If people were all the same, treating them would be easy
I am writing in response to last Sunday's letter, "If doctors agreed on standard practice, lawyers wouldn't have anything to argue about." The letter said that doctors need to standardize their practices & quot;in the same way that Burger King, General Motors, and Bank One standardize their practices & quot;. The obvious problem with this suggestion is that, unlike the products and services provided by these companies, people are not all the same.
There is still, necessarily, an art to the practice of medicine. Patients can present with a myriad of symptoms of the same underlying disorder. I've cared for literally thousands of patients with the same condition, (stroke), and I can't name two who presented in the exact same way. As far as treatment goes, there are multiple ways in which a disorder can be treated or prevented, and treatment must be individualized to each patient's particular needs. If all that was necessary to care for patients was a cookbook, there would be no need for doctors.
Medical care in this country is superb, but it is, and will remain, fallible, even when competent, caring and careful doctors are involved. Because each patient is unique, there are too many variables in play to allow for & quot;standardization. & quot; Last week's writer should save his & quot;strong opinions & quot; for something about which he is more knowledgeable.
Dr. ELIZABETH MYER
Coarse language on network TV tends to coarsen society
I am concerned about the use of coarse language during prime time television. For instance, while my family and I were watching "Fear Factor" on Monday night, the host on the show said "Let's get the hell out of here." Just a few moments later, like a parrot, my four-year old brother mimics the phrase "Let's get the hell out of here." Now let's consider if that is necessary or appropriate for prime time television.
Being a teenager I hear this sort of language used frequently at school. However, I never hear this at home because it is most inappropriate around my younger brothers. Even though "Fear Factor" has disgusting challenges for its contestants, I think that the use of bad language drops the show below the minimum standards of my family and prime time television.
According to The American Family Association: "Without naming all the profane and vulgar words now commonly used on TV, let this mild one suffice as an example: the use of the word 'hell' during a four-week period on network television increased from 56 times in 1989 to 298 times for the same period in 1999. And the past two years have seen a barrage of filthy words and expressions never before used on television."
As you can see there is clearly an upswing in the use of coarse language on television. If they keep it up what will be safe for the entire family to watch? Many people would say just change the channel, but once the word is said, the harm has already been done. And who is to say that the program that we switch to won't also have the same problems or worse? Certainly we shouldn't have to settle for watching "Sesame Street" or "Barney".
While I understand that "Fear Factor" is a coarse show, I don't believe that it's beneficial to use the word "hell" and other coarse language on prime time television. I hope that you will agree and come to the same conclusion as I did.
What do you get for$80 billion these days?
President Bush recently requested an additional $80 billion for the war in Iraq. That's a lot of money, and I got to thinking about the value of $80 billion.
$80 billion would significantly improve the quality of public education in America. In fact, prorated by population, our share in the tri-county Mahoning Valley region would be about $162 million -- enough to make a real difference.
In terms of higher education, $80 billion would pay for 1.6 million young Americans to get a four-year college education. Wow.
If we decided instead to focus on immediate economic development and job creation, $80 billion would provide $1 million in startup capital for each of 80,000 new businesses. Fighting crime? 160,000 new cops on the streets for 10 years.
This president himself indicated in a state-of-the-union address that he intended to make a significant investment in fighting the worldwide scourge of AIDS. Well, Mr. President, I dare speculate that $80 billion would be enough to eradicate AIDS from this planet forever, and still have a few billion left over for attacking cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Only days after the President's request for the money, there were 37 American troops killed in Iraq in just one day. That's a lot of dead Americans, and I got to thinking about the value of their lives. Of course, to their loved ones that's an easy calculation: Priceless.
X The writer is Mahoning County treasurer.
Now's the time to redesign Social Security for tomorrow
The news for many months will be all about improving Social Security.
Who could possibly oppose making the system better and fairer for young Americans? Who could possibly oppose retaining the present system for those already retired or about to retire?
The ideas for reform are not about the present; they are about the future!
The present system is a relic of the 1930s, and the vast majority of Americans agree it can stand improvement. The question is when and how?
Think about this for a moment: If there were at present no Social Security system, and we wanted to create one, what would it be like?
1. Would there be individual accounts? Of course.
2. Would we want growth of 5 or 6 percent yearly? Certainly.
3. Would you allow politicians to take money from your account whenever they choose to do so? Absolutely not.
4. Do you want your heirs to inherit any unused account balance, if you die before you collect any benefits?
5. Undoubtedly there would be additional attractive features.
I am concerned, as we all should be, that many Americans are being misled by scare tactics and misleading rhetoric. Many of our fellow citizens are "na & iuml;fs" herded into following politicians and various groups which have an agenda far different than you might think.
Dishonest politicians plunder Social Security payroll tax money to spend on a myriad of outlays having nothing to do with Social Security. Some of them also like the idea of keeping Americans forever in a state of dependency on government, while doling out very meager social security "benefits." We Americans can do better!
Big bust; little result
Well, it's official. The double standard is alive and well in the "criminal justice system."
Several months ago, the U.S. government spent a large amount of tax dollars to catch a large group of people who were involved in a big gambling enterprise. With a great deal of fanfare, they announced the charges and prospective penalties these people faced.
Now comes the sentencing of these criminals. None are going to jail! No property is being taken! No huge fines! Business as usual at La Villa.
The local clergy has again intervened on behalf of at least one criminal. Remember Ed Flask, who served 90 days and also was released for work at a job no one ever saw him perform and who did community service never seen by anyone but the clergyman who supported him?
I have to wonder why justice is so light on educated, affluent people who have had many advantages in life and chose crime to further enrich themselves and so hard on poverty stricken, uneducated souls who were raised in a crime ridden environment.
It probably helps that the people in this case were well connected to both the political community and the criminal community. In the Mahoning Valley, it is often hard to tell one community from the other.
Who is winning in Iraq?
A recent letter by a Dubya "hawk" from Girard gloated over America's debacle in the desert. What he fails to remember in his harangue: it falls on deaf ears of the 1,400 sons and daughters of America who returned home in coffins.
Strength and the flexing of muscle is only relevant when mankind benefits; not when the primary recipient of war is a company like Halliburton that preys upon our tax dollars!