Help animals and the environment

Here's hoping an incumbent or newly elected state lawmaker will introduce legislation next session to help animals and the environment. A few suggestions:

  • Amend state rodeo animal welfare law to require either an on-site veterinarian or registered veterinary technician with a licensed vet on call at every rodeo.

  • Ban Mexican charreadas, a brutal "steer tailing" event. Tails may be broken, even torn off, and horses can suffer broken legs when the steers run the wrong way. This cruelty was banned in Alameda and Contra Costa counties in 1993.

  • Ban importation of frogs and turtles for the live animal food markets. California annually imports 2 million American bullfrogs (raised in Taiwan), and some 400,000 freshwater turtles (all taken from the wild) for human consumption. These exotic animals, when released into local waters, prey upon and displace our native wildlife. Many are butchered while fully conscious.

    Write your state legislator, care of The State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814.

    Eric Mills

    coordinator, Action For Animals Oakland

    Obama should rein in the rich criminals

    The House Speaker John Boehner's recent blathering reveals unparalleled mendacity and hubris, as well as chutzpah.


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    In fact, as you doubtless know, there exists much, much more than "nothing in Social Security:" namely, immense reserves in the form of IOUs that must be paid for funds borrowed by Congress from the Social Security Trust Fund.

    Further, the fearsome "fiscal cliff" rhetoric strongly resembles shouting "fire" in a crowded theater. Japan has twice the national debt ratio that we do and does well enough.

    Annual U.S. trillion-dollar deficits that seem so daunting are mostly the result of bloated and unneeded military spending of the same magnitude. And then there are the seemingly endless bailouts of the muscle-bound, fraudulent, and unpunished banks, which should be regulated public utilities. Locking up 2.2 million pot smokers seems way beyond draconian and is hugely expensive. In recent times, collecting taxes at all from the ultrarich here, as in Greece and other countries, has devolved into a part-time sedentary hobby like collecting stamps.

    The victory speech of President Obama at least did include a few words about the massively serious problem of global warming, the concept and science of which the media and the ultrarich try to shove into a closet in the subbasement, with "taboo" slathered all over the doors.

    Our president no longer need tiptoe around the bull ring of the Tea Party types and Wall Streeters. He was re-elected by citizen voters of modest means in a democracy -- not by ultrarich capitalist oligarchs wanting to expand the empire.

    Any attempts by the Republican-majority House, or anyone else, to further chip away at hard-won Social Security and Medicare benefits would assuredly bring quick blowback from the public citizenry of all political persuasions.

    The rich had their fun and games; now let us bring them to heel.

    Terry Cochrell

    Berkeley