Letters for March 2, 2006

Stand up to Bible-belchers

Re “Hands off my remote!” (SN&R Guest Comment, February 23):

Good article by Lena Rivers. I wish more people were standing up to these Bible-belching born-again bastards!

Dan Jacobs
via e-mail

No thrills with WWJR

Re “What would Jesus read?” by Brent Bourgeois (SN&R Essay, February 23):

Every Thursday I look forward to the latest issue of SN&R. I enjoy most issues because they serve to terrify me—just a little bit, like a good roller coaster—that people actually think and act like the subjects of your stories.

I expected a similar experience reading Brent Bourgeois’ essay, but I was disappointed. Aside from the inflammatory and inaccurate subhead, the essay was very insightful and raised some good questions. Though categorizing literary subject matter that disparages your point of view as “hateful” is, at minimum, dishonest, the rest of the essay is at least worth thinking about.

Now, off to read the feature about oak trees. I need a thrill.

Chad Vander Veen
via e-mail

God has a store?

Re “What would Jesus read?” by Brent Bourgeois (SN&R Essay, February 23):

Is Brent Bourgeois concerned with the Christian bookstore offering political viewpoints, or is he upset that it doesn’t jive with his own political agenda?

Perhaps God is concerned that we’re “rolling downhill like a snowball headed for hell” and placed these books in his store to wake us up before it’s too late!

Chris Ivey

Better a car than the street

Re “Living in cars” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Feature Story, February 16):

I thought this was an excellent article and was very sensitive and respectful of the people interviewed.

Their vehicles are the only home they have. A regular homeowner, renter or apartment dweller covers much precious land permanently with his occupancy, plus a valuable parking space. These individuals only need a parking space. They are also not asking the county or other homeless services to foot the bill for their lodging. Humble and not asking for much, they are usually making do until they can get situated.

Do the police read this paper? This week, as this article graced the newsstands, a gentleman that lives in his van had it impounded by the police. It was most likely impounded because he said he lived in the vehicle. If police do read this paper, please give these people a break. It’s still winter. It’s cold—freezing, in fact. There’s not enough affordable housing. And the homeless shelters are full.

Paula Lomazzi
secretary/treasurer, Sacramento Homeless Organizing Committee

Respect the guns

Re “Take back the guns” (SN&R Guest Comment, February 16):

If Muriel Strand is worried about illegal drug dealers shooting her, she needs to understand some underlying principles of criminals.

First, since they have no respect for the law in general, gun-control laws have no importance to them either. Next, what they do understand and operate by is fear. She should buy a good pistol and learn how to use it responsibly. Interviews with prison inmates confirm time and again that they fear the armed private citizen more than the police.

I am not trying to sound like the National Rifle Association, but the numbers don’t lie. In all of the 37 states where “right to carry” laws are in effect, the violent-crime rates dropped dramatically, by 40 percent to 70 percent.

Like it or not, gun control just doesn’t work. Even John Stossel of ABC’s 20/20 admits this. Just look at the New York City; Washington, D.C.; or Chicago (which have the strictest gun control laws in the nation) crime rates if you still don’t believe it.

So, Ms. Strand, if you want to feel safer, learn how to fight back. Don’t depend on some politician to pass “feel good” legislation that does nothing to protect you (i.e., assault-weapon bans and .50-caliber BMG [Browning machine gun] rifle bans).

If you’re extremely lucky, maybe you can get a concealed-carry permit, but don’t count on it. Since California is not a “right to carry” state, about the only way to get one is to contribute generously to your police chief’s or sheriff’s re-election campaign. I hate to put it like that, but that’s the way it is in the Golden State. Money talks, and B.S. walks.

Robert Huddleston
via e-mail

Read all about it

Re “Criminal minimum wage” (SN&R Letters, February 16):

I must agree with Hannah Martin’s assessment that “most people are mad as hell about having to fold laundry, serve coffee or scrub toilets for a demeaning $6.75 an hour.” The adults I know who are working for minimum wage are so willing (and so eager) to voice their opinion on how they are not earning a fair wage that I find it amazing SN&R somehow managed to miss this collective voice in the original story [“Working for minimum” by Jeffrey M. Barker, SN&R Feature Story, February 2].

Someone tell me why society seems to think that the average trained-monkey paper-pusher is entitled to double or even triple the pay of those who cook our food, clean our toilets and even care for our children and elderly.

For a more in-depth (and accurate) look at how our society’s poorest and most unappreciated workers survive, I recommend the book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich.

Laura Mikelbank

Kiefer should go observe himself

Re “Divine secrets of the Ben Wa sisterhood” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R Feature Story, February 9):

Thank you for the story about the rise of the Passion Party in the Sacramento area. I appreciated the information Jonathan Kiefer gave about the genesis of the Tupperware party and the history of sex toys for women. However, at the end of the story, I was still left wanting:

Where does Kiefer’s penis fit into the whole grand scheme of things?

I pondered this for a minute, but it came to me: He already told me. With his descriptions of the “curvaceous” Brenda, and the “giggly” party guests, he quickly nestled himself into a story that I thought was about women’s sexuality. There were his feelings of inadequacy, and his worries of “intimacy” threatened. Then his crush on Christine in her “come hither ensemble”—how on earth could she have left him out in the cold when he already accessed the “good stuff” in the first party?

At least his penis lent him the knowledge to navigate the “coquettish” games of the Passion Party company as a whole.

The whole thing felt very Chasing Amy. Kiefer is Holden, and the scoop is Amy; he wants it, but he can’t get it, and he just doesn’t know why.

Whether or not Kiefer thought some of his subjects were sexy is beside the point. What concerns me is how the insertion of his self and what he chose to describe reflect a clear inability to address female sexuality when it does not include him.

Though sex toys are not found in nature, that does not make female masturbation the villain. Ask any woman who knows how to get herself off: If anything, knowing what you like makes you even more interested in going out and making flesh-and-blood interactions happen with others.

What would help is if at every turn men didn’t feel like women’s bodies were always up for observation and assessment. If Kiefer can’t keep his roving descriptions to himself, he should at least turn the gaze back and include a nice description of what he was wearing at the time and how exactly it fit his body. I know I’d like to know.

Morgan Flores

Independent-thinking Christians = Protestants?

Re “No independent thought for Christians” (SN&R Letters, February 2):

We can’t walk in lockstep with everything a church says, because every Christian faith interprets God’s word differently, and here is where the problem lies. The point that [Brent] Bourgeois was making was that if you read and interpret the teachings of Christ for yourself, it would not be difficult to draw up the same conclusion that Christ in fact said more about poverty and greed than any other transgression.

But, once again, Ms. Kunert, like many of the radical religious right, feels that her interpretation is the correct one.

But I guess Martin Luther and John Calvin were two “liberal Christians” who thought independently for themselves and broke away from the Roman Catholic Church. I don’t remember Jesus saying in the gospels that the church would someday be divided into thousands of sects. But I suppose Satan tested these two Renaissance men’s human desires to think and act independently to form their own church!

So, in that regard, independent thinking worked for you and other conservative Christians so long as you’re not Roman Catholic, right Ms. Kunert?

George Avila

It’s about time

Re “Save our ‘electronic public green space’” by Ron Cooper (SN&R Essay, January 26):

What! Omigawd! Now you’re worried that public access is under threat?!

Where were you during the “Best of Sacramento”? We don’t exist until you can’t find us anymore. I’m into three (count ’em) seasons of Hemp Ain’t Easy.

Trust me. I know the sound of one hand clapping. This is why our local music scene will wither on the vine. You would rather give awards for the best place for a quickie hand job than consider even mentioning public access. Disturbing.

Warren Sanford
via e-mail