Letters for January 18, 2007

Majority shouldn’t rule if they’re wrong

Re “A soulless war” by Nancy Brands Ward (SN&R Editor’s Note, January 11) and “Tug of war” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, January 11):

I respect your opinion and that of the anti-recruiter Vietnam vet. Freedom of speech and conflicting views are what it is all about in a truly free society.

I, too, am a Vietnam vet (Marines 1970). I am a conservative and I support the action in Iraq and our mission there. I support fighting the war to win it, not to appease anyone/everyone; that is how we won the battles, but lost the war in Vietnam.

I do not care that I am in the minority with my views on the war in Iraq. It is my view that a consensus of opinion does not make anything right, legally or morally. It is just a consensus of opinion (the goal of politicians); a majority of people can be wrong just as a minority of people can be right. We are free to dissent from the popular opinion in this country, but all (both liberals and conservatives) must be free to do it without fear of censorship or retribution.

The Democrats won the last election and this country must go forward. I support the election results; I just do not support the Democratic Party.

Dennis Johnson

Not a lot of options

Re “Tug of war” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, January 11):

Although I don’t think [Eric] Salmonon should go into the military. At 26, I can see why he’s doing it or considering it. There’s nowhere to work, and without a degree, he can say hello to the Taco Tree for what could be the rest of his life. Or he could maybe get into some commission-based rep job and watch companies get rich while he does most of the work for peanuts—if he can even get an interview for that. Or maybe he would like to be 40 and not be able to afford an apartment. Maybe he could be president—apparently you don’t have to be smart.

I would never join myself, but I can see the attraction to Mr. Salmonon. If he’s lucky, like one in a million, maybe he will make the cover of Esquire (see current issue’s photo of an Iraq vet with no limbs).

On the downside, he will most likely get killed. Unfortunately, some people have to experience things for themselves, no matter what anyone says to them. That’s really too bad.

On the upside, I guess Taco Tree will soon have a job opening for someone that doesn’t have a degree but is smart enough not to join the military.

Noah Kameyer
via e-mail

Thrive, Cancer Princess!

Re “Cancer broke me” by Kelli Guerriero (SN&R Essay, January 11):

I had, compared to Kelli Guerriero, a very easy journey; just a touch of breast cancer, diagnosed last April, and I’m already pretty much through with the process, just trying to fine-tune a reconstruction I’m not quite happy with.

It is true that the experience forever changes the survivor and all who are close to him or her, but it is also true (at least for me) that the King does not come calling for you without a gift in his hands. I wept and thanked God for my breath in the middle of chemo. I see the entire world with new eyes. After losing a breast and abundant long hair and gaining some weight with treatment, I have a new and much more forgiving definition of what femininity means to me.

I thank God every day for the wonderful physicians, nurses, scientists and staff at the UC Davis Cancer Center who saved our lives.

And thank you, Kelli, for your very moving essay. Survive and thrive, Cancer Princess!

Jennifer Reilley

HIV test, not AIDS test

Re “Just say ‘failure’ ” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Feature Story, January 4):

Absolutely love the title, loved the article but I thought SN&R was progressive enough to know one simple thing: There is no such thing as an AIDS test!

I am sure you must be aware that HIV is a virus that can cause AIDS and that people are tested for HIV antibodies. Maybe you are not aware that AIDS is a combination of things that a person manifests that lead a doctor to the diagnosis of the disease and that AIDS can be caused by things other than HIV. If not, I recommend you get more education on this subject.

Mardi Wally, executive assistant
Education for Healthy Choices

Super-sized laughs

Re “Don’t super-size me” by Joel Davis (SN&R Essay, January 4):

Thank you for publishing this hilarious essay! I read it while relaxing at a café, and people must have wondered. I laughed so much my face hurt (that’s a good thing).

Kelly Parrish

New fuss, old pike

Re “Save the pike!” (SN&R Letters, December 28, 2006):

I missed the article by Alistair Bland on the great pike-poisoning controversy (“Pick your poison,” SN&R News, December 14, 2006), but I think the letter by Searcy Cunningham deserves a few of my personal comments.

During the summer of 1958, as a relief signal maintainer for the Feather River rail of the Western Pacific Railroad, I was assisting the signal maintainer at Pulga, Mr. Albert Hughes. On this particular day, we set off our track motor car on a setoff over the PG&E Cresta Dam on the Feather River, some 40 miles above Oroville, to eat our lunches.

After lunch, Mr. Hughes called me over across the track to the dam side and pointed into the water.

“Look at this!” he said, pointing down into the water. “You have heard the great fuss about the Northern pike—there they are!”

Below, a school of large fish the size of northwest salmon (but with very ugly heads) were stationary, with only an occasional flip of the tail to keep them headed upstream.

Hughes was an ardent fisherman all his life, so I am sure of his identification. What else could they have been? Salmon, above two power dams in mid-summer?

One of the excuses for poisoning Lake Davis was to keep these ravening monsters from escaping down river and eating up the lowland fish all the way to the Delta. But apparently pike were in the lower canyon 30 years before this panic. Any flood large enough to break over the spillways would have unleashed this horde on us defenseless lowlanders.

For that matter, what has prevented the Minnesota pike from swimming down to Louisiana and eating all the alligators?

So much for the argument of the fish-poison salesmen.

My theory is that the pike, a cold water fish, simply does not survive in warmer waters. Fishing in Lake Davis, stocked as it is with released fish, would be to an ardent trout fisherman like Hughes the equivalent of fishing in a bathtub—a very poor substitute for a mountain stream!

Harry F. Simon

Laugh, or it’s free!

Re “On the spot” by Ted Cox (SN&R Scene&Heard, December 28, 2006):

I thought your assessment of the improv at the Capitol Garage show was honest and extremely accurate. I felt the same way. In the five and a half years I have been producing comedy shows in Sacramento, that was by far the worst show that has hit the stage under the Sacramento Comedy Spot name.

The improv at the Capitol Garage shows started on November 8, 2006. We are very excited to be performing downtown and rolling out a brand new product. This is the first time we produced a show that is exclusively improv. Our improv and sketch shows have been very successful—the Free Hooch Comedy Troupe will be performing at the SF Sketchfest on January 24, 2007, and performed at the LA Fest of Sketch Comedy in October. Our training team, 5 Second Rule, had one of the best seasons in Sacramento Comedy Spot history this past fall.

Our sketch/improv shows weren’t always as good as they are now. The Sacramento Comedy Spot is dedicated to giving amateur talent a place to perform and improve their skills. I tell our cast members they need to take big risks on stage because they learn just as much from their failures as they do from their successes—sometimes even more.

Right now, part of the fun of improv at the Capitol Garage is showing up weekly to see our progress. Every once in a while we will stumble and you will see a train wreck. After all, it is performing without a net! In fact, if you come to the show and tell the person at the door, “I heard this show is a train wreck,” we will let you in for free! See you there.

Brian F. Crall, managing director
Sacramento Comedy Spot

Dialogue organically

Re “Should you buy organic?” by Kate Washington (SN&R Feature Story, December 21, 2006):

I believe it to be no less than the moral obligation of the privileged to support sustainable industries such as local organic food and fair trade. Should a person be applauded for purchasing food-mile, weary organics instead of more local, conventional produce?

Quite possibly, but to what degree is this a Pyrrhic victory? Should the underprivileged be chastised for shopping at Wal-Mart? Hardly. But it is vital that they’re aware of any feasible, affordable alternatives that support a sustainable-living Earth. Deciding who’s privileged or underprivileged is a separate, complex issue. Naturally, this whole discussion will be turned on its ear the day the federal government finds a way to weave sewage sludge and Monsanto into the organic standards.

Thank you, Kate Washington, for probing this issue with the attention it deserves. Thank you, SN&R, for continuing to demonstrate how being an alternative weekly means promoting dialogue regarding the “bigger issues” and not simply lecturing.

Kabir McKitrick