Letters to the editor
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The Friends of the Fort Pitt Museum were described in Monday's editorial ("Fort Pitt's Rescuer: The Museum Commission Should Go with the Pros") as "overly ambitious" for wanting to run the museum next year. This despite the fact that many of us have decades of first-hand experience with the museum; we don't have to take tours of it, as History Center employees do, to find out what it contains.
We would retain (as the History Center would not) four current staff, including PHMC's own site administrator of 10 years. We will have a blue-ribbon advisory group including Bob Wilburn (formerly head of Carnegie Institute), a retired senior vice president of U.S. Steel, Linda Dickerson and a Duquesne University professor in museum studies. The proposed acting director has a quarter-century of managerial experience, much of it heading non-profit organizations.
This is not a hospital operating room, or even a newspaper. It is a small museum with a small staff and a modest budget. Our experience is more than sufficient for the task at hand, and we bring to management not only that site-specific experience but lower costs and a commitment to retain the unique character of the Fort Pitt Museum. The History Center may seem the obvious choice to some, but maybe they should look a little harder at the facts.
Friends of the Fort Pitt Museum
Columnist Ruth Ann Dailey recently drew "A Health Care Parable from a Post Office Line" (June 1). Ms. Dailey waited longer than it suited her at the post office one day and concluded that it would be a mistake to let "these people ... run health care." What's wrong with the Postal Service, she says, is that "with no profit to be earned, there's no incentive to tailor products and services to the public's needs."
Well, Ms. Dailey, the health insurance industry currently amasses huge profits, so why is practically no one happy with it but its stockholders and employees? Why are tens of millions of Americans without access to health care? Why do U.S. infant mortality and life expectancy compare unfavorably with other developed countries?
The answer to these and other questions is that insurance companies profit, not by meeting our needs, but by refusing to meet as many of them as possible. The less health care we get, the more they profit while being able to offer competitive rates to our employers, who actually buy the policies.
When insurance companies "run health care," they provide profit to stockholders, inflated salaries to their executives and grief to everyone else.
It's time we set up an efficient single-payer system to move our money directly to the real health care providers (hospitals, doctors, nurses, etc.) without any of it padding the pockets of predatory middlemen along the way. Tell your representatives in Congress to support H.R. 676, "Expanded and Improved Medicare for All."
DAVID M. ACKERMAN
How it works
Columnist Ruth Ann Dailey demonstrates a good understanding of some aspects of our health-care problems but draws a conclusion based on misunderstanding of how a single-payer approach works.
Under single-payer, each of us would have totally free choice of provider, and providers would be private as they are now. The government is the payer of services, not the provider of services -- a distinction that the insurance industry does its best to distort. We would pay a fraction of what we now pay, because a coordinated, national plan is far less expensive than our current privatization approach.
It is the private insurance industry that limits access to physicians, denies payment for sick people once they run out of benefits and refuses to enroll people who have "risk indicators" of future illness.
None of this would happen under a publicly developed, publicly accountable national plan for covering all of us equally, with good medical care. A publicly developed plan is designed with the needs of all of us in mind. It is developed by physicians as well as the government, unions, business and others. It is public, not private. If some aspects of a national plan need to be adjusted to better serve the public, they can be changed.
I encourage Ms. Dailey to go to wpasinglepayer.org, our local coalition, or to pnhp.org (Physicians for a National Health Program) to learn more about single-payer health care.
New prez, old issues
Oh my gosh! It's deja vu again.
Gas prices are rising again. There are more troops going to Afghanistan. There are still troops in Iraq. The sky's falling.
Quick -- let's blame Bush ... er, I mean Obama.
A bad president
Every day I wake up and wonder when my fellow Americans are going to see what a bad job President Barack Obama is doing. His plan for fixing our poor economy is a joke! Basic logic dictates that you tighten your belt, not spend money you don't even have to spend.
His constant derogatory remarks about the United States just turn my stomach. Being a veteran, I take these remarks personally. The man has no idea what it means to be an American, really. I hope in the very near future that my fellow Americans stop this infatuation or whatever it is with Mr. Obama and see him for what he really is, and that is "un-American."
VINCENT N. SHONKA
Once again, Barack Obama was on an apologizing tour, this time to the Middle East. On June 4, I watched on TV a most disturbing, dishonest and dangerous speech by Mr. Obama in Cairo, Egypt. It was nothing but propaganda lies. He tried to rewrite history. He apologized for America's action and history. He keeps criticizing America.
Mr. Obama kept quoting verses from the Koran, the holy book of the Muslims. He said the United States and the Muslims have the same principles. False! You cannot believe anything he says. Mr. Obama is living in a fantasy world; he needs to wake up to reality. Mr. Obama struck out. A negative speech for America, a positive speech for Muslims.
RAY F. DIVELY
Unfair to owners
If you have lost a gun or had one stolen, as a responsible citizen you should report it immediately. However, to criminalize a gun owner for failure to report a lost or stolen gun is the wrong approach in an attempt to catch straw purchasers of guns.
If a woman is raped and she fails to report it within 24 hours, she endangers the rest of society by allowing a rapist to roam the streets and prey on other women. Should we make her a criminal for failing to report the rape? Obviously, most reasonable people would not want to turn the rape victim into a criminal.
Yet when it comes to guns, the general public has been so brainwashed that they allow their fear of guns to encourage irrational behavior. If they believe that it is acceptable to make a victim of a gun theft a criminal for failing to report the crime, then should we not make all victims of crimes criminals if they fail to report those crimes?
If a child steals from his parents to support a drug habit, let's prosecute the parents for failing to report the theft. If someone is being blackmailed, we should make them a criminal and put them in jail for failing to report it.
Irresponsible politicians in Pittsburgh, Wilkinsburg, Lancaster and Philadelphia, in order to pander to their constituents, are enacting laws to punish victims. Reporting a lost or stolen gun is the responsible thing to do. Making it a crime to fail to report the crime is morally wrong.
Upper St. Clair
Why America can't condone torture
On June 7, I read more than one letter defending torture by the United States. Our country has high standards because:
1) It is the right thing to do.
2) It gives security to all of our own citizens.
3) It prevents the advent of a breakdown of our entire society.
4) We cannot alter our scruples when our circumstances change.
5) Retaliation to our enemies leads to retaliation against anyone we disagree with.
Human nature, being what it is, can justify almost any action. Our country needs to have standards and needs to live up to those standards. It is difficult, it is not fair, but we must follow our own laws. The alternative is for America to descend into chaos.
First Published June 17, 2009 12:00 am