Letters for August 23, 2007

Patient’s case is exactly the point

Re: “An unhealthy system” (Guest Comment, by Molly Armfield, CN&R, Aug. 16):Thank you, Molly Armfield, for your Guest Comment on U.S. health care. The testimony of those who suffer in this health-care jungle—it can hardly be called a system—is our best source of information about its disastrous results.

Most of us now know that the World Health Organization has ranked the United States 37th among 191 nations, despite President Bush’s insistence that “we have the best health care in the world.” He does; but 45 million Americans don’t have any.

Worse still is that the United States spends almost twice as much on health care than the four Western democracies rated much higher by the Commonwealth Fund. This is because of what we pay to insurance companies that take up to a bloated 25 percent off the top as profit. This kind of sponging off the sick and suffering used to be called usury. Traditional Medicare, run successfully by the government, makes do with 3 percent management costs.

Thank you, Mrs. Armfield, for rocking the boat. With Sheila Kuehl’s SB 840, we could at least bring Californians to safe harbor.

Gerda Seaman


Begging for the proper phrase

Re: “Rumble in the jungle” (Reel World, by Craig Blamer, CN&R, Aug. 16):The Reel World lead-in [the secondary headline, “Film begs the question: Who’s crazier, Werner Herzog or Dieter Dengler?"] should have simply stated “Film raises the question …”

“Begging the question,” a well-defined logical fallacy, is an entirely different concept. Yes, this is definitely about a pet peeve, and yes, it ranks below my unhappiness when I hear our local broadcasters refer in the present tense to an event that has already transpired, but please, please, please do not allow any of your writers to butcher its meaning.

In the past few years, it has become an oft-misused phrase such that I cannot bear to see the words in print in a newspaper that I read weekly.

W. E. Haas


The last word on ‘Words’

Re: “Words” (From The Edge, by Anthony Peyton Porter) and “The power of those words” (From The Fray, by Christine G.K. LaPado, CN&R, Aug. 2):Anthony Peyton Porter says, “How we talk about others is about us, not about others.” I would agree. I know that I choose my words carefully when talking and writing to and about others, because showing basic respect to and concern for others is important to me.

My goal in communicating is to open a space where two-way understanding can occur, and using respectful words is key to creating this space. I know that using negative, emotionally laden words is the quickest way to set up sensationalistic conflict, create division, and shut down communication, so I avoid doing this. In this regard, I believe that the way I talk about others is about me, and not about others.

I also agree with Christine G.K. LaPado. She says, “… it is not just the word that carries meaning, but also the way it is used, the intention behind it.” Words have meaning for people both individually and culturally. If they didn’t have meaning, we wouldn’t be able to communicate with them. And people use words with a purpose in mind, an intention.

So, the question is, what is Porter’s intention behind his use of words that are commonly accepted as being hurtful? In reading his article, it sounds like he believes he is taking a stand for individuality. In a certain sense, I think he is on track with this idea. After all, divisive conflict does keep us separated, alone, individual.

I prefer my individuality to be based on something more constructive.

Nikki Schlaishunt


What about us?

Re: “Cool it now” (Chow, by C. Moore, CN&R, Aug. 9):C. Moore, where were you in the 1960s, when I was sipping on my first Orange Julius in the old downtown Chico store as a kid? Orange Julius has been around since 1927, one of the oldest franchise food-and-drink restaurants in the United States So, you can imagine my surprise when you didn’t include our store in the Chico Mall in your mission for the “ultimate smoothie.”

What a pleasure it is to be in the store and have parents and grandparents bring their kids to our store and reminisce on their first Orange Julius when they were kids. Some things just don’t change … but some things do. We have been on the cutting edge of developing great new smoothies (over 14 flavors to choose from), and healthy boosts can be added to them. I would ask that you stop by and give us a chance to wow you with one of our great smoothies and customer service.

Brian Humble

owner, Orange Julius


Editor’s note: C. Moore’s childhood does not date as far back as Mr. Humble’s.

Bummer vacation

As summer comes to a close and kids go back to school, I have something I just have to get off my chest.

Everyone likes vacations, and I took one this summer. The day I left for Mexico, my son left for the second half of his deployment to Iraq as an Army MP. It tends to spoil a vacation when you think about your son sweltering in 120-degree heat with over 60 pounds of equipment on. Cool breezes and relaxing surf produce feelings of guilt, and moms of soldiers take their nightmares with them wherever they go.

Knowing that a vacation is not a vacation when your son is at war, I started thinking about how others are enjoying their summers.

President Bush is on vacation for the rest of August, so the business of running the country must be on track. The U.S. Congress is on vacation until September, so they must be satisfied with the progress of the war. The Iraqi Parliament is on vacation for the entire month of August; I’m guessing they’re satisfied with the condition of their country, and hopefully they’re staying cool.

It would seem the only people not on vacation are our soldiers, who do everything asked of them in the toughest of conditions. They have a war to fight—for all the people on vacation who have asked them to fight it.

Is it just me, or is there something wrong with this picture? Enough is enough.

K. Wilson


Another take on Iraq

The decision to invade Iraq was made unilaterally despite opposition from all corners of the world. Now that the cauldron we created is boiling over, some people have the audacity to demand the United Nations step in, to facilitate our troop withdrawal. The suggestion seems to be that citizens of other countries shed their blood for our recklessness.

Friends, we started the war, we own it, and it is incumbent upon us to see it to its conclusion.

Joe Bahlke

Red Bluff

Rewrite lobbying laws

After working for the government, no one should be allowed to work for a lobbyist in his or her lifetime. Lobbyists should not be allowed to write legislation. Legislators should be required by law to read all legislation before voting on it. They should be given a test to find if they understand the legislation before voting.

Earmarks should not be allowed—everything in a bill must pertain to the subject of the bill. Any legislation that’s written should come up for a vote.

As a result, we would have legislation that benefits the public, rather than the legislation we now get.

Norm Dillinger


Related link?

The tragedy of the Utah coal mine collapse is frighteningly similar to the tragedy in Iraq.

Some multinational corporations have been trying to extract and cash out as much as possible of the world’s natural resources, especially carbon fuels. They have manipulated our Bush administration into deregulating these necessary industries and into putting the corporations beyond the range of law enforcement.

Instead of “safety enforcement,” the Bush administration has changed the mission of the Mine Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Labor Department into “compliance assistance specialization.” Why have laws if you are only requested to volunteer to comply with them? The reason is that the same Bush administration is mandating that private contractors make “maximum economic recovery” from the natural resources. The economic bottom line seems to have neglected maximum human recovery.

This is similar to the Bush administration unemploying 400,000 Iraqi soldiers and sending them home without any jobs, and trying to replace them with foreign contractors. Occupation for maximum oil extraction is our policy, and that is not in the long-term interest of our nation.

Bush has dug us into a hole. If we allow him to keep digging deeper, the roof will collapse.

John Chendo