We Lose the Spelling Bee
On the cover of the Feb. 8 Valentine's Day issue are the words "Losing our VIRIGNITY." Does this mean we are proud of our virginity? Or are we are losing our virginity in an undignified manner? Is a new word being "coined"?
Whoops. —The Ed.
What's the Priority?
Alternatives to driving in west Marin are difficult or dangerous. Marin County's transportation priority is motor vehicles, which discriminates against those who can't drive. This is possibly why West Marin has 20 percent fewer residents since the last census.
"Waiting for the Bus" by Rachel Dovey (The Paper, Feb. 1) examined bus service in the northern part of West Marin. Direct bus service to Point Reyes, the social services hub of West Marin, from southwest Marin (Stinson Beach and Bolinas, because Muir Beach isn't served) was cancelled by the county. It was costing 50 bucks a passenger, so few used the infrequent and inconvenient transit. No county official proposed making service convenient and frequent enough to be used by more riders.
Yet many more millions in "emergency" funds were found to replace one collapsed section of Terrace Avenue on a crumbling cliff in Bolinas, which had become a pleasant pedestrian and bicyclist route after being closed to motor vehicle traffic. The subsidy per motorist using the repaired road and for the dozen or so houses off of Terrace has not been calculated.
The staggering amounts spent on "transportation" mostly come from general funds. Fuel taxes and vehicle fees pay only a small portion of road, traffic enforcement and parking costs, and none of the medical costs. Ninety-nine percent of transportation spending in the United ("by freeways") States has benefited motor vehicles, most transporting only the driver. The subsidy costs per user is standard transportation policy in Marin and elsewhere. That's why those who can't drive wait for the bus.
In Defense of George Lucas
The last sentence in the film review of Red Tails (Jan. 18) by Richard Von Busack didn't make any sense. Why does the author assume that pilots wouldn't talk a fair amount of smack when in the act of shooting down an enemy? Prayer before going up into the skies would seem like a commonplace act as well, especially so when one considers that the odds were fairly good that they wouldn't be returning.
The reason for the CGI is simple; there simply aren't enough of the vintage planes depicted flying these days to make it practical to use them. So George Lucas used WWII footage as the idea for Star Wars. How does that detract from the movie? There's nothing wrong with adding a little melodrama to make a movie more palatable to the moviegoers that know very little about the war. The reviewer would have one believe that the movie was a bust with regard to its historical accuracy, when really what he didn't like was that it pulled at heartstrings. My father was a Tuskegee Airman, and I'm quite sure that if he were alive today, he wouldn't have had nearly as much of a problem with the way his comrades were depicted as the reviewer did. Totally lame review, or rather, reviewer.
Taking a Break
I was delighted to read the new USDA guidelines requiring schools to serve meals with twice as many fruits and vegetables, more whole grains, less sodium and no meat for breakfast.
The new guidelines offer a welcome change from USDA's tradition of using the National School Lunch Program as a dumping ground for meat and dairy surpluses. Not surprisingly, 90 percent of American children are consuming excess fat, only 15 percent eat recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, and one-third have become overweight or obese.
Parents should continue to insist on healthful plant-based school meals, snacks and vending-machine items.
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