Letters for January 13, 2011

Letter of the week

Pray for change

Re “We can change the future” by Jeff vonKaenel (SN&R Greenlight, December 30, 2010):

Jeff vonKaenel presents a portrait of optimism about the near-term future of humanity. By claiming, “It’s easy to pretend our problems are not solvable,” it is implied we can find a solution to whatever we are faced with, and “Yes, we can change it,” baldly states that the vital change can be accomplished on the basis of our own efforts (if only we find the will). In this there is congruence with a communist perspective (which is likewise optimistic), among others.

But in times like these, it is curious there is no reference to prayer, although it is perhaps not too surprising there is also no reference to Jesus Christ (for instance, in his capacity as The Word). One may also wonder whether “America’s problems are not problems of physics” is really true. Could we, perhaps, start worrying about the relationship between dollars and BTUs? As we move farther and farther past the Earth’s maximum point of oil production, it strikes me that prayer will become an ever more desirable option.

There really aren’t that many options, with die-off being one of the most prominent.

John Reed
West Sacramento

Educate for healthy choices

Re “Sacramento needs more sex ed” by Kel Munger (SN&R Frontlines, January 6):

I think it’s great that the California teen birth rate is reaching a record low, and I think that sex education has a lot to do with it. A lot of what teens get from sex ed is how to prevent pregnancy. But students often forget that you also need to prevent STDs. What teens need to be reminded is that just using a pill and no condom will prevent pregnancy, but not an STD. A kid is a constant reminder of what getting pregnant means, but with STDs, you can pretend you don’t have it.

When my friends and I talk about the first time we had sex ed in school, we remember how fidgety and uncomfortable it was. I remember more about how to prevent pregnancy, and not that much about how to prevent STDs. We need sex ed in every high school so teens can know where to get answers, advice and learn how to make healthy choices when it comes to sex.

Dylan Lemieux

Abortion brings the birth rates down

Re “Sacramento needs more sex ed” by Kel Munger (SN&R Frontlines, January 6):

How does the STD rate increase, while birth rates decline? Obviously through abortion, which is Planned Parenthood’s lucrative specialty!

MTV also recently featured No Easy Decision, about a young woman’s traumatic decision to end the life of her baby through abortion. The abortion clinic lied to her, describing her 6-week-old fetus as “just a ball of cells,” rather than allow her to make an informed decision based on actual facts of fetal development.

Planned Parenthood gives out free condoms because they know the failure rate among teens is so high, and birth-control pills/shots do nothing to prevent lifelong, life-threatening STDs. These “sex ed” outreach efforts into our schools are nothing more than a highly successful business promotional effort to recruit more customers for Planned Parenthood!

Wynette Sills

Something’s gonna get leveled

Re “iDon’t” by Jeremy Kehoe (SN&R Essay, January 6):

Great piece on Mr. [Steve] Jobs, but somehow you failed to address the additional piles of wealth heaped upon him with assistance from our new Republican-controlled House, with all its new Tea (Bag) Party members. This was done in the form of continued insane tax cuts for the über-wealthy, while the gardeners caring for his massive Hillsborough estate will be paying a much higher rate than is he.

The continued accumulation of grotesquely huge sums of money by an ever-smaller number of U.S. citizens is a game of Monopoly run with real dollars, with all the rest of us begging for scraps to survive and praying for a get-out-of-jail-free card, while the so-called “winners” continue isolating themselves from the rest of us. When this downtrodden mass eventually shakes itself out of its struggle-to-survive stupor, all the gates, fences and security forces the elite hide behind won’t protect them from the general society’s well-placed anger, and the playing field will once again be leveled—as it always should have been.

James D. Taylor
Elk Grove

Skivvies, gods and horses

Re “Gods and monsters” by Kel Munger (SN&R Stage, January 6):

I was happy to see Kel Munger’s review of one of the most important plays of my generation, Equus. It was put on by the so-called “Alternative Arts Collective” at the Royer Arts Center in Roseville. TAAC bills itself as an “experimental theatre” on its Facebook page.

As I walked into the theater, I was happy to see many in the audience were young people. They were going to see one of the great plays of my generation, which expressed the angst of the time. But what I saw was a play had been seriously compromised by the heavy hand of censorship.

When I complained the next day by e-mail, I received an answer by the director, David Garrison, in which he astonishingly blamed the cast for the censorship, although he did not think of it as censorship. He did admit however that “there is an edge that is missing.” Whether or not one calls it censorship is beside the point. I did not see this type of “censorship” in the American River College or the Sacramento City College productions of Equus, not to mention the movie with Richard Burton or the Broadway production I saw in 1977 in New York City with Leonard Nimoy.

I think the point is that in [her] review, Munger should have told us that the play had been “altered” if [she] was aware of it. Also, TAAC should either grow up or inform us that the play had been “altered,” and the reason for it, so that those young people in the audience could ask the appropriate questions necessary to become better informed citizens and patrons of the arts.

Joseph S. Bruno

Kel Munger replies: My last exposure to Equus was more than 30 years ago, but I did notice the decision to go with partial nudity. I ascribed this to an artistic decision and was not perturbed by it, as most audiences are sophisticated enough to understand what is not overtly stated, given the obvious psychosexual nature of the boy’s fascination with horses. Besides, it is really too cold in that venue for full nudity.

It’s not dead yet!

Re “Another one bites the dosa” by Shoka (SN&R The V Word, January 6):

Shoka’s shortsighted criticism of Udupi Café for failing to cleave to the vegan/vegetarian ideology is disturbingly misguided. It’s tough enough to keep any restaurant going in this area, let alone one that caters solely to such an extremely narrow slice of the population.

Udupi has survived not because they are veg, but in spite of it, by providing fresh and healthful and tasty food in a seemingly endless variety which appeals to everyone (I’m a carnivore, and I eat there weekly). If adding non-veg helps them stay in business, more power to them.

The expanded menu may offend Shoka’s sense of purity, but no one is forcing you to eat things you don’t like. And to claim “RIP” to an outstanding restaurant that continues to offer some of the best vegan and vegetarian food in the area is just plain dumb.

John Burne

Prison and unemployment

Re “Jerry Brown’s karma” by Tom Hayden (SN&R Feature, December 30, 2010):

If there are more prisoners in California prisons than university (college) students, I am wondering, given that prisoners go into prison and then are released back out, how may ex-prisoners live among us?

Consider the unemployment rate in the state. How much of that percentage is made up of ex-prisoners? It is very difficult for ex-prisoners to get work. They are supposed to come out and live an upright life, but, if they can’t find work, they will be forced back into criminal activities to survive, and ultimately end up back in prison.

I am curious about the relationship of prisoners to unemployment statistics. Does anyone know if this information is available?

J. Pearson
Santa Cruz

Fluoridated water is not ‘green’

Re “Toxic Sactown” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Bites, December 30, 2010):

Sure, ammonia and styrene are popular, but do we add it to our drinking water? The California Code of Regulations, Title 22, lists 791 chemicals as “hazardous waste,” and 39 of these are fluoride compounds. Two are used for drinking-water fluoridation here in Sacramento, hydrofluosilicic acid and sodium fluoride. When can we discuss this?

Are we supposed to just trust what dentists tell us about teeth, while ignoring the effects on the rest of our body? These fluoridation chemicals contain various levels of toxins and heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and chromium, all proven to be carcinogens. Plus, these chemicals are routinely imported from overseas.

How green is that, Sacramento?

Brian Lambert

Restaurant is not religious

Re “Know thy master” by Alia Cruz (SN&R Frontlines, December 30, 2010):

I hope that this article does not deter people from visiting the Loving Hut restaurant in south Sacramento (formerly Au Lac Veggie). As a customer at this restaurant, I have never seen the women mentioned in this article or been approached by anyone [who was] distributing materials.

The actual owners of the restaurant are always there cooking and serving the food. They are very courteous, and the food is delicious. It is not a Ching Hai-follower meeting place or recruitment center, as the article portrays.

Christine Abad

The fur is faux

Re “Know thy master” by Alia Cruz (SN&R Frontlines, December 30, 2010):

The fur that Supreme Master [Ching Hai] wears is “veggie” fur, by the way. No animal has to die for it. The way you use words is very misleading. Get your facts straight and write honestly with pure intentions, not misleading ones.

Trina Nguyen

Here’s to handmade gifts!

Re “Pa rum pum pum pum” by Jaime O’Neill (SN&R Essay, December 23, 2010):

What a wonderfully heartwarming article. I found myself returning to those days, remembering the wonderful Christmases.

A year before my father died, we were having a conversation about favorite Christmas presents. I told him my favorite was a small lap-sized chalkboard, eraser and chalk. You see, I always wanted to be a teacher and therefore, anything that allowed me to pretend teach was a joy to me. It wasn’t until that moment that I learned he had made the chalkboard with the beautiful alphabet printed around the edges.

What a beautiful gift it was to learn he had handmade my favorite gift!

Sharon Bloomingcamp