Letters to the Editor
October 10, 2007
THE NOVEL PRIZE
I’m responding to your article on Senator Barack Obama’s fundraiser [“Obama’s Vermont Appearance Raises Hopes — and More Than $250,000,” August 15] . . . and the idea that some of your readers express of the “novelty of a minority candidate.”
First: Being President of the United States means understanding that, at times, the military is an option that must be employed, but only intelligently. Senator Obama knows this. Second: Senator Obama is running to be President of the United States, which means he’s working for all of us.
Some people are so fixated on skin color they can’t see logic or fact. Logic tells us to vote for the best candidate, period. And the fact is that Senator Obama comes from a black father and a white mother. Big deal! The reason why Barack Obama is so popular is for reasons unique to who he is as an individual. Intelligent Americans know this, and there are a lot of us.
Zennie Abraham, Jr.
Abraham recently visited Vermont on business.
Tom Treece needs to get out more if he thinks that the rest of the world unchangingly hates us and that Democrats are the same as Rethuglicans [“Letters,” August 29]. I was in the People’s Republic of China this past winter for a month visiting my daughter, who had lived there for a year. Both of us encountered quite a bit of friendly curiosity and a very hearty and unabashed desire on the part of many, many people to emigrate here, or at least get greater access to our culture and our stuff.
I met with anti-Americanism only once — the faintest whiff — from a police official. My daughter met with little more than that. Friends of mine who have been to Europe report much of the same. In short, foreigners seem capable of making distinctions between people and their government to a degree that might surprise Mr. Treece, who does not seem inclined to perceive distinctions at all. Anyone who thinks that a President Gore would have invaded Iraq or committed Bush’s thousand other atrocities is charitably described as laboring under a misapprehension.
Too many on the left — out of perhaps justifiable frustration — abandon a nuanced appreciation of this nuanced world we live in. If we want to make positive change, we must look beyond our adolescent tantrums. It is amazing how full the world is of real people whose feelings and thoughts are independent of our own frame of reference.
Fletcher Allen Health Care made a momentously bad decision for women’s health care this month when they announced that they will be “integrating” — or to be more clear — butchering their nurse-midwife team to two [“Fletcher Allen Downsizes Nurse-Midwife Program to Dismay of Supporters,” September 19].
Over the years, their nurse-midwives have been at the forefront of providing the best birthing experience for women, and an incredible whole-women teaching experience for UVM medical students. They have provided care to birthing women that significantly reduces their need for medical intervention and creates a more emotionally satisfying birth experience.
As a community, we need to remind FAHC, and the physicians in this teaching hospital, to do what is right for women. Call Rebecca O’Berry, director of the Women’s Health Care Service at FAHC, at 802-847-4592 and encourage FAHC to reconsider this choice.
Editor’s Note: Fletcher Allen Health Care reached a tentative agreement last week to preserve round-the-clock services by the Claire Lintilhac Nurse Midwifery Service.
We’re writing in response to Ken Picard’s article on Fletcher Allen’s decision to cut back their midwife services [“Fletcher Allen Downsizes Nurse-Midwife Program to Dismay of Supporters,” September 19]. We’re currently patients of the practice and are upset by this decision.
Upon discovering we were pregnant, we spent a great deal of time discussing different birthing options. We met with both a local Obstetrics/Gynecology practice, and with midwives. We selected midwives because they nurture women through pregnancy and provide a constant source of support during the birthing process. We specifically chose Fletcher Allen’s midwives because they practice in a hospital setting. A hospital practice provides comfort in knowing that if medical intervention is necessary, it’s available, and will be performed by people the midwives have a trusting relationship with. Sadly, Fletcher Allen’s decision to cut back their services is driven entirely by finances, and gives no consideration to their patients’ experience during a very emotional time. It’s an unfortunate and substantial error in judgment to measure the care Fletcher Allen midwives provide simply by the hospital’s bottom line.
We must add that Fletcher Allen’s timeline for this transition is disrespectful to its patients. To change practices for women already under the care of Fletcher Allen midwives, and disallow them to continue throughout their pregnancy without guaranteeing a midwife will be present at their delivery, is extremely troubling. Pregnancy is an emotional time for most mothers and fathers, and the added stress of thinking about the change in our medical care has been very upsetting. We’d hoped Fletcher Allen could be more aware of their patients’ needs when making dramatic decisions that alter the care they receive.
Katie and Seth Mobley
Editor’s Note: Fletcher Allen Health Care reached a tentative agreement last week to preserve round-the-clock services by the Claire Lintilhac Nurse Midwifery Service.BREAST POWER!
I breastfeed when the baby needs to eat, which occurs quite often in public while I am busy doing something [“Got Milk,” September 12]. So no, I do not hide us away in an unsanitary bathroom. Usually I am just looking for somewhere comfortable. If I feel I’m going to be ogled by proximate members of the public, maybe I’ll put something over some of my exposed skin. It’s very easy to look away if you see something you don’t like, but it’s quite difficult (not to mention not worth my time as a busy mom) to maneuver a hungry baby away from your disapproving glare.
But really, breastfeeding in public is about feeding a hungry baby the food nature intended, not about what squeamish people think! Hurrah to breastfeeding and hurrah to the civil right to do so in public!
I sadly agree with the sentiments expressed by René Kaczka-Valliere in his j’accuse-cum-mea culpa regarding the ridiculous power mongering and backbiting that goes on in political parties [“Letters,” September 26]. I wish his new association in the World Citizens Party of Vermont well, though the party’s prescription is exactly what this world does not need: a back-up version — which is what Hillary and Obama are to Bush — of what our evil superpower is attempting to institutionalize through a military government run amok.
Mr. K-V reveals too much in his move to it. Far from shrinking into disappearance — as Mr. K-V predicts — Green Party town committees have grown this past month by at least seven new towns previously unorganized by Greens. Some of the towns are from the southern tier of the state. This is a first for our fledgling party, which is now entering its third election cycle. We offer the party as a home to those who see it as vehicle to force impeachment, institutionalize peace and save the planet, as a true opposition party must.
And thank you, Russ Weis [“Letters,” September 26], for your unabashed support.
Hill is the Assistant Treasurer of the Green Party of Vermont.
ROUNDABOUT LESSON TIME
Having spent the majority of my life living in the United Kingdom, where there are traffic circles — or roundabouts as we like to call them — in abundance, the letter [“Power-Hungry Police,” September 12] about the police officer in the Winooski traffic circle clearly illustrated why accidents happen.
I’m sorry to say a disturbingly large percentage of people on this side of the Atlantic do not know how to use traffic circles correctly. It’s really quite simple, even though the two-lane circle in Winooski appears to make it more complicated than it need be for some already confused souls. When entering a traffic circle you always give way to the left. That means if the car coming from your left has already passed the prior exit and is continuing around the circle, you wait. You don’t know how that vehicle is going to maneuver, so why take a chance and pull out? Just wait until there is a large enough gap to filter into traffic and proceed.
Given the incident as described, it would appear the police officer clearly had the right of way. Was his reaction to being cut off by the other vehicle appropriate? Most likely not, but I wasn’t there to witness the incident.
Here’s another faux pas I’ve seen numerous times: vehicles stopping in the circle to allow someone to pull in front of them. You may think you are doing a good deed, but in fact, you are causing the traffic behind you to stop, which fouls up the entire mechanism and causes numerous curses to be thrown in your direction.
So to cap it off, please try to use traffic circles correctly and maybe these kinds of incidents won’t happen in the first place. Traffic circles, when used appropriately, allow traffic to flow properly and ease congestion.
I’M NO FOOL
I read Noel Bumpas’ letter [“Fossil Fools,” September 19] in response to the letter I wrote [“Close Call,” August 15] because of the “Collision Between Skater and Car Results in Blame Game” [August 8] article and decided to respond to his comments.
Contrary to your observations, I am not in any way against sharing the road with non-automotive vehicles. I myself am a longtime, avid proponent of bicycling and indeed have scolded more than my share of unconscious drivers that have violated my right of way. My letter spoke about of the percentage of cyclists and boarders — myself included — that properly use hand signals, occupy lanes correctly and thus get the recognition they deserve as vehicles. We need to see more bicyclists and boarders conduct themselves like that while on the road.
While I myself have groaned at losing momentum while cycling, the loss of momentum is never justification for blowing through a red light and causing danger to oneself or to other travelers sharing the roads. A stoplight or stop sign applies equally to everyone using the road — fossil, electric or human-powered. Likewise, passing vehicles on the right is a dangerous and technically illegal proposition that can result (for automobiles included) in getting cut off at intersections when the vehicle in front makes a non-signaled turn.
It is unfair and presumptuous to assume that I am in any way pro-Hummer. Quite the contrary. My wife and I joke of those bloated behemoths as being “big for nothing” and a silly waste of earth’s resources. I have always purchased small, fuel-efficient, clean-as-current-technology-offers vehicles. Our current cars meet or exceed California emission standards and get 30-plus miles per gallon. Calling me a “fossil-fool” is a cheap and undeserving insult. However, I’ll refrain from the long list of colorful, cute and equally clichéd names I could call you back.
I respectfully request that you carefully re-read the article and reconsider my letter. My letter was relaying an experience I had with an unsafe, illegal maneuver by someone that almost resulted in serious injury, which related to the incident in the story printed. There was nothing exclusionary in my viewpoint whatsoever. The message I wrote was about the need for all vehicles sharing the road to use proper and appropriate equipment, and to intelligently and maturely conduct themselves with road-legal techniques. It was aimed at the safe, responsible and effective inclusion of all vehicles.
• A story in last week’s issue [“Waste Not?”, October 3] incorrectly stated the number of people who have toured the Burlington Intervale. Six hundred seventy-seven people have been through the facility this year.
• A story in last week’s issue [“Artists Take Over Former Phish Headquarters,” October 3] incorrectly spelled the name of Anna Schachte.