Letters for the week of April 19-25, 2006 

Animals should be protected from this ludicrous government scheme. Fungi should be protected from this outrageous private practice.

"Endangered Species," Feature, 11/30

1984 at Animal Farm
Thank you Jonathan Kauffman for your well-researched, thoughtful article on the possible fate of homegrown chickens in our society. Some of the USDA recommendations you mentioned even make sense.

What absolutely does not make sense is their plan to tag every single chicken in the US with a radio-frequency identification tag, and force every owner of every chicken to report any movements of that chicken within 24 hours to some central information agency that is supposedly going to keep track of us and our chickens for our own good. This doesn't sound very practical, does it? And yet that's what the text of the Strategic Plan for the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) says, supposed to become mandatory in stages between 2007 and 2009. They claim that it will protect us from avian flu, though that doesn't explain why the program includes every goat, horse, llama, and every other kind of "livestock," even those who are pets.

If backyard eggs are expensive now, just wait till every hen has to wear a tag that costs more than the bird did.

The USDA should channel its resources toward educating people, not putting us under some kind of bizarre surveillance. They should be working on a design for good backyard chicken coops, and other forms of appropriate technology.

Above all, they should encourage people to grow food and prepare themselves in strength for all these impending disasters they keep warning us about. Leave the NAIS for those it benefits — the corporate farms who depend on international exports — and let us small-scale farmers and backyard chicken-keepers feed ourselves and our communities!

There are many groups that oppose the NAIS. A good site is NoNAIS.org.
Lori Perry, Blue Heron Farms, Watsonville

"Police! Drop That Fungus!" Cityside, 3/22

It's not about hunger; it's all about greed
Tell Charlie Hallowell to go buy his gourmet mushrooms from a local wholesaler, like other restaurant owners do, and stop poaching them from public lands. There are many good reasons to not allow mushroom hunting in the Regional Parks, and his attitude — "Hallowell ... would go mushroom hunting everyday if he could" — is a prime example of why a prohibition is necessary.

The parks are for all to enjoy, not for the greedy few to strip-mine so they can sell nature's treasures back to us for personal profit. Even if you're just picking mushrooms for personal consumption, you're a negative force in the parks. The animals and microorganisms that would have fed on those mushrooms just got cheated out of a meal. The next hiker or photographer who comes along that trail is denied the breath-catching sight of the bright yellow and orange convoluted shapes against the dark leaf litter. My naturalist friend who brings student groups to the parks is left with holes in the ground where the mushroom clusters used to be. This is not about subsistence or access to food — none of these mushroom hunters is hurting for calories. This is about acquisitiveness, pure and simple. This is about greed.

Your writer compares the Regional Parks to Alaska, which allows subsistence rights on public lands, yet fails to point out that the Bay Area alone has more than ten times the population of the entire state of Alaska, and several thousand times the population density. What if even a fraction of these folks decide to head up to the hills and cut down their own Christmas tree next December, or haul off some leaf litter to mulch their gardens, or bag a few quail for a Saturday dinner? Clearly, if the parks are to survive for the benefit of the many, they must be protected from the greed of the few. I am grateful to our Park District police for doing their job citing poachers. Your article was an irresponsible glorification of mushroom thievery, which will probably make their job harder.
Anna Griffin, Oakland

"Hyphy vs. Thizzin'," Close 2 tha Edge, 11/22

Hyphy is a style, thizzin' is a drug
Man, first off, "hyphy" is just the bay's way of becoming popular on a national level; notice how everyone keeps saying "It's just like crunk." U know why, because every record that screams crunk all the time goes plat. The bay just wants a piece of that so they are exploiting a single word to sell CDs. The "hyphy" sound is characterized by hella up-tempo beats usually wit all kinds of high-pitched sounds rolled in.

Second (this is what really pissed me off) I knew Mac Dre and I know Mistah F.A.B & Keak da Sneak and I'll tell u what "thizzin'" is. Since back in the day (late '90s) Mac Dre had been calling rollin' on E "thizzin" or "g'tting' his thizz on." Not one time ever have I heard anyone say "This song is thizzin." U know why? Because saying "This song is on E" doesn't make any sense, dummy! Dre would call up and say "U got them thizzles?" (E pills) he even said "thizz," "thizzin," and "thizzles" on wax repeatedly over the years you would be hard pressed 2 find a song where he doesn't mention "thizzing." And let me tell you when he said "thizz" it had nothing to do with a musical sound and it still doesn't. It is drugs, beezie! The word "thizz" didn't coincide with the rise in E use among teens. It started it in the bay area. Give a fallen soldier some credit. It ain't a battle of any kind between "hyphy" and "thizzin" because "thizz" is a drug & the name of Mac Dre's record label, not a musical style.
D.J. eez da Cookymonsta, San Ro Killafoonia (aka D. Jayson, San Leandro)

April 12's Bottom Feeder mistakenly appeared to suggest that the Zagat restaurant guide criticized the decor of the Everett & Jones Barbeque at Jack London Square. The guide actually held out the Jack London space as a notable exception to the BBQ chain's other locations, which it described as "seedy."

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