Letters for March 21, 2002

Crown of thorns

Re “Crown Thy Good” by Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (SN&R Essay, March 7, 2002):

Congressman Kucinich,

I join in your prayers for our country. I too pray for peace. However, we share this planet with people who do not share our ideals. I believe we live in the greatest nation on earth. As a whole, we enjoy the highest standards of living in recorded history, the highest levels of education, and the highest forms of freedom. Can we improve? Of course! But I believe we have the best deal going.

I, for one, am glad we have an administration that chooses to defend our ideals. We are envied for our freedoms, despised for our wealth, ridiculed for lacking morals. September 11 punctuated this fact—not everyone shares our ideals. Yes, the preamble to the Constitution states that, “In order to form a more perfect union … we, the people, shall provide for the common defense.” I believe this is what the Bush administration is doing.

Can measures created to “ensure domestic tranquility” go too far? You bet. Always be mindful of liberties being suspended in the name of security. But, in times of national crisis, these liberties have historically been temporarily suspended. Desperate times call for desperate measures …

I doubt I’ll have enough space to address all the issues raised in your February 17 speech, but let me just say that as long as we live in a world that houses factions which don’t agree with our ideals, we must always be prepared to defend them, so we may “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

J.S. Booth

We’re at war, dammit!

Re “Crown Thy Good” by Representative Dennis J. Kucinich (SN&R Essay, March 7, 2002):

I must remind Representative Dennis Kucinich that America is at war. It is difficult for some in government to look beyond the next photo op. A truly great American, George Washington, said, “To be prepared for war, is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.”

As we near the six-month anniversary of the 9-11 attacks, bodies of two early “combat fatalities,” New York police officers, were recovered from the World Trade Center’s “Ground Zero” excavations. Terrorists have a penchant for revisiting their enemies on anniversaries. It is estimated that at least 100 al Qaeda terrorists in sleeper cells are still lying low but capable of rising to quick reactivation within U.S. borders.

U.S. authorities arrested 560 terror suspects soon after 9-11, and recently still held 327 in detention. But of greater worry are 314,000 “absconders” ordered deported but now missing and nowhere to be found. “They didn’t train tens of thousands of people for a single day’s assault,” Attorney General John Ashcroft reminded us.

Also, our Jihadi enemies do have the capability to use “dirty nukes” as terror weapons. Dr. Harold Agnew, former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, observed, “Those who say that building a nuclear weapon is very easy, they are wrong. But those who say that building a crude device is very difficult are even more wrong.” Testifying recently before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Dr. Steven Koonin, provost of the California Institute of Technology, concurred, “The dispersal of radioactive materials is, in my opinion, a plausible and significant threat. However, it is overwhelmingly likely that the effects of a terrorist attack using radioactive materials would be psycho-social and economic, not entailing a large number of deaths or illnesses.”

Kucinich expressed concern for those taken prisoner by the U.S. He hinted that the United States was wicked for not granting the Taliban captives POW privileges under the Geneva Convention. The U.S. is not wicked. I’ll remind Kucinich who is: Osama bin Laden, Ali Khameini, Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein. All have starved, mutilated, and killed the children of their own nations.

I’ll close with Balint Vazsonyi. He said, “Before we bind ourselves by laws, we are driven by instincts and reflexes. Foremost among these is the instinct to survive. Members of the Taliban and al Qaeda openly threaten to use any and all means to terminate our existence. The restraints imposed on them merely reduce the risk to fellow Americans who volunteer to facilitate our survival.”

Frank Stephens
via e-mail

SN&R mutilates elephants

Re “When Elephants Collide” by Steven T. Jones (SN&R Cover, February 28):

As a Republican, I feel I must comment on your article. The Republican Party was founded to end slavery in the United States. The party’s first elected president, Abraham Lincoln, did just that.

The party was in the forefront of the civil rights efforts in the 1960s. (Did you know that more Republicans—79 percent of them—than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964?) The Republican Party can claim members with a variety of viewpoints. Some support abortion rights, others do not. Some are environmentalists, some are not. Some believe that immigration should be curtailed, others do not.

What unifies Republicans is a desire to have the smallest, most efficient government possible. We oppose the trend towards socialization that takes place under Democrats. We want to balance environmental concerns with jobs. We want a strong defense, because, as September 11 shows, evil does exist in the world. We look to streamline regulations to allow the businesses to grow to their maximum potential, while allowing a level playing field for all businesses. We believe that the rights of the individual must be protected, and we believe that the founding fathers crafted the best possible instrument for governance ever devised—the Constitution of the United States.

There is certainly room in this party for gays, moderates, conservatives, all races, all ethnicities and all religions. We believe that Republicans are the natural majority party of this country, once our message isn’t mangled and mutilated by the media.

Scott Slotterbeck

Congrats on the GOP piece

Re “When Elephants Collide” by Steven T. Jones (SN&R Cover, February 28):

I just had the opportunity to read your article titled “When Elephants Collide” in the Sacramento News & Review. I wanted you to know that I thought the piece was very informative and well written.

I look forward to future articles in your paper.

Tim Michel
via e-mail

Come hear the music play, old chum

Re “Come to the Cabaret” by Matthew Burlingame-Couk and Annabelle Pulai (SN&R February 21):

Thank you for your recent article on Ms. Gayiel Von—Sacramento’s reigning Queen of Cabaret. It is about damn time someone noticed this wonderful talent was in our own backyard. I have had the pleasure of being in the cadre of performers Ms. Von has called upon to bring our stories to the stage. I will always be in her debt for allowing my voice to be heard.

The one thing missing from your article is the emphasis on the size of the audiences Ms. Von has attracted to all of the venues she has created. On many occasions these locations are SRO (standing room only). That translates into real dollars for the venue owners. I feel it is important to stress this point. You know why? Quite simply put—we need more cabaret. Gayiel has started an amazing thing. That is the showcasing of remarkable talent with a variety of life experiences. At present Gayiel Von & Friends are only being heard three times a week. It is unfortunate that Sacramento is missing out on a variety of unbelievable talent and the stories they can tell. It is about time more venue owners step up to the plate and allow this rediscovered art form to thrive in Sacramento.

John Schaefer
via e-mail