Letters to the Editor 2/3/2010

by Letters to the Editor, February 5, 2010

VEGETABLES

Editor,

The new trend among the thinking minority in America is local produce. People are opting for small farmer’s markets, often in suburban parking lots, where the produce is fresh picked and organic. The benefits include the direct relations with your food supplier, whom you trust not to be poisoning his crops or picking too early to allow for transport and shelf life in mega-stores.

As a talk radio host for two decades, back in the day, I suggest that the same criteria apply to vegetables and on-air personalities, with the emphasis on local and unadulterated product. To be truthful, few of us really care what some redneck ditto-head in Alabama thinks of global warming or our latest war in Afghanistan. Chances are he knows nothing about the subject and is mainly calling in to be on the air and praise the host’s patriotic dedication to whatever talking points are on that day’s menu.

I am, however, interested in my neighbor’s views on the world at large, even if I disagree with them. At least I can choose to argue the point by making a phone rebuttal to the station, where only local callers wait their turn to debate the point, or change the subject if that is their choice. In the highly produced national syndication shows, only callers on the chosen topic are allowed, and nearly always those who slavishly agree with the host’s views get aired. Local hosts must answer to their community while the network propagandists retreat behind their security gates without contact with t he listeners they offend daily.

Perhaps the greatest failing of national talk is its near universal reach into the lives of folk from coast to coast. In the early 70s AM radio was a dying for-mat, what with FM stereo dominating the music market in broadcasting. Money losing AM stations could be bought, or their licenses “leased,” on the cheap, and the political operatives of the right wing recognized the potential of multi market simulcasting, both as a cost saving per station and a tool for political power grabbing. With Rush Limbaugh spouting flaming fascism, first from Sacramento and later from his home studios in Florida, the big bucks neo-conservative political actors began recruiting imitators of equal venom, filling the broadcast day with no cost programming to the profit of station management. These days syndicators control thousands of stations, often to the exclusion of any but the orthodoxy of the programmers.

Today, most talk radio is a caricature of meaningful discourse, often with only one three hour slot daily for local talkers, most of whom are also in line with the hard right politics of the rest of the format and the program director, (chosen by the syndicators for his partisan views).

National talk also limits any meaningful argument by cutting short callers after one or two sentences, to let the host demagogue the subject for the next quarter hour diatribe. Local talk can stay with a discussion as long as it takes to draw a conclusion or get a laugh, whichever proves most entertaining. Sometimes the callers even win!

Fresh veggies and local talk; a couple of the answers to the nation’s health.

Travis T. Hip
Nevada City

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CODE PURPLE

Editor,

A anonymous writer recently sent this to me.

‘Threat Levels’

The English are feeling the pinch in relation to recent terrorist threats and have raised their security level from “Miffed” to “Peeved.” Soon, though, security levels may be raised yet again to “Irritated” or even “A Bit Cross.”

The English have not been “A Bit Cross” since the blitz in 1940 when tea supplies all but ran out. Terrorists have been re-categorized from “Tiresome” to a “Bloody Nuisance.”

The last time the British issued a “Bloody Nuisance” warning level was during the great fire of 1666.

The Scots raised their threat level from “Pissed Off” to “Let's get the Bastards.” They don't have any other levels. This is the reason they have been used on the frontline in the British army for the last 300 years.

The French government announced yesterday that it has raised its terror alert level from “Run” to “Hide.” The only two higher levels in France are “Collaborate” and “Surrender.” The rise was precipi-tated by a recent fire that destroyed France’s white flag factory, effectively paralyzing the country's military capability. It's not only the French who are on a heightened level of alert.

Italy has increased the alert level from “Shout loudly and excitedly” to “Elaborate Military Posturing.” Two more levels remain: “Ineffective Combat Operations” and “Change Sides.”

The Germans also increased their alert state from “Disdainful Arrogance” to “Dress in Uniform and Sing Marching Songs.”

They also have two higher levels:” Invade a Neighbour” and “Lose.”

Belgians, on the other hand, are all on holiday as usual, and the only threat they are worried about is NATO and EU pulling out of Brussels.

The Spanish are all excited to see their new submarines ready to deploy. These beautifully designed subs have glass bottoms so the new Spanish navy can get a really good look at the old Spanish navy.

Americans meanwhile are carrying out pre-emptive strikes on all of their allies just in case.

New Zealand has also raised its security levels — from “baaa” to “BAAAA!.” Due to continuing defense cutbacks (the Air Force being a squadron of spotty teenagers flying paper airplanes and the navy launching some toy boats in the Prime Minister's bath), New Zealand only has one more level of escalation, which is “Shit, I hope Austrulia will come to rescue us.” In the event of invasion, New Zealanders will be asked to gather together in a strategic defensive position called “Bondi.”

Australia, meanwhile, has raised its security level from “No worries” to “She'll be all right, mate.” Three more escalation levels remain, “Crikey!', “I think we'll need to cancel the barbie this weekend” and “The barbie is cancelled.” So far no situation has ever warranted use of the final escalation level.

Name Withheld
Ukiah

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JUST AS BAD

AVA,

I did a little checking after a newspaper friend of mine tipped me that Singleton does not own the AP. As she put it, “He is chairman of the board, which is just as bad.” The AP is owned by 1,500 US daily newspaper members.

Best wishes to you and the Major,
Miguel Lanigan
Clearlake Oaks

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HILLARY TOO?

Editor,

Obviously we totally disagree on the literary and philosophical merits of Ayn Rand. That makes me commend you all the more for publishing sharply dissenting letters. If Ms. Pankovits considers Atlas Shrugged dull I hate to think of what she'd consider exciting. The general reading public has ignored the establishment literary critics since 1957 and has rendered a much more favorable verdict on Rand. Richard Russell needs to do more reading about the Spanish Civil War because many leftist anarchists there were shot by Communists. And even these anarchists were so fanatical that they attempted to outlaw ownership of gold via the death penalty.

I had the great fortune to witness a debate between the two great Murrays in spring, 1969 in NYC. Anarcho-Communist Murray Bookchin from the East Side versus Anarcho-Capitalist Murray Rothbard from the West Side. They both got into it a bit about the Spanish Civil War of whom Bookchin has long been considered the authority on. As far as the Soviet/Nazi/Totalitarian model Mr. Russell refers to, both the Union Of Soviet Socialist Republics and National Socialist Germany were socialist states which totally regulated their citizens' lives. Exactly the opposite of Rand's Objectivism. Orwell later wrote scathingly of the Left in Spain. As for the editor's remarks about Rand's alleged acolytes. I am unable to discern what this proves about her philosophy. There have been many distinguished folks who were inspired by Atlas Shrugged such as Alan Greenspan, Hillary Clinton.

On second thought let's don't go there. Rand actually disavowed all forms of supernaturalism including supermen.

As regards Haiti, we need to knock off the PC nonsense and just state that we have there a failed people, not just a failed state. The usual tack of blaming the “44 families,” the French, the US, et al, won't do. The Dominican Republic right next door is a much better place so it can't be the island as such.

Al Blue
Ukiah

Ed reply: You aren't much for distinctions, are you Mr. Blue? There's a huge difference between the national socialism of the nazis and the dictatorial socialism the Russkies set up. If they were the same thing Germany and Russia wouldn't have gone to war with each other. National socialism was popular with German capitalists because it left them in place, even made them richer there for a while, and the biggest ones emerged from the war richer than ever. But Lenin and Stalin dispossessed the capitalist class entirely. Capitalists didn't like them. Orwell was a democratic socialist, as are many Brits today, as was that truly great American, mostly forgotten in the deluge of praise for ungreat men like Ronald Reagan, Eugene V. Debs. Orwell fought with the anarchists in Spain but denounced the Soviet-backed purges of the anarchists and other leftists not dominated by communists acceptable to Stalin. You can read exactly what Orwell said about Spain in Homage to Catalo¬nia. I second Ms. Pankovits. Atlas Shrugged is impenetrably boring AND wrong, hence its appeal, probably, to Hillary and Al Greenspan, both of whom, ironically, are bad for capitalism, not to mention America. Like her destructive husband, Hillary thought and still thinks, NAFTA is a good thing. Greenspan has done much to facilitate the recent looting of average Americans, which is still underway with those three Randian supermen, Obama, Geithner and Bernanke — Bush-ism without Bush-Cheney, as it's called. Bush would probably like Atlas Shrugged if Cheney would read it to him. To people like me, Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman is a choice between wrong and wronger. I'll be voting for whomever the Peace and Freedom Party or the Greens put up. A “failed people?” Pure nazi-think, Mr. Blue, but objectivism's logical outcome.

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USA, INC.

Dear Bruce,

Given the very recent decision of the US Supreme Court to sell the government to the corporations, I wonder if this is all absurd or is it the last brick in the establishment of corporate fascism in America?

They are not going to use brown shirts; they don’t have to. They will use the fountain pen and the media as their tools. It is Orwellian to think of what they will come up with next. It will be fascism by consent. The public will be easily manipulated by the media. It’s here already; they just have to expand the scope of their message.

The sad irony is that these same right-wing conservatives who argued viciously against appointing any ‘judicial activist’ judges, have just handed down the most activist court decision since Dred Scott. That is irony and also it shows them to be totally vacant of any integrity whatsoever. No principles, No shame.

Obama called them out in his State of the Union Address. I don’t see either the Democratic Party or the Obama White House actually doing anything about it. Do you?

Lee Simon
Far 'N Away Farm in Virginia

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POT DENOUNCES KETTLE

Dear Editor:

Life is daft, Bruce. You more so than others.

Beth Bosk, New Settler Interview
Mendocino

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THE TRAP WITHIN

Greetings:

I was recently alerted to a new (as of 1 January 2010) traffic law in California, the so-called “Move Over” law, which the AVA's sagacious readership needs to know about if they haven't heard. In a nut-shell, if you are driving on any highway in the state and there's some sort of official vehicle (police, sheriff, ambulance, fire department, even CalTrans!) stopped on the right shoulder or the center median of the highway with their lights flashing, you are obligated to do one of two things when you pass them: either immediately “move over” — that is, change lanes away from the stopped vehicle — or slow down to 20mph less than the posted speed limit when you pass. Failure to do this results in a whopping fine (plus points) if you're stopped and ticketed.

Now, on the face of it this sounds like a good idea. Anybody who has ever been obliged to stop on the shoulder of a freeway to change a flat tire knows what a harrowing experience it is to have people rocketing past you at 60 when they're only two or three feet away. And I'm sure more than one CalTrans employee has been smacked by a careless motorist in a construction zone, which is why traffic fines are already routinely doubled in these cases. However, the “Move Over” law also facilitates an intriguing new scam I call the Speed Trap Within The Speed Trap.

Here is the scenario: you're tooling along Highway 101, of course at the posted speed limit of 65 mph, and turning the bend you see a parked police car (no lights on) by the verge with the officer standing in the opened doorway, fearlessly zapping cars with his radar gun. Egad, sayeth you, a speed trap! You quickly decelerate and check your dashboard, sighing with relief as you're now actually doing about 60, comfortably under the limit. Fine enough. Then a quarter mile further along you see a second police car by the verge, lights flashing, this time with some fellow pulled over who is getting a ticket. Heh heh, you chuckle to yourself. Such a careless boob! Caught fair and square, too — not paying attention like me. Ah, but what you don't see is the third squad car, lying in wait and giving you the radar as you pass the careless boob and his captor. If you aren't doing 45mph or less, WHAM, you become the new careless boob. (And then somebody else goes by you at 55 while you're being written up, and they get ticketed; and somebody else passes them and...)

As a revenue enhancement scheme, it might teach Mr. Ponzi a few tricks.

Be careful out there,

J.B. Reynolds
Graton

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STILL A CHANCE?

Editor:

There’s still a chance for real health care reform including a robust public option. Now that Massachusetts voters have shown their dissatisfaction with a do-nothing congress the Democrats might just be up for using “budget reconciliation” to force the a public option bill through with just 55 or so votes in the Senate. Imagine that® majority rule in the US Senate. That would mean real health care reform that we can believe in!

Call our senators and congressman today to voice your strong support for using budget reconciliation to get this done. Here are the numbers:

Rep. Mike Thompson: 202-225-3311

Sen. Dianne Feinstein: 202 224-3841

Sen. Barbara Boxer: 202 224-2552

Thank you and God bless America,
Chuck Henderson
Anchor Bay

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DOING GOOD

Editor,

The Coastal Mendocino Association of Realtors held its annual officer installation dinner at the Little River Inn, attended by 60 realtors. CMAR, through a raffle, silent, and live auction, was able to raise $5,000 to benefit the Mendocino Children’s Fund and Project Sanctuary.

CMAR thanks the following for their generous donations to the benefit auctions and raffle: Cowlicks Ice Cream, Gallery of the Senses, Ocean Dragonfly, Carol Hall’s Hot Pepper jelly Co., Piacci, Mendocino Chocolate Company, Paws for Cats and Dogs, Studio Z Gallery, The Chair, Silver’s at the Wharf, The Frame Mill, Mendocino Beauty, Corners of the Mouth, The Ross Ranch, Handley Cellars, Roederer Estate, Lazy Creek, Husch Vineyards, Brutocao Cellars, Navarro Vineyards, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards, Toulouse Vineyards, Elke Vineyards and Apple Juice, Meyer Family Cellars, Drew Family Vineyards, Libby’s Restaurant, Lauren’s Restaurant, Queenie’s Roadhouse Café, Harvest Market, Marty Roderick, Susan Makovin, Julie Higgins, Goldeneye Winery, Larry Wagner Photography, Mike and Karen Winn, Melanie Knox, La Tre Clothing, Paul and Barbara Clark, Greg Menken, Kristan Larsen, Joy Vernor, Margie Kamb, Studio Z Gallery, Davey and Jennifer Pina, Dot Johnson, Little River Inn, Baxter Winery, Corners of the Mouth, The Outdoor Store, MacCallum House, Bliss Vineyard, Virginia Taylor, Daryl Beauchamp, Thanksgiving Coffee Company, Lauri at Third Court, Festeggiata Vineyards (Aly), Jim McDannold, Vanna at My Beautiful Nails, Maureen O’Hara, and Shandel’s Surprise Valley Ranch.

Anne Fashauer
Philo

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THANKS FROM THE MATHIASES
Editor,

The family of Bob Mathias wishes to extend our heartfelt Thanks to all who have offered their kind words and support AND to all who shared in his Celebration of Life. You made that day very special and we know Bob (and Lois) were smiling throughout the day.

Sincerely, Conde, Sheri, Cindi and Tim
Boonville

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HOW TO GET RID OF ME
Hey America,

What's Up? HAPPY JANUARY 27TH!

I am doing nothing of great importance in Berkeley, California at present, and would like to move! If you value my adult lifetime spent radical environmental frontlining, peace and justice service working, and having cultivated a successful spiritual life, and you have the basic social awareness and intelligence to appreciate that it would be good for me to keep being involved, please send me money so that I may relocate to the east coast. Hey, postmodern California will get along without me.

I'm sincerely interested in being in the Washington DC area to be closer to where critical decisions are being made which significantly affect this world. If this message makes sense to you, and you aren't the enemy, then solidarity me, baby, and let's get me out of the lost dream of El Dorado and on the frontlines, before the real implosion happens. And by all means, have a nice day.

Thank you,
Craig Louis Stehr,
593 62nd Street, Oakland, CA 94609-1246.

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NYJERDLY

AVA Editor,

A solution to the problem with the word niggardly might be found in the way the common name for Guizotia abyssinca has been handled. Guizoitia abyssinca is a popular bird feed especially savored by goldfinches and was once popularly known as niger. Facing problems similar to those that have caused problems for the word niggardly the spelling of niger is now Nyjer and without any apparent lessening of the pleasure it brings to the genus Spinus.

Harold Ericsson
Harbor City

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PAUL HARVEY: HOOVER STOOGE

Dear Editor:

Well. well, It looks like Paul Harvey the icon of radio had feet of clay. I first should say I found Harvey to be a crashing bore with an unbearable pomposity and his “Rest of the Story” insipid. It is now known Harvey for 20 years often sent his daily radio script to J. Edgar Hoover for comment and approval. In other words he was just another stooge for the FBI. Any reporter who sells his soul to the devil does not deserve the title of journalist.

In peace,
James G. Updegraff
Sacramento

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FOOD FOR THEM

Dear Editor,

What a strange dream I had. A couple of dozen staff members and I met with the KPFA manager, and I felt compelled at one point to stand up and get in his face a little with: “KPFA has never reported on the exponential rate of technological progress.”

Just off the top, one would have to admit that this was a pretty earth-shattering complaint to a manager, wasn't it? Well, here was the point I would have made, had the dream not ended as I woke up: Scientists for over a century have noticed the exponential rate of improvements. But, lately, to whom do these improvements accrue? Looking at the scandals of recent history, one would have to sadly conclude that the benefits of progress have largely accrued to the elites of society, more so in the USA than a lot of other countries, who have at least plowed some resources into bullet trains, free education, free health care, etc., while we in America have to be content with the likes of Fox News, Hannity, O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, and so many others to remind us of how good we have it here, and that the foreclosures, health care denials, unemployment, crumbling bridges, hunger, etc., are mere inconveniences at worst. To the pundits, the real scourges of society are the tax and spend liberals who actually want to spend money to fix some of these 'minor inconveniences'.

A visitor from another planet, having touched down on earth, and having spent some time comparing happiness levels in various countries, would have to admit that the USA could do better by its population. Instead, as our most recent decade shows, it seems we Americans would rather nourish our elites.

Ken Ellis
New Bedford, Massachussetts

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THE UNDEAD VS. THE LIVING

Editor,

“It’s alive! It’s alive!”

In the immediate aftermath of the Democratic Party’s debacle in the Massachusetts special election to replace Ted Kennedy in the U.S. Senate, the following headline appeared: “Democrats vow to revivify health care bill.” A quick check of the Oxford English Dictionary confirmed that “revivify” is a real word, meaning “To restore to animation or activity…” But is that the same thing as restoring something to life? Or, more to the point here, is it something that should be brought back into life? The word “revivify” immediately conjured up the gripping scene from the 1931 movie Frankenstein, in which Henry Frankenstein (Colin Clive) triumphantly screams into the storm ravaged sky overhead “It’s alive. It’s alive.” The monster (Boris Karloff), pieced together from the body parts of cadavers and a criminal’s brain and wired up to receive the power of lightning bolts from a midnight storm, twitched on the laboratory table suspended by cables on the roof of the abandoned windmill, closer, it would seem, to the dark powers of the universe.

In June 2009, Ted Kennedy was still fighting his own battle over cancer and at the same time pushing hard for a decent (if not perfect) health care bill. There was still hope. The bill working its way through the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which Kennedy chaired, promised to end the death grip of for-profit private health insurance. The bill promised the average American a publicly funded, single payer, medicine for all system, if that was what he or she preferred. It was designed to save 400 billion dollars per year “by no longer treating patients as “profit generators.” While others (Obama included) claimed that a new health care law should cover an additional 30 million Americans, Ted Kennedy was shooting for 55 million as the near term goal. Kennedy and his progressive colleagues sought, through the Affordable Health Choices Act to secure five standards for health care practice: promotion of preventive care, health system modernization, long term care and services, choice, and cost reduction. Of course, the bill was not perfect. What bill can be per¬fect if it takes 615 pages to state what should be said in a few, simple, equitable clauses of legalize? No mat¬ter said some, for it still held firm to public option and single payer principles.

No good bill goes unpunished became the whis-pered sentiment on the floors of Congress as the year wound down toward Christmas Eve. Max Baucus (who would have made a credible Fritz, Dr. Frankenstein’s hunched-back assistant) rubbed his hands before the cameras, declaring that public option and single payer provisions were off the table. The body that was on the table, ready to be animated by the supernatural powers of the Senate, had been vivisected and eviscerated before our very eyes. As Max’s funereal hand twitched dismissively of the dead Kennedy version, Mary Shelley’s words rang only too true: The Baucus bill “offends a point of view to the imagination for the delineating of human passions more comprehensive and commanding than any which the ordinary relations of existing events can yield.” All the while, President Obama, locked away in his magical tower uptown, made idle prattle about compromise as part of the natural order of things. Angry town meetings had captured the public’s attention---peasants at the castle gates who simply wanted the “monster-to-be” dead. John Boehner, the House Minority Leader, savaged the very idea of any bill that might emerge, saying the “…health care bill increases premiums for families and small businesses, raises taxes during a recession, cuts seniors’ Medicare benefits, adds to our skyrocketing debt, and puts bureaucrats in charge of decisions that should be made by patients and doctors.” And in the face of this, what did Nancy Pelosi, ‘venerable’ Speaker of the House, have to say? “We will have something.”

Come Christmas Eve, there was indeed “something” roaming the swamplands of health care reform, pieced together by a motley band of smarmy members of Congress. The turncoat Lieberman had his way with the last gasp of public option language being stripped away. Single payer language fell to the knives of every congressman or congresswoman whose pockets bulged with insurance company profits. The right to obtain prescription drugs at the cheapest price, no matter the source, fell away. A lone Nebraska senator got special dispensations to the tune of $100 million a year for his state, as well as mean-spirited language concerning termination of pregnancy provisions. The voices of the few, such as Bernie Sanders of Vermont, were driven to the outer boundaries of the debate, if not beyond. Dick Durban from North Dakota and others threw in the towel and announced that they are not to seek re-election in 2010.

If all this were not enough, enter the punitive hand of government. In both the Senate and House versions, the first innovation to be enshrined in a bill is to require citizens to have insurance, private for-profit insurance that is). Failure to obtain insurance would incur a fine (tax penalty) of $750 to $2250 or 2% of gross income, whichever amount is greater. And if one is defined as living only marginally above the poverty line, what then? Well, the government will chip in (from tax dollars it is assumed) to help the individual pay the private for-profit insurance company. Have we, as a people, entered the era where fleecing the average main street citizen through Wall Street schemes, bank usury fees, and jobs destroying free market policies is not enough? Now must we have our own government acting as enforcer and collection agent for private for-profit insurance companies? Not one elected official, on either side of the political divide, raised a hand with a copy of the constitution in it to object. Rather than provide anything approach¬ing a decent health care reform bill, all that congress is prepared to do, in 4,100 pages, is further enrich insurance companies and pharmaceuticals. It could indeed come to this, something very much alive, a monster, stalking the ways and byways of America in search of victims—sorry, “profit generators.”

Before Congress takes a desperate stab at ‘revivifying’ this monster of a bill, it is time for Americans, not as partisans, to gather up the pitchforks and torches and storm that derelict windmill on the hill, Congress. Something so unnatural, stitched together by the dead hands of profiteers and lobbyists and embedded with a dead, criminal, mind, must not be allowed to be energized. Let the dead stay dead.

Frank Graham
Rancho Navarro

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SOME FASCIST
Dear Editor,

Regarding Ayn Rand’s balls, outside of her cult Rand is generally considered a purveyor of high tone S&M erotica. I prefer the more proletarian thrills of “Peyton Place.”

Seriously, when Mr. Blue implies that the assassination of Dr. King was a good thing, the logical progression, following that Soviet/Nazi/totalitarian model, is that all socialists should be shot and “good riddance”: Bernard Shaw, George Orwell, Dorothy Day, etc.

Oh, that's right. Somebody did shoot Orwell, some fascist in Spain.

Peace out,
Richard Russell
Santa Clara

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WHAT ABOUT ROG?
Editor,

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat’s recent editorial about Mark McGwire (“Foul ball”) correctly noted that he broke the single-season home run record held by former great Yankee Roger Maris.

Many people are surprised to hear that Maris is not in baseball's Hall of Fame. In addition to his 1961 record-breaking season, he was a two-time MVP, a four-time all-star, played on three World Series champions and had a .982 fielding percentage (better than Willie Mays, Hank Aaron and Roberto Clemente). Former manager Whitey Herzog said, “Roger Maris is the best ballplayer ever to play the game who isn't in the Hall of Fame.”

Without players on steroids, Maris may still be the single-season home run champ. Now is a good time for the press to ask the veterans committee why they have not elected him and if they plan to vote for him next time, in 2011.

Anyone who wishes to sign an online petition supporting Maris for the Hall may do so at www.petitiononline.com/hofmaris.

McGwire told the Maris family he was sorry. Is he willing to sign the petition?

Larry Wagner
Sebastopol

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SUPREME OVERREACH

Editor,

Maybe they overreached a little too far this time. Perhaps the five black-robed neo-fascists just handed us a gift. The gift of clarity.

The Supreme Court's recent ruling, giving corporations unlimited influence in politics, repre-sents a giant goose step toward the Corporate State, where Big Money makes all the important decisions in government, and the citizen/rabble get to vote on things like how well Tom DeLay shook his booty on “Dancing with the Stars.”

The power grab here is obvious, and it has served to wake many people up. There is a growing movement, now, towards drafting an Amendment to the Constitution, to simply clarify the fact that corporations are not people. The stupidity of the notion illustrates just how far we have fallen, but it is sorely needed, for this legal fiction of “corporate personhood” is at the root of how Concentrated Wealth has managed to wrest all political power away from We the People.

Democracy is on the ropes in America. Grover Norquist has got the baby in the bathtub, a cruel smile on his face as he plunges it underwater, watching it cough and sputter. It's time for us to wake up and fight, or it's going to slip away.

Here's a couple places to get started: freespeechforpeople.org and citizen.org.

Mike Kalantarian
Navarro

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DEEP BLUE

Dear Editor,

Please keep up the phony “Al Blue” letters. Too funny. First Ayn Rand's balls and writing are good, and now “Don't waste your money on Haiti, send it to… Meg Whitman”? On second thought, maybe it's not you writing such brilliant satire. Might it be… Pynchon?

Steve Heilig
San Francisco

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MONOTONY RELIEF

Dear AVA,

My name is Cameron. I am an ex-resident of Philo. I have just recently moved from Redwood Valley to San Quentin. I just got here last week and am to serve about the next year here. I have a few locals from Mendocino County here with me and we were curious if there was any way we could get you to hook us up with a complimentary subscription to your paper so we could keep up with the local buzz since a few of us, like me, don’t have anybody even writing to us?

I don’t wanna be a charity case, but since good reading material is hard to come by here, I figured what they hell? So here I am petitioning you for your help in breaking up the monotony of 23.5 hours a day in a cell.

Thank you for your consideration and keep up the good work.

Cameron Hammond T-96266
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA 94974

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DEEP, DEEP CUTS

Editor,

Well it seems our governor on steroids has done it again, sticking it to the poor and underprivileged in Kalyfornya.

Upon receiving my monthly bank statement it was noticed a reduction of SSI contribution to my Social Security had occurred (without my notice) from $70 per month to $8 dollars per month! How sneaky!

What a blow since SSA and SSI represent my entire income and coming on the heels of the renters credit elimination.

I say impeachment now. Any student of higher education with me?

Don O’Malley
Trinidad
PS. Will in-home support services be next?

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BLUE’S THEORY BLOWN

Dear Al Blue,

Sorry to blow your theory, Al Blue. My letter was not a “concoction” of the AVA; rather a heartfelt comment from me, re: the obvious Clint Smith/Judge Brennan friendship.

Anyone in his/her right mind would have given this child molester a huge prison term. Unlikely with the Swillits brand of “justice” and ignorance.

Al, this “cabbage” can never be “chewed” enough. We are talking about the rape of a child. I won't be quiet and I won't let this go.

Neither should you.

Elizabeth Ryan
Fort Bragg

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