I read CL faithfully because I appreciate its investigative journalism and its courage to run stories other local media would never touch. Unfortunately, Mary Ann Swissler's attack on the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation ("Compromised?" Oct. 1) was filled with inaccuracies and cheap shots.
It is misleading to claim that the Komen Foundation lobbied against consumer-friendly versions of the Patients' Bill of Rights. In fact, there were several versions of the Patients' Bill of Rights introduced and virtually all of them had provisions that would have been harmful to patients. As a result, patient advocates and non-profits generally supported particular principles of the various bills and opposed other aspects.
It is silly to criticize the Komen Foundation for seeking a cure for breast cancer, rather than focusing on the causes of breast cancer. The core mission of the Komen Foundation is the quest for a cure. Other organizations focus on cancer prevention, including the environmental causes that Komen is criticized for ignoring.
Swissler also attacks the Komen Foundation for accepting support from big business. Komen knows that its wealthiest allies are pharmaceutical companies and for-profit medical providers like hospitals and US Oncology. A few smaller groups have refused to take "drug money" because of the suggestion of undue influence, but the mainline groups depend on large corporations to carry out their missions.
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation should be commended. Anyone who has participated in one of its local Races for the Cure and has been absorbed in the sea of pink hats and ribbons knows the power of the Komen Foundation to unite all of us in the fight against breast cancer.
-- Woody Connette, Charlotte
The writer is a local attorney who has been actively involved in patients' rights issues for over 20 years. He serves on the Executive Board of the National Patient Advocate Foundation and has testified in Washington on consumer-friendly patients' rights measures.
The "Loaf" has never tried to hide its narrow-minded opinions behind any semblance of journalism, but never in my life would I have expected a story that managed to politicize The Susan G. Komen Foundation which is actually doing something to cure cancer. I understand that the socialist-leaning, latte-sipping set needs to rage against any corporate involvement, but to discredit one of the most successful cancer-fighting organizations in the world is not just wrong, it's hilariously pathetic.
The next time Ms.Swissler writes a story for a paper that contributes to the cancer-causing toxicity of our planet via the paper and ink manufacturing industries (not to mention the pollutants produced by the petrol-dependent distribution of said rag) maybe she should talk to a real cancer patient. Maybe she should try to get a sense of the utter feeling of hopelessness they can feel. Maybe she would rather tell them that they really shouldn't have used that non-organic pesticide in the garden.
People with cancer want real hope in the form or real treatments that work. Ms. Swissler's green tea, granola and feminist workshops won't stop the cells from dividing. Drugs and treatments that are being developed by corporations will.
How dare you print an article that steers people from giving to a cause that gives hope to the sick.
-- Robert Burke, Belmont, NC
The Cost of Aggression
As an American who spent 18 months in Europe, and most of that time in Germany, I feel compelled to stick up for Nina Hansen ("Germany, The US and Iraq," Sept. 24) against Kelly Boatright's base, irrational retort to her article ("Don't Like It? Leave," Letters, Oct. 8).
Despite employing an argument in her article which pivots around WWII, Mr. Boatright begins his letter by suggesting that Nina has forgotten about Hitler, and so hints at the nonsense that would follow. But contrary to what he thinks, I would assert that Ms. Hansen has not forgotten about her nation's history. As a business English teacher in Germany for 12 months, I learned that Germans, young and old alike, are keenly aware of their history -- in fact, their justification for a diplomatic solution in Iraq stemmed from that awareness and the full realization of the horrors that war brings. Maybe after reading that a second time it'll sink in with Mr. Boatright.
I'm embarrassed to share a citizenship with small-minded people like Mr. Boatright. How can we, as Americans, champions of morality, conviction and free will, call out and accost those who simply disagree? And finally, dear Mr. Boatright, whatever tragedy might befall our descendants, well, maybe that'll just be the cost of our aggression.
-- Brian Wilson, Charlotte
You Call That Hitler?
Doesn't Kelly Boatwright realize that Hitler was "the modern day Hitler?" Holding a thug like Saddam Hussein to that maniac's demonic standards shows a marked ignorance of history.
Defying evil dictators is morally right, but the Bush administration wants us to forget that it was US policy to support Saddam's regime throughout the 1980s in its war against Iran. Our government gave the "Butcher of Baghdad" military intelligence and material support for years. Only when Saddam turned on Kuwait did the US realize backing one murderer against another wasn't sound geopolitical policy. Saddam was left in power after the first Gulf War in 1991, allowing him to slaughter thousands of Kurds and Shiites while US forces were ordered not to interfere. This is the source of the mass graves that conservative Bush-worshippers now claim was justification enough for the deaths of hundreds of American soldiers and thousands of innocent Iraqis.
Saddam Hussein was a brutal monster. But he was no Hitler. And George W. Bush can't be compared to Winston Churchill just because he ordered the sacking of a destitute Third World dictatorship to shift attention from his lack of success against the global terrorists who truly do threaten our freedom.
-- Michael A. Clark, Charlotte
"We Ain't Racin'" (by Sam Boykin, Sept. 24) contains so many distortions and half-truths that it is a sure bet to enflame those who are already ignorant on the subject of race.
1. "Race has no genetic basis -- skin color is only skin deep." Even ancient skeletal remains are sufficient to ascertain race. DNA analysis of skeletal remains allowed scientists to prove that Neanderthals did not contribute to modern homo sapiens.
2. "Race does not exist -- human beings have not been around long enough to evolve into separate subspecies." Doctors are increasingly using what they refer to as "geographically based ancestry" in understanding ethnic differences in disease and response to drugs. Organ transplant donors and recipients must be matched on the basis of close ethnicity because interracial transplants are likely to be rejected. And people of different races react differently to the same drugs and suffer from different diseases.
3. "The US was founded on the radical new principle that "all men are created equal.'" No, it wasn't. None of the Founders believed in the leftist notion of human equality, which means interchangeability and equality of outcome. The real point of the Declaration of Independence is that all peoples have the God-given right to secede from a government that fails to protect their inalienable rights.
Races are different, but that does not mean one is consistently superior to another. People of African descent dominate activities requiring spontaneous creativity, such as musical improv, or sudden speed, such as basketball or sprinting. And while average IQ scores for whites are 15 points higher than for blacks, the same tests show Asians consistently out-performing whites. That's the thing about reality -- there's something there to offend everybody. Ignoring it will not solve any problems.
-- Mike Tuggle, State Chairman of the North Carolina League of the South, Charlotte