Think about this. Sen. Tanksley stalls on HB 369 because he thinks paternity fraud should have time limits. NOW lobbyist Vickie McLennan offers very vague commentary, unable to admit paternity fraud is criminal. And we're supposed to believe there isn't a war against men in Georgia? Come on, if a man owes child support there are a plethora of ways to recover what's owed, but if the man's DNA answers "no" to the question: "Who's your daddy?" well, HB 369 does not even require that the child support paid (I mean, stolen) by the wrong man be returned. You've got to be kidding me!
I hope CL and everyone else stays on the paternity fraud bandwagon. Paternity fraud is a crime, as are a host of other ways parents are victimized by our courts. With paternity fraud, the remedy is so simple: "If the genes don't fit, you must acquit." After all, most of the time you get your money back if a vending machine steals it. So why won't we return money women have stolen from men in the form of paternity fraud?
-- Tony Zizza
Not foreign to your pain, Cliff
Cliff:I was sorry to read that you had received poor responses to your article, "Not German, but wishing I were" (Paradigms, April 11). Having worked for a German company for the past 10 years and traveling to Europe (mainly Germany) at least twice per year, I knew exactly what you were going through and saw the humor in your report. I'm still chuckling about it.
As a matter of fact, I was having a somewhat civil conversation with a colleague from Belgium last week during a conference in Germany. She is a recent graduate, age 25 and, as you suggest in "Love it or Leave it" (Paradigms, May 2), her philosophical and political passions are at peak level.
Referring to the recent presidential election and subsequent debacle in Florida she said, "You didn't know who you wanted to vote for!" There was also the usual commentary on issues like capital punishment, poverty, guns and healthcare. People like this young woman have their minds made up about the U.S. and Americans, so trying to defend yourself or your country is fruitless. All one can do is remain calm and try to provide context without being arrogant.
On the other hand, a number of our domestic embarrassments are rather hard to explain outside the country. For example, your observations concerning the global profile of George W. Bush hold true. During this same conference, people from Asia, Latin American and Europe were at least curious to know how I felt about President Bush, whether or not they had a personal criticism of him. Most were in disbelief over the administration's environmental policies, primarily for not signing the Kyoto agreement. Overall, their impressions of W are not good.
Oh well. What's one to do when Nationalism gets in the way? It's too bad that more of the world's people couldn't spend time together and discover all the things we have in common.
-- Marc Marton, Roswell
Kudos for Renaldo and Bostock
Praises and cheers, to [Mr. Renaldo's column], "How Many More Lives, Dollars Must Be Wasted?" (Think Tank, May 2) Alcohol and tobacco account for more deaths and accidents than drug abuses or overdoses. I never have understood why people cannot see the hypocrisy of saying, "These substances are illegal -- these two aren't." The lack of sound reasoning in our society is appalling.
I [also] appreciated [Cliff Bostock's], "Can We Put That in the Dustbin, Please?" (Paradigms, May 2). Answers to important problems are rarely of the True/False variety. One possible solution to the problem is: Parents (and all adults as well) should do what they can to inspire their children to love learning, especially history. My son did a report for Black History Month on the inventor Garrett Morgan, and he loved doing it. This month, I will be trying to reach his classmates by portraying Harry S Truman in a short monologue at his elementary school.
Neither of these is a solution. But similar activities, done over many months, are almost certain to bring results. This is the main reason no one likes to hear this solution. It takes "too much time," offers no "instant gratification" and pays no money. But in the long run, it will be worth it.
-- Martin Mitchell
I would like to thank you for the article on the local methadone clinics ("Dealing Drugs the Legal Way," April 4). This topic is one that is very close to my heart for my husband is a recovering addict. He was addicted to prescription pain medication that had been legitimately prescribed to him for medical reasons. However, just like most addicts, the pain medication became his way to escape, his way to become numb to the various stresses in his life
I have watched my husband go through hospitalized rehabilitation twice. After the first go-round, my husband saw a psychiatrist that supposedly specialized in addictive disorders. While in the hospital, my husband had been given methadone in gradually decreasing increments as well as Clonidine to control his blood pressure when panic would ensue due to the withdrawal symptoms. The methadone treatment allowed for my husband to function without experiencing the euphoria of the hydrocodone high, as well as not experience the pain of withdrawal. He began to see the light at the end of the tunnel so to speak.
You see, my husband had long since experienced the desire to be sober, but his body had become physically dependant on the opiates. In my observations of his plight, this seems to be the cruelest tug of war between body and mind.
Upon release from the hospital, the psychiatrist promptly put my husband back on the medication that he had become addicted to -- stating that she felt "he needed to be weaned off the opiate gradually." This only eventually led to another round of hospitalized rehabilitation. Many [Narcotics Anonymous] meetings later, as well as many discovered relapses and half-truths later, my husband began treatment at a local methadone clinic. I am happy to say that it is not one of the ones that is so heavily scrutinized in your article. My husband has been visiting the clinic now for over six months. I have gone with him on occasion, and can definitely spot the patients that aren't visiting the clinic to get better, but to get high.
I thank God for this clinic on a daily basis for giving my husband this option to save himself. The addict has to truly desire to be clean. My husband is regularly subjected to random urine testing and must attend group meetings, as well as have a certain amount of time logged with his counselor before he can progress to the next level as far as his take-home dosages are concerned. We have even met with his counselor together. He has decreased his dosage twice over the course of his treatment so far. His results may not be typical of most of the patients that visit methadone clinics around the country, but his results are positive just the same. If these clinics can help even two out of the 10 patients that visit them, then it seems like a viable option to me. I just wanted people to know out there that there is hope and there are people that do want to help people to help themselves.
-- Name and location withheld upon request
On a limb
Kudos to Mr. Renaldo for inspiring passionate reaction on a subject I had assumed to be nowhere near today's social ground zero (Think Tank, Rant, "Parts Is Parts," April 18). One respondent went to admirable lengths to excoriate the essay, and I must admit to being a sucker for a good argument.
While Mr. Renaldo might be criticized for diluting his idea with cruel and cavalier stereotypes, his main organizing idea (something I learned about in my freshman comp class) can be summed up in three sentences:
Every party in the organ supply chain, save one, reaps a substantial material benefit from the process, either in monetary compensation or in improved health. The federal government, an agency of force, has legislated a market value of zero for the organs to their source, while allowing at least some market benefits to accrue to all other parties in the supply chain.
The state government, also an agency of force, is leveraging a declared monopoly in granting driving privileges towards the pursuit of increasing the supply of available organs, while granting a nominal benefit for the organs to their source, in the form of an $8 rebate.
While even Mr. Renaldo's supporters decry his lack of compassion for the organ recipients, they forget about the organ source. Notice I didn't say "donor" because the verb "to donate" not only implies a disinterest in compensation, but assumes a broader range of choices than merely keeping one's organs or giving them away for free.
Consider also that the source is not leaving this mortal coil cost-free -- even a DOA will incur transport costs, not to mention counseling for the bereaved, burial costs and so on. Should the source have been a long-term or intensive care patient, the costs are certainly comparable to an organ recipient's. Add to this the pressure on the survivors to grant harvest rights, and it becomes hard to deny that receiving compensation at a price per pound equal to that of garden fertilizer isn't exploitation.
One argument against a free market in organs is that the deceased have no material interest in their organs, and therefore the living have no moral requirement to compensate. But if your house sat atop a major deposit of uranium, wouldn't you feel entitled to compensation, even if you have no material interest in the uses of uranium?
Another argument highlights the possibility of runaway organ pilferage, where legions of hung over men wake up in ice-filled bathtubs without their kidneys or worse. One possible countermeasure would be to restrict compensation to certain forms of harvesting (such as from deceased persons only, with proper oversight by disinterested parties), or to certain modes of payment, such as tax breaks or credit towards medical or burial expenses. Such arrangements can be drawn up well in advance, when everyone's thinking clearly. If the prospective donor wishes, the compensation can even be applied to the relief of the recipient's medical costs.
To me, that's a far more generous form of altruism than what passes for "giving" in today's organ marketplace.
-- Ken Parmalee, Morrow
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