Letters for June 15, 2006

Hire more high-schoolers

Re “Say ‘no’ to a quick fix” (SN&R Guest Comment, June 8):

How telling is it that one of the most intelligent and insightful columns SN&R has ever run was written by Dylan Byrd, a 10th-grader?

Chad Vander Veen
via e-mail

Cheaper to keep him in the clink

Re “Dey’s end” by Eugene Alexander Dey (SN&R Essay, June 8):

Another would-be writer in the slammer; an advocate for change for all the unjustly long-term incarcerated guys who were only caught and convicted three times, but who knows how many times caught and charged but not convicted, used to nail bigger game, etc.

Stay where you are, Eugene. It’s probably cheaper for society to support you in there than to clean up your messes on the outside. You had your chances. As for your writing, it ain’t happenin’.

Wiley Kent
via e-mail

Not-so-alternative reviews

Re “Dutch laster” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R Arts&Culture, June 8):

As I read Jonathan Kiefer’s review of the upcoming Escher exhibit at the Crocker, I was reminded once again why I don’t normally read Jonathan Kiefer’s reviews.

For a newspaper that claims to be alternative media, it spends an inordinate amount of time kowtowing to the art establishment. Because some asshole at the New Yorker thinks something is good or bad, you mindlessly repeat the party line, always defending your position with appeals to the “critical consensus.”

A critical consensus of people in the Bush administration thought there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We know how that turned out. This is why I am always wary of arguments based upon mindless appeals to authority like Kiefer’s.

If Escher’s work is without style, I am curious about his opinion of Jackson Pollock throwing paint on canvas? Where is the style in that? Jackson Pollock good, Escher bad, why?

I expected more from SN&R. I am learning to lower my expectations.

Ed Stevens

Laughing at the honor system

Re “The SN&R Interview: Al Gore’s inconvenient truth” by Ralph Brave (SN&R Feature Story, June 1):

Al Gore is poking holes through the Bush administration veil of ignorance with his movie, An Inconvenient Truth.

The principal waste product of combustion is carbon dioxide, and, given enough time, the biosphere could absorb all the carbon dioxide naturally produced. The problem is that we humans are producing it far faster than the oceans and plants can absorb it. Although the concentration of carbon dioxide is small, it has a significant effect on climate. Carbon dioxide allows heat from the sun in but does not allow the Earth’s heat to radiate out so easily.

President Bush’s answer to the problem: Put corporations and industry on the honor system to clean up their own pollution. Why is everybody laughing?

Ron Lowe
Grass Valley

Where ‘else’ is it warming?

Re “The SN&R interview: Al Gore’s inconvenient truth” by Ralph Brave (SN&R Feature Story, June 1):

I’m still on the fence regarding “global warming.” As far as I know, it just might be another dead-end scientific fad like “eugenics.”

And then there are the telling little comments, like this in Robert Berry’s review of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth in the same issue [“Gore-y details”]: “Scientists speculate that if an already deteriorating arctic ice shelf falls into the ocean (as has already happened elsewhere), the world’s sea level could rise by 20 feet.”

Where is the “elsewhere”?

Fred Muollo,

Bad choice on Daniels …

Re “SN&R endorses” (SN&R Editorial, June 1) and “Battling the Blanas machine” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R News, May 25):

It would appear you are sympathetic to the fact that Bret Daniels was terminated from the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department for lying. If any other deputy sheriff lied for any reason, would you feel the same? Daniels disgraced the department, the profession and himself.

As usual, your paper, with its left-wing, anti-law-enforcement tone, continues to serve as the voice of the radical left in Sacramento. That is actually a good thing. Citizens of this great community need to know the intolerant and hateful ideas that come from your paper.

Jim Ortega

… and worse on SMUD

Re “SN&R endorses” (SN&R Editorial, June 1):

SN&R’s endorsement message on Measure H opined that SMUD is “one of the best-run public utilities in the country.”

What has the SN&R staff been smoking?

This is the utility that gave us Rancho Seco—which the voters had to close down.

In 60 years of operations, SMUD has never, ever, brought in a major project on time and within budget! The Cosumnes Power Plant is the latest example. When it opened earlier this year, it was months behind schedule, millions over budget and mired in expensive litigation with a contractor. Now that it’s operating, SMUD has to spend an additional $3 million because of noise violations. That’s a problem that should have been dealt with in the original design.

SMUD has a bloated bureaucracy, mindless management and a governing board dominated by buffoons.

Stephen Green
Fair Oaks

‘Cherry-picking’ Bible verses

Re “Practice what you preach” (SN&R Letters, June 1):

Jamieson’s biblical assessment seems a bit of a spin. A reasonable reading of the book suggests that Jesus did not accept as “given” the moral teachings of the Old Testament (Jamieson’s argument), but advocated instead a far more radical view of human relationships that included all kinds of folks who were outside the mainstream; i.e., it was a message of compassion and inclusiveness, not Jamieson’s exclusivity.

Leviticus, Jamieson’s authority, condemns homosexuality but also condones such practices as slavery, ownership of females, animal sacrifice and other customs long since rejected by civilized societies. Besides, if you’re into cherry-picking biblical references, try the passage in John where Jesus meets the woman at the well. Different conclusion?

Jamieson certainly has a right to his opinion, and we should all fight for that right. But it’s just and only that: his opinion—as illogical, misguided, narrow, ill-informed and un-empathetic—dare we say un-Christian?—as it might be.

The real question for the rest of us: To what degree do we tolerate the kind of intolerance that folks like Jamieson preach?

Chuck McIntyre

Eat shrimp, go to hell

Re “Practice what you preach” by Harley C. Jamieson (SN&R Letters, June 1):

Mr. Jamieson charges that SN&R’s editorial accusing Senate Bill 1437 opponents of gay bashing reveals a “superficial, caricatured understanding of Christianity.” He cites Leviticus 20:13 for support, as well as Christ’s proclamation (Matthew 5:17) that he comes to fulfill the (presumably, Old Testament) law, not destroy it.

One wonders, though, why Mr. Jamieson holds so firmly to this particular admonishment—a favorite among fundamentalist Christians—rather than pointing out our failure to adhere to so many other prohibitions.

For example, Leviticus 21 states that no one with a blemish may approach the altar of God, detailing those that are unfit: hunchbacks, dwarfs, the blind, the lame and others including those with a “blemish of the eye,” which excludes, I suppose, anyone with pinkeye or in need of spectacles.

Well-known—or perhaps not—are the sanctions against eating pig, rabbit, camel (Leviticus 11:5-8) and anything in the waters without fins or scales (Leviticus 11:9-12), which is tough luck for Christian shellfish lovers. Cheer up, though: Locusts and crickets are definitely OK, though you’ll want to steer clear of those winged insects that go about on all fours (Leviticus 11:20-23).

There is much more along the same vein. Exodus 21 is particularly instructive, detailing the proper practice of slavery, including how to go about selling one’s own daughter (Exodus 21:7). Considering all of these prohibitions, why is it that fundamentalist Christians continually harp on Leviticus 20:30? Could it be that if they insisted that their flock obey all of the rules in the Old Testament, they would have empty churches? Could it be that most Americans would consider many of the strictures immoral? Or perhaps they are simply using this verse to justify their mean-spirited bigotry against homosexuals while ignoring laws that are inconvenient at best and harrowing at worst?

It seems to me that Mr. Jamieson and his brethren should give the Old Testament a good close read before they robotically spout obeisance to Jesus’ teachings and God’s will, lest they, too, be accused of having a superficial and caricatured understanding. At the same time, I suggest they look up the meaning of the word “hypocrite.” I also strongly advise that they reread John 8:7—you know, the one about casting the first stone.

Kevin O’Connor