Press "Enter" to skip to content

Letters (Mar 16, 2016)

* * *



There are two "wild card" candidates running in the primaries this year, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders. Granted, Trump is a lot wilder than Sanders, but as far as Democrats go Bernie "the Socialist" is getting pretty far out there. This is the year of the wild card.

Like the last time the baseball Giants won the Series, when they backed into the playoffs as the lowliest wild card team, then woke up and beat all the better-record teams to win the title. That was the year of Bumgarner.

But here we are two years later, and Americans want their political candidates anti-establishment. So up pops Donald Trump, one of the most unlikely candidates of all time, who finds himself boasting and berating his way to the top of the Republican heap. The GOP establishment is terrified (as are we all) but Donald is the man of the moment and he is seizing the opportunity. Trump has not locked it up yet, but it is getting very close.

On the other side, the Democratic Party has done a better job of propping up their establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, and suppressing the people's will for something a little more risky. Many Democratic voters deeply Feel the Bern but the donkey overlords are steadily tamping that fire, and that will be to their ultimate detriment.

For if it comes down to Trump, the outsider, versus Clinton, the insider, I think the crude huckster will win. He will have passion and excitement and energy on his side, whereas Democrats will be trudging to the polls with betrayal, anger, and disappointment. President Trump will be a nasty shock, but not a surprise, and it will be just what the donkeys deserve. Sometimes, when things get rough, it helps to have a lighter hand on the tiller.

Mike Kalantarian


* * *



I was communicating with Bruce Anderson last week about my experience of sending emails in the last several months to a number of authors/psychologists/psychiatrists/psychiatric survivor advocates plugging my recent articles printed in the AVA about my experience as a mental health client, going off psych meds after being on them for 20 years, and a book review by a psychologist about the depression epidemic. I was complaining that not one of these people replied to my emails and that I would've preferred a brief, blunt "We're not interested" to getting "blown off", and Bruce pointed out that most likely these people were too busy with their own work to have time to reply.

This in turn made me reflect on the virtue of busyness in modern American life. Certainly being busy is one of the most esteemed virtues a modern American can have, regardless of what activities one is occupying himself with. I think the #1 reason busyness is glorified is that Americans equate it with being productive, which in an industrial capitalistic society is the predominant honor. Ideally one's busyness is hoped to be economically productive, but for someone like a housewife who isn't employed, taking care of her kids and husband and home is a socially approved form of being productive.

I think there is another reason that busyness is a virtue which is just as significant as productivity but which people are not as aware of and therefore there's not much discussion about, and that is being busy to distract ourselves from feelings, specifically painful feelings. Feelings such as fear, sadness, and anger that are painful or that we know are socially frowned upon or could get us pathologized with a mental illness diagnosis cause the vast majority of Americans to dissociate, meaning basically to distance ourselves from our feelings to not experience them or be aware of them. Alcohol, illegal drugs, and psychiatric drugs are all popular methods of dissociation in America that make money for a lot of people, but food, television, sex, gambling, compulsive exercise, even reading can be used to dissociate.

In a culture where productivity is worshipped and in which the Protestant work ethic has been a significant influence, busyness is an esteemed way to avoid one's feelings. A major challenge for me is to find people who are willing to take time away from their busy lives to give me slots of time in person (or less ideally on the phone), but I honestly feel that being ignored or "blown off", although a reality of modern American life, is not something to tacitly accept.

Keith Bramstedt

San Anselmo

* * *


To the Editor:

The Ukiah Senior Center is no fun any more.

Few men can retire at 50 years as I did, which has given me time to observe the changes in our area both between the genders, our local economy, our choices in entertainment and lately even our senior center. I miss the days when my lady looked to me as her protector and provider. I miss our county’s pears, apples, lumber mills and Masonite jobs. Today we are stuck with just casino gambling, marijuana dope medication, alcohol grapes to treat addictions and mental illness plus gang activities due to culture change. Over the last 40 years of my retirement, our Senior Center has given us weekly pure enjoyment like dances, Valentines Day, Halloween, New Years events, Special Olympics dance for the kids, and cooked-on-site daily lunches featuring our own portion choices. Now we seniors 70 to 105 have no night transportation from MTA or senior buses. We are offered advanced directive shows for our demise, when to get a caregiver, subjects I for one need no help deciding. Although we are still here, as the ice cream social attendance attests to, the new board talks of a new center being built. I question that. The center cannot serve those of us still here now. It is all a generation gap.

Gene Hoggren

Redwood Valley.

* * *


To the Editor:

I responded to an add from Mendocino County Animal Services to foster a sweet little dog who had mange and was completely hairless and needed a warm place to crash.

Fostering seemed like a good idea, at first. Once I went and picked up Minnie it was all over from there. The staff was not only rude but treated me like I was an inconvenience for saving this poor pup. Not once did they call me and ask how she was. In fact, I called the shelter multiple times to try to get her into the vet and get the medical treatments she needed. After the shelter manager gave me one medication she was done. Who made her a vet anyway?

Minnie did not get better, she got worse. I proceeded to take Minnie to my own vet, I had no choice, she was sick. I wasn’t going to let her die. After thousands of dollars later, multiple medications and treatments, it was determined that she had an enlarged heart and a heart murmur and sever allergies. There was no way I was taking her back to that disgusting, unsanitary, God forsaken place, so I adopted her at full price. She’s happy and healthy today, no thanks to Mendocino County Animal Services!

I’m furious with our county for not taking responsibility and stepping in to deal with these types of problems, suffering and lack of medical attention. Why not let a non-profit take over? Anything would be better than what I witnessed/ I want our government representatives to do something about the situation down there and let Petaluma Animals Services step in.

Amy King


* * *


Dear Editor:

46% Of The Population In California Are Prediabetic

A new study county by county just released by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy showed high percentage of people in California are prediabetic. It needs to be understand the study is about diabetes 2 which is preventable. Diabetes 1 which is typically genetic and is not preventable accounts for 5% of all diabetes and is controlled by insulin. If untreated diabetes 2 can result in leg amputations, blindness, liver disease, kidney failure, heart attacks and strokes. The study showed 46% of Californians are prediabetic and 33% of people age 18 to 39 are prediabetic. 55% of all Californians are estimated to be either diabetic or pre prediabetic. Prediabetic Californians 'go hand in hand' with increasing rates of obesity said Dr. Susan Babey, co-author of the study. "It goes back to sedentary kids. We're less active than we should be or use to be . Our diets are not as good as they should be. We don't eat enough fruits and vegetables. we eat too much sugar." If untreated up to 30% of those with prediabetes will develop diabetes within 5 years and 70% will develop the disease in their lifetime.

In peace and love,

Jim Updegraff


Be First to Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *