Letters for February 14, 2008

Joy rules

Re “Ruleboy lives” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Feature, February 7):

I was deeply touched by Melinda Welsh’s exceptional article about her brother, Dr. Martin Welsh, and his vigorous life within the constraints and inevitability of that thief in the night, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).

As a sad coincidence, on the day this article was published, the state Assembly and Senate here in Sacramento adjourned in memory of Tim Davis of San Jose, Sacramento and Berkeley. Tim was a former legislative staffer, dear friend and colleague who passed away recently after years of the slow deterioration caused by Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Like Dr. Welsh, Tim Davis continued to live a life of joy and activity while his disease continued its disabling process.

I loved Tim, as did many others here in Sacramento. In Tim’s memory, I would like to salute Dr. Welsh for his continuing strength and good spirits and to wish him, his family and friends all the best.

William J. Hughes

Cheese isn’t green enough

Re “Don’t have a cow” (SN&R Editorial, February 7):

Nice job shedding light on the connection between livestock production and climate change, until you recommended that folks chew on a cheese enchilada rather than a hamburger. Trouble is, burger beef and dairy products come from the exact same source: cattle. In fact, most worn-out dairy cows are eventually turned into—you guessed it—hamburgers.

Dairy products are no improvement over beef from either an ecological, ethical or nutritional standpoint. Factory dairy farms contribute to air and water pollution; in fact, California’s dairy-producing counties have some of the worst air quality in the nation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. And dairy cows are subjected to immense suffering—impregnated year after year, forcibly separated from their calves, made to produce unnaturally large quantities of milk for human consumption. Once their production trails off, they are turned into meat, in the same often horrific way as other farmed animals. (The most recent evidence of this is in an undercover Humane Society investigation that revealed appalling abuse of “downed” dairy cows at a Southern California slaughter facility; see more at www.hsus.org).

Whenever urging people to make a change in their lives, it’s important to give them tools that can help them. There are copious resources available for people who want to transition to a healthier, kinder and more environmentally responsible diet, such as the Vegetarian Resource Group (www.vrg.org), Vegan Outreach (www.veganoutreach.org), and Veg News magazine (www.vegnews.com). For the sake of the planet, other animals and ourselves, we would do well to, in the words of journalist Michael Pollan, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Karen Hirsch

Cut the cheese next time

Re “Don’t have a cow” (SN&R Editorial, February 7):

I hate to point out those cheese enchiladas you recommend as an alternative still depend on cows along with their gas. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a vegan but a big believer in moderation in all things. You make a good point for cutting down on meat consumption, but it would have been more persuasive without the cheese.

Diane Soule
via e-mail

Soul food

Re “… so let’s just make something up” (SN&R Letters, February 7):

Burt Wilson (Academy of Ancient Wisdom) hasn’t consulted the most ancient wisdom of all, the words of the God who created the first soul. The Hebrew word for soul, nephesh, means “breather,” whether animal or human.

University of North Carolina at Charlotte professor of religious studies James Tabor states: “The ancient Hebrews had no idea of an immortal soul living a full and vital life beyond death, nor of any resurrection or return from death. Human beings, like the beasts of the field, are made of ‘dust of the earth,’ and at death they return to that dust (Gen. 2:7; 3:19). The Hebrew word nephesh, traditionally translated ‘living soul’ but more properly understood as ‘living creature,’ is the same word used for all breathing creatures and refers to nothing immortal” (on his university Web site at www.religiousstudies.uncc.edu/jdtabor/future.html ).

The term “immortal soul” is not found anywhere in the Bible. Instead, God states: “The soul who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:20). Is there anyone who does not sin?

The Bible says the human soul can: be circumcised, be bought, be taxed, eat meat, be killed by a man with a sword, be strangled, faint, get out of prison, be fat, have blood, eat and drink, survive a flood, and die (Genesis 17:14; Leviticus 22:11; Numbers 31:28; Deuteronomy 12:20; Joshua 11:11; Job 7:15; Psalm 107:5; 142:7, Proverbs 11:25; Jeremiah 2:34; Ezekiel 18:20; Luke 12:19; 1 Peter 3:20; Revelation 16:3). All of these references to a human soul are descriptions of a physical body.

Genesis 2:7 tells us that after God created the first human and breathed the breath of life into him, “the man became a living soul [nephesh].” Adam was not given a soul; he was himself a living soul. Designed with the ability of procreation, Adam passed this ability to his sons when they were conceived. The union of the living sperm with the ovum creating a living soul at conception.

Diane Church

Put Andy in charge of stimulus

Re “Stimulus for dummies” by Andy Sims (SN&R Essay, February 7):

The essay by Andy Sims explains exactly what’s wrong with the United States.

Being a tax-paying citizen, I can think of numerous things to do with my refund, mainly material endeavors. When I view the refund from the big picture, I am still rather confused on how it’s going benefit the economy with more than minimal effects, if any.

Standing with Mr. Sims, I would much rather forego my refund knowing that the government is going to provide decent-paying jobs to improve the country’s infrastructure. As Andy pointed out, it’s a win-win situation: people get jobs, the infrastructure and public areas get improved, people can enjoy being outside (maybe helping with the obesity problem), people buy stuff and all of Bush’s friends still get to bask in great wealth, which was his objective of the refund to begin with anyways, right?

Justin Barrell

Sexy thanks

Re “The Sexramentoest!” (SN&R Feature, January 31):

We want to thank SN&R for the great honor you bestowed on us by declaring us two of Sacramento’s sexiest and, as the only twosome, the de facto sexiest couple in Sacramento. We expect to mention it as often as possible to as many as possible.

As one of our grandsons said, “Cool!”

Ellen Pontac & Shelly Bailes

Be creative, not predictably offensive

Re “Between the sheets” (SN&R Feature, January 31):

I’m really disappointed about the cover of this issue. I think it’s problematic—and just really lazy—to illustrate sex, sexiness or love only with imagery of women’s bodies, and to have the cover subject laying on a man but making eye contact with the viewer is a hetero-male-centric pornography trope that I take issue with you using so callously.

I don’t expect women to do all of the work for feminism, but the all-male design/illustration/editing team really missed an opportunity to do something less offensive and more creative.

Jaleen Francois
via e-mail

Pro-life doctrine

Re “Preg knot” by Kel Munger (SN&R Feature, January 24):

In the 35th year after Roe v. Wade, religious protesters are still intimidating, harassing and stalking abortion providers, women and opponents of their self-serving crusade.

Over the past three decades children of anti-abortionists have been brainwashed, indoctrinated and programmed into believing a doctrine of deception, secrecy and the elimination of a woman’s freedom of choice.

A clip about an abortion opponent at the Washington, D.C. rally caught my eye, as it provides a view of the future. A man was marching with his wife and four children, ranging from 1 to 10 years old. Anti-abortion proponents put their small children out in front of protests carrying grotesque and obscene signs bigger than they are.

President Bush and leading GOP presidential candidates all support this vocal minority and fringe movement. Male Republican politicians are gung-ho about a fetus but seem to care little about the mother carrying the baby.

Ron Lowe
Grass Valley

Life Center is there to help

Re “My so-called life” by Liz Cazares (SN&R Feature, January 24):

After reading this article, I feel compelled to write, as I work for the Sacramento Life Center. Our mission statement: To provide information, support and resources to enable women to choose life for their unborn children and to assist men and women suffering from the pain of a past abortion. We have no political affiliations and are entirely funded by voluntary contributions. All of our services are free and confidential. If a woman chooses to carry her pregnancy, we offer her information about all the referrals in the area; plus, we provide her a baby shower in a basket! Any of our clients are welcome to call us for advice or counseling during their pregnancy. If a woman chooses abortion (from another clinic), we are nonjudgmental and only ask if she is suffering that she make an appointment to speak with a specially trained counselor who will help her work through her feelings.

An end to abortion will not come from contraceptive campaigns. If contraception is so effective, why does the United States have one of the highest abortion rates in the developed world (Lawrence Finer, Guttmacher Institute)? An end to abortion will come from a deeper understanding of our human sexuality and a deeper respect for human life.

Liz Hayhoe, R.N.

Wanky wanker critic

Re “From pachyderm stampede to hamster scratch” (SN&R Sound Advice, January 10):

Your P.U.’s and Reviews never cease to amaze me. That “Kid” Andersen ain’t for squat. He does not play jazz. He’s a wanky blueser. And another thing: That mofo plays too freaking loud. So pick and grin with that.

One more thing: Norwegian, huh?

Charles Hollingshead

Someone’s a little confused …

Re Nothing SN&R published, ever:

As a member of the Center for Moral Clarity, I’m offended at the prospect that you would consider airing Dexter, the show your network is promoting to air Sunday nights beginning February 17.

I don’t oppose creative attempts to portray flawed individuals in a TV series, but the character of Dexter Morgan, an amoral serial killer, is totally inappropriate for prime time or any other time. Surely you can’t consider Dexter’s adventures to be even remotely a worthwhile use of your viewers’ time.

I won’t be watching Dexter, and I will be asking my friends and family members to avoid it as well. I would ask you to pre-empt any scheduled airings of it in this market with more appropriate programming. Thank you for considering my opinion.

Nancy Skaja
Elk Grove

The editor replies: We air our dirty laundry. We air your dirty laundry. We air our opinions and our twisted morals. We clear the air, and we stink up the place. But we do not air Dexter.