The Coastal Post - April, 1998

Breast Cancer And Sex

When I heard about the proposed legislation to fund research on the causes of breast cancer, I wondered if a cause might be right under our noses, so to speak.

But that thought was sometime later.

Now, however, I hurriedly turned the pages in the telephone directory. Something had to be done, the sooner the better. This had been the third time. Still benign-but next time?

I must find a doctor outside the conventional medical manners, one who would not be afraid of being sued for talking about sexual behavior.

In fact, I had already asked a nice WASP-type doctor to tell me if he had any idea what might cause the breast tumors I kept getting, if there might be a connection between sexual behavior and tumors and cancer of the breast.

I can still see the alarmed expression in his face (Was this a ploy to sue him for seduction?), and his refusal to even answer.

So, flipping through the pages, quickly scanning the lists of doctors' names, hoping to find a non-WASP doctor, here, I thought, here's one! A Dr. Haseed!

Haseed, the Hasidim. I'd read about the Hasidim somewhere, the Hasidic sect of Judaism, not Puritan, not afraid of the body. Enjoy the body that God gave you, the emphasis on singing and dancing and pleasing the senses.

Quickly I wrote down the telephone number, called, made an appointment on the excuse of a pain in the lower abdomen.

As soon as the exam was over I asked, "Dr. Haseed, do you have any ideas on why we get these breast tumors?" He'd already seen the little scars on my breast.

The doctor did not pause while writing out a prescription. In a straight-forward way he asked me, in heavily accented Russian, "Madam, are you sexually active?"

"Yes," I answered, just as straight-forwardly.

Then he said, "Don't let him suck your breasts."

"All right," I replied.

And I did what he advised, although that part of sexual activity had always given me much pleasure.

That was many years ago, and I never had another breast tumor. But I did think a lot about what he'd said-and what I only vaguely suspected.

It made a lot of sense to me. Breast sucking can even make an old man produce some milk, as was proved recently when a tribal grandfather put his motherless grandchild to the breast.

Supposed, for instance, that a little breast sucking starts the hormone secretion, the breast begin to swell, the mammary glands are stimulated to begin the process. Then, if nothing more is done to make the milk actually flow, wouldn't the glands get stopped up, so to speak? Even become tumorous? After all, there are many kinds of tumors, essentially a swelling of cell tissue in response to a stimulus, an irritation, and sometimes a way the cells respond to destruction by producing too many more cells.

That's why almost anything you rub on the skin of an animal produces a tumor that can be, or become, cancerous. That's because under its fur an animal's skin is very sensitive, especially when you rub it the wrong way, the opposite way the fur lies, for instance.

I shudder when I learn that such and such a medicine, salve or whatever, produced a tumor when rubbed on the skin of a rat, mouse or guinea pig.

But that's just an aside. It's not why I'm writing this.

What I'm wondering is how can we get the medical profession to consider the sensible but shocking connection Dr. Haseed mentioned. Who would dare suggest such a link between sexual behavior and tumors, benign or cancerous? A case where the opposite of prudery proves to be prudery, still.

As to why women of another culture, Japanese, for example, have a much lower incidence of breast cancer, we blame it on diet, but people of different cultures have different sexual habits.

The whole subject is heavy laden with taboos. What men and women do to themselves to "have sex" is strictly their own business: don't ask, don't tell.

This nonsense permits every man to believe he's the world's greatest lover, when actually he's an oaf who thinks he's still pushing a plow. But it also has serious consequences akin to the Church's former taboo against dissection of the human corpse. This, too, was responsible for uncountable deaths and suffering.

I'm not saying there is any connection between our sexual habits and cancer of various sexual organs. All I'm saying is, let's check it out!

But please don't rub me the wrong way.

ANONYMOUS

MGH: Excellence In Admin Salaries

In one area Marin General Hospital constantly improves: The salaries of its administrators which now are at celestial levels do nothing but ascend. Never mind that we lose nurses because we can't afford them. When will this craziness end?

JAMIE PHILLIPS

San Rafael

Nation At Risk

President Clinton boasts that he has reduced the size of government. That reduction has been almost entirely at the expense of the military establishment, downsized some 40 percent in the last seven years. So says a recent and chilling report by John Hillen in the National Review on the degradation of U.S military power.

The report notes that in the 31 years from 1960 to 1991 the Army was tasked with 10 "operational events," while from 1991 through 1997 it has had to conduct 26 such events. The Marine Corps in the period 1982-1989 participated in 15 "contingency operations," but in the years 1989-1997 it took part in 62 such operations.

The Air Force, reduced from 35 to 20 tactical wings in the past seven years, is still short of pilots, with more pilots resigning each year because of repeated deployments. Meanwhile, monies set aside for new planes and spare parts is diverted to fund current operations.

Last year was the Army's worst recruiting year since 1979. Only by downward revision of its goals and "comprehensively lowering its standards," says writer Hillen, was it able to make its quota. At the same time, physical fitness standards for its troops have been reduced to accommodate the politically-inspired false premise of "gender equality."

Clinton's open-ended troop deployments in non-combat roles have been at the expense of combined arms combat training for the Army's primary mission. The result: our military establishment is overburdened, understrength, undertrained and underfunded, while still expected to be capable of waging "two major regional conflicts" at the same time on opposite sides of the globe.

This erosion of U.S military potential, in an always uncertain and dangerous world, has been accompanied by a decline in morale and shortfalls in both recruitment and re-enlistments. Said the National Review, "The obvious dichotomy between the truth in the field and the story put forth by the brass" has further contributed to lowered troop morale, and it's said that readiness reports sometimes are fabricated by subordinates under pressure from their harried commanders."

Altogether, this climate of declining morale, shrinking personnel strength, decreased physical fitness, recruiting and re-enlistment shortfalls, frenetic "peace-keeping" and "nation-building" deployments, degradation of combat training, fabricated readiness reports, and an Assistant Secretary of the Army avowedly in favor of the "demasculization" of the Army, have all combined to gravely jeopardize our national security and place the nation at serious risk in this always dangerous world.

The chief architect of this military shambles is the corrupt leader of the most debased and corrupt administration in our nation's history, a man who has professed to "loathe" the military. Could that be his motive?

Unless the process of deterioration he has instituted in our military establishment is halted and reversed, the United States will soon become-as China's Mao Tsetung had so often proclaimed we were-nothing more than a "paper tiger."

FIELDING LEWIS GREAVES

Lt. Col, U.S. Army, Retired

San Rafael

Free Work = Anti-Labor Union

North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms has authored S.497, a "National Right To Work Bill" that is designed to put labor unions out of business once and for all. Senator Helms says, "Millions of workers are forced to surrender part of every paycheck to keep their jobs." Senate majority leader Trent Lott says, "I am a strong supporter of free work." (Translation: Workers should not be required to pay union dues) Result: Unions can't survive without income.

When asked for her opinion on a National Right To Work bill, Senator Dianne Feinstein said, "We need to improve both our country's competitiveness and workers' living standards; we must increase cooperation between employers and employees and a non-confrontational workplace climate." If there is an answer to the question in there somewhere, I don't see it.

And the House has passed H.R. 1, the Working Families Flexibility Act, which claims to be "family friendly" because it allows employers to offer employees paid leave or "comp" time instead of overtime pay, but it has no provisions that guarantee the employee the right to choose paid overtime instead of comp time.The Senate's proposed comp time bill is even less worker friendly because it eliminates the 40-hour week by allowing the employers to base employees' comp time over an 80-hour time period.

When Congress raised the minimum wage to $5.15 an hour, it simultaneously gave America's largest corporations a $20 billion tax cut. Politicians never bite the hands that feed them.

If you're over 50 and you have many years of service with your company and you think your job is secure because of the "Anti-Age Discrimination Act," think again. The law is full of loopholes, and the one used most frequently is if it is being done for economic reasons to improve the bottom line, it is perfectly legal to replace the older employee with a younger and cheaper worker.

Governor Wilson is getting in the act-he's promoting a ballot initiative that would put restrictions on political contributions by labor unions without a vote of the membership. Corporations contribute much more than do labor unions, but they would have no such restrictions. As a stockholder I would still be without a vote.

A few years ago the Disney Company said they couldn't afford to pay health care benefits for the $7 an hour workers in their theme parks, but that same year Disney paid their C.E.O. nearly $70 million in salary and bonuses. Last year Nike paid Michael Jordan more than they paid all of the people employed in their shoe factories throughout all of Asia.

Harvard economist Richard Freeman says the United States has the most unequal distribution of income among the advanced countries and it's rapidly getting worse. Between 1979 and 1996 the share going to the top fifth rose by 13 percent while the share going to the bottom fifth dropped 22 percent. One percent of the population controls 31 percent of the national wealth.

Immorality did not originate with an alleged forbidden sexual encounter in the White House. In an attempt to defend her husband Mrs. Clinton said there is more than one commandment.

Unbridled capitalism can corrupt the soul of a nation. Look around at all of the large corporations that have swallowed up their competition while spitting out jobs by the thousands. Most displaced workers eventually find employment but almost always at a lower salary.

Pope John Paul II said people should be respected above all else. He also said, "Whenever you have maintained that human dignity is superior to every social, economic, political or other structure, you have proclaimed a moral truth which elevates man."

There can be no room for human dignity in an economic environment wherein the bottom line, with government approval, is predicated on corporate greed and is attainable only through the exploitation of those people who reside on the bottom half of the economic totem pole.

Gluttony is a synonym for greed, and if I remember my Catechism correctly, gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins. Congress, by its actions, has given Corporate America the green light to continue their gluttonous obsession to improve the bottom line even though thousands of Americans are being stripped of their self-esteem and their personal dignity in the process. Could that be more immoral than an adulterous sexual escapade in the White House?

I think it could.

BILL GILLEN

Novato

Rightist Morality And The Working Class

We hear and read about right-wing and left-wing, conservative and liberal. What's it all about?

The extreme right-wing and the "rightists" claim to be working for a moral country. So they advocate and elect public officials on the moral questions, those opposed to abortion, homosexuality, minimum wage, labor legislation, etc.

But where are they when it comes to the question of poverty, low wages? Where is their morality when they come to realize there are 30 million people in America that are hungry, that five million of the 30 are elderly people? The statistics show that the majority are not minority people in inner cites, but white women and children living in suburban areas.

Yet the papers and media keep screaming how well off we are, how well are doing. But who is doing well? Profits are way up. As down-sizing (laying off workers) continues, stocks and profits go up. Job security is practically gone. We were taught if you work hard you will make it. Whoever thought that if you work hard you will get downsized? The inside pages of the newspapers show that the rich are getting richer and the middle class and poor are getting poorer.

Now the corporation conspirators are trying to get Proposition 226 passed in the coming June election to cut Labor's ability to stop the right-wing onslaught.

The right wing is looking to kill our Social Security-and all federally supported entitlements.

Which side is moral? Certainly, not the rightists.

COLEMAN C. PERSILY

San Rafael

Mortified At Miller

As a non-observant Jewish person, I am mortified to have read Edward W. Miller's column in your March paper. Although I believe in freedom of the press, I do not believe that it is necessary to contribute to anti-Semitism which is still alive and flourishing in the United States. Whatever an individual's feelings about Israel may be (and I am not a fan), to purposely identify Madeline Albright, William Cohen and Sandy Berger as Jews in the government is to open the floodgates to persecution. I seriously doubt that these three are responsible for our policy in the Middle East. Let's talk about who is really running things. It may seem far-fetched to imagine a column in a small neighborhood newspaper could fan the flames of prejudice, but isn't this subtlety the way the Nazis got started in Germany?

FRANCINE LEVIEN

San Anselmo

Base Vote On Candidate's Record, Not Gender

We have been told that, as women, we should endorse the woman candidate for Marin County District Attorney. We cannot. We refuse to engage in the type of gender-based choice for which we have often criticized men. We choose, instead to support the person who will most effectively advocate for issues concerning women.

In supporting a man, we do not abrogate our strong belief in women's rights. The candidate we support, John Posey, has championed women's rights for years in the courtroom as a criminal prosecutor.

When the women and men who use the hiking trails of Marin County were stalked by serial murderer David Carpenter, the "Trailside Killer," John Posey won a conviction and death sentence against Carpenter for five murders, two rapes, and an attempted rape. Because of John Posey's dedication, the people of Marin County will never be threatened by David Carpenter again.

When 1-year-old Jennifer Moore was sexually assaulted and murdered by Scott Williams in Novato, John Posey won a conviction that put Willians in prison for life, without possibility of parole. He did this before any evidence was presented in court, saving Jennifer's family the added torture of reliving her death in the courtroom.

When Richard Kissling broke into women's homes and raped them after typing up their partners and forcing them to watch the assault, John Posey won a conviction which put Kissling in prison.

John Posey won a conviction and life sentence against Louis Knight, who brutally murdered a San Rafael woman and then murdered a Sonoma county woman and her four-year-old child.

Time after time, in case after case, we who work with him have watched John Posey tirelessly and successfully fight violence acted out against women. He has taken his stand and made it count in the courtroom fighting to put the perpetrators in prison.

True to ourselves as women, we endorse John Posey for Marin County District Attorney. In doing so, we choose the person most qualified for the job, with a proven record of protecting the women and men of Marin County from the predators who threaten their safety and well-being.

PAMELA BOUSQUET, JUDITH BROWN, KATHLEEN COFFEY, SUSAN CORTEAU, ROSEANN GEORGE, JEAN MOORE, ROSEMARY SLOTE, KELLY VIEIRA, JUDY REINSTEIN

Committee to Elect John Posey District Attorney

San Rafael

The Looting Of Social Security

For years Congress and successive Administrations in Washington have been looting the Social Security Trust Fund. To date they have looted about 600 billion dollars-repeat: 600 billion dollars-from the fund and given us IOUs in exchange. These IOUs are worthless, as the money is not there to redeem them-and still the looting continues.

This 600 billion is our retirement fund. In a few years there will not be enough money there to pay the existing recipients plus the increasing number of people of retirement age coming online.

These retirement funds are currently being spent for corporate welfare, food and medical for illegal aliens, bailing out foreign nations that have mismanaged their economies, such as Mexico, Korea, Russian, Indonesia, etc.; peacekeeping for the UN in Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq, etc.; foreign aid (12.5 billion this year); special interest groups; daily government expenses; and to apply against the deficit to make it look smaller than it really is.

This situation obviously doesn't bother our leaders, as they have a very lush retirement setup, entirely separate from Social Security, that they voted in for themselves. The primary interest seems to be voting for all the pressure groups listed above that contribute very heavily to the Senators' and Representatives' campaign funds, ensuring their re-election is their number one priority.

Many of the Congressmen and Senators speak of cutting Social Security and seem to regard it as a freebie. It is not. The great majority of recipients contribute to it all their working lives, as all current working people are doing. We earned it, it is not a freebie. And it is definitely at risk due to the continuing looting.

The real answer is to stop the looting now. There are three bills in Congress at present to stop the looting, two by Mark Neumann and one by Jerry Solomon. They're all in committees and cannot be voted out of committee because they cannot get enough sponsors. If they ever do get out, they will be voted on by the full house. You can be sure that if Congressmen's retirement funds were being looted, they would square that away as of yesterday.

The three bills are H.R. 857, the Social Security Trust Fund Preservation Act (Neumann); HR 2191, the National Debt Repayment Act (Neumann); and HR 491, the Social Security Trust Fund Integrity Act (Solomon).

This is your retirement money that is being blown away by Congress and the Administration. If you don't care, sit and no nothing-but don't whine when you get to retirement age and the money is all gone. If you do care, write or phone Lynn Woolsey, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. Woolsey and Boxer are up for re-election next November and consequently may listen to you at this time in order to get your vote. Consider telling them to pass the three bills listed above before the '98 election, or you will vote them out of office.

ROBERT M. COMAN

San Rafael

P.S. Bill Clinton, in his State of the Union speech, stated that any budget surplus would go to strengthen Social Security. Under the present budget, the only way he will get a surplus is to loot it from the Social Security Trust Fund. This way you rob Peter to pay Peter. Paul gets left out.

Bad Government

Although I only finished the 10th grade in high school, I think I did pay attention more than most and I am still trying to maintain some awareness.That's why today when I see the things happening to me and to others that remind me of what we were taught only happened in Communist Russia and World War II era Nazi Germany, I have to ask myself why. Why are "the people" allowing that tiny infected portion of the population, government, to turn the country into a disgrace before the world? They are undeniably a pack of cowards who do not possess the integrity to admit that as a whole they are failing the nation and turning America into what it fled from to become America in the first place (bad government).

Who do the police and prosecutors answer to? Nobody. They answer to nobody. They have carte blanche to do what they damn well please. In these days with bullet, billy club, plunger stick and pepper spray therapy on the upswing at the hands of those sworn to "protect and serve," "the people" need to start saying loudly that the government is not serving their will. Adolf Hitler gave his Gestapo legal non-accountability and it was all about what everyone is seeing today, government abuse of power on a regular basis. You don't need membership in MENSA to see where it is leading, but you do need courage equal to that of at least a sheep to say "baa" about it, and if not for yourselves, then for your kids.

It is happening right here in Marin County where those in office and behind badges seem particularly adept at wearing a polished facade of being upright, but yet they are not upright. Marin County has a pack of vermin in government that would have fit right in with the Gestapo or Joseph Stalin's crew of power-abusive madmen. When is the last time local government here had a thorough and well-publicized housecleaning? Never? And that is exactly why they are entrenched the way they are and backing each other up. The government these days, and right here in Marin, is refusing to respect the U.S. Constitution or do its own housecleaning, but they are rather in the business of covering up for each other at every turn.

Injustice is passing for justice, lies as truth, and they are having two plus two equal five because they have the power to make it so (Wag the Dog). "The People" aren't playing attention to them closely enough. They are counting on this to further entrench themselves like a malignant cancer. I am saying that there is government corruption in Marin County no matter how many perfumed denials are fed to the public by authorities or their government-controlled newspaper, the IJ.

Norman Mailer said, "America-the land where a new kind of man was born from the idea that God was present in every man not only as compassion but as power, and so the country belonged to the people, for the will of the people-if the locks of their life could be given the art to turn-was then the will of God. Great and dangerous idea! If the locks did not turn, then the will of the people was the will of the Devil. Who by now could know where was what? Liars controlled the locks."

JAMES SAMUEL KOR, JR.

Marin County Jail

Keeping Secrets Secret

In thousands of nursing homes, hospitals, retirement communities and law offices around this country, men and women tell their lawyers things they would never tell their families, their bankers, or their local constabulary. They seek confidential guidance in how best to provide for their loved ones after death. The secrets they share may be embarrassing to themselves or others. They may relate to sensitive business transactions. They may put other individuals at risk. They may create or destroy financial opportunities for unknown observers.

Some wish to provide for an illegitimate child.

Some seek to make amends for a previous misdeed by themselves or someone else.

Some simply wish to explore their options to dispose of hard-earned assets in unexpected ways.

They do so trusting that the confidences they share with their lawyers will not become public, and from at least 1908 until now they were right.

But if Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr has his way, they-and indeed all of us-had best be more careful with our secrets in future.

Shortly before committing suicide, Vincent Foster privately consulted with a lawyer, James Hamilton. Starr believes Hamilton's notes may contain evidence for his investigation of the President, and asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to require Hamilton to surrender them. The Court of Appeals ruled that a client's death weakens the historic privilege, and ordered Hamilton to comply. Because Vincent Foster is dead, reasoned the court, he cannot be held liable for a crime. The client's interest wanes, and the prosecutor's needs prevail.

Under that logic, clients presumably don't care if their secrets risk exposing family members to criminal prosecution, and have little interest in their own or anyone else's reputation after death. But if clients really were so indifferent to what might happen after they die, they would not bother consulting lawyers in the first place.

If the ruling stands, each of us will be faced with a cruel choice. Should we seek our lawyer's help and risk unwanted exposure of our secrets, or should we forego legal counsel, and perhaps even risk the security of those we love?

The lawyer-client privilege is the oldest legally sanctioned confidence known to the common law. Its purpose is to encourage full and frank communication between lawyers and clients. It recognizes that sound legal advice serves the public interest, and that such advice depends on a lawyer being fully informed by a client who has enough trust in the confidentiality of the relationship to be frank.

As Chief Justice Leuel Shaw of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts said more than 150 years ago, the privilege requires that confidences to an attorney "shall be forever sealed."

JEROME J. SHESTACK

President, American Bar Association

Candidates Can't Use Public Funds For Campaigns

In almost every election, one or more of our public agencies violates laws that prohibit using public funds to support or oppose either candidates or ballot measures. All Marin public agencies are cautioned concerning that prohibition in the upcoming April 14 and June 2 elections, and are reminded that:

The California Supreme Court in Stanson v. Mott ruled in 1976 that: "A public agency may not use public funds to promote a partisan position in an election campaign."

In 1978, Marin County Counsel Doug Maloney, further clarifying that high court ruling, stated to the undersigned: "It is improper for officials to use public stationery or publicly financed publications to promote or oppose political candidates or any ballot measure."

The Marin County Administrator in 1978 notified department heads that: "State law prohibits County funds, personnel, or County-owned materials to be used to support or oppose any ballot measures."

Agenda item #56 of the Minutes of the Board of Supervisors for March 21, 1978, states: "County counsel advised that it is improper for public officials to use public material or facilities to take position on various candidates and issues."

That means that neither public premises, personnel, property, postage, publications, stationery, typewriters nor computers may be so used. In last November's election campaign, we believe that city managers, mayors and Assemblywoman Mazzoni violated state election law by using the public premises of the San Rafael City council chamber to solicit the defeat of Prop. 218. Their efforts ultimately failed, as the voters easily passed Prop. 218.

By bringing this reminder to everybody's attention, MUTA hopes that we may preclude any further violations, and that all parties concerned will adhere to the law hereafter.

FIEDLING GREAVES

Secretary, Marin United Taxpayers Association

San Rafael

Posey Not The Poppy Prosecutor

I am writing you to ask that you correct a significant factual error published in your February 1 edition concerning the Marin County District Attorney's prosecution of Jerry Knight. You headlined the story, "DA Wants Man In State Prison Over Poppy Stalks," and later in the story erroneously referred to it as "the Posey poppy prosecution."

I authorized the initial criminal complaint which did not charge such an offense. It charged only unlawful cultivation of marijuana and possession of psilocybin (mushrooms). The latter charge was dismissed when later laboratory reports determined the substance was not unlawful.

The amended criminal complaint initiated what you call the "poppy prosecution." It was filed by Deputy District Attorney Linda Witong. Following the preliminary hearing on those charges, Assistant District Attorney Paula Kamena approved and signed the Information that continued the "poppy prosecution."

Would you please do whatever is necessary to appraise your readers of both the error and the correct information? And please feel free in the future to call me before you publish reports about prosecutions that you believe I may be handling. I will be happy to discuss them with you and hopefully that will allow you to publish more accurate reports.

JOHN D. POSEY

Deputy District Attorney

Greaves and Ferris

You two should get together before sending in your material. In the current (February) issue, Kirby accuses President Clinton as "Socialist from Arkansas," and our rightist-in-residence refers to Clinton as "typically Fascist mentality."

Take a laxative gentlemen...it should help.

JOHN SALZ

Sausalito

Laws To Make Good Men

In the film Intolerance one of the characters said: "We must have laws that make men good." This is the kind of nonsense behind all anti-gun legislation in this country, and one of the better examples of a bad law is the California so-called "Assault Weapons Ban." Here's the latest in this never-ending battle for the preservation of freedom, justice, and common sense in our state and throughout America.

ART LLEBREZ

[email protected]

Congressional Accountability

TORT REFORM-according to my handy-dandy World Book dictionary a tort is defined as "any wrong, harm, or injury for which the injured party has the right to sue for damages in a civil court, with the exception of a breach of contract."

My understanding of the nature of the problem is that there has been too much suing for frivolous, malicious, and feigned injuries (mental as well as physical). Besides being immoral and dishonorable, it has the unpleasant side effect of driving small companies out of business and large companies to settle because it is cheaper than going through the hassle of the "Gordian Knot" in our legal system

On the other side of the coin, I was recently involved in an three-car accident in which I was an innocent party. My vehicle was totaled by the insurance company. Yet what I received would in no way allow me to obtain a comparative replacement, in that they pay only market value, not replacement value. For all practical purposes, I was an innocent victim. Yet, under California law, and I expect the law of most states, the tort lawyers tell me I don't stand a chance to recover the costs I have incurred, not to mention the time and hassle that was involved, to put me back to my original position before the accident. I would expect any tort reform to come to the aid of innocent victims such as myself.

The House majority agenda says it best: "The total tort tax on individuals, government and businesses totals more the $80 billion in direct costs (such as litigation's costs and higher insurance premiums) and $300 billion in indirect costs (including defensive medicine and other efforts to protect against liability). American competitiveness has been significantly hampered due to our runaway legal system. Frivolous lawsuits and erratic legal theories adopted by courts all across the land have diminished our competitiveness and reduced the prestige and regard for the legal system by the American public.

"In addition, charities and local governments are increasingly being forced to cancel important services because of the fear of abusive lawsuits."

The purpose of this tirade is for you to "suggest" to your Congressman that he work "...towards passing a strong bill that will ensure that common sense prevails in our tort system and that will restore the competitiveness of American companies."

ROBERT JAY

[email protected]

Thousand Oaks

Sonny Bono On Fed Ed

On December 10, 1997 U. S. Congressman Sonny Bono wrote the following letter to a sponsor of the Set A Good Example Contest living near his hometown of Palm Springs:

"Thank you for contacting my office regarding H.R. 1385, the Employment, Training and Literacy Enhancement Act of 1997. As you may know, H.R. 1385 passed the House on May 16th, 1997 by an overwhelming majority of votes. H.R. 1385 supports President Clinton's school-to-work, Goals 2000 plan, which enables federal agencies to control the nation's workforce. Under the bill the only voluntary choice state and local school boards have is to decline federal education funding. Based on these findings, I was one of sixty members of Congress opposed to this legislation.

"Under a national school-to-work system, children's careers will be chosen for them by Workforce Development Boards and federal agencies. Our schools will be restructured to teach labor skills and to focus on changing attitudes and social behavior. The new skills standards will replace higher academic standards and emphasize teaching vocational skills as well as social engineering. The school-to work system requires all students to receive at least three years of vocational training, two in high school and one in a community college in order to qualify for work certificates. This legislation will create a complex, massive bureaucracy while denying children the freedom of intellectual development.

"Currently, the federal government spends approximately $100 billion a year on more than 760 federal education programs, which span 40 separate federal agencies. Furthermore, $5.4 billion of the $15.4 billion spent by the Department of Education (DOE) on elementary and secondary education programs never reach the all-important classroom. The state of education in America today is tragic. As your Congressman, I will work to ensure that the federal government spends its scarce education resources only on programs that produce measurable results in the classroom most efficiently and effectively."

Though derided by many, Sonny Bono was a very bright, articulate and dedicated American. This legislation should be defeated in all of its various guises.

PHIL

philgraf, [email protected]

Sonny Bono wanted to share the truth about what is in store for America's children. Such a complicated subject has never been more concisely or simply defined.

BARB AYASH

Marina del Rey

Coastal Post Home Page