Letters for October 20, 2005

Analyzing Arnold

Re “Arnold on the couch” (SN&R Editorial, October 6):

I would like to offer a second opinion after SN&R’s Freudian analysis of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

I think that you assume too much to suppose that Arnold regards “his own lifestyle choices” as the norm by which “all other lifestyle choices should be measured.” This couldn’t be a tacit admission that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice, in the pages of SN&R no less!

But seriously, do you really think that Arnold is not aware of his exceptional life? Likewise, if he is unaware of his cigars’ “phallic symbolism,” it is most likely because such symbolism only exists in a highly selective imagination. As Freud’s great protégé, Carl Jung, said famously, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

Such failure to distinguish between illusion and reality requires therapy indeed—for instance, your reference to his offbeat comedy role as a pregnant man, which does nothing to make your point about Arnold’s notions of normality. The joke upon which the role was based played upon its abnormality. Like many jokes, Arnold’s comedic roles were not funny, but comedic nonetheless. He may not acknowledge this, but he has done so with regard to his sexual transgressions. How abnormal of him.

What I find really astonishing, however, is your confidence in the California Legislature. As if we could trust it more than Arnold or any other governor! You imply that the Legislature showed real courage, contrasted by Arnold’s petulance, regarding civil rights. But the Legislature has no credibility! How could we place any confidence in a Legislature that is only approved by 20 percent to 30 percent of the electorate, according to polls, but is overwhelmingly re-elected time after time. And you blame Arnold for wanting to do something about this appallingly corrupt election system.

If that is not disingenuous enough, you cite his weakest, most overstated objection to the Assembly measure, which he gave to Meet the Press. This is simply an evasion from more serious objections.

What’s even more pernicious than your endorsement of the California state Legislature is your endorsement of Freud’s misanthropy. What distinguishes this attitude the most from Arnold’s Christian sponsors, whom you despise, is belief in redemption for humanity. This is clearly a more progressive message.

Kevin Ice

Insecure youth

Re “Don’t forget Social Security” (SN&R Guest comment, October 6):

Seth Sandronsky’s article attacking Social Security privatization fails to address a rather important point: The program is going to fail. The author notes that benefits are secure until mid-century. What happens after that?

A variety of factors—including demographics and the lack of a “trust fund”—contributes to Social Security’s problems. But the biggest contributor to the program’s struggles consists of people who attack personal retirement accounts without advancing other reform. As former President Bill Clinton (who is in favor of personal accounts) said, “You can’t just attack the other guy’s ideas unless you have something to say.”

In just 12 years, the Social Security program will begin paying out more than it receives. Today’s students will receive about a 1 percent to 2 percent rate of return on money paid to Social Security, or about one-fourth of the rate offered by the stock market. We know that insolvency is on the horizon. We also know that every year we do not address Social Security’s eventual failings, the cost of reform increases by at least $150 billion.

Activism in the area of Social Security is a good thing, but we need to come up with solutions. Personal accounts are the best way to keep the program solvent for those of us not retiring in the next 30 years.

Ryan Lynch
Students for Saving Social Security

Try it; you’ll like it!

Re “'Jesus loves porn stars’” by Jason Probst (SN&R News, October 6):

First, let me say that pornography is a healthy, wonderful expression of the unbridled animal sexuality that is in all of us. In this sexually repressed, puritanical nightmare of a society in which we exist, it may be the only thing that keeps us all from going over the edge.

Having been married over 20 years myself, I can say that, despite their phony, self-righteous, tickle-my-butt-with-a-feather grins, these two airheads are sublimating some of their nuptial libido into a proper, toe-curling, squinty-eyed spanking of a neglected Darwinian chimp. If the source for their self-abuse isn’t pornography, then what is it? Those big-boned gals in the illustrated version of the Bible?

Gerbz Wilson

Jonesin’ for home rule

Re “Home rule” by Jeffrey M. Barker (SN&R News, October 6):

Thank you very much for the article and for taking time to cover this important issue.

I also want to thank Assemblyman Dave Jones for Assembly Bill 1098, which the governor signed into law. A.B. 1098 will provide much-needed protection to residents who live in communities governed by homeowners associations (HOA). The HOA board that governed the community in which I lived took common-area property (golf course and open space) to enlarge backyards of specific residents. I and other residents voiced our concerns to the HOA board and were ignored. We then took those concerns to Assemblyman Dave Jones.

Assemblyman Jones met with us several times and directed his staff to make certain that our concerns were addressed in A.B. 1098. Staff contacted us almost weekly to ensure that we approved the language included in the bill. We also were invited to attend a press conference held by the assemblyman. He included us every step of the way, as he did many other residents throughout California who had similar concerns regarding HOA boards.

Assemblyman Jones is the type of representative we need and appreciate. He listened, and he took time to meet with us. “Government for the people” is certainly his approach.

Karen Pardieck

SN&R gets ‘turfed

Re “Listen to Rush much?” (SN&R Letters, October 6):

You published this letter from an Agnes M. Cera of Citrus Heights on October 6. Check out a letter from Vincent Clancy, also of Citrus Heights, titled “Democratic fantasy alternative,” in the October 13 issue of the Bee. It’s verbatim to dear Agnes’s letter, which I doubt she wrote.

Are our friends on the right downloading from blogs or Ann Coulter’s Web site and calling that free expression? Not only do they regurgitate pre-thought opinions from Rush and Hannity, and pre-spun news from Fox, they can’t even write their own letters! As a third-grade teacher, I know a copycat when I see one!

Drew Gardner

Editor’s note: Yep, we got ’turfed—as in astroturfed. That’s the practice of sending out the same letter under a variety of different names to news organizations. It rarely happens to us because we require that letters be in response to articles that we’ve published and we confirm letters by requiring a daytime telephone number. However, this one slipped through—check out the footprints all over our faces.

PLANned misinformation

Re “Change of PLANS” by Chrisanne Beckner (SN&R News, September 22):

This article could use a bit of clarification. PLANS (People for Legal and Nonsectarian Schools) did, on the day of the trial, present its case, but the judge ruled its evidence inadmissible. At that point, and with no admissible evidence to present, PLANS rested. Six days after your story appeared, the judge then ruled against PLANS.

U.S. District Judge Frank C. Damrell found that, in seven-and-a-half years, PLANS had failed to present even one piece of admissible evidence to support its lawsuit.

The puzzling thing is that PLANS issued a press release denying what anyone can read in the court documents and grossly misrepresenting the proceedings. Rather than acknowledge the loss, PLANS implied instead that it had withdrawn its case, and then later that the case was dismissed.

Neither is correct. At no point did PLANS withdraw its case, and the case concluded with a ruling against the plaintiff. PLANS’ baseless lawsuit has cost the school districts—and ultimately the taxpayers—over $300,000 in legal fees. PLANS’ claims were found to be without merit, but it continues to mislead the public.

Daniel Hindes


Re “Double standard” (SN&R Letters, October 6):

In this letter from Gary Sawyer, the number of cigarette ads mistakenly was printed as 3,000 rather than 3,000,000. It should have read “Number of cigarette promotional ads distributed by The Sacramento Bee since emphysema killed little Freddy, Mary and Charlie’s nicotine-addicted mother 11 weeks ago: nearly 3,000,000.”