A Reader For The White House

I want to commend you for a marvelous, marvelous article on Mr. Bersin and his pattern of operations over the years (“Obama Taps Alan Bersin to Oversee the Border,” Cover Story, November 19). My hope is that the Reader has sent a copy of that to the chief of staff in the White House, because I think Obama is about to make the biggest mistake of his life, which he’s not going to recoup from with the U.S.-Mexican relationship.

Clyde Wahl
El Cajon

Snit, Snivel, Snob

Re “A Snob to the Core” (Letters, November 19).

Funk and Wagnalls defines snob as “One who makes birth, wealth, or education the sole criterion of worth.” E. Dunne defines it as someone who expresses knowledge and appreciation for wine. The writer then projects hateful and insulting characteristics upon Barbarella and her husband while exposing his or her own prejudice and ignorance concerning the subject. This hypocrisy-laden rant was punctuated when I read the two words defined directly before snob in the dictionary, namely, snit and snivel. If the shoe fits.…

Gene E. Schwartz
Pacific Beach

Old Black Crowes

Happy to see some love for the Black Crowes (“Of Note,” November 19), but how about a current picture? The band members have changed a lot since this out-of-date photo was taken.

Name Withheld by Request
via email

Heartfelt Hypothesis

Finally! A “Sheep and Goats” column (November 19) that doesn’t rate a church on a star system and that reveals, by implication, what we Theists have known for a half-dozen millennia:

Atheism is a religion.

Atheism is not merely the absence of belief in God. Atheism is a heartfelt belief in the hypothesis that God does not exist. Many Atheists are as zealous of their faith as the most zealous Theists. In the function of worship, Atheism is polytheistic. Atheists worship many gods. Self, the dignity of man, relativism, and hedonism are among the many objects of Atheist veneration. The religious system of Atheism boils down to humanity worshipping humanity and human ideas.

Atheism’s claims are as unprovable as any other religion; therefore, the Atheist depends on faith in the Atheistic hypothesis. Faith is not a virtue in itself; the merit of the object of one’s faith determines the value of one’s faith. If you want to place your faith in the idea that God does not exist, that is your right and privilege. Just remember that you are placing your faith in an idea that originated with man. It is written, Cursed is the man that puts his trust in Man.

To all who have placed their faith in Atheism, I present six propositions. I am not seeking to prove these propositions, merely to state them: (1) God exists; (2) God has revealed Himself; (3) God makes sense; (4) God has a plan; (5) You are the object of God’s plan; (6) You owe God a hearing.

To anyone who is without Christ, without hope, and without eternal life: Jesus Christ had you personally in mind when He went to the cross. Every sin you have ever committed, past, present, or future, was imputed to Christ on the cross and judged, with the result that anyone that believes in Jesus Christ shall never perish but receive eternal life. Jesus Christ is the worthy object of faith. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

Name Withheld by Request

Hope On The Bridge

I want to thank Ed Bedford for the story on Mexico (“México,” November 12). I, too, have gone over the “walking” bridge myself for about ten years. It was there that I also met Jorge. Every time I was in TJ, I stopped to talk with him and shared my Delicatos and mescal. This was long before they set up the twin police towers on both sides of the bridge. That young man gave me a lot of hope when I least expected it. Always had a smile and a hello as I was walking to downtown. Thanks again — you brought back a lot of great memories.

Keith R.
via email

What Violence?

Thank you for the fair and touching story on Baja and why so many people love it (“México,” Cover Story, November 12). The things that writer Ed Bedford fondly remembers are still here. The drug-related violence, though disturbing anywhere — in Mexico or the U.S. — almost without exception does not target or affect those not involved in the drug trade.

It is unfortunate that some fixated media coverage has kept many people away, because Baja if anything might be safer than ever. I’m in my fifth year of living here full-time (and have been a frequent visitor for more than 30 years) and have yet to even witness a crime, although they surely can and do occur in any country. Nor, as someone who’s here every day, have I seen any drug-related violence, which some in the U.S. have come to believe is so prevalent here.

Thank you again, and I’d be happy to buy Ed a cerveza down here anytime.

Ron Raposa
International Public Relations Representative
Playas de Rosarito

Amerigo Round

Although I thoroughly enjoyed Ed Bedford’s cover piece on his varied, picturesque treks and sojourns across the border (“México,” November 12), it brought home something that’s always bewildered and annoyed me. In brief, the name “America” was mentioned more than once to describe not the entire hemisphere but merely the U.S. This misnomer has always infuriated me.

Listen. America’s a hemisphere and continent, not any one country, regardless of how much more advanced and sophisticated or mighty or what have you the U.S. deems itself to be, or even actually is.

In fact, let’s not forget whom it was named after: Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian explorer, for Chrissake. Moreover, the Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, and French were the first westerners to arrive here, not the English.

My suspicion is this misnomer — which nearly everybody seems to have bought into — stems from some overpowering need to snub and dehumanize the Spanish-speaking Americas to the detriment and exclusion of its people, in favor of some jingoistic, spread-eagle cultural imperative that serves to further divide and antagonize this land — the American continent! This at a time when so much progress needs to be made toward bridging that ever-widening gap that divides it.

And just for the record — I’m not anti-Yankee at all. Not in the least. Truthfully, I love this country with all my heart. It’s just that certain things really burn me, and this is one of them, simply because it’s wrong and really hinders things rather than helps.

Seriously! The continent is in deep trouble! And as much as we attempt to sweep things under the rug so as to hoodwink the world community at large, needless to say, they’re no fools. They know what time it is and can see what’s going on. We forget — to our own detriment — the sage words of Gabriela Mistral, that Chilean teacher of teachers, in her trenchant paean in favor of a much-needed Pan-Americanism: “¡América y sólo América!

“¡Qué embriaguez para semejante futuro, qué hermosura, qué reinado vasto para la libertad y las excelencias mayores!”

Raul Martinez
via email

Ed Bedford responds: Ye Gods. Raul is right. I totally agree with him. I lecture people on the same thing. Can’t believe I fell into that. By the way, thank the fates Amerigo wasn’t a formal guy. Living in North or South or Latin Vespucciland doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Worth Less

Re “Can Feds Thwart Runaway Pay?” (“City Lights,” November 12).

Can they also thwart the runaway pay of musicians, movie actors, professional athletes, etc., who all earn way too much for what they are worth to society?

Gene Stebley
via email

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Re: "Heartfelt Hypothesis"

You're claiming that not believing in God is a relgion. In other words, not having any God is the same as having a God.

Uh huh. Sure.

So not having syphilis and having syphilis are the same too, right?

How about money? Is not having money and being rich the same?

Or intelligence. Some people have no intelligence, like the author of the letter, while other people are smart. Are they the same?

The rest of his (it could only be a male) missive is just a gaggle of Sunday School Bible quotes for children.

He misses other quotes in that book that would really make the children suffer...but that's the nature of religious fanatics. They pick and choose their favorite fantasies, rather than accepting reality.

So, to the coward in Santee who won't use his real name, I sincerely hope you follow ALL the commandments in the Bible, or you should know that you're going straight to hell. Your invisible friend, the angry sky daddy, has decreed this in his word.

But since I know there's probably no God, in fact I'm certain of it, I can rest easy at night just living my life as a rational human being, all grown up and no longer wanting any fairy tales about rib women and talking snakes to give me an illusion of superiority.

Fumber, have you considered writing a letter to the editor?

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