Not much pondered

Paul Moomjean, whom I did praise recently for his Op-Ed “Football frenzy” (Right Persuasion, 1/30), distressingly seems again, in a recent VCReporter, to have proposed an unconscionably restricted notion of freedom (3/13). Central in his concern is a German family denied by German educational policy the right to home school its children. Moomjean gives no details of this family, so one wonders if he would have as quickly jumped to their defense if it had been a Muslim or Hindu family. Perhaps he would have!  

(As I was home taught I feel some justification in commenting.)

Backing up a bit, the “malign” German educational policy, Mr. Moomjean feels so amiss is its concern to ensure an educational system that teaches “tolerance” and “pluralism.” Don’t these terms imply freedom in the most fundamental sense? If he’ s so concerned for freedom, how can he, in effect, not see it in tolerance and pluralism?

Since home schooling is so central to his Op-Ed, one would think he’d have some defense on hand against known shortcomings. For example, he’s not defending home schooling for a racist family, is he? For that matter for any number of questionable subcultures that now seem to be proliferating? Even in more usual situations where families are committed to a very clearly defined set of beliefs, how often is a come-of-age young person routinely allowed or expected to make up his or her own mind? Doing so often results in family ostracism of the young person. What homage is being given to the sacred reality of freedom in such instances?

Moomjean’s assault on Europe generally seems full of unexplained hubris and is totally lacking in any recognition that almost all of our roots are European — even our Christianity! Does the Atlantic really create such a cultural gulf!? All he does is tarnish any semblance of objectivity.

Mr. Moomjean is a bright man; he seems, though, to be intoning the word “freedom” as a mantra, as if just its repetition would cause it to materialize. All I can figure is that this Op-Ed was hurriedly written and not much pondered.

Duane Waln





Guns save lives

I read your Opinion piece “Unintended Consequences” (Editorial, 3/6) with interest but certainly with no surprise.  I wish I could say the Ninth Circuit ruling came as no surprise, but in light of the disregard for the Constitution running rampant in this country, I was shocked. Your conclusion that more guns equals more gun violence is a bit like saying more rain equals more wet; then again more cars equal more auto accidents and more legal medicines means more ludicrous TV advertising. No one mentioned many other studies that say more guns equals far fewer old folks murdered in their own homes; or that on the same day that two dozen helpless children were murdered, probably a thousand homeowners defended themselves against armed intruders; or that the study quoted didn’t mention that more guns means fewer knife homicides or fewer murders with baseball bats. Duh! Your exploration of the subject was nearly infantile. I only winter in Ventura and am a Montana resident where there are probably more guns per home than any other state in the Union, and drive-by shootings are unheard of and it would take a very brave soul, not the normal coward who commits crimes against children or female Congresswomen, to walk into the average movie theater and start shooting. He would have to be suicidal. What is it about the document that was the foundation for the greatest, most successful country on earth that makes many (thank God not a majority) want to change it? Remember the Ventura County murderer who walked into a young couple’s home, committed heinous acts against a beautiful young pregnant mother and KNIFED her and her husband to death. And is still not at trial. California needs more logical courts like the one that upheld the right-to-carry requirements.

Larry Jay Martin  

Editor’s note: The author stated that the editorial should have included studies that say more guns equals far fewer old folks murdered in their own homes. Neither the author nor internet searches have come up with such studies. Further, Montana is ranked #44 in population in the U.S. though it is the fourth biggest state in the country.


A fracking moratorium

We are being urged to tolerate fracking risks because of alleged economic benefits to our community. We would do well to examine this proposition with informed skepticism.

While no local disaster associated with the practice has reached us, other areas of the country have experienced severe damage to land and watershed. Energy corporations involved have exerted pressure to suppress public knowledge of the extent, often with the collusion of the authorities, the latter going so far as to forbid aerial photos of one disaster. Victims have had to agree to sealed court records and gag orders in order to obtain any compensation.

Nonetheless, this effort failed to prevent videos, interview testimony and other documentary evidence being seen by millions of Americans, evidence of damage to health and property stemming from fracking. Many victims lost everything. There can be no doubt to those who gather information from more than Fox News that fracking threatens serious risk.

Consider also that high oil prices have brought into the field many small, highly leveraged “risk-friendly” companies that are unlikely to survive when damage surfaces and requires cleanup and compensation. Indeed, would best practices to prevent harm even appear cost-effective to them? Add to it that evidence indicates profitable extraction by this means will be short-lived.

In all, we have a recipe for industrial rape and ruin.

A moratorium on fracking is a wise choice.

Terese Defarge




Not your problem

Re:  “To be or not to be … a gender.” Paul Moomjean in Right Persuasion, 2/27

I was so touched by Mr. Moomjean’s article and his concern for the plights of others. It made me wonder whether or not Mr. Moomjean should forsake his membership in the Tea Party arm of the Republican Party and join the Democrats and us other bleeding hearts who actually care about people. Perhaps Mr. Moomjean could come out of his small closet, go to the streets and begin asking people if they are gay, straight, male, female, transsexual, et al., in order that he might assist them with their isolation from a society that … well … isolates them? In case he hadn’t noticed, state after state has been voting gay marriage to be legal and nobody has lost their lives or marriages or property or anything else because of it. So what will Mr. Moomjean, or anyone else, lose if somebody decides to be called a “trans woman”? Will Mr. Moomjean’s job as a teacher be affected? (Well, he might have to learn a few more words.) Will his private life? If he has children, will they be scarred for life? I remember when Mr. Moomjean’s primary concern in the world was coed bathrooms. Now it’s gender identifications. Golly, Mr. Moomjean must not have much of a life to concern himself with the dire straits of so many others. And sticking his nose where it’s none of his business. (Man, he is really struggling for issues, isn’t he?)


Jan Richman
Schulman Oxnard


Thirteen ways to a better retirement

A wise man once advised to start planning for retirement when you’re 20. That’s a little young, but because of the importance of our later years, it’s worth considering. At a recent Ventura County Area Agency on Aging meeting, the newly formed Optimal Aging Committee had some interesting suggestions. Following are 13 tips to consider for our retirement years from this committee and others:

1. Get involved with your community and expand your circle of friends.

2. Become aware of what your community has to offer and visit those places.

3. Think about where you would take a first-time visitor or guest.

4. Plan for physical activity and exercise. Consider activity groups — a nice way to meet friends. Think about what type of activities you like. Consider the cost. If money is a  problem, switch to a more reasonable alternative.

5. Develop a bucket list of things you would like to do. Prioritize.

6.  Make plans for what you would be able to enjoy doing when you’re 60, 70, 80, 90, 100.

7. Start saving money. It’s never too late.

8. Work on the emotional, spiritual and mental aspects of your life.

9. Get involved with a church.

10. Learn about technology. That would include cell phone, computer and TV.

11. Friends are precious. Nurture, cherish and collect them. “If you want a friend, be a friend.”

12. Plan how you will get around when you might not want or be able to drive. Experiment with public and alternative private transportation before you have to give up your wheels. Consider it a challenge.

13. Explore becoming a volunteer. Many seniors I know find extreme fulfillment in helping others. They are givers and, plain and simple, they love their fellow humans.

I hope you are able to use some of these ideas. Be creative and develop your own list. Of course, if you’re reading this, you’re already starting to do your research.


Larry Hartmann
California Senior Legislator


Glossing over the details

Is Paul Moomjean on crack? (“Let freedom ring,” Right Persuasion, 3/13)  Did he ever read a U.S. history book?  Slavery, indentured servants, religious intolerance by the Puritans and others, murdered Indians, murdered Mormoms, anti-Semetism, ethnic cleansing of Indians to the reservations, Jim Crow laws, overt racial discrimination by all governments, and — to this day — various legal tricks to keep “the wrong people” from voting. Get real. Germany has its own history and is entitled to its ways and means to correct them. America may have more freedom than many other countries, but we have an ugly past.  

    Chris Williamson




Profoundly ignorant

I was terribly disheartened to read the VC Reporter publish such a profoundly ignorant piece as Mr. Moomjean’s “To be or not to be … a gender” (Right Persuasion, 2/27). History is replete with examples of individuals who were identified throughout their lifetimes as of one gender or another, but upon their deaths, were found to be quite different. In fact, in the ’30s through the ’70s, there existed in medical practice a set of procedures called sexual assignment surgery to handle the various inconsistencies in the natural world of human sexuality. When Mr. Moomjean so ignorantly indicates that on Facebook one “chooses” a gender, he indicates that this is somehow a conscious selection of gender. The action on Facebook is not a selection of gender, you ignoramous, it is the selection of an arbitrary label which best describes one’s gender. To so trivialize this aspect of humanity shows Mr. Moomjean to be a profoundly ignorant person. Please, VC Reporter, do not allow your pages to be a sounding board for such a profoundly ignorant piece.


Norm Rodewald


Risk of a serious public health issue

Re: Eye on the Environment: biodigesters (2/27)

In the piece by David Goldstein, the discussion of biodigesters caught my eye, especially the thoughts on horse manure and sewage byproducts. This subject is of interest for several technical and public health reasons. Some time ago I was the water quality planner for Ventura County and rewrote its area-wide regional water quality control plan under section 208 of the Clean Water Act. Thus I am somewhat familiar with the subject, the Ventura area, its sewer plants and water quality. I left the county in the mid-1980s to take a position as regional adviser covering environmental issues impacting 22 nations in Africa for the Department of State and USAID. Main issues were water quality and public health. As to credentials for discussing this, I have a Ph.D. in water quality and a degree in medicine.

The LA/RWQCB (Regional Water Quality Control Board), unfortunately, is either not conversant with some of these public health issues and or is in a non-action stance when it comes to discussing such issues. These issues are the generation and release of antibiotic-resistant microbes by livestock, including horses, when given antibiotics, as well as sewer plants that generate antibiotic-resistant microbes in industrial volumes and then release them with their downstream effluent discharge. Antibiotic-resistant genes (ARGs) usually make it completely through these plants. Colleagues in academia are finding ARGs in drinking water systems that obtain water from rivers with upstream sewage discharge. The ARGs are so small that they easily pass through the filter systems in the typical sewer plant found in Ventura; these genes are unaffected by chlorine at typical dosage levels and contact times and unaffected by UV. Thus they are found at levels of around 10 to the sixth or seventh per milliliter in recycled water, which is a more advanced treatment byproduct of sewage effluent. The basin plan shows that the reaches of the Ventura River are within the recreational category but the lab tests for this are so faulty that serious pathogens and the ARGs fail to be recognized. The LA/RWQCB is aware of this but seems to be moribund. These released resistant pathogens can and do set up environmental niches and also can transfer to environmental microbes (aquatic and terrestrial).

While composting is presumed to kill bacteria, this presumption is faulty, as documented by several peer-reviewed studies. The resistant bacteria often rebloom within the cooled compost and thus allow for the transfer of antibiotic-resistant organisms to humans. Once within the gut, the genes are transferred to the gut biota and the genetic information can multiply and remain there for years. Because of the numbers of gut microbes, interspecies transfer can take place leading to higher orders of resistance.

We are running out of functional antibiotics in medicine because of advancing resistance while at the same time the pharmaceutical industry is disinterested in pursuing new drugs. Thus, we have several critical curves coalescing into a point, and consequently into a serious public health issue. Failing development of new drugs, many elective surgeries now taken for granted will, because of the risk for an unstoppable infection, be drastically reduced.


Dr. Edo McGowan
Medical Geo-hydrology








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