"Hurtling toward havoc" (Aug. 1) did a great job describing the now dangerous push in our society for socialized healthcare. Medical decisions are value judgments best made by doctors in conjunction with patients, not by central planners, who cannot possess all the facts and can never imagine all potential scenarios. The government should stick to commending the good and punishing evildoers-and leave all else well enough alone.
-Christopher J. Fyock; Gainesville, Fla.
Thanks for providing the truth about how a national health plan would have to be funded. President Obama recently claimed that it could be funded mainly by cutting profits and eliminating inefficiencies, but you described instead a 10-year cost of $1.6 trillion covered mainly by tax hikes. Further, the administration has been careful not to talk about the upcoming need for other tax increases-to cover Social Security for baby boomers, for example-and our left-leaning press is not asking the relevant questions.
-Roy Casey; Manhattan Beach, Calif.
Your article didn't mention whether nationalized healthcare would cover abortion. Like me, most Americans don't want their tax dollars to pay for abortion. It would be a moral disgrace to surrender our freedoms and unborn babies in exchange for healthcare.
-Daniel D. Nave; Elizabethton, Tenn.
Might as well
Your Aug. 1 issue was outstanding, from the well-articulated "Healthy debate" to Andrée Seu's thought-provoking piece on the "prison-industrial complex" ("High-cost failure") to the insightful commentary on our society's obsession with image reflected in Facebook's prevalence and Michael Jackson's death ("Tragically famous"). After tearing out eight articles to save for friends, I realized I might as well have left the issue intact.
-Susan Brockhaus; Arlington, Va.
The Aug. 1 issue is my favorite so far. I particularly appreciated the profile of Sen. Jim DeMint ("'The taxpayers' greatest ally'") and the article about urban planning ("Building blocks"). Too often, people who are very conservative are firebrands; it was a joy to read of Sen. DeMint's humble yet principled efforts on behalf of South Carolina and our whole country.
-Karen Reill; Peoria, Ariz.
The points Eric Metaxas and Richard Land made regarding the importance of the media in our culture were right on ("The man on the plus sign," Aug. 1). In the 1973 classic Sleeper, Diane Keaton asks Woody Allen, "So then, what do you believe in?" and Allen replies, "Sex and death." That quote pretty much sums up his films, which are major sources of meaning in a world that is "wildly ignorant."
-Cade Loven; Decorah, Iowa
I enjoyed the thought-provoking interview. For a while I used an email signature that paired Woody Allen's quote, "I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying," with 2 Timothy 1:10, which reads, "Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel." I hope Allen discovers that truth and achieves his goal.
-Mike Dwyer; Fort Collins, Colo.
"The uphill climb," about the railroad path down White Mountain, was delightful. I grew up in Abingdon and I have a photo of my grandfather, James, sorting mail into cubby holes in the mail car as the train traveled between Abingdon and West Jefferson, N.C. In recent years my husband walks and bikes the trail when we return for a visit. He follows your formula, climbing up hill rather than drifting down. It is truly a beautiful place of God's creation in every season.
-Susan Aleshire; Luray, Va.
So little money, so much time
"Tragically famous" (Aug. 1) was great. For a nation in so much financial trouble, how do we have so much time for so many online social networks? People will write about themselves but not to elected representatives to voice their opinion on critical issues.
-Trevor Sines; High Desert, Calif.
The Aloha State is to be commended for its ban of the garish traveling exhibition of the corpses of executed Chinese prisoners known as "Bodies, the Exhibition" (The Buzz, Aug. 1). I was astounded to learn that my high-school senior's human anatomy class at a private Christian academy sponsored a field trip to the Atlanta exhibition. Is there no discernment?
-Mark H. Whatley; Braselton, Ga.
You note that the Employment Non-discrimination Act of 2009 exempts religious organizations from its provisions outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (The Buzz, Aug. 1), but there may still be a serious threat to churches and religious organizations. ENDA's exemption for religious organizations would be the same as that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under that act, a Christian church can refuse to hire nonbelievers, but it cannot decline to hire a black or female Christian for a position for which he or she is otherwise qualified. Similarly, this new bill will not exempt churches from a discrimination claim made by a "Christian" homosexual or transgendered person.
-Dan L. Hardway; Angier, N.C.
I was shocked that your review of the latest Harry Potter movie ("Trick & treat," Aug. 1) mostly supports it instead of criticizing it. I firmly believe that Harry Potter books, movies, etc. are closely connected to the occult.
-Remza Abbadessa; Canajoharie, N.Y.
Stuck with prisons
I think we're pretty much stuck with prisons ("High-cost failure," Aug. 1). Having the victim negotiate a suitable solution doesn't work too well with repeat offenders, since the apprehension rate is rather low. Most of us down here in West Texas would be happy to negotiate appropriate reimbursement with the crooks if (1) we could actually find them, and (2) society would get out of the way.
-Ed Morris; Amarillo, Texas
Let them have them
If European environmentalists really believe that the Great Hamster of Alsace (Quick Takes, Aug. 1) should be protected, let them show it by taking all those little guys home to their property-unless, of course, they don't want to risk being investigated for hamster mismanagement or resident rodent abuse.
-Richard Carangelo; Mooresville, N.C.
I loved "Freedom from fear" (July 18). As an occupational therapist at a nursing home, I see many people at those decision-making stages. Sometimes I think families choose care that is expensive for the taxpayers and causes suffering for the patient without being conscious of making a choice. The system keeps telling them to do the next intervention.
-Jody Van Ness; Coatesville, Pa.
"Freedom from fear" strikes a chord with me. In 1991, at age 70, my mother was diagnosed with kidney cancer but opted not to risk surgery. She said she had lived a good life and was even glad she would beat her husband of 50 years to heaven. The next year Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and passed away within 8 months. My mother was furious! She passed away 10 days short of her 73rd birthday at my home. I have the example of two loved ones who died knowing God and ready to meet Him face to face.
-Elizabeth Smith; San Diego, Calif.
The first paragraph of "No glib utterances" (July 18) jumped out and grabbed me. My daughter is 15, and my "finite number of days" are not summer days but the years left before college. I have been convicted of the need to enjoy my children, delighting in them and really getting to know them.
-Sarah Schwartz; Clarksville, Tenn.
I spend most of my days and nights worried about "what if?" My law practice is going well yet I continually think about the two or three cases that aren't. My four children are doing well, yet I sit and wonder which will face divorce, bankruptcy, or health problems, or reject Christ. I have been told there is a 90 percent chance my cancer will not return, yet I constantly wonder if my next test in January will be a death sentence. "No glib utterances" was exactly what I needed.
-Chris Clem; Signal Mountain, Tenn.