Letters for December 2, 2010

It’s pat-down time

Re “Security Theatre Follies” by Tom Tomorrow (SN&R This Modern World, November 24):

This year, your holiday travel comes with a bonus plan: Radiation, a grope, or both.

These new [Transportation Security Administration] procedures at many airports in the United States have been all over the Internet and TV news for a week. Either you go through a new type of scanner, which essentially gives you a five-second X-ray. or you can opt out and demand a personalized trip to second base in full view of the rest of the cattle being herded onto our nation’s fleet of flying Trailways buses. This is America! Isn’t it nice to have choices?

I have joked that if I am forced into needing to use air travel, I am showing up at the airport wearing a tank top, Speedo and flip-flops, and just carry some other clothes in my backpack. I probably won’t shower for a few days before my trip. Also, I’m not joking. If I’m to be treated in this manner, I want the government’s representative to, at the very least, be made uncomfortable, and at the most, sickened and temporarily rendered blind.

The real issue, I hope, is the question of whether or not any of this makes our planes any safer. It doesn’t. That’s not just my opinion; it’s also the opinion of Isaac Yeffet, former director of security for Israel’s El-Al Airlines. I suppose I’m going to put some stock in the collected knowledge of a man responsible for keeping safe the nation on Earth most threatened by terrorists, especially when El-Al has a perfect safety record.

My question, though, is how can citizens raise so much hell about the new TSA protocols and have no qualms about the Patriot Act, warrantless wire taps or any of the other infringements that have taken large bites out of the Constitution in the past decade? If you have nothing to hide in your underpants, you don’t need to be worried, do you?

Andy Sims

Security necessary

Re “Security Theatre Follies” by Tom Tomorrow (SN&R This Modern World, November 24):

Really? Is this what SN&R considers humor?

As a longtime reader of SN&R, I am offended that you would portray an organization, whose sole function for the last decade since 9/11 has been to keep the American flying public safe, as child fondlers, oglers, gropers and potential proctologists.

All full-body scans are optional, and less than 1 percent of those who are given a pat-down receive a full body pat-down. TSA’s procedures are tailored to meet the current environment’s threat potential, not some arbitrary practice.

I hope in the future SN&R will consider whether what it publishes adds to the all too popular current trend of fearmongering or contributes to the greater public good that you purport to do on your public soapbox.

William S.

Transparent government

Re “Talking ’bout a devolution” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, November 24):

“Californians want government services, but don’t want to pay for them,” says Bites. Not true! We want to pay taxes; we love to pay taxes. But we want value for our money. Overstaffed, overmanaged, overpaid, overperked state offices/schools/prisons are not part of the bargain.

Also, we tend to take our officials at their word; Arnie insisted that high-speed rail was a good deal: “Vote for it.” It isn’t a good deal, and it will saddle us with even more debt forever.

Officials should be transparent about the true cost of each new program we are asked to pay for. They should not urge us to vote for a program, then blame us when it deepens our debt. When we believe that our government is being honest with us, we will be generous.

Evan Jones
via e-mail

So sad

Re “It gets better …” by Jovi Radtke (SN&R Essay, November 24):

You would think the human animal had evolved enough to comprehend that being homosexual is not a choice, like being left-handed is not a choice, or being tall or being short or having brown hair or kinky hair, et cetera. Like my boyhood best friend, Charley, who knew by age 13 that he was interested in boys and not interested in girls. Choice wasn’t involved.

How sad that humans haven’t evolved to the point where Jovi [Radtke] didn’t have a story to tell.

Bob Schmidt

Let McD’s sell bus tix

Re “Last days of the Greyhound” by Nick Miller (SN&R Frontlines, November 18):

The proposed new bus depot is not needed anywhere around Sacto. The 200,000 passengers per year? That’s only 500 per day, about 15 busloads; a dying business.

Actually, my travels on the interstate highways tell me that the Greyhound buses mostly stop at Burger King or McDonald’s, so why not let the fast-fooders be the ticket agents, and forget the bus depots?

Most of the bus passengers these days are traveling under the Witness Protection Program, anyway, vis-à-vis the hooded parkas on all hands.

Give the depot budget dollars to Loaves & Fishes, which would do some real good.

George Wieg
via e-mail

Use it to clean up

Re “Bottoms up” by Hugh Biggar (SN&R Green Days, November 18):

Since the device [in the article] was developed to mine gold from sediments, why not collect the mercury and the gold as well, as a means of funding further cleanup?

James Mullen
Grass Valley

What the Fernandez?

Re “All you can eat so you don’t have to” by Josh Fernandez (SN&R Arts&Culture, November 18):

Lust usually leads to a camera crew at your house? Is the joke—if I get it—that indulging your lust usually leads to getting nailed for attempting sex with a minor? WTF, big-time.

Charlie Barnes
via e-mail

Fashion blogging takes off

Re “Prêt-à-blogger” by Sarah Hansel (SN&R 15 Minutes, November 18):

What a wonderful interview and a great topic. Bella, The Citizen Rosebud, is a style and fashion blogger extraordinaire! She keeps so many people abreast of the style trends in Sacramento.

I am a fashion blogger from the Midwest (Cincinnati, Ohio), and her blog is a must-read for me. She works really hard at promoting the Sacramento Street Style (which I didn’t know existed until stumbling across her blog). Her shop is terrific as well, as is her infectious nature.

And thanks for showing others how important and infectious style blogging is becoming.

Reva Marvel
via e-mail

Leash cats, leave leaf blowers be

Re “Another word on leaf blowers” (SN&R Editorial, November 11):

Regarding SN&R’s editorial comments on leaf blowers: “Think about what’s lying on your lawn … uncollected excretions from your neighbor’s cat … would you really want particles of that blown in your face?”

Of course not. But the solution to that problem is to ban unleashed outdoor cats, not leaf blowers. Unleashed outdoor cats reduce the bird population and are a bigger public health nuisance than leaf blowers, spreading fleas and crapping wherever they feel like it.

Cats can be trained to walk on a leash and even to run agility courses, as demonstrated on the PBS program, Nature, “Why We Love Cats and Dogs” (the owners of the trained cats said they felt closer to their cats because they had more shared activities). YouTube also has several videos on how to train a cat to walk on a leash. The key here is training, just as with dogs. There is no good reason why cat owners shouldn’t be held to the same standards as are dog owners.

I have no cats! I am tired of my yard smelling like cat crap, of raking it up with the leaves and stepping in it. Using a leaf blower greatly reduces the chances of stepping in cat crap. So unless you’re going to voluntarily rake my leaves for me, or ban unleashed outdoor cats, too, leave me and my electric leaf blower alone.

Jan Bergeron