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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tillman Documentation

There are two things troubling about the aftermath following the death of Corporal Pat Tillman.

First is the fact that the Army lied about the way in which he died and created a heroic death out of what seems to be a friendly fire accident. It is worrying that field commanders and their superiors should engage in this type of deception.

Second, I say "seems to be" because there have been a number of different accounts of Tillman's death and it is unclear which version -- or some other version -- is correct. The President is refusing, using the claim of executive privilege, to release the documents that might shed light on the matter.

The President should release these documents immediately.

Sent to Boston Globe

Work Ethic

I must strongly disagree with the statement about American workers contained in your editorial, Family Values Betrayed (New York Times, Friday, May 4th., 2007: A26).

American workers do not shun all "backbreaking entry-level jobs." They only avoid these jobs when the wages are so low that working at such a job does not provide a living wage.

Most Americans want to work but they also want to be fairly compensated for that work. When the CEO gets 400 times the compensation of the entry-level worker, something is clearly amiss.

Sent to New York Times in May -- late posting

Canada's properties in London

I would have thought that instead of selling properties in London (For Sale: Ottawa's foreign luxury homes, Globe and Mail, July 24, 2007, A1, A10), the Canadian Government could have rented them out on very good terms. This income stream could then be used to service mortgages on the smaller houses that would need to be purchased.

After all, they don't make Nash terrace houses any more.

Sent to Toronto Globe and Mail

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Health Care

Former Mayor Giuliani offers little in his "plan" for health care (A free-market cure for US health care system, Boston Globe, Aug. 3rd., 2007, A13).

First the tax free exclusion of $15,000 will do little for the near poor who are ineligible for Medicaid.

Second, encouraging people to personally pay for "minor expenses" will have the adverse effect of encouraging people to self-diagnose so as to avoid meeting those minor expenses, which add up over several family members. Self-diagnosis is dangerous as some serious diseases have
similar initial symptoms to minor ailments.

Finally, as Kathy Schwartz of the Harvard School of Public Health has pointed out, genetic research is changing everything. The time will come when our knowledge of genetics will enable us to accurately assess the probablity that a given individual will have a dangerous and expensive disease. Even with current knowledge, Insurance Companies do a good job of selecting for coverage the healthy members of the population. With our increased knowledge, only a system with universal coverage and no possibility of "cherry picking" can be appropriate in the United States.

This, I think, means a single payer system.

Sent to Boston Globe