are reported. As someone who voted for [Jimmy] Carter and [Jesse] Jackson against [Ronald] Reagan back when I was young and dumb, it’s hard to imagine that anyone over the age of 30 actually takes SN&R seriously. You should get a gig with SNL. They, too, have been mediocre for years. Just like their ratings, your readership continues to drop.

D.C. Pryor
via e-mail

We just like his mustache

Re “It wouldn’t be radio without the knobs” (SN&R Bites, November 29):

It’s a shame that writers like Bites at SN&R have to stoop to childish name-calling and the use of labels like “hateful” or “racist” to describe anyone who dares to voice an opinion that differs from your narrow leftist dogma. It’s a tired old liberal tactic that has become meaningless.

Stalinist leftists like Bites would gleefully silence all radio talk show hosts who don’t spout leftist dogma—much like Communist dictator Hugo Chavez has done to silence any opposition to his hard-fisted rule in Venezuela. Bites and the rest of the writers at SN&R sound shrill and impotent for good reason. The leftist elites at SN&R, at The Sacramento Bee and at the rest of the print media are becoming increasingly irrelevant as mainstream readers and advertisers flee to the myriad of options available to them. Stalinist elitists on the left don’t like it, and they will try to stop it anyway they can.

Bites mentioned the media’s “Fairness Doctrine,” which was abolished in 1987. Would Bites and the rest of the leftists in the media want the “Fairness Doctrine” applied to all media (like The Sacramento Bee and SN&R) so they too have to provide “fair and balanced” coverage of controversial societal issues?

No, the truth is that the hypocritical left wants to re-institute the “Fairness Doctrine” so that it applies only to certain talk radio stations in a blatant effort to silence conservative talk radio show hosts. No doubt leftist talk show hosts like Ed Schultz, with tiny audiences on small struggling leftist stations like KSAC AM 1250 in Sacramento would be exempted. It’s just something hypocritical Stalinist leftists do.

Sharon O.

Bites replies: We’ll cop to everything except “impotent.” Didn’t you see the issue about the little blue pills?

Jesus bombs … Hitler!

Re “No choice, no peace” (SN&R Letters, November 29):

For a newspaper that preaches tolerance, SN&R has an astonishing degree of tolerance for thinly veiled anti-Christian diatribes under the guise of pro-choice/antiwar drivel. This is truly ironic, given the deference the editors paid to the “faithful” during the Danish cartoon controversy, while simultaneously wimping out on the First Amendment.

In his letter, Ron Lowe calls those who oppose abortion on moral and religious grounds “wild-eyed religious zealots.” Notice that, if you disagree with a lefty, you are, by definition, an extremist. Nothing black and white in this world view. Apparently the left thinks that ad hominem is debate, the sad consequence of speaking “bumper sticker.”

Who would Jesus bomb? I would hope everybody from Adolf Hitler to Kim Jong Il. I don’t think Christianity was devised as a suicide religion. More importantly, who would Jesus abort?

As for Mr. Lowe’s pacifism, George Orwell said, “Pacifism acts more effectively against democracy than for it.” He also said only the “intelligentsia” would believe such foolishness.

Dennis McMurray
Nevada City

TMI. No, really.

Re “Stand and deliver” by Liz Cazares (SN&R Arts&Culture, November 29):

I know I will receive a lot of grief for this admission, but the truth will set you free. I pee sitting down!

There’s a story here. I have daughter, and about nine years ago, her mother and I potty-trained her. Now, kids imitate adults. How can I train her to go to the toilet sitting down when she sees me standing up to urinate? So I started peeing sitting down, like the females. The good thing is that, in a short time, my daughter was peeing in the toilet and bye-bye diapers.

Fast forward to today and I am still peeing sitting down. It’s comfortable and cleaner—with no missed aims. Let me clarify, though: I pee sitting down when at home. In a public facility, I pee standing up; it’s safer, faster and more hygienic.

And another thing: I put the toilet seat down. In fact, it’s down all the time in my home.

Now I will go home, sit down, and wait for the barrage of snide remarks and humorous quips about this admission. It’s OK.

I’m a man, and I can take it standing or sitting down!

Patrick Powers

Blame the CIA for Che

Re “Death of a Revolutionary: Che Guevara’s Last Mission” by Sena Christian (SN&R In the Mix, November 29):

Contrary to media-placed disinformation, Argentine-born doctor Ernesto “Che” Guevara, second in command to President Fidel Castro during Cuba’s 1959 revolution, who would become an icon for leftists around the world, was not captured and executed by the Bolivian army.

Rather, Guevara, while leading a land reform-based guerrilla uprising, was captured by an American CIA field operative on October 8, 1967, and executed the following day.

In July, 1997, Guevara’s body was exhumed from a Bolivian mass grave and returned to Cuba. In October 1997, Guevara was laid to rest and enshrined in a mausoleum in the central city of Santa Clara.

Hasta la Victoria! Viva Che!

Manny Barboza

Weird Mexican

Re “Cans on a hard body” by Gustavo Arellano (SN&R ¡Ask a Mexican! November 21):

So I tried to find the Mexican interesting, but this weird, insulting columnist has really put his “humor” in perspective. No more will I read him.

Put the interesting and local positive people back in this spot.

William M. Wauters

The devil made us do it

Re “God reading” by Kel Munger (SN&R Words, November 15):

According to this [review], many Americans believe in a literal hell presided over by the devil. This is not a biblical concept. People who believe this sort of twaddle get their ideas from popular superstition inspired by Dante, not from the Bible.

Hell, according to the Bible, is a place of banishment where the devil and his followers will be sent at the end of this age when Christ returns to straighten out the mess we are in. [The devil] is not there now, and when he gets there, he will not preside but be a powerless prisoner.

The devil does indeed preside, not over hell, but over this present system. Jesus calls him the ruler of this world. The Bible portrays him as a powerful figure with many followers who are the source of all the evils that beset us, including, I am sure, vulgar rubbish like SN&R.

Roger Barrett