Jay Scherf is to be commended for his daring expedition to outermost Patagonia, where he discovered the shocking news that canned and bottled mate drink is not exactly traditional yerba mate ("Bottling the Tradition," Feb. 13). He also reveals that Argentines speak a peculiar dialect known as "castellano" (a term interchangeable with "Español," a language spoken by people in most of South America as well as Spain, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Argentines have a distinctive accent—so do lots of others who speak Spanish; it's all castellano). He also researched "indigenous mate farmers"—presumably the folks who grow the gourds that yerba mate is sipped from, unless he was trying to describe yerba growers.
I recently encountered this article in the Bohemian ("Living in Limbo," Jan. 23), which was promptly followed by the astounding realization that the SRJC Job Board has been farmed out to a company called College Central Network, which charges $200 to post an employment offer for 30 days.
I have been going to the JC for the last three years studying graphic design. I am graduating this year, and an internship that I found on the original (free) JC job board has turned into a real job for me already. My employers were so pleased with me and the training that I received at the JC that they were eager to post another job offer to fill a currently available post. We went through the steps on the new job board, only to come to the bottom of the page and find that it costs $200! Needless to say, this small yet growing and thriving local employer jumped ship. No wonder there haven't been any posts on the job board lately.
It is a great loss to this community, the local economy, and especially the students at the JC that someone decided that this was an appropriate budget cut. They perhaps thought, erroneously, that they might make money for the JC from this site, when a nominal charge could have covered the costs of maintaining the original job board.
With Craigslist charging $70 to post job offers and SonomaCountyHelpWanted also charging $200, it's no wonder people can't find jobs. Word of mouth and social connections are the most viable way for people to find work in an environment like this. It's not surprising that an 18- or 20-year-old can't find a job—they have few useful connections for finding a job.
Recently, the national discussion has again turned to gun control and the issue of excess violence in our culture, along with increased, untreated mental illness. Sadly, the entertainment industries continue to feed American consumers a steady diet of violent action thrillers—games, films, books—filled with brutality for young and old audiences alike. This type of entertainment does not model or encourage well-adjusted social behavior such as compassion, kindness or understanding. Instead, it feeds an already unhealthy trend in our society that emphasizes aggressive behavior.
We have a deep concern about the showing of the new film Zero Dark Thirty in local theaters. This film presents viewers with a "fictionalized" story depicting many graphic scenes of the horror and brutality of U.S.-sanctioned torture and assassination. We are deeply concerned that these images strengthen the mass psychology that otherwise immoral and deplorable behavior is acceptable in the face of perceived threats to national or personal security.
Some argue that the film does not endorse torture, but it is undeniable that its extreme content—along with hundreds of similar films—desensitizes our minds and normalizes these brutal acts. Our moral fabric is being torn apart, and with it, a notable lack of life-nourishing experiences. Today's field of entertainment offers little of humankind's positive aspects and the need to care for our beautiful world, but there is no reason that it couldn't.
Signed By: The Peace & Justice Center of Sonoma County; Veterans for Peace, Chapter 71, Sonoma County; Praxis Peace Institute; California 2nd Congressional District of the Peace Alliance/Department of Peacebuilding Campaign; Healdsburg Peace Project; Petaluma Progressives; Metta Center for Nonviolence; Sonoma Valley Peace & Justice.
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