Letters for December 3, 2009

Some help, please

Re “The Pot Issue” (Feature story, Nov. 5):

Open letter to the northern Nevada medical community:

I am a 50-year-old disabled veteran. Because of injuries I sustained in the United States Army, I suffer from chronic pain. I consume 90 hydrocodone, 180 naproxin/acetaminophen, and approximately 120 aspirin/Tylenol per month. I have grave concerns over the long-lasting effects of this drug use on my body.

With the recent dialogue and state legalization of medical marijuana, I thought this might be my answer. I contacted the state agency in charge of this program only to find that they wouldn’t recommend a physician or tell me how to find one with some knowledge in this area of treatment. My Veterans Administration doctor is a federal employee and unable to prescribe a medicine that is still federally illegal. After going to the yellow pages and calling numerous physicians, it became apparent that despite its Nevada legality there are no Northern Nevada physicians with the courage to explore this option.

I am aware of the doctors to whom I can send my records and be approved, but oddly enough, I actually want a real exam and discussion about possible downsides to this treatment. I am not a stoner or an opportunist; I just want to try another method of controlling my pain. If there is a physician in the Reno area for whom the Hippocratic Oath still has some meaning, I invite your commentary at <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">{ document.write(String.fromCharCode(60,97,32,104,114,101,102,61,34,109,97,105,108,116,111,58,115,109,105,116,104,112,119,120,64,103,109,97,105,108,46,99,111,109,34,62,115,109,105,116,104,112,119,120,64,103,109,97,105,108,46,99,111,109,60,47,97,62)) } </script>.

Patrick Smith
via email

Help the mission

Re “My idea of patriotism” (East of Eden, Nov. 12):

How many schools did the Taliban government build when it was in power? How many girls were allowed to attend school? For that matter, how many women were allowed to work and participate in any manner in the political and economic life of Afghanistan?

Ms. Huntley quotes Nicholas Kristof’s column stating that “for the price of a single additional soldier stationed in Afghanistan we could build roughly 20 schools there.” By Mr. Kristof’s own admission, it’s hard to calculate the costs precisely, yet he makes claims that can’t be supported.

No one would disagree with the premise that schooling would improve the life of the people of Afghanistan, yet Ms. Huntley fails to understand that without security, education is impossible. Mr. Kristof gave several examples of schools built by private organizations that have successfully existed for some time, yet no mention is made of the fact that they exist because of the security provided by our troops. Without them, I doubt that they would be allowed to exist for very long under a Taliban government. Have no doubt that without our troops, the Taliban would be back in power, and education would not be a priority.

Ms. Huntley, to her credit, does in a very brief sentence acknowledge the fact that girls were not allowed to attend school under the Taliban government. I do question how she sees the future of Afghanistan if our troops are not successful in their mission. She does not call for the troops to come home, only that we should not send more in order to successfully complete our mission.

I would suggest that she and all the other columnists who object to increasing the troop levels speak with the troops that are serving our country in these difficult times. I believe she would find that these men and women want to succeed and then come home, not give up the fight to see people live in a society that is free to follow their dreams. No matter who people are or where they live, all human beings long for freedom to provide a better life for their children. All except fanatics who only lust for power!

We are the most powerful nation on Earth, and with power comes responsibility. We are there, and we must finish the mission we started. That includes building schools, but it also includes successfully completing the mission for which many Americans have died. Let us never forget that simple point.

Fred Speckmann

Help desk

Re “Harry Reid’s big secret” (Feature story, Nov. 26):

The essay by Dennis Myers was the most well-reasoned study I’ve ever read that destroys the basis for the un-democratic and un-republican use of the filibuster. Since the Supreme Court ruling on apportionment, I still can’t fathom why something as regressive as a filibuster (not in the Constitution) is allowed to function. The construction of the Senate is technically undemocratic as well. But let that slide; it is constitutional. However, with nonsense like this, the only consistent policy is to outlaw the filibuster, the composition of the Senate, and the Electoral College. Then, and only then, will the United States actually approach some form of government that reflects representative (republican) democracy.

B.F. Krueger
New York City, N.Y.

Get some help

Re “Nevada vet faults new GI Bill” (Upfront, Nov. 19):

Although the new GI Bill is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, the Reserve and Guard components have their own programs. The 9/11 GI Bill is for anyone, including activated Reserve and Guard members, and their benefit is allocated based on how much active time they’ve completed. I’m a veteran, I’m a reservist, and I’m using the new GI Bill. My complaints are with the bureaucracy. If Specialist Chrystal isn’t pleased, that’s unfortunate. If he needs more information, he should see an advisor at any of the veterans’ offices on the local college campuses. They are fantastic resources for any veteran who has questions.

Donald Stockton

Cry for help

Re “More lawmaking by ballot” (News, Nov. 25):

These GOP apparatchiks don’t like personhood because it is not a big tent, and God forbid, it may make all of them put their money where their mouths are. Personhood is the best strategy to end abortion, and the Colorado Supreme Court found it to be “not vague” by a unanimous vote. Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have sued to stop it. I wonder why they would do such a thing if it is so wrongheaded and pointless? Maybe because it is not, and the pro-life GOP groups are wrong as they have been for 35 years.

William Wilberforce
Washington, D.C.

Editor’s note: As our report made clear, the language of the Colorado and Nevada initiatives are very different.