Letters for February 2, 2006

Choose birth control, not abortion

Re “Reproductive rights are human rights” (SN&R Guest Comment, January 26):

While lamenting the plight of women who get pregnant but cannot afford or want a child, nowhere in Shauna Heckert’s Guest Comment is there any reference to another choice these women could make.

Where is contraception in this equation? Many forms of contraception are readily available and free for the asking.

Those who advocate abortion as a “choice” rarely seem to mention that the whole situation can often be prevented by forethought. Abortion should be a last resort and not used as a form of birth control by those unwilling to make an effort to prevent conception in the first place.

Robert Ingersoll
Fair Oaks

The future is there

Re “Sacramento on empty” by Cosmo Garvin and Kel Munger (SN&R Feature Story, January 26):

From my perspective as a former Sacramento resident now living in Cambodia, a post-cheap-oil society, I can tell you exactly what your future holds. I need only look around me.

Traffic is on foot or bicycle. Heavier loads are carried with ox carts, horse carts and people carts. Small motorcycles (of the 110cc variety) are everyman’s transportation choice. Entire families will go to town on one: five to six on one moto. Taxis or luxury cars only. Poor roads (remember, asphalt is also made from oil, and once an asphalt road goes, it becomes impassable).

Life is very, very regional. Thirty kilometers becomes a journey. Society is composed of isolated families, each connected loosely through neighbors to the local village and into a larger network of villages and towns beyond that.

Knowledge of the world is reduced to the local level. Goods and services move at the speed of ox carts through the consumer pipeline. The village smithy hand-forges tools and implements.

Want to see the future? Come to Cambodia.

Roger Graham
Kampot, Cambodia

Flexing our ‘Murrow muscles’

Re “This I Believe” (SN&R Feature story, January 19):

Bravo! This selection of thoughtful commentary from local people was a breath of literary fresh air. I’ve been enjoying Capital Public Radio’s series and look forward to more.

While you’re at it, SN&R, keep working on your “Murrow muscles.” We need that kind of strength in journalism.

Jan Klein

No independent thought for Christians

Re “A liberal Christianity” by Brent Bourgeois (“This I Believe,” SN&R Feature story, January 19):

If you recall, Bourgeois was the minister who angrily attacked SN&R a while back about a Harmon Leon article exposing Christian rock musicians using the tactics of rip-off artists. So, here is Mr. Bourgeois pointing out that he rejects even values that Christians have upheld for the past 2,000 years.

In “A liberal Christianity,” Bourgeois claims Christians must become “independent voters and thinkers” so that they may judge issues on the teachings of Christ. Nowhere did Christ in the Gospels tell Christians to think independently for themselves so as to make decisions based on what God would want them to do. Satan tested Christ’s own human desires to think and act independently, since he didn’t want him to fulfill what the Heavenly Father sent the Messiah for.

While professed Christians as Bourgeois speak out against the death penalty for convicted murderers (i.e., “Tookie” Williams), they make no stand for those in other nations, such as China, who are being put to death just for professing to be Christians. Why don’t Christians in his church stand up in support of their brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering under anti-Christian governments?

Michelle Kunert

No incentive to solve homelessness

Re “He’s leaving home” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R News, January 19):

As a former member of the Sacramento County and Cities Board on Homelessness, I believe that Tim Brown has successfully reduced the hostile gap that existed for years between the public and Loaves & Fishes’ operation. His presence on the board was a welcome change from Loaves & Fishes’ prior isolation.

However, because Loaves & Fishes’ main focus is to provide meals but not accept “directly” government funds, it remains aloof from being a full partner with the county and other agencies solving homeless problems. Furnishing a homeless individual a noontime meal does not result in more homeless off the street, nor does it move them into housing. Although homeless obviously need food, the mentally ill and drug/alcohol-addicted also need services that will end their exposure to violent attacks, miserable living conditions and self-destructive behavior and assist them in their re-entry into society as productive individuals. Without government funding, Loaves & Fishes’ staff does not have the dollars to provide these much-needed services.

But it is disingenuous, when soliciting donations, for Loaves & Fishes to say that the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph were homeless, too. Those who read their Bible at all know that the couple, along with a crowd of other citizens in the region of Judea, traveled to Bethlehem to pay their taxes and arrived so late that there was no more room at the inn; hence, the stable became a last resort. Upon payment of their taxes, they returned to Nazareth.

Finally, it remains a hard financial fact that any social-service agency—government or nonprofit that is dependent on the public’s donations or government allocations—does not receive more funds for successful performance. Success means reducing the need for the very services that the agency was created to provide! Therefore, the more successful the agency is, the less need for funding, because their caseload drops from a lack of clients. If too successful, staff members work themselves out of a job. Where, then, is the financial incentive to succeed?

Could this be Loaves & Fishes’ reason for not seeking government funding?

Dale Kooyman

Is it election time again?

Re “Cowardly, inactive Dems” (SN&R Letters, January 19):

Richard Copp tells us that if Bush lied, we should impeach him.

Thanks for the advice, Richard, but it’s not that simple. We can’t impeach Bush until his party loses control of Congress. That’s why the 2006 elections are so important. Do we still have a free country, or have we lost it forever to the arrogant fascists who care more about the corporate elite than they do about us?

The corruption, arrogance and assault on American patriotism’s most essential feature—the Constitution—are far worse now than they were during Watergate and Teapot Dome (two other Republican scandals). They could end up destroying our country, which is why we need to give ourselves the gift of a Democratic majority in Congress this year. Then we can start the process of cleaning up all the Republican financial and political scandals from the last five years.

One thing we could do, for example, is elect Iraqi war veteran Lt. Charles Brown to Congress. He’s much more honest and moral than current Representative John Doolittle, who, with his wife, Julie, is currently ensnared in the Jack Abramoff financial scandal.

The Republicans will try, as usual, to argue that Democrats don’t have any new ideas, but do you remember what it was like the last time a Democrat was president? The deficit (and therefore inflation) was eliminated, and the rich had to pay their fair share. As a result, everyone was moving up the economic ladder, not just the wealthy.

That’s much better than we have now—record deficits, a crippling debt to Communist China (remember when the Republicans used to be anti-Communists?) and a poverty rate that is going up as much as the rate of new millionaires.

Pay attention, everyone, and don’t give your vote to candidates who only care about self-aggrandizement without accountability. We need to rebuild America. It can start happening as soon as next year, if we want it.

Allen Turner

More history lessons

Re “Cowardly, inactive Dems” (SN&R Letters, January 19):

I guess Mr. Copp needs to do a little more research. It takes a little more than just money or huevos to impeach a president; it takes both houses of the Legislature. Perhaps he’s heard of them.

A little history lesson: In 1994, the Republicans regained both houses of the Legislature. In 1999, the House of Representatives, under Article I of Impeachment (perjury), impeached President Bill Clinton, but without the Senate’s confirmation of impeachment, no action was taken.

It’s a little difficult to impeach Bush at the moment, when both houses are Republican-controlled. Let’s just hope the Democrats could at least regain one of the houses of Congress and reacquire subpoena power. Then maybe some heads will start rolling.

George Avila

Now we need dancers …

Re “Viagra and the culture of manhood” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, January 12):

A song for R.V. Scheide, or for the editor, whoever can carry a tune: “Viagra” (to the tune of “Maria” from West Side Story)

I just took a pill called Viagra
And suddenly I’ve found
Old girlfriends hang around me
Say it loud and with fierce conviction!
Say it soft, go refill your prescription
Viagra …

Russ Dunn