Opinion » Letters



Feel like pulling up stakes?

Perhaps the ones complaining about our right to criticize our leaders should move to Cuba or China where the only naying they will hear is from the bleating sheep they are following.

Steve Hardy





I don't need to be reminded about evil

Encouraged by the $10 ratings given to No Country for Old Men by New Times movie critics Glen Starkey and Scott Hamilton (Dec. 6), I went to see the movie. I hadn't read the review and had no expectations except that it was a Coen brothers production, and that was impressive enough for my companion to hold it in high regard.

Midway through the film, I left the theater in anger and revulsion. When I got home, I read the review. I have come to the conclusion that due to the declining quality of today's movie entertainment, movie critics who are subjected to repeated exposure to graphic violence end up brain damaged. To tout the sickening display of man's inhumanity to man and, worse yet, to admit you went back to view it again is testimony enough to support my contention.

The movie's redeeming value, according to Starkey, is the revelation of the idea: Evil is. When will the fact that "Good is" get equal time? People wonder why there is so much violence in the world today. Well, folks, it passes as entertainment in our theaters. This movie wasn't just violent, it was gut-wrenching, sadistic gore.

I have lost respect for all who put together that movie. They could not have paid me enough to hire me to be associated with its making. We don't have to be beaten over the head to know there is evil "out there." Newspaper headlines remind us of that depressing reality every day. There is no case to be made for the making of this disgusting film.

Carolyn Sokol





Hodin cartoon wasn't funny

On behalf of the local employees of Rabobank, I'd like to express our disappointment with your decision to publish the bank robbery cartoon (Hodin) in your Jan. 3 edition.

We all know that Rabobank has an unusual name that is easy to poke fun at. However, in light of the recent robberies in the county, it is extremely insensitive to our employees--and to those at First Bank, Los Padres Bank, and Downey Savings, who were also victimized. Imagine if someone walked into New Times and threatened your employees. I doubt you'd be making light of that.

Steven Harding

regional president





California should have more clout

My fellow Californians (or at least those in SLO County): We are being ignored, and I propose that we not take it any more. Is it not astonishing that we, the Golden State, home to the most voters of any state in the union, are second-class citizens compared to the puny Iowa and the tiny New Hampshire? On these states the presidential hopefuls lavish their time, money, and efforts, while ignoring our fair and populous state.

For months--and, in one case, nearly a year--the candidates of both parties camp out in Iowa and New Hampshire, while ignoring the good people of California. We are an afterthought, a has-been, an also-ran. So we moved our primary up to February, assuming we would then weigh in on the Great Presidential Race. Hah! Haven't you heard the media say once again that Iowa and New Hampshire will cut the candidate pool in half?

The shame of that, the ignominy, the injustice! We, the Californians, a truly representative group of Americans if ever there was one, should decide who drops out and who stays in the race--not Iowa, not New Hampshire, not South Carolina! And so I say, "Seize the day!" Feb. 5 is not good enough for us. We want Jan. 2. We demand to be first and foremost in the campaigns of our nation. Let those who decide these things know that this is the last time we will put up with being "no see-ums" (and no count-ums)!

Judith Bernstein

Paso Robles




Let's get rid of plastic bags!

I think it is a wonderful idea to ban the plastic bag from SLO County ("Paper of plastic? SLO County shoppers may soon not have a choice," Dec. 27). Yes, we are a coastal county and yes, plastic bags do pose a hazard to marine life. SLO County was the first county in the world to go smoke-free, so why not plastic bag free?

I have been anti-plastic bag for many years now. I keep my own canvas bags in the car with me, and use them instead of getting throw-away bags. The canvas bags are inexpensive. Trader Joe's has canvas bags for $3 each. It is really easy once you get into the habit of remembering to bring the canvas bags into the store with you. On the few times that I forget or when I am traveling and do not have my bags with me, it really bothers me to take those bags, and they give you so many of them!

I noticed in the Jan. 3 edition of New Times that Donna Dempsey from the Progressive Bag Alliance is suggesting to use the plastic-bag recycling bins located at the grocery stores for those plastic bags ("Bag recycling should be status quo"). I am all for recycling. I have been an avid recycler for many years. Anything and everything that can be recycled, reused, or composted is my motto!

But what about all of those plastic bags that do not get recycled, that end up in the landfill, or hanging in the trees, or in the ocean?

Let's do it SLO County! Let's go plastic-bag free!

Elaine Genasci

San Luis Obispo




Here's what I gave this season

Thank you so much for Gina Turley's commentary, "Giving is easy" (Jan. 3). I, too, am in the habit of giving.

This holiday season just past was a bounty for me. I received three boxes of chocolates from my family, but donated even more.

Among my food gifts were a jumbo can of Dinty Moore beef stew, two cans apiece of chicken and turkey chili, several boxes of chocolates, two containers of Quaker Oats, assorted pasta, two cans of smokehouse almonds, a can of wasabi and soy sauce-flavored almonds and a can of chili lime almonds, candy peanuts and dinner mints, cashews and mixed nuts, and more.

In addition, I bought four books for donation to needy school libraries over the holidays and Whitman's chocolates for all city bus drivers.

Not everyone has the means to give on such a scale, but I'm frugal, and such generosity seems to stretch my dollars. I don't have wealth, but I know my life matters. Thank you, Gina.

Steve T. Kobara

San Luis Obispo




A mysterious bike donor strikes again!

Here's a big thank you to the generous, anonymous "Bike Man" who delivered two new bikes, complete with helmets and locks, to Big Brothers Big Sisters just in time for Christmas. Little Sister Sage, one of the children who received a bike, states, "Thank you for making my Christmas more special with a beautiful blue bike." Little Brother Chris, the second bike recipient, said "it's such a nice 'BIG' bike. Thank you for thinking about me. I am so excited to ride with by Big Brother." For the past five years, the "Bike Man" has been spreading holiday joy to the children in our agency and we thank you for your generosity.

Lynda Lowry

program specialist

Big Brothers Big Sisters of SLO County




Environmentalism is genetic and destructive

Have you ever wondered where these people come from who not only resist any change, but also become hostile if anyone tries to disagree with them? An anthropologist, Professor Sheldon Harmon of the University of Wisconsin, has determined that the Neanderthals carried a gene that led them to resist change and finally led to their extinction.

The Cro-Magnons were progressive and proceeded to advance tools and protected housing and built what civilization has become today. Unfortunately, there was a certain amount of inbreeding that passed on the gene, which now produces the environmentalist of today. They are against any change that is necessary for the adoption of our growing population and the energy requirement we have built into transportation and the industrial world.

Unfortunately, these modern day environmentalists have such a dread of change that they go to great lengths to make sure the United States remains dependent on foreign oil and anything else necessary for our welfare.

Many of them feel that man's activity is causing Earth's climate change, ignoring sunspots and changes in ocean currents. So when we are confronted by these people, just remember they have inherited the Neanderthal gene and will lead us to extinction if we let them.

Norman Mehl

Santa Maria




What happened to our founding fathers' goals?

Californians have know for years that the government has too many employees, and our government leaders pay out ridiculous wages, perks, and pensions because of union pressure. We now have a house of cards.

The government also gives away too much money to illegal aliens bankrupting our schools, hospitals, and the welfare system. The welfare handouts for the last 40-plus years have been a complete failure, causing more poverty, not less. A hand up with churches, charities, friends, and family worked so much better than a handout with no limit.

California also has too many full time employees doing services that the private sector companies could do for a fraction of current costs on an as-needed basis--qualified companies low bid. That's the way our founding fathers wanted it. What happened?

Kevin O'Connor

Santa Barbara'




Here's my pick for Man of the Year

Time Magazine has chosen its "Man of the Year" as being Vladimir Putin, former KGB agent and president of the Russian Federation.

Putin has been methodically working toward moving the political philosophy of Russia from a "sovereign democracy" to a dictatorship. On Sept. 12, 2007, he dissolved the functions of the government in order to give himself a "free hand." Putin has been publicly critical of the foreign policies of the United States.

Now, I would like to pick my Man of the Year: The American Soldier. The term "soldier" includes all armed forces serving in Iraq, the soldier who has gone where no person would choose to go, a God-forsaken place, i.e., Iraq, risked his life, and lived daily with death.

We all live in the comfort and opulence of all we have in the United States, in honor of the U.S. fighting man.

The American Soldier is truly the outstanding hero of our generation, and not only Man of the Year for 2007, but Man of the Year every year.

Arthur Cullati

Santa Maria

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