Letters for the week of August 29-September 4, 2007 

Readers comment on the late Yusuf Bey's clan, colony collapse disorder, the Paramount, and Tom Bates' relationship with the homeless.

"The Killing of a Journalist," Online News, 8/8

The race card
Oakland is a mess. I am very tired of so-called "black" leaders playing the race card. Majority prejudices such as "Black good, Whitey bad" undercut our — yes, I mean black people — internal culture of habits that include industriousness, thriftiness, family solidarity, and reverence for education, which play a greater role in our success than anything the so-called Beys of this world have to offer. Don't believe me; ask Malcolm "X" — but we can't.

As Thomas Sowell once stated, people like the Bey family and their followers are no different than the Klan, "Black Rednecks." Look at the violent machismo, shiftlessness, and disdain for schooling. But don't challenge them, because they will only threaten your life and tell you that they represent the Authentic Black Identity, or True Asiatic Black Man.

The Beys and their ilk are directly responsible for part of what is wrong with Oakland. They are not the only reason, but they didn't help, perpetuating cultural pathologies that hold blacks back. Good riddance, for now. God bless Mr. Bailey and his family.
Stephen Lee, Vallejo

Human frailty
I must condemn both the Beys and the complicit city officials and law enforcement officers who allowed their reign of terror. But I must also condemn the reactionary views expressed by another commenter. The civil rights movement is not at fault for the problems that still plague the lives of many black people. Indeed, but for the successes of the civil rights movement, circumstances would be much worse than they are. A combination of societal indifference, unjust policies, and, yes, human frailty explain the problems in places like Oakland. Until all three are addressed, the suffering will continue.

Chris, my most unsettling time as a reporter was when I covered a mass murderer. Your experiences with the Bey organization are truly frightening.
Joy Gray, Seattle

I can not believe what I am reading. This sounds like some blaxploitation movie of the '60s. You mean people get away with such nonsense in 2007? THIS IS A SHAME. This is fiendishly evil and I feel so badly for the good people who try to save these communities. These communities don't stand up and fight for themselves, but instead worship at the altar of Satan. Women sacrificing children to the demons. What a disgrace. And the police are allowing this lawlessness to continue. And when one good man stands up, he is murdered like a dog in the street while the community that he is trying to help watches and then returns to its darkness. That place is Sodom. Jehovah will deal with the likes of these people.
LaWanda Johnson, Washington, DC

Edge and honesty
I just wanted to say thanks for existing. I really enjoy your paper and you'd be surprised to learn I'm actually a "REPUBLICAN." Seriously, you guys tell it like it is and I really appreciate that. I love the edge and honesty. Keep it up. Sorry if getting a compliment from a conservative was hard to take, but I speak from the heart.
Tony M., Oakland

"Are Bees Too Busy?" Feature, 8/1

Call blocking
Declining bee populations in the UK have been attributed to the increasing number of mobile (cell) phone masts. The phone signals interfere with the bees' navigation — they get lost.
Robin Wallis, El Cerrito

Bee accurate
Thank you for your well-written and informative article about colony collapse disorder. Overwork certainly may be a factor. Hopefully the cause will be found or, in any case, the bees will carry on anyway.

Nitpicker that I am, I am compelled to point out a couple of factual errors in your piece. It is not a new queen, but rather the old queen that takes off with about half of the worker bees in the hive, i.e., not "a thousand or so," but perhaps as many as thirty thousand. The new queen, created by the worker bees by feeding royal jelly to selected larvae, will fly out one time to mate and then will return to the home hive.

When the swarm clusters on a tree or what-have-you, it will wait for the scouts to find a new home — several days, perhaps — and then relocate, i.e., the bees do not remain at the cluster site "if they don't find a good spot" elsewhere. They inevitably do.

You wrote that, in the spring, "the combs drip with honey." What a mess that would be! When the bees build up comb structure they cleverly slant the cells slightly upward so that the nectar (that will become honey) can't leak out. When they are satisfied that they have honey, not unripe nectar, they cap the cells off with beeswax. So there is little, if any, dripping.

Again, congratulations on your efforts to educate the public about Colony Collapse Disorder and the interesting life of the honeybee.
Russell Bruno, Oakland


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