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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?

Name Withheld
via email

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.

Srini Jayaraman
via email

Squeezed Out

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 :(

Boss Jones
via Facebook

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
via email

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.

John Kitchin
via email

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
Normal Heights

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.)

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Ivar July 16, 2010 @ 12:24 a.m.

Regarding the letter "Greedy, Rich, White" by Barry and Phyllis of Normal Heights, this is a perfect example of liberal-left hypocrisy, pseudo-intellectual pretension, and ingratitude.

Going on the basis of a single, one-sided book, they have decided that America is nothing more than the genocidal creation of greedy, rich white males.

They then proceed (without a hint of awareness of the irony) to quote one of those white males -- a U.S. military general, Republican, and former president of this "genocidal" country, no less -- with great admiration.

Here's a suggestion to Barry and Phyllis. Since you note that this land was stolen from Native Americans, you should pack your bags and leave -- after emptying your bank accounts and giving the proceeds to one of our Native American tribes.

But no, you intend to spend your retirement reading, listening to music, and hanging out with people just like you.

I shouldn't even have to say this to supposedly educated people like yourselves, but here goes: All nations, races, etc., have oppressed other people, taken land and property from them, etc.

When America had slavery, so did the rest of the world. Slavery has been practiced not just by whites, but by all races.

What makes America unique is that it is the one country in the world that all races and classes of people have sought out as a place both of refuge and of opportunity.

Your hatred of America is sad, no doubt the result of following fads instead of truly educating yourselves.

How does that saying go? The only thing worse than a fool is an old fool.

My, how many old fools we have in this society -- stirring up racist hatred against their own grandchildren (assuming Barry and Phyllis are the self-loathing whites I suspect they are...)


magicsfive July 20, 2010 @ 4:50 a.m.

RE:Chub Scrub..

Get a sense of humor. "tore it to pieces" and "with tears in her eyes"...boo hoo. the majority of the overweight population is overweight because of lifestyle choices. being an overweight woman myself, i have no one to blame BUT myself. quit crying and do something about it. i take no offense to articles such as that.

and Barry and Phyllis, do us all a favor and leave this country... ASAFP.


David Dodd July 20, 2010 @ 6:27 a.m.

To J. F. Dolan:

"As for Best Best & Krieger LLP (whatever LLP means)..."

I believe that "LLP" is Limited Liability Partnership. Why anyone would want to brag about something so incredibly nebulous is beyond me, sort of like flashing one's high school diploma at a MENSA meeting. Great letter, you give me reason hope that there are more intelligent people with the ability to appreciate good satire. Some people love to threaten lawsuits, which is maybe going to be the next version of slapstick. They would be better off hurling a cream-pie, it would do more damage.


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