Letters for May 22, 2003

Was there peace before the bombs?

Re “Witness to war” by Melinda Welsh (SN&R News, May 15):

Charlie Liteky apparently believes that taking any action whether military or economic in opposition to Saddam Hussein was working against the cause of peace.

But where was there peace in pre-war Iraq? Among the silent victims of the mass killings? Is Liteky thinking of the 180,000 Kurds who were murdered by the Iraqi state, and who hopefully have found peace in their unmarked graves?

Charlie Barnes
via e-mail

When the gas tank runs dry

Re “Agasination” by Jeff Kearns (SN&R Cover, May 8):

Cheap gas is what our society is all about—that and driving really far, really fast, in really big cars every day. I applaud the efforts of folks like Rob Cockerham and all those state legislators to keep the pressure on oil refiners to keep prices down. Those efforts help make commutes from El Dorado County down the I-80 to San Jose a reality.

And the proposal by the California Energy Commission to create a state gasoline reserve to protect drivers from price increases will keep Sacramento cool in the shade of that brown summer-smog layer.

Can you imagine how life must be in places like Europe and Japan, where the government keeps gas prices high with taxes? Everyone is forced to live close to work, use public transportation and bicycle around in their compact, pedestrian-friendly cities. Bo-ring!

With luck and the good grace of God, I may live to see the day when that state gasoline reserve runs dry. That seems to be the only way to preserve wild places, eliminate air pollution and bring peace to the Middle East. Plus, I’d like to see the faces on my neighbors as they struggle to get past their driveways.

C.J. Torres
North Highlands

Why not laugh your ass off?

Re “Whoa, daddy” by Jim Lane (SN&R Film, May 8):

Why in the world would Jim Lane review Daddy Day Care, simply to ridicule it for being the simple-minded, fun-loving family fare it was obviously intended to be? Could it be Lane is still holding a grudge that nobody saw his beloved yet arty family film Tuck Everlasting last year? (My family did.)

Daddy Day Care cleverly spoofs the snobby, pretentious private-day-care choices of upper-crust families by sending up the trendy Chapman Academy, which offers preschoolers German as well as other highbrow academic pretenses.

Contrast the Chapman Academy to Eddie Murphy’s middle-American Daddy Day Care, where kids actually have fun going to school. There’s even a thumb-sucking support group.

Clearly, what we have here is a case of a snobby, pretentious reviewer preferring snooty but hopelessly mediocre family fare (Tuck Everlasting) over raucous, hysterical, Hollywood box-office boffo (Daddy Day Care). Perhaps Mr. Lane attended the Chapman Academy in his youth? That’s too bad because my kids and I laughed our asses off at Daddy Day Care, which has a carefully crafted screenplay that is actually far superior to that of Tuck.

I love reading the SN&R film critics—every other week—because Mr. Lane shares space with Mark Halverson, whose reviews are always literate and passionate. His writing is as evocative as Lane’s is mean-spirited and flat.

In my halcyon days as a college film reviewer, I had but one rule: Meet a film on its own terms. I’d like to pass that rule along to Mr. Lane.

Matt Perry

Comp needs some work

Re “It’s about lawyers’ compensation” by Jill Stewart (SN&R Capitol Punishment, May 1):

I have been a workers’ compensation claims examiner for over 20 years. I found this article to be one of the best yet.

I deal with lawyers, doctors, physical therapists and chiropractors on a daily basis, and medical-treatment abuse is totally out of hand. You would never see a patient receiving over 180 physical-therapy visits for a back injury if their injury occurred off the job. Nor would you see chiropractic treatment three times per week ad nauseum.

Are people who are injured on the job better than those not injured on the job? The over-utilization of medical treatment in the workers’ compensation industry is an issue that, I believe, falls on deaf ears in Sacramento. I would bet that most people handling workers’ compensation claims in the state of California experience the same frustration I do on a regular basis, if not daily.

Why are there no guidelines that “shall” be followed in the workers’ comp. industry like there are in the group medical arena? Abuse is not only in workers’ comp; check out treatment from chiropractors for people “injured” in automobile accidents, another area where over-utilization is rampant.

Sandy L. Loncaric
via e-mail

America the free … from bombs

Re “When the bombs hit home” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R Cover, April 24):

Imagine if you had lived half your life in a country where a third of your friends had mysteriously disappeared, never to be seen again; where you struggled to ride a thin line between working to better your country while desperately trying to avoid arousing the suspicions of an ever-more-paranoid and controlling government; lying awake at night wondering, ‘If my son grows up to be a pro athlete like he wants, will he, too, disappear if his team loses a national match?’ Imagine having to bribe people in power for things like housing, permission to leave the country, or your own life.

Well, these are, I gather, the main reasons why Asef and Geed’s father moved the family out of Iraq and into California and a better quality of life. What did they find when they got here? How about freedom? Freedom to speak your mind. Freedom to live, work, speak, travel, make a million or go bust.

They also got a paycheck: government assistance until they got on their feet and government housing assistance. The children have found free education, the best health care in the world and a democratic society that is even willing to react to their needs in a positive way, not haul them away in the middle of the night and execute them on a whim.

As painful as it may be to see one’s ancestral homeland devastated by war, even Asef and Geed will probably never return to Iraq and live there the rest of their lives. Sure, they may visit, maybe even for as long as six months or more. In the end, they will come back to America because they have tasted freedom and know that it exists in its purest form here.

The biggest price these kids have had to pay for all this freedom is a few questions from the FBI? Big deal. Even the feedback Geed got from her Iraqi flag waving was mostly curious interest, not hate and intolerance. Try being an American waving an American flag through Lebanon and see how much freedom is there.I, too, am deeply saddened to see any innocent people die in a war. It is heartbreaking. Will the Iraqi people be better off now? Is the price in both American and Iraqi blood and money for the removal of Saddam Hussein worth it? I don’t know, but they will now be free to make those decisions for themselves. What price would you pay for the freedom to make your own decisions, for yourself, your family, your loved ones?

And, Ms. Beckner, this American can and does comprehend having their homeland blown to bits. We all should.

Travis Johnson