Letters to the Editor: June 13, 2012

Ask the Tough Questions

Great article and very informative (“Bedside Bankroll,” May 23). As another elder-care professional, it’s highly recommended that families avoid privately hired caregivers, as they are often not less expensive and expose families to extraordinary risk. I would also suggest interviewing caregiver agencies thoroughly, asking tough questions for references and making sure the agency is bonded and insured. Since there is no licensing for nonmedical homecare in California, it’s best for the agency to have a licensed clinical social worker on staff, and that they contract with local government agencies and have a strong, trusted reputation in the senior-care community—one that is much more than positive branding.

Co-Director, Visiting Angels Senior Homecare

Soda Is Really Bad for You

New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg’s decision to ban supersized sugary sodas has resurrected the age-old debate over the role of the state in protecting the public health. In recent years, this debate involved bicycle helmets, car seat belts, tobacco, saturated fats in meat and dairy, trans fats and sugar (or more aptly, high-fructose corn syrup). Public subsidies for tobacco, meat and dairy, and corn production added fuel to the debate.

I would argue that society has a right to regulate activities that impose a heavy burden on the public treasury. National medical costs of dealing with our obesity epidemic, associated with consumption of meat, dairy and sugars, are estimated at $190 billion. Health advocates and fiscal conservatives alike should support eliminating subsidies for these products, as well as judicious taxation to reduce their use and recoup public costs.

Benjamin Franklin claimed that nothing is certain except death and taxes. Ironically, taxing products that make us sick can defer death substantially.

Santa Rosa

Cuba Libre

The United States is trying to blame Cuba’s poverty and troubles and everything else on Castro, when for 50 years this country has devastated Cuba through American sanctions and embargoes, etc. Before Castro took over, the U.S. was Cuba’s closest and biggest trading partner, and they used to supply America with sugar, coffee, tourism and a lot of things. It was notorious that American men would go to Cuba to visit the prostitutes there. But Castro got rid of them and got rid of Batista, who was the bad guy.

Before that, the U.S. was very happy to recognize Castro. They said, “Yes, he’s gotten rid of Batista, a bad man, and he made Cuba better for the Cubans”—until he started nationalizing all the industries, businesses and plantations of the rich. They thought the embargoes and the sanctions would work, that they’d starve Castro and his supporters out. That was too much. So then the U.S. government began to fight Cuba, and they helped some Cuban exiles stage the Bay of Pigs invasion under John F. Kennedy—becoming a laughingstock because they lost so badly.

Terrorist groups based in Miami have even confessed to being killers, in published books published and in interviews on television. But they have not been brought to justice. However, Cuba has more than 5,000 victims of state terrorism between the dead and the wounded. Thus, as a society, as a sovereign nation, we have the right to defend ourselves, and we do it peacefully. It’s hurting the poor of Cuba more than anybody, whom they claim they want to help!

Palo Alto

Award Tour!

Last Friday, at the annual convention for the Association of Alternative Newsmedia in Detroit, Bohemian editor Gabe Meline was honored with a first-place award for Music Criticism and a third-place award for his music blog, City Sound Inertia. This marks the third straight AAN win for City Sound Inertia and—ahem—13 AAN awards for the Bohemian in the last 10 years.

Dept. of Hairstyle

Two profiles in the cover story of last week’s style issue, of Kerri Valentine and Yureesh Hooker, were incorrectly attributed to Rachel Dovey. The profiles were written by Leilani Clark.

Doin’ Stuff Right, Doin’ Stuff Wrong

Write to us at [email protected].