While we applaud Assemblywoman Sally Lieber's political bravery in proposing legislation to protect children from violent punishments, her bill now appears to have become a double-edged sword. The unintended consequence of AB 755 (in its present form) may be that, by virtue of what it doesn't proscribe, it will establish a catalog of approved mistreatment of children. Consider these few examples:
1) The bill prohibits "vigorous shaking" of children under 3. Logically, then, one must assume that it condones mild shaking of infants and vigorous shaking of children over 3. How's anyone to know at what point legal behavior has morphed into the illegal? (Of course, when brain or spinal chord injury occurs, everyone will belatedly agree the line has been crossed.)
2) May a parent who intends to administer a spanking first duct tape the child's mouth shut out of consideration for neighbors? Since AB 755 prohibits interference with breathing, just leave the child's nose free.
3) May a parent who is intoxicated spank an infant? Many do. It's no crime in California.
4) May a father deliver a bare-bottom spanking to his teenage daughter? Stepdaughter? They're all legal as far as anyone can tell.
It seems to me that as long as we leave standing a statutory defense for assault and battery, merely giving it a cute name and applying it selectively to children, we have failed to live up to the standard of "equal protection under the law." My hope is that California will decide sooner rather than later to plug child abusers' legal loophole.
Jordan Riak, Alamo
Keep politics out of parade
Ever since moving to Danville several years ago, the annual Fourth of July parade has been one of our family's summer highlights. Last year, however, I was shocked and angered by the appearance of a participant that has long worked against the interests of the American family and against most of what America stands for: the ACLU. This communist-founded organization is constantly at work protecting social vermin instead of protecting us from their depredations. In addition to the ACLU, other overtly-political participants included delegations from the Democrat and Republican parties as well, with the Democrat party walking down the street holding anti-war posters.
A Fourth of July parade is a time to bring all Americans together, reminding them of this country's greatness. Inserting politics destroys this unity by pointing to our differences. (Of course, having elected officials parade is another matter entirely.) The Danville Fourth of July parade should return to its roots as a strong symbol of Danville's unity and patriotism.
I encourage all who agree with my viewpoint to contact the parade organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them to not accept any applications from political organizations.
Nicholas Yakoubovsky, Danville
Nuremburg Trials needed again
Pete McCloskey in a recent news story missed an essential point regarding Watergate and what effect it has now. Before Nixon waved good-bye, he picked his own successor Ford. Nixon was not indicted but was pardoned by in Gerald Ford.
If Nixon was instead indicted and convicted for real war crimes, including bombing Cambodia and lying about it, then the current president would not so flagrantly violate the law.
In 2006 when asked about Nuremburg Trials for Bush et al, McCloskey said it was not in the cards and would not be good for the country. It is that kind of thinking during Watergate that left us with the remnants of that infection, bringing us to the insane state of affairs visited us by the Bush Empire builders, cheats and torturers.
Pete looks at this as merely corruption that has to be weeded out every so often. As long as the executive is above the law, we are headed toward empire and away from democracy. Nuremburg Now! Impeach, indict, commit war crimes, go to jail! The executive branch must understand that it's not above the law.
Ellis Goldberg, Danville
Dangers of trans-fats
For an eighth-grade project we studied trans-fats in fast food. We found out that eating fast food is pollution to your body. Trans-fats are used in foods that need to have a long shelf life. They are created when food manufacturers put hydrogenated oils into food. Many trans-fats are found in fast foods. New York City recently banned artery-clogging fats such as trans-fats from being used in restaurants, becoming the first city in the nation to do so. Restaurants will have until July 2008 to eliminate their usage.
Eating trans-fats increases the risk of coronary heart disease. The arteries clog up from high blood cholesterol. This disease occurs when the arteries that supply the heart with blood become hardened and contracted. This happens because of the buildup of plaque. This all causes the blood flow to slow down so much that it can result in angina, which is pain or discomfort in the chest, or a heart attack or even heart failure.
The government has started us the world more aware of trans-fats. One thing they have done is made it mandatory to list the amount of trans-fats on the food label. This law was effective Jan. 1, 2006. Another thing they could do is ask restaurants to voluntarily phase out trans-fats from their kitchens or make them list the amount of trans-fats on their menu items. They could also put more health awareness commercials on television. With the amount of people that watch TV daily, people all around the country will be enlightened about the harms of trans-fat.
Darius Kusha, Donald Sherwood, David Redmon
The Athenian School