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.)
As for Best Best & Krieger LLP (whatever LLP means), their letter proves again that no position is so ludicrous that a lawyer cannot be paid to represent it. Their legal analysis is as nonsensical as the Alien and Sedition Acts are dead. The Onion, the Phil Hendrie Show on radio, and many other examples suffice to show that parody and made-up quotations are clearly protected by the First Amendment with no necessity of identifying them as parodies for any feebleminded who may read them.
So keep on with “SD on the QT.” It may be the most valuable thing you publish, especially when you make fun of those who consider themselves above anyone laughing at them.
J. F. Dolan
In the mid-1980s, I found a horrible mass of sewage flotsam and jetsam washed up on the shoreline of Ocean Beach. As a senior city lifeguard, I was incensed that huge amounts of plastic syringes, tampon inserters, used prophylactics, and various hospital and sewage debris was contaminating our beaches. I collected a sample of this solid effluence in a plastic Ziploc bag and sent it to the mayor’s office through the City’s grievance protocol.
I was promptly summoned to an emergency meeting with City management. It turned out that the Point Loma sewage treatment plant had a spill. I was coerced by a strong-armed upper management to withdraw my grievance and the refuse sample bag because a federal environmental investigation was on at the time and the City wanted to keep this recent spill under the radar.
So, here we are almost 30 years later. What to do with all the poo? Since the City has been run as a black hole of flushing liquidity, San Diego has neglected funding drain and sewage repairs and upgrades for decades.
How to generate money to fix the decaying City sewage and drain infrastructures in a pending state of bankruptcy? Tax, tax, tax! Where but only in In-Sane Diego is one taxed to defecate?
How does this work? We the consumer pay for potable City water pumped into our homes. We pay a sewer and storm drain tax based on a nebulous formula levied against how much water we use (flush). I am now paying more in sewer and drain taxes than I am for the water I use! Our money down the tax-and-spend drain!
The City is now proposing to waste $11.8 million for a feasibility study to produce a toilet-to-tap water supply out of their not-ever-a-profit reclaimed water plant near UTC. Is it true that they are proposing we buy bottled water for them to wash down their power pills while we drink their used water?
Here is the leaky drip: the City sells us water, we also pay a pee-and-poo tax, the City does a toilet-to-tap dance and re-sells us back our used drinking water, and retaxes us to flush it. Ad infinitum. There is one flaw in this get-hosed idea -- our marginal water supply is drought intolerant. Japan and Israel use desalinization plants and their unused water supply is infinite. How long are we going to sit on the pot of apathy?
Vote these sewer snakes out of office. Dad always said that government thought it knew how to spend his money better than he did.
No Fat Tourists
The article “Chub Scrub” (“SD on the QT,” May 27) was beyond discriminatory, it was disgusting. My husband read it, then tore it to pieces; a friend mentioned it with tears in her eyes; and I was just kind of baffled.
What on earth would possess someone to be so hateful? Not all people that are overweight are lazy or just unable to control themselves. Some have suffered injury that made them immobile, suffer under a multitude of weight-sabotaging chemistry, do not have the stick-figure gene, have taken medications that have a side effect of weight gain, or a multitude of other things that can affect body size.
It seems “Bikini Nazis” was a more appropriate name for the article. No? You don’t think so? Let’s compare. Wanting to get rid of those who do not look like (place physical appearance here). If you don’t fit the mold, then you are sent to a camp. Banning those who do not comply from certain areas. Sound familiar?
Not to mention, who says all the tourists are going to be thin people? The likelihood is that at least a third of them are going to be overweight as well. I’m sure this concept will sit well with them and make them oh-so-comfortable visiting our city.
My only hope is that people who agree, encourage, and spread this kind of prejudice will some day suffer from their own discriminatory ways. It seems like feeling the hurt personally is the only way some people will learn some consideration and kindness, or at least regret for prior actions.
I would hope the future will provide more constructive causes than the “Bikini Nazi,” I mean “Chub Scrub” articles.
No Prime Time Meters
It is becoming obvious that SDG&E’s smart meters may not be so smart and are definitely not ready for prime time (“Sly Smart-Meter Swap-Out,” “City Lights,” April 8). On May 18, at least 4100 of us in Escondido had our smart meters permanently crash. Thirty homes were without power as a result. SDG&E offered the incredible explanation that the meters got “confused” and shut off during a software upgrade. The ones who are really confused are SDG&E’s captive ratepayers.
Now SDG&E admits it will need to replace at least 30,000 suspect smart meters in Escondido and another 3000 in Tierrasanta. And Sharelynn Moore, a spokeswoman for Itron, manufacturer of SDG&E’s smart meters, made the very troubling statement that the suspect meters will be returned to Itron’s factory in Washington State to be “wiped and redeployed.”
Any consumer who has had problems with their smart meter, whether lack of notice about installation, damaged electronic equipment when the power comes back on after installation, or inexplicably higher electric or gas bills after their smart meter was installed, should file a complaint with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) at cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/CEC/e_complaint/a_utilitycomplaint.htm or by calling the CPUC at 1-800-649-7570.
Holy Hypnosis, Batman!
I usually wait for everyone else to comment and then add mine. In response to the many letters regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Reader has given the other side of the issue, doing marvelous articles in “Sheep and Goats” (April 8), for example.
My take is that this group tries to make people believe that they are promoting the Bible in order to lure them into their cult and brainwash them using hyper-gnosis (hypnosis). People are then fed drugged Holy Communion in order to take their money and part of their lives. I consider Jehovah’s Witnesses, along with the Baptists, to be among the most ruthless of all religions. Both are secretly operated by the Masons, whose pyramid is on the back of the dollar bill and who use the 13-based spirituality of ancient paganism to abuse power. Ministers abusing these powers get just as high doing so as junkies do by using crack. And they get just as addicted. I consider Jehovah’s Witnesses to be a street gang that uses spirituality (love) instead of heroin to addict and control its members.