Letters to the Editor (4/15/10)

April 15, 2010


Health care for the people

I would like to respond to the letter “Energy and health” in the March 25 edition of the Observer. “One day,” the writer said, “our health care system can be just like (Cuba’s).”

In Cuba, unlike America, every citizen has access to health care and pharmaceuticals at costs that do not break them apart. No one goes bankrupt because of a medical problem; no one is denied or thrown off of health insurance because of an illness or pre-existing condition. There is no such thing as a 40 percent increase in health insurance premiums such as Wellpoint inflicted on California this year. There are no health insurance CEOs reaping millions a year in salaries as their companies take in record profits while thousands of Americans lose their insurance and tens of thousands die annually because they cannot afford any health care.

While no great fan of Fidel, I wonder what the author finds wrong with this type of health care system and why it would be such a bad thing if ours came to resemble theirs in some ways. It is not the best in the world, nor the worst. It is, however, far better than what the Cuban people had under Fulgenico Batista, the brutal dictator and American puppet who raped the country before Castro’s revolution got rid of him.

The Cuban system has accomplished something America cannot yet bring itself to do: cover all of its citizens. What, exactly, is so terribly wrong with that?

Walter Carpenter, Montpelier


Drug accusations ‘off base’

In the April 1 Observer, Champlain Valley Union High School was accused of having a “rampant” drug problem, and the administration was said to “nearly encourage” it (Letters to the Editor, “Drugs at CVU”).

As a senior at CVU, I found these accusations to be offensive and very off base. I have spent four years walking those halls, and I have found CVU to be the complete opposite of the picture painted in the aforementioned letter. I have never seen a drug deal occur in the hallway, or a teacher allow an intoxicated student to walk free. Obviously I could have missed something, but I have talked to many students and faculty members in the past week who agree with me that these attacks on the CVU community are completely unwarranted and false.

CVU is one of the best schools in the state. We consistently do well on standardized tests, many of our students go on to incredible colleges and overall the CVU community is incredibly caring.

Although CVU is a great school, we cannot allow ourselves to be naïve. It is high school, and we have to expect some drug use from students. But to say the administration does nothing about it is completely untrue. From the first days of class freshman year, students are taught the dangers and consequences of drug use. Dealing drugs can result in immediate expulsion, and being caught using drugs or alcohol can get kids suspended from school and sports. The faculty really cares about each and every kid, and the vast majority of the students really care about the school.

I want this message to get to the parents and future students at CVU. CVU is an extraordinary school, not some drug emporium. Spend a day here and you will understand that our students are not drug abusing delinquents, but friendly, thoughtful kids. Please learn the facts next time before you insult a whole community.

Chris Beaton, CVU Student Council president


Poor science

Most government intrusion into our peaceful pursuits is based on junk science and junk economics. Politicians know this, so do reporters. But to listen to them you wouldn’t think so.

Why then does Vermont heavily subsidize both solar and wind generation of electrical power? Both are expensive and are not capable of providing for our electrical needs. If you remove the words “solar and wind” and insert “nuclear” you end up with Republican rather than a Democratic mantra. Why did Obama have to guarantee 100 percent of the loans on a few new nuclear power plants in Georgia? Because if it made financial sense then somebody else would have been willing to finance them. Nuclear is about as affordable as solar and wind power are clean. We are all forced by our government to pay for energy production that is financially foolish. Why do we put up with this? That road leads you toward government dependence and away from energy independence. How much more forced ruinous economic behavior can we afford?

People are ignorant enough about basic science to be easily bamboozled into banning incandescent bulbs and plastic bags as solutions to serious energy and pollution issues. They don’t come anywhere close to fixing problems yet politicians croon about the necessity of giving us the foul tasting medicine.

We consume 15 million barrels of oil daily. We produce 5 million. Unfortunately, no amount of local drilling is going come close to filling that gap. Cranking up taxes or building a “smart grid” that permits the government to regulate the temperature inside my house won’t cure energy woes.

Perhaps we can get those politicians to address the most dangerous greenhouse gas of them all — the dreaded dihydrogen monoxide. Ban it before it is too late!

Shelley Palmer, Williston