Letters for September 14, 2006

It’s the ratings, stupid!

Re “Mike spiked” (SN&R Bites, September 7):

I had to laugh at Bites’ speculation as to why Air America dumped talk-radio host Mike Malloy from its lineup. Bites notes that Malloy frequently criticized Israel during the recent war with terrorists in Lebanon and suggests that the Jews were probably behind his removal.

Bites bolsters this speculation by citing Malloy’s “quick wit” and offers as an example Malloy’s referral to the Bush administration as the “Bush Crime Family.” Wow, that’s a real knee-slapper! Will Malloy’s cleverness never cease?

Sorry, Bites. Despite his amazing wit, Malloy was fired for a more basic reason. Air America has notoriously low listener ratings, and you can bet your bottom dollar that if Malloy had decent ratings, he would still be on the air. Air America continues to exist for one reason: It is propped up by billionaire lefty George Soros and other wealthy liberals.

Gregg M. Wardrip

Unlikely nuke future

Re “The future of nukes past” by R.V. Scheide (SN&R News, September 7):

About 50 years ago, the nuclear-power industry promised three things to the American people.

It said nuclear power would be so cheap we wouldn’t need meters, the power plants could be run safely, and storing the nuclear waste would be a simple process.

The question today is: Were they just lying or incompetent?

The Rancho Seco nuclear power plant in Sacramento was 14 years old in 1989 and had run at an average of only 37 percent of the time. The voters voted to close it down.

Before Rancho Seco was closed, they were discussing how to improve the security fence to prevent a tank from getting through. Post-9/11, the cost of providing security for nuclear power plants will be prohibitive.

Existing nuclear power plants need to be run safer and more efficiently, and made more secure.

New nuclear power plants in California? Unlikely!

Bob Mulholland

War poems, not war films

Re “Hollywood war machine” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R Feature Story, August 31):

I saw the underside of our “civilization” in 1945 at Okinawa, Japan, as a teenage infantry mortar man with the 7th Infantry Division. Since that experience, I have hated the way (from the Old Testament to now) we have all been taught to accept, to foster, to almost readily embrace war as the noblest God-ordained way to better form the world to our liking. War is in the very culture-air we breathe. And Kiefer is right about the movies. Their makers are some of our most important culture drummers.

In my eighth decade now, I write of war only in poems. This verse came to mind as I pondered Jonathan Kiefer’s article. My way of beating a drum for another way to a culture someday based on peace:

I had a nineteenth birthday
at Okinawa in ’45.
I never watch a war film
though safe now, old, alive.
The actor-soldiers talk the talk
and raise the martial shout,
but I’m let down by many things
producers must leave out:
(Why not a dead man—or cow—rotting
in the lobby seven days,
so full of maggots flowing
the body heaves and sways?)
War shown without the vomit,
the choking dead-meat smell?
No …
Fight films may never show us war,
or let us breathe sweet hell.

Robert M. Stanley

The rest of the U-571 story

Re “Hollywood war machine” by Jonathan Kiefer (SN&R Feature Story, August 31):

In your cover-story sidebar, Tom Pollard points out that the film U-571 attributes the breaking of the Enigma Code to a group of American seamen when it was, in fact, the work of British intelligence agents. More specifically, though, the success of the British effort can be attributed largely to the work of one man: Alan Turing, the father of computer science.

Turing’s contribution is relevant to the recent passage of Senate Bill 1437, which originally sought to acknowledge the contributions of members of the GLBT community. That part of the bill was stripped to appease the homophobes who are in opposition to anything that might be construed as pro-gay. Even the watered-down version was vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

Alan Turing was a 20th-century genius who ranks up there with Einstein in his contributions to science and society. He also happened to be gay. Turing met an untimely death at the young age of 42 as a result of his being prosecuted for being a homosexual.

It is hard to believe that a half-century later we are still dealing with this issue. We must stamp out the hatred and ignorance that is at the root of homophobia. S.B. 1437 was an attempt to move in that direction, but we obviously still have a long way to go. More information about Alan Turing can be found in the excellent Wikipedia entry at www.wikipedia.org.

Richard Towle

We get more oil from our neighbors

Re “New priorities” (SN&R Editorial, August 31):

In justifying Proposition 87, SN&R repeats the tired mantra that the United States suffers from a “dependence on oil from the Middle East.”

This assumption is based more on wishful thinking than on truth. The Energy Information Administration of the U.S. Department of Energy keeps detailed records on its Web site (www.eia.doe.gov), in some cases going back more than a century. According to this data, since 1993 the United States has, on average, received less than a quarter of its total crude-oil imports from the Persian Gulf.

When U.S. production is added, the Gulf share shrinks below 14 percent. We obtain about the same amount of oil from Canada, Mexico and Venezuela each as we do from Saudi Arabia, the Gulf’s main supplier (between 15 percent and 18 percent of our total imports).

We are just as “dependent” on the oil we get from our immediate neighbors as we are on oil from the Middle East.

Reducing our oil imports, assuming this is a problem, could be alleviated by simply producing more oil ourselves. In 1985, we produced almost three times more oil than we imported. By 2005, we were importing twice as much as we produced.

Michael Mirmak

Climate, cars and weathercasts

Re “The climate, it is a-changin’” by Kel Munger (SN&R News, August 31):

I was really disgusted by the response that Mark Finan gave in this article, because global warming does impact our day-to-day weather.

Did he forget that God-awful heat wave that we, and the rest of the nation, experienced in July? Had global warming stamped all over it! The real reason why we don’t hear anything from the media is because they want to protect their precious revenue from advertisers, the auto industry being one of their biggest. Do the math.

Veronica C. Cummings
via e-mail

Not-so-hot futures

Re “Hot futures” by Ralph Brave (SN&R Feature Story, August 24):

Another left-wing global-warming scare story from SN&R. Instead of buying into the conventional wisdom propagated by unscrupulous scientists with a vested interest in increasing funding for their climate-related research, SN&R should perhaps show a healthy skepticism and do some research.

The fact is our present warm climate is a mere blip in the history of an otherwise cold Earth. Ice ages have been the rule, not the exception, for the past couple of million years. The current global warming began 18,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene Ice Age when the Earth was about three degrees Celsius cooler than today. That was a long time before SUVs were around!

About every 100,000 years, the Earth warms for 15,000-20,000 years in a period called an interglacial period. During interglacial periods, carbon-dioxide levels and Earth’s temperature increase. This last occurred during the Eemian Interglacial Period, about 120,000-140,000 years ago. Prior to the “global warming,” much of the Earth was a frozen and arid wasteland—a difficult place to live. Thanks to natural global warming, the Earth ice box has given way to a veritable garden.

So, even the most costly efforts to limit human-produced carbon dioxide would, as almost every reputable scientist has agreed, have only a negligible effect on global climate.

The only accurate part of the story was that the climate does change and is changing and that we should be prepared to adapt. We should not be wasting precious resources on trying to modify the weather.

Robert S. Tabor
via e-mail