Letters for March 23, 2006

‘War Issue’ bravo …

Re “The War Issue” (SN&R, March 16):

I couldn’t believe my eyes. This issue was incredible. I found myself in tears several times.

The section that simply listed the facts and figures of the war [“Too many and counting” by Rachel Gregg and Cosmo Garvin] was an incredibly powerful statement. And I know I’ll go back to the poems over and over—not to mention the beautiful posters. My favorite was “Who Would Jesus Torture?” [by George Glazunov].

I was especially impressed to see that SN&R’s contributors don’t confuse the troops with the war. Our men and women in uniform deserve our support, and the best way we can do that is to get rid of the corrupt and violent government that has placed them in harm’s way.


Jan Klein

… and Birkenstock bashing

Re “The War Issue” (SN&R, March 16):

The latest inane issue stating the obvious—that “war is bad”—was so simplistic it might have been written by impressionable middle-school students. As a Marine who actually fought in a war, killed real people and was wounded twice, I know that war—and the road to and from it—is much more complex than the misinformation and lies you spew in your America-hating rag. Liberals and pacifists take for granted a lifestyle that is paid for by the blood and suffering of our military and its families.

Unrealistic, condescending pseudo-intellectuals who believe Iraq is all about oil are actually 90 percent correct. Without a constant source of affordable oil, the planet’s advanced cultures and economies would come to a screeching halt. Just about everything we have is somehow a derivative of or dependent upon petroleum-based products. You hypocrites who bemoan big oil use it every day of your unhappy, unsuccessful, depressed lives.

The next time you slip on your Birkenstocks, condition your graying pony tail, pull on your tie-dyed muumuu, drive your Volkswagen, listen to your iPod, turn on your computer and log on to MoveOn.org, or worship your tattered poster of Che or Fidel, thank the uninterrupted flow of cheap oil and capitalism. Also, thank the Marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen that continue to protect your freedom to voice your opinions about this country, no matter how self-loathing, deceitful or wrong they may be.

I am going to get into my new gas-guzzling C-6 Corvette Z06, slip on a CD of the Boss singing “Born in the USA,” drive home to my gated over-55 community and thank God once again that today I am a free citizen, able to fail or succeed in the greatest (but not perfect) nation that has ever existed on this planet. Semper Fidelis!

F. Thomas Cianci

Scare-mongering on assisted suicide

Re “No choice for low-wage workers” (SN&R Guest Comment, March 9):

Bill Jennett’s commentary decrying proposed assisted-suicide law Assembly Bill 651 is exactly the kind of “just imagine” scare-mongering nonsense used by the few to try to constrain the many. Why should the availability of health-care options for his low-wage constituency have any bearing whatsoever on the choices I can make for myself in consultation with my health-care provider?

The poor and un-/underinsured do face challenges in obtaining proper health care. The poor also face challenges in obtaining adequate housing, education, nutrition and legal services. Should we deny choice in all of these areas to society as a whole because a subset of society finds itself under-optioned?

The reality is that poverty is constraining. Rather than seeking to deny options to those with more flexible economic profiles, Jennett should devote his time to improving the economic circumstances of his association members.

The only “context” in which we must examine a move toward assisted suicide is that of the private relationship between my health-care provider and myself. The fact that a poor person lives across town deserves no bearing.

To seek to deny a freedom or choice to one group until the plight of another is improved is nothing short of extortion.

Dave Garner
via e-mail

Prop. 36 is better than a prison future

Re “Prison futures” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Feature Story, March 9):

This article largely succeeds in fleshing out the continued growth of our mismanaged corrections system. But it did not adequately address what some have called “the largest piece of sentencing reform since the repeal of alcohol Prohibition,” Proposition 36.

In 2000, voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 36 in order to provide community-based treatment for nonviolent drug-possession offenders. Since then, Proposition 36 directly resulted in a prison-population reduction of almost 6,300 nonviolent drug offenders. With the cost of incarceration rising, seemingly without restraint, this is most welcome.

Nearly 60,000 people will have successfully completed drug treatment by year’s end. The number of licensed treatment facilities in the state has increased by 66 percent.

These successes are what the people had in mind when they voted for Proposition 36. The law continues to deliver good, tangible results.

Now it is up to the governor and the Legislature to fund it appropriately.

James R. May
media associate, Drug Policy Alliance, Sacramento

What’s with the description?

Re “Prison futures” by Sasha Abramsky (SN&R Feature Story, March 9):

At first glance, it seemed this piece was written by a publicist for Rod Hickman. Even more troubling was the tone, which felt more like an op-ed than a search for the facts of the matter.

Several paragraphs in, my interest was captured. I could tell that the writer had put in a lot of time and effort interviewing many sources, and the wording made for a smooth, easily understood read. I was starting to understand where the story was going.

Then, seemingly out of nowhere appeared the following: “In a black pinstriped suit, a pressed white shirt and a purple tie.” Huh? Five paragraphs later, another descriptive: “Cate, a large man with a chiseled jaw.”

Was I reading a serious exposé on an agency steeped in, to use another tired phrase, “a culture of corruption”; a human-interest story; or an exercise in character exposition for a short-subject crime story?

Mayday! Mayday! Is there an editor in the building?

Ed Hunter

Real conservatives: Democrats!

Re “Fighting Dems: Sacramento Brigade” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Upfront, March 9):

The candidacies of Bill Durston and Charlie Brown are a blessing to voters in the 3rd and 4th Congressional districts. The incumbents are vulnerable because real Republicans are beginning to realize at long last that association with the Bush administration is an increasing negative.

Americans used to think that Republicans were better than Democrats at handling our money. No more! People in both parties have to acknowledge that Bush’s fiscal policies are driving our middle class down, federal treasury to deficits of trillions, and Iraq to utter ruin. Bush’s disastrous invasion of Iraq, coupled with his inept, oddly disconnected reaction to Katrina, has earned him the title of “the disaster president.”

The question now is: Who are real conservatives? Who can be trusted to stop this precipitous, scary national decline? The answer for voters in the 3rd and 4th districts is candidates Bill Durston and Charlie Brown. Let’s get them elected!

Mary Bisharat

Lose Kiefer, love Sex on Sunday

Re “Sunshine and lollipops” by Christian Kiefer (SN&R Music, March 9):

I’m an avid SN&R reader, and I usually rely on many recommendations from the paper. With the critics’ section (movies, theater, music and food), one really has to be able to discern fact from opinion, and the only way to do that is to experience the same thing and compare.

I am taking umbrage at Christian Kiefer’s review of the CD release by the band Sex on Sunday. Kiefer reports on the CD as if he’s a movie critic upset by a conglomerate of Hollywood know-it-alls spending billions trying to sell you something that you ought to dislike. Instead, we should be so lucky to bring Sacramento’s cream of the crop together like it is in Sex on Sunday.

Frank Hannon is simply phenomenal. He’s creative and influential and has a very positive outlook on his role in Sex on Sunday, whether in the studio or when he plays with them. There is also Mike Farrell, three-time Sammie winner and guitarist for Th’ Losin Streaks. Anton Barbeau and Gabe Nelson team up on a Barbeau original re-created in Scott West’s mind to give it the “just due” the song never had before. Tim Barnes (of Stoneground fame), Mick Martin and the Blues Rockers, Scott Rich, Mike Megavoice and Brian Wheat have all performed live with Sex On Sunday. Actually, it seems as if West has surrounded himself with incredible talent on a permanent basis. Kudos to the man—he really supports the Sacramento music scene.

Kiefer also feels that the music isn’t “weird” enough for his tastes. Well, he obviously didn’t listen to “Pair of Angels,” which is a reprise of “Keep It Clean” in a very Beatlesque, Glass Onion sort of way. Besides, what does that tell future artists who hope to have a decent review for their portfolio? That if it’s not weird enough for Kiefer, it’s not well-done? Give me a break.

Kiefer has long overstayed his welcome at SN&R. He makes the Sacramento scene appear nonexistent, when in fact it is thriving. If I am going to continue to pick up this paper, I need to feel that it is supportive of the things I love. Shape him up or ship him out.

Scott Andrews