Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Wednesday February 09, 2011 - 03:36:00 PM

Library Branch Van; Football Injuries; Wood Burning; Modern Art; Affordable Care; Control the Insurance Companies 

Library Branch Van 

As usual, Peter Warfield's action research reportage is right on! Re the itsy bitsy "branch van," I'm wondering who will be employed as its licensed driver-cum-professional librarian. 1,500 volumes is approximately the number of books and other media on hold-shelves and being branch-processed at any given time. 

Helen Rippier Wheeler 


Football Injuries 

The Super Bowl is over. Or the "stupid bowl" as my wife calls it. Now, the National Football League should address the safety of football and the exaggerated claims for equipment designed to protect players from injury. Not only are pro-football injuries and concussions at a nine-year high, but brain-related injuries are the most common type of injury in NFL games. In this regard, I recommend Ben McGraph's article in the Jan. 31, The New Yorker, "Does Football Have A Future?," which sets forth the injury caused by 300 pound behemoths crashing into each other. And last month, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it will look into the safety marketing claims made by football helmet manufacturers. 

I will always remember the sight of Jim Otto, former center for the Oakland Raiders, on television. Otto completed 308 consecutive games, punishing his body, resulting in nearly 40 surgeries, including 28 knee operations (nine of them during his playing career alone) and multiple joint replacements. His joints are riddled with arthritis, and he has debilitating back and neck problems. He had his right leg amputated in 2007. Admittedly, Otto took "playing with or through pain" to an absurd level. Should the NFL or the Oakland Raiders have allowed Otto to abuse his body for the sake of the game? Otto claims it was all worth it to be one of the gladiators to satisfy the blood thirst of American couch potatoes. 

Maybe, sports writers and broadcasters across the country will begin to tackle this sensitive subject now that the FTC is involved. Can football be played at an acceptable safety level? And what is an acceptable safety level? Until these questions are answered, I suggest, with apologies to Willie Nelson, "Mammas don't let your babies grow up to be football players." 

Ralph E. Stone 


Wood Burning 

When does Berkeley ban wood stoves and cease its hypocrisy? 

Ormond Otvos 


Modern Art 

While readily admitting that I'm most assuredly not a connoisseur of modern art, nonetheless I know what I like (as that saying goes). Adding to my reputation as a cultural "square", when reading the recent S.F. Chronicle article about the huge acquisition of modern art at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, I must admit that I blanched at some of the paintings shown (not all, mind you). I cheerfully confess that my own plebeian tastes run towards Andrew Wyeth and Georgia O'Keefe, although I dig some of Chagall's paintings of all those people flying in the air).. 

But again, viewing some of the works shown, it occurred to me that the lovable chimpanzee in those Robitussin TV commercials might equal, possibly exceed, for aesthetic beauty, the new works at the Museum. But, then—what do I know? 

Dorothy Snodgrass 


Affordable Care 

What is going on? Why do they have the right to overturn or even consider overturning the Affordable Care Act? 

The Affordable Care Act frees Americans from discrimination when insurance companies deny women health insurance because they are pregnant, or refuse to provide coverage to children who are born with disabilities 

It gives all parents the choice of providing health coverage for a child after they finish school. 

We dealt with Bush Policy for eight years. Accepted it, spoke out against it, but dealt with the outcome. Now it is their turn to eat their own rhetoric: "Bush is our president, we must support him. It is only patriotic." Remember that line? I do. 

Now Republicans in Congress want to unravel the law that holds insurance companies in check, allowing insurance companies to once again deny coverage to children with existing conditions, cancel coverage when people get sick, and limit the amount of care you can get - even if you need it. Where is the patriotic thread in this? 

Please support the people and Our President in opposing repeal of the Affordable Care Act. 

Lisa Bolivar

Control the Insurance Companies 

As a disabled senior of limited means, I strongly disagree with those who want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The act provides Americans like me with more freedom and control in our health care choices. Presently, insurance companies would throw me to the winds - they would not give me affordable insurance. Republicans in the Congress and Senate want to unravel this law that holds insurance companies in check. What are they thinking of? If they want to save money, this is not the way to go about it--rolling back the Affordable Act will add a trillion dollars to the deficit. 


Mertis Shekeloff