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November 15-21, 2006

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Letters to the Editor

Technology and War

Peter Byrne's article "Wired World" (Nov. 8) was both inspiring and deeply disappointing to me.

It's great to read "it will take more than voting for a democrat to reverse the militarism and . . . thievery that befouls America." And it's very important that someone holds Rachel Corrie, Brad Will and Marla Ruzicka as examples of young people who are willing to stand up and look for peaceful and actually helpful ways to put themselves on the line in world events. We need more of them and we need young people to hear about them to know of ways they can contribute.

But what we don't need are more red herrings, like blaming these people's deaths or the alienation of America's youth on technology or television.

The old men in power here, and in Israel, Oaxaca, and Iraq, did not grow up watching television. A simple look at the ocean of blood that is human history shows that war, exploitation, oppression and lack of empathy were not invented by television, and that the alienation engendered by watching television is only the latest stage of alienation started the first time that we called ourselves "I". Alienation is our birthright; it is alienation that allows us to stand back and discuss such matters, and it allows us to decide to attend to the now.

Youth are apathetic because they have grown up in a false democracy where the only choice is a vote for a rich person who will do nothing to question the status quo, and, yes, watching news and the framing of reality presented by the ruling class in for-profit arenas that do not offer routes to changing power or reality.

Let us honor the lives of Rachel Corrie, Marla Ruzicka and Brad Will by calling youth to stand up to power, to work to know themselves and their wounds deeply, and to stand up and say "no" to further wounding.

Loring Vogel, Sebastopol

Pro-Choice

The good news is that the Republicans lost. The bad news is that the Democrats won. We deserve more and better choices.

Ken Ward, Guerneville

Great American Smoke-Out

Despite the defeat of Proposition 86 (the tobacco tax), the American Cancer Society remains committed to preventing lung cancer and disease, discouraging the next generation from smoking and reducing tobacco use across the nation.

I'd like to remind your readers that Thursday, Nov. 16, is the 30th anniversary of the Great American Smokeout. Tobacco is still the leading cause of death in our nation, accounting for one out of every three cancer deaths in California every year. Today, an estimated 45 million U.S. adults smoke despite the known associated health risks.

And to all the ex-smokers in our community: Congratulations on your success in living a tobacco-free life! You have greatly reduced your risk of diseases such as cancer, heart disease and lung disease--not to mention reducing your community's exposure to the hazards of second-hand smoke. I commend your achievements and hope you will join us in celebrating 30 years of the Great American Smokeout!

To assist people who still smoke and double their chances of quitting for good, the American Cancer Society has developed resources such as www.cancer.org/smokeout and the toll-free number 1.800.ACS.2345. Both are accessible 24/7 to help smokers manage a plan to quit.

Karen Morris, Health Programs Manager, American Cancer Society

Rush-Hour Poetry

Hard to believe that we again have not approved a measure that would reduced the amount of traffic on Highway 101 at the rush hours. Here is my tribute to our joint stupidity:

        "Route 101 at Rush Hour"
        No train, no bus goes where I go
        at times that work for me,
        all I see are cars fronting my flow,
        on this road my life ebbs away.

        Once, twice and thrice a charm
        we voted against transit trains
        no riff-raff to Marin, no alarm
        on this road my life ebbs away.

        Only teachers, no stowaways,
        paralegals and nurses to visit,
        only lawyers and doctors stay.
        on this road my life ebbs away.

        The hours I spend are not magic
        fraying my nerve endings every one
        keeping my blood pressure tragic,
        on this road my life ebbs away.

        On this road every day to day,
        bumper to bumper, no way to get
        from here to there, to job, to play,
        on this road my life ebbs away.

Sam Doctors, San Anselmo


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