Letters for October 16, 2008

Letter of the week
Financial Patriot Act

Here we go again.

The Earth has shaken, confidence is shattered, and once again, brave people are entreating their hated government to “Do anything you have to, but save us!”

In September of 2001, terrorists wreaked a cataclysmic event, killing in one day as many Americans as [those who] die on U.S. roads in one month. The nation, unable to keep its perspective, lost its mind, and begged to be saved at any cost.

Six weeks later, George W. Bush signed the so-called USA Patriot Act, quite likely the single worst piece of legislation ever excreted by American politicians. This act gave the government unprecedented and unconstitutional powers to spy on American citizens without judicial approval, and brought us ethically to a level with third-rate authoritarian regimes throughout history.

Fast forward to 2008. The Treasury secretary, after telling us for 18 months a story about national fiscal strength, has decreed in light of recent titanic failures on Wall Street that the American people need to give him $700 billion dollars to bail out a culture of carrion-eating scum that have left the economy teetering on the brink of collapse.

[Treasury Secretary Henry] Paulson asked not just for $700 billion dollars, which is kind of a ballsy move all by itself. He also insisted that there be no oversight (neither legislative nor judicial) and no consequences should everything fall apart. There should also be no limits on executive pay, because that might discourage companies from selling their debt to the U.S. Treasury. The American taxpayer has to be nice to the greediest scum in the history of the planet, or they won’t sell us their debt.

Now that a bailout has passed that includes some limits on executive pay, let them opt out. Let us further add in provisions to recover executive bonuses totaling into the billions. Let’s treat them like drug traffickers and confiscate what has been purchased with these obscene payouts.

“No time!” the smart people say. “That’s pre-9/14 thinking, before Lehman Brothers fell like the twin towers. Do what we tell you; we’ll handle the details. Just keep being the most productive workers on the planet, and try not to think about it.”

Unlike the Patriot Act, I’d hope that some of us read this thing before it passed. There really isn’t any point in doing more than hoping, though, now that we’ve made failure highly profitable. But then, people who don’t have to feel some pain for bad decisions rarely learn anything.

Andy Sims

Watch locally

Re “Don’t believe the hype” by Cosmo Garvin (SN&R Feature, October 9):

The development of new programming content is a costly business. The broadcast television channels, indeed all commercial media, electronic and print, are challenged by rising production costs, dwindling ad revenue, and ever-increasing competition for eyeballs and ears. The media business model of selling large numbers of viewers/listeners/readers to advertisers willing to pay big bucks is changing because the audience is rapidly becoming more fragmented. The Internet provides thousands of Web sites and blogs, all successfully competing for the same viewers, listeners and readers.

Thus, the cost per minute for television and radio program production must be reduced from the current model. The stations can spread those costs over more outlets, including the many new wireless hand-held devices. Or they can look to more a community-based model of local radio and television program creation.

Watch and listen to Access Sacramento: sports, community events, entertainment, world affairs, unique local films. Community media is alive and well at Access Sacramento cable channels 17 and 18 (Comcast and Surewest, Sacramento County) and community radio The Voice. Watch and listen from anywhere in the world online at www.accesssacramento.org. We’re “making a difference in our community, one voice at a time.”

Ron Cooper
executive director

Access Sacramento

Let the losers drink, he sez

Re “Booze bill bombs” by Luke Gianni (SN&R Frontlines, October 9):

I’m sorry; stop the damn bus, ’cause this is where I get off!

I’m sure [Assemblyman] Dave [Jones] has only good intentions. So did [Charles] Goethe and his misguided “progressive” friends, and they introduced eugenics as a “gift” to the world. The Jews were not amused.

There is a need for an Oak Park. Like it or not, half of our inner city youth of color will not get a high-school diploma for whatever reason. They will not thrive, and they gotta live somewhere, and I’m afraid Oak Park is it. If they fail there, they can stay there. And if they want a dive liquor store to ease the burden of their dead-end lives, who the hell are we to refuse them?

These are the same people who continue to tell me where I can get medical marijuana. Sorry to say this, there will always be an Oak Park, and it will look like it does today. Where else would they go, Dave’s neighborhood? Not bloody likely. Gentrification will not work in Oak Park. It can’t, unless you want them pushing shopping carts around Cesar Chavez Plaza.

Warren Sanford

Arnold’s a celebrity governator

Re “35 percent” (SN&R Editorial, October 9):

The “honest” and “obvious” answer to the question posed in this editorial is that “Ahnold’s” primary job is “California Celebrity No. 1.”

He always finds time for photo ops and other well-covered media events, regardless of any required duties as governor, especially such boring and time-consuming things as sufficient (or perhaps even any) study of bills to determine which, if any, of them he should veto.

J. D. Rowell
via e-mail

Everybody should read the warning

Re “Sarah Palin: Be warned” by Sena Christian (SN&R Essay, October 9):

So it’s Thursday, and I grab an SN&R on my way to catch the light rail to school. I’m sitting on the train when I read this article. Wow!

Not only is this article powerful, but there is no exaggerating. Fact after fact. I wanted to scream at everyone on the light rail, “You need to read this!”

I have been trying to get this point across to people I know since Palin became the Republican’s V.P. nominee. Women’s rights, animal rights, making everyone’s voice heard: She stands for none of this. And these are the people who have been fighting the battle. These are the people who paved the road for her.

I completely agree with your article. Palin will wreak havoc.

There are so many who will not stand for this. I know this; I know there are people out there that are fighting for her to not get anywhere near the Oval Office. Now is when our voices need to be heard loud and clear.

“Be warned,” indeed.

Ariana Lozano

Rocket scientists? Unnecessary.

Re “Sarah Palin: Be warned” by Sena Christian (SN&R Essay, October 9):

So, Sarah Palin is a foreign-policy expert because she can see Russia from Alaska? Big deal.

I can see the moon from my backyard. I’m totally qualified to head up NASA.

I have a vagina, and I want that backwoods, backwards, wolf-killing, rape-kit-charging, Caribou Barbie bitch representing it about as much as I want Torquemada resurrected and the Inquisition reinstated.

Ann Kaminski

Religulous is all grown up, thank you

Re “Grow up and try again” by Kel Munger (SN&R Sacreligious!, October 9):

The title of your review of Religulous in Sacreligous! was overly negative, as if [Bill] Maher was the one needing to grow up. Something like “Challenging our fundamental premises” would have been much more revealing as to the overall theme of the movie.

Religion has always had a privileged position claiming it was and is immune to challenge. Throughout history, challenging prevalent religious ideas was hazardous to one’s well being and frequently one’s life, much like it still is in the Islamic world today.

Maher is challenging the ideology that religion is above criticism. A democracy thrives by vigorous and continued debate on important issues. Science progresses by adapting new ideas that better explain the data. Religion cannot claim moral authority to lead the human race while rejecting any discussion of its legitimacy or soundness of its principles. This is a recipe for disaster, which is made highly evident by Maher’s interviews in the film with representatives of many major religions.

Similar to the West learning about life under communist rule through the eyes of lifelong insiders who have chosen to defect, Maher brings us the deep insight into the ideologies of Scientology, Mormonism and Catholicism through interviews with insiders who have learned the shortfalls. As the old saying goes, “One man’s religion is another man’s joke.” No one can watch this movie without grasping the ludicrousness of unquestioned belief, its foundations, practice and, most importantly, its erroneous guidance for our future.

To summarize your review by suggesting “Maher seems to want to create a unified agnostic world” is inaccurate. Maher wants to create a world where humanity’s most important guiding principles are open to questioning and critical examination, and when necessary, pointing out obvious absurdities, similarities to mythology, and negative consequences to mankind’s collective future.

The lasting effect of Religulous will be to remove from religion its protective shield of being “too sacred to challenge” and open it to analysis by outsiders who bring the scrutiny of modern insight and common sense, and who can state their conclusions without fear of retribution, even by making movies that show across the country. This will allow people to view and choose their belief systems with open eyes and visibility into the recesses of religious private sanctuary that have until now been taboo to any negative public comment.

Paul Storey

Steal the dog

Re “Needle. Damage. Done?” by Nick Miller (SN&R Scene&Heard, October 9):

Just what we needed: more proof that the people we see wandering the streets of downtown and Midtown are wasting the life God gave them. And if that isn’t enough, some of them have taken it upon themselves to waste the lives of others, like the woman who shot a disabled guy on his way home from work.

I can’t believe Nick Miller gave those deliberate losers (they’re not disabled or displaced, just dropouts) five bucks. Maybe he doesn’t think he works hard enough for his money.

He should have taken the dog. It deserves better.

Mitchell Sawyer