The blame game
As an employee of Topeka State Hospital for 19 years and an inveterate letter to the editor/call a legislator/memo writer, I take exception to Dr. Cynthia Turnbull’s contention that the administration was repressive and “sanitized” minutes or grievances (“On Dangerous Grounds,” May 4-10). I was never negatively sanctioned by the hospital nor SRS.
As a colleague of Magdalene Kovach, Ph.D., I am appalled by Dr. Turnbull’s characterization of her as an Eastern European-accented shrink who equates post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptomology with antisocial personality. This is a lady (with a faint German accent) who has a long-standing reputation for excellence as a clinician, supervisor, and administrator and who was regarded by staff and patients as caring but no-nonsense in her quest to restore functioning. It is implausible that she would not be sympathetic with Dr. Turnbull’s PTSD, given the concentration camp survivors in her own life.
When one makes poor decisions with traumatic consequences, clinical and otherwise, there is a tendency to blame. For Dr. Turnbull, Magdalene may have become a reification for such blame and for the grief surrounding the dissolution of Topeka State Hospital.— Maria Vincent, LSCSWS, ACSW
ROTC opponents weigh in
I am writing in regards to Emiliano Huet-Vaughn (“Opponents of ROTC Up in Arms about Military Presence in Schools,” April 13-19). I have known Emiliano for two years now and consider him my friend. We don’t always see eye-to-eye on politics, but I feel his integrity is unquestionable. This is why I felt I had to say something, because his character, not just his politics, has been attacked.
I respect all of those who support the ROTC; I know they are staying true to their values and principles. What bothers me is the very personal nature of the attacks on Huet-Vaughn. Tyson Fisher used the term “whiny asshole” (Mail, May 11-17). Tyson, does your name-calling reflect the values the ROTC taught you? To call people obscenities and insults because they don’t agree with you? Another person wrote in, claiming that Emiliano has no credibility because his mother opposed a military campaign in Iraq. Is this also an ROTC value, that a child is responsible for the actions of the parent? Perhaps they’re not reflecting the high standards they claim the ROTC instills.
It’s expected that many would disagree with Emiliano’s efforts, but to attack it as “search and destroy” is unfair. He used a petition campaign; if you don’t agree, don’t sign it or start your own. He didn’t use any sneaky or unfair tactics, nor did he have the kind of funding behind him that the ROTC does. Emiliano should be given extra credit in school for taking an active interest in our country and its democratic processes. Even if we don’t all agree with his efforts, it’s clear his motivation is love for our country.— Name withheld on request
Northeast Kansas City, Mo.
As a school counselor, I have experienced firsthand the persistence of military recruiters. Desperate to have access to students during school hours, recruiters court administrators, counselors, and teachers with dinners and gifts, along with expense-paid trips to military bases in nice coastal cities. The expected payback, of course, is cooperation in recruitment of 17-year-olds into the military. When a school administrator decides to protect the integrity of the school day by limiting the number of recruiter visits, he/she soon finds that to these highly trained salespeople, “no” never means no. The recruiter will use whatever means available to get into the school building.
JROTC has to be a dream come true for the folks at the military recruitment offices. To say that JROTC is about leadership and keeping at-risk students in school is, at best, naïve. Even our Secretary of Defense has declared it to be the best recruiting tool. When military training becomes part of the school curriculum, recruiters have natural allies on the staff. Obtaining access to students becomes much easier!
I applaud the Shawnee Mission North students who see, from multiple angles, the hypocrisy of conducting military training in high schools. They are doing what we want students to be able to do: to think critically and ask the deeper questions.— Brenda Funk
Kansas City, Mo.
We are writing in reaction to Andrew Miller’s “Critic’s Choice” about Goldfinger (May 11-17). In his article, his information from start to finish was incorrect, and we are personally offended as hardcore Goldfinger fans.
In the beginning of the article, he states that the band’s latest album, Stomping Ground, is “skankable,” implying that it’s a ska album. Yet, if he had taken the time to actually listen to the album before he wrote the article, he would have realized that it is far from that. The new album contains NO horns or heavy ska riffs; it is a return to the hyper and energetic sound of the debut album.
He also states that Goldfinger is “known for drummer Darrin Pfeiffer’s onstage antics.” By saying this, he takes away from the powerful music, implying that a Goldfinger show is like a circus. In reality, a Goldfinger show is very intense and the fans are there for the music AND for the band.
Finally, we would recommend that he research the bands he writes about in the future. Had he researched Goldfinger more, he would have realized that the song “Mable” is spelled with an “-le” and not an “-el” at the end, and their “hit” is not “Here in ‘My’ Bedroom”; it is “Here in Your Bedroom.”— Rodney Skaggs and Eddie Munoz
Errors and misperceptions
In the cartoon from PitchWeekly by Phil Deibler regarding Cinco de Mayo (“Phillers,” May 4-10), please note the correct spelling should be “Cinco.” Deibler should take high school Spanish, like I did. Even my 9-year-old knows that it is not spelled “cinquo.” Also, Mexico’s Independence Day is September 16. The 5th of May in Mexico is NOT “like the 4th of July.”
The Pitch, in all its liberal smugness, continues to be unaware of Mexican issues in Kansas City. This is demonstrated by the Pitch‘s ignoring Mexican or Hispanic music during the recent KLAMMIES (Kansas City/Lawrence Area Music Awards show).— Richard Wagner
Kansas City, Mo.
Cheers and jeers
I was disappointed that the Pitch dropped Jim Hightower’s column. He is a delight to read, and he hits the nail on the head about our economy, the people who benefit, and those who suffer. Not everyone is “doing well.”
I also want to commend the reporting by Patrick Dobson and the investigative pieces in recent issues. The ones on Oz (“The Wizard Behind the Oz Curtain,” Feb. 10-16; “Kory Goes Public as Oz Faces Increased Opposition,” April 6-12) were of particular interest to me and others in Johnson County. He fulfills the role that The Kansas City Star should be doing, so more power to him and to the Pitch!— Wanda Brussell
Overland Park, Kan.
Seek and ye shall not find
Two of the stories in “Project Censored’s 1999 List of News Stories that Didn’t Make the News” (May 11-17) were of special interest to me: No. 3, about the American Cancer Society, and No. 19, concerning the bacterium that may cause Crohn’s Disease.
The American Cancer Society may be the worst when it comes to failure to win any battles against a particular disease and in its vast accumulation of wealth. However, it’s not unique. If you investigated the pennies spent for research compared with the dollars used for other purposes, you would find most medical foundations sadly delinquent. Even worse, what they apply to research often goes for foolish projects and fails to zero in on the likeliest culprits.
The Alzheimer’s Association is my favorite example. No matter how many studies pile up to implicate aluminum or aluminum fluoride in the development of the disease, including studies in journals as prestigious as The Lancet, this group denies them. They continue funding even such absurdities as preventing Alzheimer’s by exercising your brain, doing lots of crossword puzzles, playing checkers, or learning to play a musical instrument.
Money is their master (as it is for too many others), and I can’t help feeling they’re looking forward to the death of Ronald Reagan. Then they can launch a big memorial fundraising drive, and I swear they’ll call it “Win One for the Gipper.” Mark my word!
The Crohn’s piece caught my eye because I had been finding evidence in old medical books that a mycobacterium related to TB may be the cause. In fact, Conn’s Current Therapy in 1985 advised doctors to do TB tests before beginning treatment for Crohn’s. So I wasn’t surprised when a 1996 report from the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences came out, naming Mycobacterium paratuberculosis as the causative agent. I wrote for a copy and received it. But when I asked the national office of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation whether they knew about it, I didn’t get a reply. The local group, though, said they’d never heard of it. So what good are medical research foundations if they don’t keep up with the findings, even those from such establishment agencies as the National Academy of Sciences?
I have long believed — and still believe — that research is hampered, not helped, by federal grant systems and other fundraising projects. I hate to say it — hate to think it — but if there’s more money to be made in seeking than in finding, those who seek will never find. Or if they do, they will be ignored.— Frances Frech
Kansas City, Mo.
The more things change …
Well, you asked for it. Or at least your city officials have been for years, and they have spent a great deal of money and time bringing about the transformation.
The subject I’m addressing is Kansas City’s change from Cowtown to Big Town. Take one look at the traffic compared with a decade ago and it’s quite obvious that people from other cities have found out about Kansas City’s assets. Some of us believed it was a good thing being thought of as a “cowtown” —tolerable populations, accessible highways, limited air pollution, workforces with ethics and drive. A city with a heart and a conscience. A charitable city that always seemed to come to the forefront in times of need for those around the world, as well as for those at home.
But now we are becoming a city of migrants, like most large cities. Or perhaps worse because of the speed with which our population is doubling. If you’re wondering what the trade-off for this transformation from cowtown to slick town is, and like the country/city combination that we’ve always enjoyed, let’s see what the next charity drive yields in comparison to one 10 years ago. Anybody else notice the increase in the wind on the Missouri side, and the traffic? Just think, we used to complain about it 10 years ago! Remember the work ethic? What’s it like now, employers? So beware of what you wish for, because you will get it. It just might not be what you expected.
Cowtown suited me just fine.— Grant Lasater
In last week’s cover story, “BMX-ing the metro,” the movie that first caught kids on film racing modified bicycles on a vacant lot was On Any Sunday (1971) not Any Given Sunday.