Re “SD on the QT,” July 8. I want to know why it was necessary to say “the Black employee”? Does it matter what color the employee was?
Walter Mencken replies: You are right — the color of the employee doesn’t matter. When I wrote “the Black employee,” I was referring to an employee at the Black, which is where the stickers are being sold. My apologies for any confusion.
The outrageous hospital bills can only be understood in the nature of charity where they consider writing off portions of inflated billings as charity and claiming a tax deduction (“That’s OK, Sir. I Am Authorized to Offer a 50% Discount,” Cover Story, July 8). IRS has to use a big broom here. In connection with the article, I have to make two other points.
(1) It is only a half-truth when you say insurance companies pay more to hospitals than Medicare. What is true here is that the insurance companies authorize a higher amount than Medicare, but they force the policyholder to pay a high co-pay, while their cash outlay is probably just like Medicare. In my policy, while I get an annual premium increase, the co-pay is now a horrendous 40 percent. I feel I have a medical discount card and not insurance.
The other point: (2) The false billings should give rise to lawsuits under the RICO Act. That will send the fear of God to the gangster hospitals. I am surprised that no lawyer has looked into this potential business. High time they did so. Personally, I am relying more on natural treatments. Can’t afford to go to hospitals.
What happened to “News of the Weird” this week (July 8)?? I look forward to it every week. I hope it hasn’t been axed :(
The column was omitted last week due to space limitations. — Editor
She Just Looked Older
Re “Of Note” on the Vicious Guns (July 8).
Thanks for the feature, guys. Just a correction… Jennie was 7 in 1984, not 19!
Name Withheld by Request
It’s Like A Secret Handshake
Congratulations on a truly brilliant “Sheep and Goats” review of Swami’s, July 8 by Joseph O’Brien. Particularly relevant is the comparison of religions and how similar they are. The article speaks of reincarnation. In Christianity and Judaism, only the clergy are supposed to know about that. The faithful “sheep” are never told that, but Jesus and Moses obviously knew. Read a seminary book or, better still, tell an ordained minister that you, too, are a minister and then discuss reincarnation. With the web, people are now way more intelligent than before. So religion needs come closer to the truth, rather than emphasis on its other function, control of people for the benefit of all. Religions teach the same things in different ways, which is why we need to stop hating and killing people for their beliefs. There’s more than one way to herd us cats.
Greedy, Rich, White
Thank you, Patrick Daugherty, for your eloquent essay, “I Can’t Push the Shopping Cart Past America Anymore,” on page 56 of the July 1 issue.
My husband and I couldn’t agree with you more. We also are not fans of the United States. We’ve just finished reading Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States, which neatly sums up how, from day one, starting with the genocide against the Native Americans committed by Christopher Columbus, greedy, rich white men have dominated the formation of the United States. The masses have been kept in line forever by the brilliant creation of a middle class, a buffer between the rich and poor.
Eisenhower warned as he was leaving office of the power of the military-industrial complex. This was right after World War II, after the U.S. had neatly divided up the spoils of that war with the other winners.
The current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are much like the fiasco in Vietnam -- pointless.
We are like Patrick Daugherty, in our 60s and just weary of it all, but determined to enjoy the remainder of our lives with good books, films, and the nature around us. There certainly are some wonderful, compassionate Americans around, also those who know their history enough to understand what’s happened, just not enough of them.
Barry and Phyllis
Can’t Take A Joke
“A lot on Mr. Tucker’s Plate” (Letters, July 1). In the 1970s, Washingtonian magazine announced as one of the results of a survey of Congressional staffers that Senator William Scott of Virginia was “the stupidest man in the Senate.” The day after publication, Senator Scott called a press conference to deny that he was the stupidest man in the Senate, thereby confirming it beyond any doubt.
I thought this act could never be topped, but then I read the letter from “Mr. Tucker’s” (soi disant) lawyers demanding that you state that the “SD on the QT” item “quoting” him about his involvement in drug dealing, casinos, bookmaking, and escort services was (gasp) a parody! To quote one of Jimmy the Greek’s less felicitous comments, apparently “Mr. Tucker” does not possess the “mental equipment” to realize that the circus makeup of the page, complete with a picture of Cary Grant as the newspaper reporter supposedly writing the hilarious piece, together with the preposterous statements included, could not possibly be taken as anything other than an April Fool’s–type story. He even claims that his constituents and “employees” have taken this “Taco Liberty Bell” story as gospel truth and threatens “further legal action.” In fact, the joke making fun of “Mr. Tucker” has so ruffled his feathers (how can anyone dare to make fun of an important politician?) that he has used public funds (note to constituents -– that’s your taxes!) to pay the law firm retained to represent the North County Transit District to attempt to intimidate anyone making a joke at his expense. (I would suggest that his constituents might really be interested in finding out how much he spent on this quixotic quest.)