January 04, 2004 11:00 pm

Bill will help fix Medicare

To the Editor:

Providence Health System applauds the members of the Oregon delegation who supported the Medicare prescription drug bill.

By their actions, Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Gordon Smith and Rep. Greg Walden showed that they understand the importance of sustaining a solid foundation for Medicare. The political debate surrounding the bill and its historic prescription drug benefit muted serious discussion on the provisions intended to improve Medicare. The legislation stabilizes many aspects of the program and brings payment levels closer to actual costs, providing greater access as Medicare enrollment continues to grow.

Rural hospitals and their patients will benefit, as will seniors needing home-health services. Doctors will be able to keep their practices open to our elder citizens and the medically fragile. Though not perfect, this welcome legislation will begin to reverse the troubling trends we have seen in Medicare.

Russ Danielson, CEO

Providence Health System of Oregon


Branding from birth

To the Editor:

For many years there has been ample evidence we need to overhaul our courts and legal system.

In recent years there have been many frivolous lawsuits allowed by unqualified judges. Such suits were pursued by mercenary lawyers and exorbitant amounts of compensatory awards were paid to the complainants.

The average first-grade pupil is more qualified to be a rocket scientist than some of those folks were to be judges or jurors.

To change this system, maybe as a part of the delivery process when each child is born, we need a disclaimer stamped on their buns which says: "Your parents are responsible for your general well being from this day (date of birth) forward until you reach an age or state of self-sufficiency.

"As soon as you learn to move under your own power, anything you do after arising each day, you will be held responsible for."

For example, if you trip over your shoelaces you will not be allowed to sue the manufacturer of the laces nor the rancher who raised the cow from which your shoe leather was derived. Any harm you may suffer as a result of your failure to observe obstacles, or act with diligence or prudence, will be considered as "your fault" and you cannot expect the government nor any private person to compensate or otherwise reward you for your carelessness or stupidity.

You also are accountable for your actions, or lack of same, while you are in bed. You cannot sue your doctor because you had a bad dream. Falling out of bed is not grounds for a suit against the manufacturer of the bed, bedding or the flooring upon which you landed.

The awards jurors make based on frivolous complaints penalize everyone with higher insurance costs and the price we pay for all other goods and services.

Gary Poole


Law humiliates schools

To the Editor:

I hope that senators and congressmen from Oregon will re-evaluate the No Child Left Behind law, which I feel is becoming detrimental to our public schools.

In principle it is difficult to challenge the merits for which it is intended; however, in practice it is a nightmare.

In reality, there is no way that we are going to have 100 percent of our students meeting the benchmarks, no matter what year we place as a goal. To penalize and publically humiliate schools that are not meeting one of 60 criteria is contrary to educational values.

The law is punitive in nature and doesn't measure how much progress is made by individual students. Further, teachers who do not have documented skills for specific subjects are deemed highly unqualified — and you must understand the damage that can present in a small school and community.

Finally, it simply does not seem appropriate that schools be labeled as failing because of nonparticipation of a handful of students.

It is my understanding of the Constitution that unless specifically expressed or implied, the powers are reserved to the states.

Nowhere in the Constitution is education an expressed or implied federal power.

Gerald Hopkins, superintendent

Huntington Public Schools


Apologize to on line news service

To the Editor:

On Dec. 14 an organization known as TOTAL met at Union's athletic complex.

During that meeting Gary Graham, a member of the Union City Council, lectured the group on the subject of knowing your facts before making a statement.

He said, in part, "It's important to tell the facts as they occurred." Graham then stated that the unionrepublic.com and the East Oregonian newspapers referred to Police Chief Dean Muchow as having been "fired."

I am not entirely sure if this is true of the East Oregonian, but I am positive that the unionrepublic.com on line news service at no time mentioned that Muchow had been "fired."

It only referred to Muchow's voluntary resignation; furthermore a search of the East Oregonian Web site revealed only one article that referred to Dean Muchow and it said that Muchow had resigned.

Perhaps councilor Graham should take a page from his own book and be sure that he has his facts straight before he makes a public statement that is not true, especially after he has just lectured the group on having correct facts before making statements.

While I was not present at the TOTAL meeting, I have heard the tape that was made at that meeting and I do have my facts straight. It is my considered opinion that Mr. Graham owes the unionrepublic.com news service a public apology for his, perhaps, unwitting besmirchment of an organization that has always prided itself on the accuracy and truthfulness of the articles that are published on its Web site.

Scott Morrison


Home fans always show spirit

To the Editor:

In response to Ginger L. Linkel's Dec. 19 letter in which she complained that the La Grande High School student body showed no sportsmanship at the Dec. 16 basketball game.

I am a freshman at LHS and was at that game. I would like to say if La Grande had come to Hermiston, they would have done the exact same thing. This is called "home court advantage."

Whenever a team is on the road, the home team fans are always there, chanting cheers and other things to the opposing team. I am on one of the girls' basketball teams and we get that all the time on the road. We get students yelling at us, but it just doesn't bother us.

We understand that it's their home, and they will do whatever they can to distract the other team. Yes, everyone was booing the officials and Hermiston because of what we thought were bad calls.

Now about the whole thing of throwing things onto the court at the Hermiston players. If things were thrown at them, then an adult would have put a stop to it. We always have adults from the school going around making sure that we are on good behavior. Not once did one of these adults have to come over to the crowd to put a stop to things.

I would like Linkel to attend a home basketball game and see how those fans react to the other teams. She probably would not notice it because she is so used to it. There is nothing wrong with cheering for your team and showing your spirit.

I do know there are some people who will cuss at officials and the opposing team, but I was in that big crowd and I don't recall anyone cussing. We may have said cheers, but I know we weren't cussing.

Karri Jo Tuck

La Grande

Just who is honorable?

To the Editor:

Glenda Christian's letter to The Observer on Dec. 15 stated that the Indians were guilty of the waste of game and if it was not stopped we would have no more game left.

The writer asked why the Indians are trophy hunting and wasting game? But the killing of game is no proof that they are wasting it.

I am a former big-game guide. I have guided lots of white trophy-hunters but never an Indian trophy-hunter. During one two-week hunt, my party took 20 elk. When you ask a white trophy-hunter what he is going to do with the meat, some say that they have a dog that loves deer meat.

If a white man can trophy-hunt, why can't the Indians? The letter implies that because the Indians trophy-hunt they are wasting game and cannot be people of great integrity and honor.

If it had not been for the Indians, the people of Plymouth Rock would not have made it through the winter. If it had not been for the Nez Perce Indians, we would have no Lewis and Clark celebration. They would never have reached the Pacific Ocean.

What about the honor and integrity of those who stole the land and killed the buffalo, old men, women and children?

At Wounded Knee the Army killed hundreds of unarmed Indians. The Army issued to 13 men the Medal of Honor. During the Modoc War, General Sherman stated that it would be best if all Modocs were killed.

The Indians were given their hunting rights by the 1855 treaty that gave them the right to take 50 percent of the game but they have not done so.

It is still my opinion that the Indians are a people of great integrity and honor.

Dale Victor