Letters for January 19, 2006

Not-so-funny girl

Re “Funny girl” by Kel Munger (SN&R Arts&culture, January 12):

In Kel Munger’s interview with Suzanne Westenhoefer, Westenhoefer states that Ann Coulter “should be beaten on a regular basis,” and she also made a nasty comment about fat old white guys.

No wonder so many straight people hate gay people!

What kind of person would make such a hateful comments about other human beings? Not all lesbians are mean, nasty dykes like Westenhoefer!

I’m a lesbian who has seen Westenhoefer’s lame routine, and I can tell you that she is no Ellen DeGeneres! Westenhoefer’s attacks are mean-spirited and not funny.

Do yourselves a favor and pass up Westenhoefer’s show at the Crest.

Sandra Biroli
via e-mail

Cowardly, inactive Dems

Re “Turning point,” (SN&R Editorial, January 5):

What’s the matter? Did the SN&R lawyers make you put the words “regime” and “administration” and “neocons” into your editorial, instead of just saying “Bush lied”?

Hey, you almost pulled it off (i.e., sounding altruistic): urging readers to “take our Democracy back in the midterm elections,” etc. But—face it—you’re only a “Bush-hater,” just like the clueless people on the other side who “hated” Clinton. However, there’s one big difference.

The right-wing wackos on the other side acted. They impeached your boy, and whether or not you agree with the results, they did, in fact, put their money (and political/editorial hides) where their mouths are. On the other hand, the bleeding-heart liberals hide behind these so-called editorials and use buzzwords like “fabricate” and “conjure.”

Come on, grow some huevos. If Bush lied, impeach him! Hell, isn’t what Bush has done (and is doing) far worse than being orally serviced in the Oval Office and then lying about it?

But will you (and other Democrats) put your money (and political hides) on the line? No, because you’re cowardly, politically disingenuous and much more interested in “Bush-hating.”

Richard Copp

Ethics, schmethics

Re “Everyone loves nurses” (SN&R Unfiltered, January 5):

In its survey of profession respectability, SN&R expresses some dismay at the polling results: “But bankers more ethical than journalists? Come on, folks!”

Perhaps SN&R should “come on” and realize the low level of respectability to which journalism has sunk.

Recently, many “journalists” have been caught fabricating stories, revealing dishonesty or low journalistic ethics: Jayson Blair, Judy Miller, Michael Isikoff, Bob Woodward and Eason Jordan, to name five prominent ones.

And who can forget the journalistic dishonesty about Hurricane Katrina, to name one example? Too many of the hysterical pronouncements of ill-informed officials were reported as gospel truth—and then forgotten—in 24-hour bursts. So “25,000 body bags!” and “10,000 dead” were quietly superseded by the matter-of-fact news reports that the airport would open shortly. Now we are also told that Mardi Gras will be back on schedule. How could such rapid improvement happen in a city of corpses that supposedly would take months to clean up?

Small wonder the respectability of most journalists is so low. A group of “professionals” who cannot even be professional in their own work have no credibility in claiming superiority to bankers. Bankers are far more regulated and watched-over than journalists have ever been.

Nick Byram

Losing life

Re “Losing Laura” by Amy Yannello (SN&R News, January 5):

My son has suffered grievous harm and is losing his life because of denial of appropriate treatment for his mental illness by the County of Sacramento and its contractors. The county system denies care to those who lack the capacity to understand they are suffering from a biologically based brain disorder and who are unable to understand they have a right to receive the appropriate medical treatment necessary for their brain to function properly.

Once hospitalized, it is county policy to provide medication and release the person. This cycle of being hospitalized and released in an unstable condition continues until the person has failed numerous times and the person’s condition has deteriorated horribly. The person who is held briefly and given medication has not benefited at all from being hospitalized. The county continually releases the homeless, gravely disabled mentally ill directly to the streets when staff knows full well the person does not have the capacity to find shelter and is too ill to follow the rules required by the shelters. This begins the cycle of homelessness and jails. Those concerned for homeless loved ones who are in dire need of treatment should read the law. As it stands, I can cite eight laws that the county is currently ignoring under the WIC [Welfare and Institutions Code]. They will tell you different.

Their policies and procedures are written under the guise of the “patient’s right to refuse treatment,” yet no one ever mentions their right to adequate and appropriate treatment. These policies are in direct violation of the legislation and civil rights to equal treatment, and constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

Annie Breault Darling

Losing civil liberties

Re “Losing Laura” by Amy Yannello (SN&R News, January 5):

“Laura’s Law,” like “Kendra’s Law,” its model in New York, is a cynical attempt to solve complex issues with broad-brush fear tactics while trampling on the civil liberties of every Californian.

Five years ago, the Legislature was bullied into passing the watered-down law that now exists by then Assemblywoman Helen Thompson and others, who used fear to exploit the Wilcox family and their tragedy. The large majority of the mental-health community, including mental-health patients themselves, soundly rejected the step backward this law represented. It is no accident that the bill passed without funding.

Furthermore, the program has not been the resounding success in New York that the article claims. This year, after five years of implementation in New York, legislators refused to make the law permanent. New York instead called for an intensive five-year study, citing evidence of racial profiling and other concerns that have occurred since the implementation of the law.

While the punitive nature of outpatient commitment has never been proven to be an effective treatment, several studies by Dr. Courtney Harding of Boston University and other researchers around the world exist, citing the effectiveness of the social rehabilitation and the recovery model, which emphasizes personal respect, dignity and the ability of all persons to grow and change. Proposition 63 (the Mental Health Services Act) was carefully written to fund only these proven programs, rather than the fringe ideas represented in the Thompson legislation.

As former director of the Sacramento Office of Mental Health Patient Rights for nine years, as a practitioner in the field for over 20 years, as a recipient of services, and most of all as a citizen who cherishes civil liberties, I am glad California counties continue to reject these dangerous and shortsighted ideas.

Dave Hosseini

Who’s watching the dress-up site?

Re “Be a Bush Stylist!” by Kel Munger (SN&R In the mix, January 5):

You made my day with this one! How on earth do you find this stuff?

Bush: May the fleas of a thousand camels infest his groin, and may his arms be too short to scratch!

I must ’fess up: I read that curse somewhere, and Bush immediately came to mind as worthy of such punishment. Americans have lost the knack for inventive insult. All the foul language floating around has really put a damper on our vocabularies and creativity. Just calling someone like Bush or Cheney an “evil bastard” isn’t really good enough, is it? They deserve some serious lambasting and humiliation!

That’s why this Bush dress-up site is so cool. We just have to hope that Big Brother isn’t tracking our visits and styling choices.


Don’t sue him for laughing!

Re “Origin of the specious” by Amy Yannello (SN&R News, December 29):

A truly hilarious and apt headline for this article about Larry Caldwell’s nonsensical efforts: “specious,” meaning “not genuine.” Why would one bring lawsuits about teachers “glossing over the weaknesses of evolution” any more than about similar glossing over of other theories, scientific or otherwise, in schools and colleges?

One is tempted to think it’s more about Caldwell than anything else; otherwise, why the libel suits? Or is there some commercial interest—perhaps Caldwell is supported by the Discovery Institute or has a copyright for his Quality Science Education for All (QSEA)? Or (too easy) is he a creationist in “disguise”?

All would be pretty amusing if it weren’t for the fact that Caldwell is cluttering up already-crowded court dockets that aren’t sufficient to try real issues or controversies. Why doesn’t he spend time actually trying to help improve education or simply give the judicial system a break?

I wish to remain anonymous, for fear that Caldwell will file yet another frivolous lawsuit against me over this ridiculous controversy.

Name withheld by request