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Let's refuse to consume what the Bucs are serving

I am a huge baseball fan. But ultimately I am a consumer. My dollar is divided into many categories for products: basic staples, discretionary purchases, entertainment, etc. Part of my budget goes toward baseball (entertainment).

In today's economy the Pittsburgh Pirates offer a product, as does any other retailer. Unfortunately, the product they present is not an attractive purchase for my entertainment dollar. The recent trades of Jason Bay, Xavier Nady and Nate McClouth and past trades of Jason Schmidt and Aramis Ramirez, among others, have lessened the value for purchase of their product.

If Giant Eagle, Home Depot or Rite Aid offered such a poor product to their customers they would no longer be in business. PNC Park is a fantastic facility with an excellent staff, but if a Mount Washington restaurant with a magnificent view and an amazing staff served dog food, I, or anyone else, would refuse to eat there. I beg all baseball fans to refuse to eat the dog food Pirates management has been feeding us for the past 16 seasons. Join me in boycotting Pirates baseball until competent management can "field" a product worthy of purchase.

Washington, Pa.

Stale assumptions

Regarding "A Health-Care Parable From a Post Office Line" (June 1 column) by Ruth Ann Dailey:

Private corporations ran our economy into the ground and want more money and less regulation just so they can do it again. And you want these people to run health care? Respectfully, Ms. Dailey would do well to research the mountains of comparative health systems data rather than relying on hackneyed assumptions. These data indicate that the American health-care system, though engorged with resources, produces at best mediocre results when compared to other, much more centralized and regulated models in the industrialized world.

Our system suffers from the parasitic relationship it has with the insurance industry. By eliminating the administrative waste generated by private insurance, a single-payer model severs this unnecessary and wasteful tie and creates unfettered access to care for all Americans with a smaller price tag for individuals and America as a whole. It maintains the competition among health-care providers and pharmaceutical/device companies (among others) to stimulate the advancement of the standard of care.

The only competition we lose under single-payer is the competition between insurance companies, which is a race to the bottom for patients and health-care providers alike.


Tall tales of woe

Ruth Ann Dailey perpetuates the myths as all good myths are perpetuated by endlessly feeding us hearsay ("A Health-Care Parable From a Post Office Line," June 1). I have had personal experience with three government-run health systems: United Kingdom, Canada and Medicare. I think most Americans would be very happy with all three. Especially valuable is the feature that you can get good health care and not have to declare personal bankruptcy or take a second job after a catastrophic health event.

The U.S. Postal Service is our favorite vendor for most small parcels; they cost half as much as the private carriers and often are quicker especially from the West Coast. USPS online services are terrific, and there is a good chance that if she had chosen to use them she would not have had to stand in line in the first place. If she had chosen a slack period at the post office, we would no doubt have had to endure a column about overstaffing and government bureaucracy.

As for the tired old line about the profit motive being a universal driver for consumer satisfaction and good management, I guess nobody has been reading about the financial industry lately and how we are having to bail it out.


A better tribute

In the June 1 editorial "A Way to Remember," the Post-Gazette encouraged the community to support Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum by raising millions of dollars to build "Remembrance Park." I am all for more green spaces. I also believe that people should be remembered for the service they give to their country.

But I have to wonder if the soldiers and sailors who are being remembered would want us to spend our money building a park. Their counterparts of today are suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder. Families are learning to live through multiple tours of duty, leaving those at home with less income and support. Fathers, mothers and children are being affected and we do not have enough resources to help them.

As just one example of the need in Western Pennsylvania, the Veterans Leadership Program performed more than 4,800 incidences of service to veterans, service members and their family members in 2008, an increase of nearly 220 percent from 2007. The need exceeds the agency's financial resources. Think how many more people they could help if they had an additional $1 million.

The bottom line is in today's environment of ever-increasing frequency and lengths of combat tours and a tough economy to come home to, veterans, service members and their families need our help more than ever. Isn't that how the veterans from past generations would want us to remember them, by ensuring that every service member or veteran who needed our help got it?

Highland Park

Healthier buses

I was happy to see that the Pittsburgh school board's new agreements with bus companies will require them to install diesel particulate filters and closed crankcase ventilation systems ("City Schools Seek to Make Buses Cleaner," May 25; "Board OKs Negotiation of Schools' Sales," May 28).

This will cut emissions and purify air inside and outside buses that students like me ride in every day. Our region has more pollution than Los Angeles and kids go to the emergency room at Children's Hospital for asthma attacks three to four times the national average.

I was part of the Healthy School Bus campaign, which involved working together with the Group Against Smog and Pollution and Clean Water Action to advocate for these changes. We made posters, testified before the school board and educated the public about this issue and were successful in getting the Pittsburgh school board to change its policy.

All school districts in our region should require their buses to be retrofitted. There are grants to pay for this, and it's the right thing to do. I'd like to encourage students in other school districts to get their school boards to require that their school buses be retrofitted, too. See our Facebook group called the Healthy School Bus Campaign.

Squirrel Hill

The writer is in eighth grade.

He is a martyr for the cause of mercy abortions

My dear friend and esteemed colleague, Dr. George Tiller, was murdered May 31 as he ushered in his church ("Late-Term Abortion Provider Killed in Church," June 1). A quiet, unassuming man, Dr. Tiller possessed a strength of character that most of us can only wish for. As one of only three physicians in the United States who perform mercy abortions, he was targeted by a lunatic fringe, mostly men, who want to deny options to women whose pregnancies have gone terribly wrong.

But Dr. Tiller could not turn away the women who came to him after receiving a diagnosis such as holoprosencethaly, commonly called cyclops because of the single eye in the middle of the forehead and a brain that does not develop. Or a diagnosis of epidermolysis bullosa in which the baby is born without skin so is treated like a severe burn victim until it dies. He could not refuse the mothers' requests to spare their babies from suffering ending in a horrible death. This saintly man was the only doctor women in the eastern United States could turn to if their diagnoses came after 24 weeks. Their only other choice was awaiting the baby's birth, knowing that the life within them for another 10 to 15 weeks would end most cruelly for their beloved baby.

Dr. Tiller will forever remain a hero to the many thousands of women he helped. Despite what the hatemongers say, Dr. Tiller did not perform mercy abortions for financial gain. His lifestyle was modest and he gave most of his income away to organizations for women and his church.

Dr. George Tiller was a superb physician and devoted husband, father and grandfather. We who referred women to him because only he could help them, loved, honored and respected him. He was our hero and a martyr for a cause he believed in strongly enough to give his life.

Point Breeze

The writer was the director of the Allegheny Reproductive Health Center for 30 years.

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We welcome your letters. Please include your name, address and phone number, and send to Letters to the Editor, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222. E-mail letters to letters@post-gazette.com or fax to 412-263-2014. Letters should be 250 words or less, original and exclusive to the Post-Gazette. All letters are subject to editing for length, clarity and accuracy and will be verified before being published.


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