Letter to the Editor 1/29/99

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Re: Rebecca Schoenkopf's piece on adopting two cats (Commie Girl, Jan. 15): I have been involved with animal rescue work in Orange County for about 10 years. The situation is grim, but public education about "bunchers" (people-husbands, wives and children-who make their living by rounding up stray animals of all kinds and/or people's pets who are not inside a house or enclosed, inaccessible space) and the danger of "free animals" advertisements is bringing about awareness. The pre-adoption interview, paperwork and follow-up procedures probably would seem oppressive and unnecessary to many people wishing to adopt an animal, but to those of us who have witnessed the results of animal abuse (including neglect), it is a necessity! Rules and regulations are made with potential offenders in mind, but all of us are ultimately affected.

With reference to Schoenkopf's remark about why the animal-rights activists are not out feeding humans instead (a question posed to me on numerous occasions), I can only give a personal answer: I view animals as "innocents," along with children and the developmentally disabled; basically, those without a voice. I feel that the latter do have advocates-in Orange County at least. Even the homeless can go to a supermarket or restaurant and ask for food. I have been homeless, and I have done it. The same obviously cannot be said for the thousands of starving animals in OC.

I do, however, appreciate Schoenkopf's coverage of her experience. At the very least, it brought attention to the issue. My life has been irrevocably altered by the scenes of dogs with no skin left after being punished with baths of sulfuric acid; cats deliberately left during the summer with bowls of anti-freeze instead of water; starving momma cats weighing 1 pound or less trying to feed their emaciated, dying kittens after being placed in dumpsters. And then there were the cases of dogs-who were heard by neighbors crying pitifully-who had been chained to trees without food or water by the "nice" people who moved a week or two earlier.

-Cat Cassidy, Costa Mesa


In your Jan. 15 Letters section, a reader states that Commie Girl "has nothing to say of any real interest to anyone," and another reader writes that her column is "drivel." What stupidity. How dare the first reader assume to speak for everyone? And drivel? Commie Girl is one of the few opinion columns that capture my interest. Unlike most opinion columns, Commie Girl's does not fill me with loathing because of some idiotic agenda or political predisposition. Her column is witty, smart and original.

I view this world through the jaundiced eyes of a cynic, a world only made bearable by a little comic relief-relief I can find while sitting on Main Street in Huntington Beach drinking a Jamba Juice and enjoying Rebecca Schoenkopf's column in the Weekly.

If an original point of view-a funny one, at that-is considered drivel, then drivel is something I've been looking for in editorials for some time now.

-William Ash, Tustin


I don't get it. Maybe it's the chicken-egg syndrome. The public likes President Bill Clinton, even though they understand what a moral mess he is, because he is "doing a good job." As a result, they don't want to see him impeached-but if he is impeached, then definitely not convicted. Maybe there is a collective brilliance in all this.

While Congress spends its energy debating Clinton's fitness for office, the economy booms along. We know that the government doesn't produce anything and can only drag the economy down, so . . . as long as they are busy with Clinton, they can't make economic mischief, and sure enough, "Clinton is doing a good job!"

I believe the public, in a manner analogous to a flock of birds wheeling and swooping as one, is delicately orchestrating the impeachment to achieve the current result by supporting the president in the polls, but maintaining its apathy toward the whole mess so that there is no immediate resolution.

If my thesis is correct, Wyn Hilty's frustration, which she expressed in her column about Buy.com (Machine Age, Jan. 19), at "the failure of direct democracy" is mistaken. She (and the three Web sites mentioned in her column) may be playing a role in the public wheeling and swooping. Thanks for your help with the economy!

-Bill Mackintosh, Anaheim


In response to F.X. Feeney's defense of The Thin Red Line (Film, Jan. 15): I thought Nick Nolte and Sean Penn and most of the cast were very good. However, John Travolta and George Clooney were practically wearing signs that read, "What Am I Doing in This Movie?" And Woody Harrelson? Sheesh! Never have I been so glad to see an American soldier killed off in a war movie, especially the way he was. While the scenery was great, it pissed me off that Penn was always asking what were they doing there. I mean, Pearl Harbor had happened a couple of months before. In 1942, an American newspaperman asked U.S. troops on Guadalcanal what they were fighting for. One said, "mom" and another called over "apple pie." And a phrase that defined an era was born.

Yet director Terrence Malick has us watching a movie filled with moral ambiguity and the Japanese on an equal moral plane with the U.S. troops. Could you imagine actors who lived through that period like John Wayne, Lee Marvin (a Marine on Guadacanal), Jimmy Stewart or Henry Fonda running around in a movie about World War II asking, "Why are we fighting?" Hey, Malick, make your next war movie about Vietnam. The Thin Red Line makes you look stupid.

-Greg Hubers, Huntington Beach


This is in reply to Steve Lowery's article titled "Hot-Air Jordan" (Sports, Jan. 15): In presenting a case that Magic Johnson was greater than Mike, Lowery missed key facts about Michael Jordan that will probably stand the test of time in proving that Mike was the greatest ever. Air Jordan won six championships without a great center, while Larry Bird had Robert Parish, Dr. J had Moses Malone, and Magic had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Plus, when Jordan left basketball to play baseball, the NBA crown was won by Houston, which has Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwan, the best center in basketball.

And Jordan was a better defensive player than Magic.

Now, the big man will dominate basketball once again, and never again will a guard without a great center wear the crown six times.

-Robert J. Kachur, Cardiff by the Sea

I'm not even a huge basketball fan, but Lowery is wrong: Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever. Sure, Jordan did not take social or political stances; Magic sure as hell did, and it cost him his career and, eventually, his life. Doesn't Lowery think it is incredible that an athlete of Jordan's level went through his career without any serious allegations? Kids can look up to him, not Magic. I salute Jordan for being able to go out on top, even if he can't hit a curveball. Of course stats count. Otherwise, Mark McGwire's 70 homers wouldn't be important. And if I could sell shoes, underwear, phone calls and cereal for an extra $20 million to $30 million per year, I probably would. Wouldn't you?

-Paul Olson, via e-mail

BRAVO, BRAVO and BRAVO. Mr. Lowery's article on Michael Jordan is hard-hitting and straight to the truth of the matter. I have been saying the exact same thing for years, but no one wants to hear it. I could not have said it better myself.

-Rhonda Allen, Anaheim


I've got to agree with Supervisor Tom Wilson. These toll roads have their purpose. I've never enjoyed so much free meat. Hunting was always illegal in the middle of Orange County, but I've traded in my rifle for a transponder, and I'm on the FastTrak to free meals! I drive the toll roads in search of fresh venison. I've done my best hunting near the bridges. Even before the Eastern Toll Road opened, deer were jumping to their deaths. (I simply followed the circling vultures; a road-kill gourmet has to be crafty.) This spring, I'll be adding owl, snake and possum stew. (Poor, stupid, country animals don't know about freeways.)

The Antonio to Oso segment of the Foothill Toll Road just opened, and like the rest of the toll roads, it's not properly fenced for wildlife. So now's the time to eat hearty, before all the wildlife's gone. Get yourself a road-kill cookbook and enjoy! Don't let the wildlife go to waste!

Mr. Wilson, I owe you a dinner. I can't wait until you run the Foothill right beside my favorite wildlife reserve. Wow! Will my freezer be full, and I can't wait to taste mountain-lion meat. (We've made it illegal to hunt 'em, but we know how to get 'em, don't we Tom?)

Bon appetit!

-Leslie Long, San Juan Capistrano


It's amazing how conservative Republicans want to claim great literature for their own on a superficial level without examining its true contents. Take Ken Starr comparing himself to Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. To quote Carville, "How horrific it must be for Harper Lee to hear the esteemed inspector [Starr], an unabashed trampler of constitutional rights, try to evoke a comparison between himself and Atticus Finch." We caught Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) pulling the same trick in R. Scott Moxley's article "Hustled: Hustler publisher may out Southern California congressman" (The County, Jan. 22).

William Golding would blow chunks to hear Rohrabacher's literary pretensions on Lord of the Flies. Rohrabacher just doesn't get Golding's great novel. Can we blame him since he barely remembers it's a novel and not just "that movie"? Rohrabacher invokes the power of the conch in Lord of the Flies as a symbol of respect for the laws that uphold civilization and prevent "degeneration into . . . savagery." Ironically, Rohrabacher then uses the conch as a shield to hide Republican descent into savagery. The fact that the conch is never used in the novel to hide one's misdeeds must've gone right over his head.

However, Rohrabacher got one part right: there's a lot of hiding in the novel. The antagonist, Jack, paints his face with blood and clay to liberate himself from his conscience and the confines of morality. You could say he's anti-conch, but, like Rohrabacher, he'd like to claim it, too. As Larry Flynt assumes the role of Piggy in the novel (a.k.a. the voice of morality and right behavior) by trying to hold everyone accountable to the same standards, Rohrabacher, like Jack, wants him and his cohorts to be above accountability to the conch ("Personal attacks on us must stop, and they will not be tolerated"). In essence, Rohrabacher is screaming at "Piggy" to avert his eyes while he smashes the pesky shell.

Rohrabacher must not have read the dramatic climax of the novel or missed it during a popcorn run. As public school teachers, we can't let him forget. Here it is: Piggy martyrs himself in defense of his democratically elected leader, his brains dashed on the rocks by Jack and his cronies to destroy civilization on the island and gain partisan power. Gee, what lessons can be learned here?

Destroying democracy to gain partisan power! Shame, shame, shame! Hands off the conch, Dana!

-Brian and Amy Caulfield, Costa Mesa


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