Letters

Readers suggest single-payer

RE: “Pro Life, No Choice

06/09/00

I think this is an important article. With the health care system in obvious crisis, such mergers and treatment cancellations are egregious symptoms. In Massachusetts (whose residents have the highest health care costs in the world), there is activity to enact a single-payer health care system, but legislators continue to drag their feet.

Jamie D. Jee
Amherst, Mass.



06/09/00

Religious/non-sectarian hospital mergers should be banned altogether. As evidenced by your report, the prevailing attitude is, “You can’t beat ’em so join ’em.” First the school boards were infiltrated by the Christian right; now community hospitals are taken over by the Catholic church. What next? The decision makers who allow this are abrogating their responsibilities and violating the public trust. This is a serious constitutional issue — separation of church and state — and it is the state’s responsibility to protect it.

It will probably get worse and completely break down before it gets better; I only hope when the break comes that we once again look closely at eliminating private insurance, that there be a single payer designated regionally, and that all Americans will have access to health services.

Marlene Verdery

 



C’mon, those things would never happen here!

RE: “Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Loan

06/09/00

Not allowing a student to attend school because they have a drug conviction is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. What about the poor bastard who was set up by a cop? What about someone who is blackmailed into taking the rap for someone else? What about the person who is wrongly convicted? What about the person who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Furthermore, what is the point of not allowing an American to further herself in this free land? I thought that was the great thing about being born in America. People make mistakes. We are only human. People who want to better themselves so that they can make a better living should be allowed to do so for a better America.

Valerie A. Jackson
Mount Holly, N.J.



Gay mistreatment

RE: “Drug Mistreatment

06/09/00

As I read the “Drug Mistreatment” article, I was struck by the similarities in the way gay adolescents, especially those who don’t fit gender norming standards, are treated. The problem of misused diagnoses and other unethical practices to hospitalize and otherwise mistreat gay adolescents is nationally pervasive.

Some 50,000 teens are locked up every year for being gay, and 300,000 or so are locked up for not adhering to whatever constitutes a heterosexual teen ideal. There are many legitimate-appearing therapists who harbor anti-gay views and use loosely defined gender diagnoses to psychiatrically incarcerate other non-ill or mildly neurotic youths (i.e. normal teens) in facilities which engage in isolation, indiscriminately use restraints, improperly sedate, coercively use hypnosis, and otherwise mistreat their patients.

Money, of course, feeds the problem. Now that the late-eighties Congressional and press scrutiny has faded, hospitals have become more brazen about pressuring practitioners to admit children, changing diagnoses when complaints about their misuse surfaces, tracking down escapees, busting the shaky little number of safe houses that have sprung up through necessity, using questionable and condemned therapies, and undermining the few isolated independent review systems in place.

Marla Randolph Stevens
LGBT Fairness, Ind.

 



MoJo, heal thyself

RE: “La Vida Roca

06/08/00

I am the Director of Diversity and Community Outreach, as well as an English teacher at a high school. Why was I drawn so quickly to “La Vida Roca”? Because the author’s exaggerated, biased usage of words created an isolated image of all Mexican people. When Holthouse refers to Xavier as a member of the supposedly “growing legions of migrant Mexicans,” it makes Mexican people who are trying to cross the US-imposed border sound like a swelling mass of pus that will soon take over the US like a virus.

Perhaps the most insulting and biased phrase in the article is the following: “The would-be immigrants turned crackheads are the most pitiable failures. Gaunt, grimy, and gap-toothed, they gather in the corners of rubbled, vacant lots.” How can I as a teacher teach kids to read critically and write without bias if their own media gives them published examples of sensationalized hyperbole?

Lisa Arrastía
Point Richmond, Calif.

 



Or they could take up stamp-collecting

RE: “Pro Life, No Choice

06/08/00

I want a separation of church and state. If the Catholic Church and other “non-profit” sects were forced to pay taxes on their earnings and property (like the rest of us), they would not have as much time or energy to impose their beliefs on others.

Elisha Bourne

 



First they came for the unwed mothers…

RE: “Pro Life, No Choice

06/08/00

Hospitals are a health service. By choosing what procedures will/won’t be done at the hospital, the hospitals are actually preforming a dis-service. If women can’t get services that are barred by religious doctrine, what’s to stop the church hospital from refusing to treat gay couples? Or people of other faiths? Once the practice of non-treatment is established, it’s easy to build upon it to keep the “undesirables” from getting the best care possible.

Merritt Nenneman
Stevens Point, Wisc.



Stop stupid reproduction

RE: “Pro Life, No Choice

06/07/00

I think the issue should be looked at as a monopoly issue. If the Catholic Church owns all the hospitals in an area, then it has a monopoly and must be broken up. And communities should get together and support Planned Parenthood. They offer wonderful services — not only abortions! They offer help with adoption and, yes, birth control. It’s about time people take their heads out of the sand and realize that people have unprotected sex, and an unwanted child should not be the end result of stupid people.

Rev. Mary E. Powers
Baltimore, Md.



06/07/00

I found this article extremely disturbing because for years Catholic hospitals have provided medical care and emergency assistance to thousands who might not have received treatment otherwise. For cities and towns less fortunate, the Catholic religious workers have done countless acts of mercy. I find it of ill-intent that people are now turning on those same hospitals and forgetting their good works.

I think it is commendable that the Catholic hospitals have enough integrity to stick to their moral and religious convictions in a world that is obscenely immoral and greedy. They do their work with much sacrifice and continue to allow morality into the world. I commend the Catholic hospitals who have adhered to their faith. Good for them! Shame on those who wish ill upon them. They should be lucky the hospitals were there when they needed them.

Mrs. Stratton



06/07/00

Freedom of religion and all other freedoms seem to pale before the new kid: “A woman’s right to choose.” The convenience of women who don’t “choose” to abstain, watch the calendar, or take a pill should certainly outweigh the rights of a 2000-year-old institution whose creed and institutions have been critical to the development of Western civilization.

William Kelly



06/07/00

I think the woman who got up and asked the Jehovah’s Witness question hit the nail on the head. What if the KKK took over a hospital and wouldn’t treat anyone who wasn’t white? What would the rest of the country think about that? This is another method that the church uses to achieve its agenda. They are anti-choice, anti-birth control, and anti-equal rights for women. The church has portrayed women as secondary to men, and has acted out this stereotype in its teachings and actions as well.

The Catholic Church has now found a new and very effective means of forcing its prehistoric notions down the throats of whomever is unfortunate enough to live in an area serviced by a Catholic-run hospital. I think this is disgusting. If the church can so easily and blatantly overstep the boundaries between separation of church and state, then I think it’s time the government step right back at them and stop this religious-based discrimination before someone has to die because of it.

Amy Perasso



Glad you’re feeling better

RE: “General Electric’s Global Assault

06/07/00

Having been a victim myself of Mr. Welch’s practices during the RCA/GE “merger,” I read your article with great interest. Not enough was said of “Neutron Jack’s” brutal ways, nor of his confrontational management philosophies. I’ve seen his passion for efficiency adversely affect hundreds of families and grossly disrupt entire communities. And that was 12 years ago! Imagine the pollution he’s piled up since then. He was one of the main instigators who put loyalty and compassion out with the trash along with the bought logos and empty chairs. It was his energies that transformed bean counters into the all-powerful financial analysts of today with their cold, calculating eyes on the bottom line.

Jack Welch has become a great producer — of shame and hostility. But the biggest crime, both vulgar and appalling, is the amount of supportive noise from his cheering section.

Thanks for hearing me out. I feel better already.

Marcus Carroll



Let them drink lattes

RE: “Downstream Effects

06/07/00

A big concern. What to do? We need water to survive. I think reducing showers, slower shower heads, efficient dishwashers, and home landscaping that doesn’t demand as much water are the answers. We still need to drink water (and we want it healthy) and irrigation for crops and water for livestock are also important.

Sharon Comkowycz

 



Canned cure for ennui

RE: “Selling the Cure for Shopaholism

06/06/00

I’m very afraid. Some star-struck and fund-seeking professor stumbles upon a hot new disorder that a corporation wants to fund. The professor, who may have genuine intentions, makes a breakthrough. So we, the masses and the medical community, hear all sorts of stories that are backed by the successes of industry-education alliances, and are sought by researchers and consumers.

It’s another disturbing example of how form follows profit. The practices and symbols that we see are increasingly influenced by money, and the others go by the wayside.

I’m further disturbed because I just recently went on Celexa for depression. It works wonderfully, but I’m concerned that someday my depression will become a market niche and that advertisers will have target ads to stir ennui up within me so I’ll look for canned solutions and search for solace in the stuff they advertise.

Wait, I’m already there. We’re already here.

Howard Chong



Just like real people

RE: “General Electric’s Global Assault

06/06/00

I think that as long as corporations have the legal responsibilities of real people, as long as they can be held liable for injury and/or death to people who may be injured or killed by their own foolish or careless actions, as long as they have to pay taxes like real people, they ought to be accorded the same protections as real people.

Malinda Mak

 



Not all forms, just the ones that work

RE: “Pro Life, No Choice

06/06/00

… in keeping with church opposition to any form of contraception …
This is not a fair statement of Catholic doctrine. The church does not condemn all forms of contraception, but those it holds contrary to its belief that the sexual act should be left open to the generation of human life. That’s how it explains its opposition to artificial means of contraception. By the way, that also explains why the church does not have a problem with married couples who continue having sexual relations even though, through no fault of their own, they are not able to conceive. (Contrary to widespread belief, the church does not teach that conception is the only reason for a married couple to engage in sexual relations.)

Regardless of people’s opinion on this matter, I believe it is of most benefit to the debate that all positions be outlined fairly.

Luis Vazquez

 



One for the bulletin board

RE: “Downstream Effects

06/06/00

As a hydrogeologist and an environmental policy and management professional I have been preaching for years about the dangers of bottled water, but my warnings have fallen on the deaf ears of my students and colleagues alike. Your article is going up on the bulletin board outside my office today. Thanks for the warnings.

Sarah Cloud
Water Resources Management/Environmental Studies
UNLV
Las Vegas, Nev.

 



Division of church and health care

RE: “Pro Life, No Choice

06/05/00

I think it’s deplorable that Catholic-run health-care mergers are limiting the choice of women in America. I’m tired of the right-wing religious zealots attempting to bypass the rights of individuals because of something they believe. Whatever happened to the so-called division of church and state? When will people grow up and realize that these convictions of the “moral” right stunt growth, scientific/medical progress, and overall peace?

Marc A. Palmer
Bridgewater, Mass.

 



Fight lunatics with lunacy

RE: “Smoke a Joint, Lose Your Loan

06/05/00

The reason that rational people are losing the “War on Drugs” is their sanity. To appropriately counter the lunatics who promote legislation such as this “no loans for stoners” provision, one must resort to their tactics. Supporters of Barney Frank’s bill, for instance, should loudly and publicly label everyone who opposes his bill a racist. (As your article proves, the legislation that Rep. Frank is trying to overturn primarily punishes poor minorities.) Say it just like they do, in large bold letters and in large bold words, “You are a racist and a moral coward!”

Don Thompson



06/05/00

I find the drug conviction law that cuts off of student aid reprehensible. I am not advocating the use of receational drugs. I do not smoke marijuana myself, but I certainly had my “experimental” years when younger — probably Anne’s current age. How ludicrous of the government to potentially wreck what sounds like a rather brilliant academic career over the occassional silliness typical of many students and young people.

Sam Farmer
Perth, Australia



Moral defense for ignorance

RE: “Earth Day is Evil?

06/05/00

I don’t understand why you care where the funding for an institution like the Center for the Moral Defense of Capitalism comes from. After all, they are presenting what they say are logical, reasonable ideas. All that matters is whether they’re right or wrong, not who paid for the message being delivered. The idea behind the CMDC is that the only barriers are from the infringement of the rights of individuals. If Microsoft tries to force me to buy its product, for instance, then there’s a problem. But as of now, all purchases of Windows or any Microsoft product are voluntary. As long as Microsoft gives me a choice between giving them money and not, I’m fine with them.

Max Wahrhaftig