Letters for December 24, 2009

Letter of the week
Not your freak show

Re “Cruising for urban legends” by Ted Cox (SN&R Arts&Culture, December 17):

Writer Ted Cox should apologize for his atrocious article. To troll the streets of Sacramento seeking out little people in order to gawk and exploit for this article is despicable.

To make matters worse, he refers to the little person he is targeting as a “midget.” That’s a horribly offensive term for people with dwarfism. Imagine if Cox wrote about his journeys looking for African-American prostitutes and called them by the “N” word. Wouldn’t that get you into trouble?

I happen to be a little person myself and am an active member of Little People of America (lpaonline.org), a national organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with dwarfism. Members of our organization strive to educate others about our diversity and ask for respect and understanding about our health condition. All we want is to be treated fairly.

We are fellow human beings, not your freak shows.

Dan Okenfuss

Not as simple as he makes it

Re “The meat of the matter” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, December 17):

It is very important to note (as you have) that [Frank] Mitloehner’s research was funded by the Beef Checkoff Program—a federal government marketing program (“It’s what’s for dinner”) to which beef producers are required to contribute.

Mitloehner presents an extremely narrow reading of the Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions numbers; for example, excluding energy (used for everything from gasoline for machinery used for harvesting feed crops and trucking cattle around to electricity to run processing plants). See Ben Adler’s piece in The American Prospect for a comment by Gidon Eshel on the EPA numbers.

A fairer reading than Mitloehner’s would still put the United State’s livestock industry’s contribution to our own emissions (about 10 percent) as relatively low compared to the rest of the world, but that’s still a big enough chunk of the problem to be worth our attention.

Bernard Brown
The PB&J Campaign

Pot shouldn’t just be for patients

Re “How not to grow marijuana” by Skip Jones (SN&R Frontlines, December 17):

Not only should medical marijuana be made available to patients in need, but adult recreational use should be regulated. Drug policies modeled after alcohol prohibition have given rise to a youth-oriented black market. Illegal drug dealers don’t ID for age, but they do recruit minors immune to adult sentences. So much for protecting the children.

Throwing more money at the problem is no solution. Attempts to limit the supply of illegal drugs while demand remains constant only increase the profitability of trafficking. For addictive drugs like heroin, a spike in street prices leads desperate addicts to increase criminal activity to feed desperate habits. The drug war doesn’t fight crime, it fuels crime.

Taxing and regulating marijuana, the most popular illicit drug, is a cost-effective alternative to never-ending drug war. As long as marijuana distribution remains in the hands of organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with hard drugs like methamphetamine. This “gateway” is a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

Robert Sharpe
policy analyst
Common Sense for Drug Policy

Where’s the science?

Re “My cancer story” by John Hall (SN&R Essay, December 17):

I’m happy about Mr. Hall’s diagnosis, but the claims he makes are misleading. There is no such thing as “alternative medicine” or “naturopathic medicine.” There is just medicine. Some is good medicine and some is quackery.

The way our society separates the wheat from the chaff is by conducting double-blind clinical trials. For years, the medical community simply ignored the folk remedies of the practitioners of so-called “alternative medicine.” But the mania for herbs and combating “free radicals” grew; then Sen. Tom Harkin pushed for the creation of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, so some of the most popular remedies were tested.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority failed to show any benefit whatsoever.

Every year, Americans piss away millions of dollars in useless “dietary supplements.” God bless them; it’s their money to waste. But when advocates of nonscientific medicine start advising cancer patients to stop seeking treatments known to work in favor of eating organic fruits and vegetables and ancient Chinese secrets, rational people need to push back.

Jeff McCrory

Don’t blame the soda

Re “Sugar shock” (SN&R Editorial, December 17):

The beverage industry agrees that obesity is a serious issue that requires comprehensive and thoughtful solutions, but discriminatory taxes on soft drinks is the wrong public policy for such a complex problem. The beverage industry believes that emphasis should be placed on solutions that work when it comes to reducing childhood obesity, not discriminatory taxes. Solutions like the successful national School Beverage Guidelines, which remove full-calorie soft drinks from schools and help reinforce the importance of balancing calories in with calories burned.

Furthermore, the data simply doesn’t support singling out products like soft drinks as a unique contributor to obesity. In fact, soft drink sales have declined annually over the last decade, yet childhood and adult obesity rates have continued to rise during the same time.

While the beverage industry agrees that obesity is a serious and complex problem, it is best addressed by living a balanced lifestyle, consuming foods and beverages in moderation and getting plenty of exercise. For more information, please visit www.ameribev.org.

Jessica Badger
American Beverage Association

Another Pacer 4 life

Re “Pacers 4 life” by Rachel Leibrock (SN&R Feature, December 10):

Thank you so much for the in-depth article on Grant Union High School and their amazing football program. They deserve all of the positive press they can get.

Grant is so much more than just a great football program. There is such a diverse ethnic mix and Grant does a great job of celebrating this diversity. “Pacer Pride” is not just a catchy term. This school lives it!

I am director of the Grant Union High School Alumni Association Museum on campus. Does any other high school have an alumni museum? Our staff has the opportunity to interact with the staff and students on a regular basis, and there are so many positive things going on. We hope you will feature some of the other programs that make Grant such a special school in the future. Have you tried their terrific GEO salsa? Do you know about their plans for a peace park, etc.?

Leora Kaufer MatrangaGrant Union High class of ’52

GUHSAA Museum and Proud Pacer 4 Life

K.J. disaster

Re “No more Mr. Nice Guy” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Frontlines, December 10):

Giving the mayor more power than he already has will be a big mistake, and an invitation to disaster.

Allen Miller
via e-mail

Environmentally dangerous programs

Re “Do our children deserve to live?” by Fred Branfman (SN&R Feature, December 3):

I really enjoyed this article. We need more of this perspective to inspire a mass “human movement” against climate change. Although I will probably continue to fall into the depression category until I see more people around me coming to the same conclusion, I appreciate SN&R’s contribution to the cause with this article.

I also appreciate SN&R pointing out that the Obama administration’s stated targets are starkly inadequate. A good example everyone is familiar with is the recent Cash for Clunkers program. I couldn’t believe all one had to do for the rebate was upgrade to a vehicle with 22 miles per gallon. Why so low, when there are so many inexpensive cars with 30-plus mpg? I am continuously shocked at the lack of incentives for significant improvement.

To those who deny the scientific evidence of climate change, I just have one question: Science or not, do you honestly believe pumping billions of tons of carbon into our atmosphere is healthy and sustainable? You are just looking for an excuse to put short-term economics in front of the future of our environment, and yes, the very lives of our children.

Anna Barela

Death by taxation

Re “Do our children deserve to live?” by Fred Branfman (SN&R Feature, December 3):

What garbage is this? To think that the long-term climate cycles of the Earth are caused by man is simply ignorant. Global warming, global cooling, what will it be next?

If man-made greenhouse gases are the cause this time, then how do you explain the massive heating and cooling periods that occurred prior to man burning fossil fuels?

I am so sick and tired of hearing all this B.S. All that the green movement is doing is taxing people to death. Soon, we won’t need to worry about whether or not the warming Earth will kill us; we will be dead from starvation since we can no longer to afford to buy food.

Everyone I know is for clean air, water, etc. We don’t need more government regulations and taxes to get us there.

Hopefully very soon, the scam that is the “green movement” will be revealed for all to see and we can all get along with our normal lives. The money we save from not paying for all this “green” hocus-pocus can go to buying the things we actually need and thus maybe getting our country out of the depression we are currently in. Then, and only then, can we better the futures of our children.

Kelly DeVoogd
Elk Grove

Sister city a political choice

Re “Twisted sister” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Race to the Bottom, December 3):

Since when is the “Palestinian Authority” a piece of land? What are the boundaries of the state of Israel? The former is a leadership structure with hardly any power and no sovereign territory, and the latter refuses to declare its borders. Many Israelis consider all Palestinian areas to be “in Israel” and that Israel is far too generous in allowing a minority of Palestinians to live in their homes rather than sending them into exile.

Why does Sacramento need two sister cities in an area that is entirely ruled by Israel? However, if this is what Sacramento chooses, permit me to suggest the “Israeli” cities of Sakhnin, Qalansuwa, Majd el-Kurum, [or] Umm el-Fahm, where Palestinians with Israeli citizenship live in total segregation; or perhaps one of the Palestinian villages that Israel refuses to recognize and has begun demolishing.

Choosing a sister city that is targeted for ethnic cleansing makes a statement about human rights. So does choosing a [sister] city that is complicit in the act.

Paul Larudee
via e-mail