Letters for February 15, 2007

Know your metal

Re “Harder, faster!” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, February 8):

As a fellow music critic and metal fan, I’m compelled to respond to R.V. Scheide’s piece on the heavy-metal underground. While he did an excellent job covering the history of metal, as well as Sacramento’s current scene, he missed the mark in two areas.

First, Scheide referred to “Norwegian death-metal bands that burned down churches in Norway during the 1990s.” This gives death metal a bad name. In fact, it was black-metal bands that did this. There’s a big difference. Black-metal typically features high-pitched shrieks, trebly tremolo guitars, lo-fi recording and blast beats (Mayhem, Emperor, Burzum, Darkthrone). Death-metal has “cookie-monster” growls, heavy down-tuned guitars and double-bass drumming (Morbid Angel, Death, Cannibal Corpse, Obituary).

Second, he wrote, “There’s nothing all that cerebral about metal.” In fact, there’s a whole new scene of progressive metal—Neurosis, Isis, Pelican, Jesu—that, while heavy, take left field turns into cerebral, ethereal space. Also on the rise are “avant-metal” bands like Sunn 0))), Boris and Blut Aus Nord.

Otherwise, excellent article. Hopefully it will help dispel the negative stigma attached to metal and turn some people onto it.

Landon Christensen

High-speed rail to L.A …

Re “2 hours to L.A.—why not?” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Feature Story, February 1):

Supporting the high-speed-rail project is a strange position for a left-wing publication such as SN&R to take. As a state, we are unable to properly educate and medicate our children, yet we should spend $40 billion dollars to build a high-speed-rail system?

Admittedly, there are benefits, both environmental and economic, to this proposal. However, the most useful scenario the author can envision is a state worker in Sacramento getting drunk while on the train to Los Angeles to watch a Lakers game. Good luck selling that to the public.

Not to mention the larger bond hole this would create, again at the expense of young people. This all seems akin to Bush’s proposal to dispatch people to Mars; interesting, but utterly impossible at the present time.

Neil Amos

… when we can’t get a bus to the airport?

Re “2 hours to L.A.—why not?” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R Feature Story, February 1):

The question of why we can’t get high-speed rail is precisely because all too many of our politicians, left and right, are on the take from a myriad of industries that benefit from sprawl. Mass transit has been openly subverted and opposed by California politicians for the past 70 years and nothing will change anytime soon.

Here in more or less liberal Sacramento County we don’t even have RT buses going out to our airport and it’ll be 20 years or more before we can hop light rail to our airport. My favorite quote from RT’s Web site is: “Regional Transit does not service the Sacramento International Airport.”

Why not? Why is it too damn much to ask that RT does the job for Sacramento County that Yolobus easily does for Yolo County? It’s no wonder we can’t get high-speed rail when we can’t even get a bus out to the airport.

Peter Finn

No BS at this campfire

Re “Scouts in court” (SN&R Guest Comment, February 1):

I read Ted Cox’s Guest Comment about the Boy Scouts of America in the middle of yet another controversy regarding their non-inclusive policies and right to use public resources. I’m an old Eagle Scout who benefited tremendously from my scouting experience in terms of gaining leadership skills, self-confidence, outdoor awareness, emergency preparedness and sense of public service. Naturally, as my kids got out of diapers I wanted to steer them into something similar, but I didn’t want to compromise life lessons of tolerance by dropping my son into an organization that I’d have to apologize for time and again.

Thankfully, I found an alternative for boys in Camp Fire USA. I researched options over several years and Camp Fire came through the test in terms of providing all the key ingredients: all the wilderness “goods” of Boy Scouts, institutional support, core values of tolerance and no proto-militaristic baggage. Why more folks haven’t clued into this and keep agonizing (or glossing) over the conflict of putting their kids into a program they don’t fully support is still a mystery to me.

Yes, Camp Fire USA traditionally has been identified as a girls program, but it’s actually been co-ed (with options for mixed, boys-only or girls-only clubs) since the ’70s. After two years, I’m as enthusiastic about the CFUSA program as when I first heard of it and started my son’s club in Davis. Thankfully, it’s not all or nothing with Boy Scouts. My son will have all the benefits of scouting without the BS in BSA.

Camp Fire USA in the Sacramento region has a Web site: www.campfireusa-sac.org.

Paul Robins

Send SN&R to the senator

Re “The party’s over” (SN&R Bites, January 25):

I sure hope others who read Bites’ item will consider contacting Senator Dianne Feinstein and letting her know of their disappointment in her personal financial gain from a needless war that has killed thousands of Americans.

To make it easy on your readers, I suggest the following simple process. Grab the January 25 SN&R off the top of the recycle bin, then carefully remove the entire second page and fold it so that only the Bites column is showing. Pick up the nearest red pen and circle the paragraph that mentions the senator’s husband and the fortune they have made off of the Iraq invasion. Write, “Shame on you Dianne! You have lost my vote forever unless you fix this right now!” in the same red pen you used to circle the paragraph about her hubby. Fold and carefully place the page in an envelope and send it off to the senator’s San Francisco office: Senator Dianne Feinstein, United States Senate; One Post Street, Suite 2450; San Francisco, CA 94104.

Or fax it to her at (415) 393-0710. If you decide to fax it instead, just be sure to use a thick black pen instead of a red one. It’ll show up better in black and white.

Pamela Davis

Dangerous wombs

Re “Guard reproductive rights” (SN&R Guest Comment, January 18):

It was with great sadness I read Shauna Heckert’s guest comment.

Abortion kills children. That is the truth pro-choice advocates never discuss because all their other arguments pale by comparison.

She says, “Let’s work together to keep our rights.” What about the rights of the most innocent and loving of all society? There are two lives involved in every abortion. How arrogant and selfish to believe one has the right to kill another.

Heckert states, “We are not willing to go back to the old days.” Heaven forbid we go back to when killing another human being was murder—19th century feminist Susan B. Anthony was right when she called abortion “child murder.”

Every year in America we kill more of our children—1,250,000, on average—than were killed in all of America’s wars combined. And since the disgraceful Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, America has killed over 45,000,000 of its children. That is the truth! The real war America is fighting is not in Iraq but in our own country—the war against our children.

How outrageous that the most dangerous place in America for a child is in her mother’s womb!

Terry McDermott

Credit where credit is due

Re “Chuck Quakenfuzz?” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Upfront, January 11):

It was too kind of you to characterize former Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush’s resignation in 2000 as having been “in no small part” due to my work for the paper.

I remain grateful that SN&R encouraged me to cover Quackenbush early in his checkered tenure. But credit for his resignation belongs squarely with Virginia Ellis of the Los Angeles Times. Her extraordinary, dogged public-service detective work on that case represents the best of the profession, and should never be diminished.

Nick Budnick
Portland, Ore.

Attached to Joey

Re “Attachment isn’t intimacy” by Joey Garcia (SN&R Ask Joey, January 18):

I thought this was excellent—the one in which Joey answered a question on the topic of attachment and missing someone after a breakup. Her response—that missing someone was a natural process and did not necessarily indicate that the person writing in should return to the relationship—was excellent.

Marilyn Peterson

Kafkaesque count

Re “Count on it” by Kel Munger (SN&R News, February 8):

One-hundred and fifty bureaucrats annually counting hiding, sleeping homeless people in the dark, in two hours, in Sacramento County. Kafkaesque. I hope they’re fast walkers. How about kayaks with searchlights?

I’m sure they calculated the exact number (give or take 5,000).

I’ve got an idea. Instead of counting the homeless (which only seems to benefit those doing the counting), try housing some of them.

Steve Garneau