Letters for May 25, 2006

“Rough treatment” is not “torture”

Re “Tackling torture” by Nancy Brands Ward (SN&R News, May 18):

Torturing humans—whether they’re terrorists or suspected terrorists or anyone else—is not a moral way of dealing with threats against civilization. Even if there were reason to believe that it worked under any circumstances, torture is a line which the United States should not cross, for several reasons. But those reasons are not what this e-mail is about.

For your rag to include “female interrogators stripped naked in front of Muslim men, who by culture and religious practice have little contact with females outside their marriages,” or “Rough treatment of the Quran” among examples of the (real) horrors done in the name of a war on terror is side-splitting. After all, SN&R is a newspaper that not only would drench with praise the “rough treatment” of religious symbols held sacred by millions of people of all religions (and “Piss Christ” is just the most famous example of this), but also would then demand that the offended be forced to pay for it out of their own paychecks.

I guess it’s too much to expect original thinking from a magazine whose opinion pieces have the sort of predictability normally exhibited only by laws of physics. And I have only myself to blame each time I pick up an SN&R and find myself getting upset. I know that before I get through a few paragraphs, I’m going to start choking on self-righteous, paint-by-numbers, broth-for-brains hypocritical demagoguery as thick and rich and hearty as smoke from a tire-dump fire.

Charlie Barnes

Democratic libraries

Re “Fight illiteracy with libraries” (SN&R Guest Comment, May 18):

Almost all children in the United States learn to read at a basic level. To get beyond the basic level, however, students need access to books, and for many children libraries are their best chance. Children of poverty are the most dependent on libraries because they have the least access to books at home.

Reading is still the most basic survival skill in today’s information-driven society. But if we do not fund libraries, they will deteriorate to the point that it will not be worth going at all. For children from homes where the only book is the telephone directory, the library is their one great hope. But if they go and find nothing to read, they will soon be watching television instead.

Libraries symbolize the opportunity for self-improvement that has made America great. As Lady Bird Johnson once said, “Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.” A “yes” vote on Proposition 81 is a vote to assure this opportunity in communities across California. New and updated libraries will be used for generations.

George Sheridan
Garden Valley

Those uniforms are so over

Re “Learn to be civil” by Erin Sierchio (SN&R Night&Day, May 18):

On page 35 of the May 18 issue, you show a group of soldiers marching to illustrate a description about an upcoming Civil War re-enactment. The problem is, the uniforms the soldiers are wearing are from the Revolutionary War (or possibly even the War of 1812), but they are definitely not Civil War uniforms.

Lloyd B Allred
via email

Editor’s note: A few SN&R staffers noticed that as well—after we’d gone to press. We used the photo supplied by the organization that sponsored the event. Our apology for the error.

Boffo moto psycho

Re “Motopsycho!” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R Feature Story, May 11):

Way to go, SN&R! Great article on James Stewart, the motocross/supercross phenom. I’ve been around the sport for 30 years and have never seen anyone like this guy. Even though there’s only one black person who holds an AMA Pro Racing license in this sport, it makes no difference—by far, he is the best we’ve ever seen. He will dominate the sport and will win championships for years to come!

Bruce Starks

Gay hating can be ecumenical

Re “Love thy neighbor” (SN&R Editorial, May 11):

So what’s the Muslim’s take on SB 1437? Do you think they approve of requiring schools and textbooks to mention the historical contributions of gays and lesbians?

Maybe some of the parents protesting belonged to other religions other than the Christian religion. Maybe there were even some parents who were atheists.

Maybe it’s time for SN&R staff to stop being so ethnocentric.

via e-mail

Romans’ hate trumps Matthew’s love

Re “Love thy neighbor” (SN&R Editorial, May 11):

While I appreciate the point this editorial makes, I feel the need to offer a couple counterpoints.

I wonder if Christians and non-Christians in general even know “why” our religion traditionally disproves homosexuality. Since you used Matthew 22:36-40, I would like to offer another scripture: Romans 1:26-32. Many literary translations (Kings James, New World Translation, Living Bible, and so forth) use similar language, but most of them are clear. Words like “disgraceful sexual appetites”, “males with males”, and “working what is obscene” are used. In some translations “a disapproved mental state” is used as a medical term to say that it’s not hereditary; simply that it is a mental condition.

My second point is “love thy neighbor” was never meant to be a blind directive. People are humans regardless of what they do. “Loving thy neighbor,” means you love your neighbor as a human being. However, it does not imply that you must love their lifestyle. Humans and lifestyle are not mutually the same. The homosexual lifestyle is where we Christians drawn the line.

The scriptures in Romans are pretty blatant toward homosexuality. The scriptures from Matthew, while a great attempt, never supersede the Roman scriptures. I hope this clears up some confusion.

John Gorba

SB 1437 is not a gay issue

Re “Love thy neighbor” (SN&R Editorial, May 11):

I can’t comprehend why the focus of SB 1437 has shifted from equal treatment for all to a gay issue. The bill seeks to offer equal treatment on the basis of race or ethnicity, gender, disability, nationality sexual orientation and religion. It is not a gay-only issue. It’s a bill designed to overcome past patterns of exclusion or discrimination.

SB 1437, as amended on May 1, 2006, currently states, “Existing law prohibits instruction or school sponsored activities that reflect adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, handicap, national origin, or ancestry. Existing law prohibits the State Board of Education and the governing board of any school district from adopting textbooks or other instructional materials that contain any matter that reflects adversely upon persons because of their race, sex, color, creed, handicap, national origin, or ancestry. This bill would revise the list of characteristics included in these provisions to include race or ethnicity, gender, disability, nationality, sexual orientation, and religion” (http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/postquery?bill_number=sb_1437&sess=CUR).

This bill is meant to provide equal rights under the law and to acknowledge the contributions of all, not just gays. Additionally, it will give students a new contextual lens through which to view and understand the diverse world in which we live in.

Betzaida “Betsy” Arroyo
via e-mail

My liberal is less liberal than your liberal

Re “Race for your life, Charlie Brown” by Kel Munger (SN&R News, May 4):

SN&R’s Kel Munger got it wrong—Lisa Rea, not Charles Brown, is the most viable candidate to replace John Doolittle.

Brown is a lifelong member of the ACLU and Sierra Club—that will never fly in such a conservative district. If the Democrats are serious about trying to take this seat away, they must support a candidate who has proven capable of reaching across party lines and addressing all constituent needs.

Lisa Rea, a lifelong Democrat, has a history of working with “both sides of the aisle” through her work at both the state and national level—in health care, criminal justice reform and women’s issues. By the way, restorative justice is not about “criminal hugging,” it’s about helping victims and restoring communities affected by crime, which few people are paying attention to. She was recently endorsed by the National Women’s Political Caucus, and has been endorsed by 15 former and current state legislators.

I urge voters to do their own research on the candidates. Brown is not the best choice to replace a corrupt incumbent. Check out www.reaforcongress.com.

Gwynnae Byrd

Depends on what you mean by “head”

Re “Clinton for U.N. head” (SN&R Letters, May 11):

Writer Richard Copp pats himself on the back and self-proclaims, “Damn, I’m good” for his proposed solution for the U.N. I have a different take. This guy coming up with a viable solution is more like “even a blind squirrel finds an acorn once in a while”! He states that many right-wing wackos would gag; well, I guess that I am a RWW since I am a conservative and I do not think like him. So be it. But I did not gag.

I think that Bill Clinton would be a good choice to head the U.N. While I did not agree with his politics, I never thought that he was all bad. I do think that he has the political style, clout and charisma to make the U.N., at the very least, useful.

Dennis Johnson
via e-mail