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Published: Sunday, 11/23/2003

Limbaugh misleads workers

Thanks to Marilou Johanek for her column on Rush Limbaugh. However, in her rush to flush Rush, she could have mentioned more than the two-tiered drug enforcement policy that puts poor drug addicts in jail by the millions but lets self-important right-wing radio announcers go to rehab.

Ms. Johanek could have pointed out that Rush and others like him have been instrumental in mobilizing poor, working, and middle-class (white) people to vote against their interests, like universal health care (Medicare for everyone), better and equitably funded public schools, regulations for large corporations, and the end of the anti-democratic North American Free Trade Agreement and World Trade Organization.

Rush Limbaugh has convinced working people that Republicans will solve their problems. A big mistake. Working people's interests will be served when they consider Democrats like Dennis Kucinich, Al Sharpton, Carol Moseley Braun, and the Green Party platforms. These candidates and organizations offer real solutions that do not heavily favor the plutocrats. Trickle-down economics be damned!

Growing up poor and working class in America, as I did, is much more difficult thanks to pundits like Rush Limbaugh. Yet, even more difficult to understand is how so many working people could be fooled by his empty, self/wealthy-serving rhetoric.

MITCH BALONEK

Sherbrooke Road

Editor's note: Mr. Balonek is co-chairman of the Northwest Ohio Green Party.

In her Nov. 10 column, Molly Ivins urges us to “(get) back to the things that matter” instead of parsing words about the war on terror.

OK, so what matters? To her, it's avoiding at all costs a Vietnam-like quagmire, to use a liberal buzzword. To Al Gore, it's throwing out the Patriot Act in its entirety. To many liberals, it's sacrificing national security out of hatred for President Bush.

To me, it's eliminating terrorism. It's making sure al-Qaeda fanatics and their ilk are put out of business everywhere. It's stabilizing Iraq as a pro-western democracy with a fully functional infrastructure. It's accurate reporting of the war on terror in the news media.

But what's important to me isn't important to the left. The considerable progress in rebuilding Iraq is ignored and called a lie. When Sen. Edward Kennedy accused the President of lying about progress in Iraq, he was also indirectly calling our brave servicemen and servicewomen, whose first-hand reports corroborate the President, liars as well.

The left also ignores the fact that the terrorist activity is focused in a small region of Saddam sympathizers. Our soldiers are regarded as heroes wherever Saddam was despised. Demands that our soldiers be brought home ignore the great likelihood that doing this would restore repression to Iraq and return terror to our shores instead of combating it at its root.

The fact that the Patriot Act largely applies already extant criminal law to national security is also overlooked, but then the far left always wants more rights for criminals anyway, so this is no surprise.

And these people who so desperately want to turn public opinion against the President and the war are the same who wax eloquent about the purportedly evil effects of conservative talk radio.

THOMAS BERRY

Bowling Green

I would like to thank The Blade and other news media that covered the Nov. 2 fire that took the life of my granddaughter, Michelle Wilson.

Thank you for showing your kindness and consideration and expressions of sadness on behalf of Michelle. She was truly all the things you said she was and more, a lovely and sweet young lady. I know she's in God's house and hands now. Knowing this is what helps me deal with this tragedy.

I'm still reeling over my husband's sudden death on May 22, the day after our 48th anniversary.

I pray that each one of us would express love and kindness to one another while we are alive, and do it often. Don't wait until we're gone. We need to hear these things now.

A good example: President Bush sent my husband, Francis Wilson, a beautiful commendation for his service in the Korean War. He would have been so proud had he still been living, especially since there was hardly any recognition for Korean War veterans after that terrible conflict. How sad.

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I'd like to think this was her eulogy.

JILL WILSON

Gibsonburg, Ohio

One thing I've got to give to Ellen Goodman for her article, “NASCAR Dads in the driver's seat,” she's a very honest person.

She said, “I don't know a thing about NASCAR except that it's the second most watched sport ...” A few sentences before she had written, “More to the metaphorical point, it's the so-called NASCAR Dads. These are the guys with the red-and-white No. 3 decals on their trucks signifying their loyalty to the late Dale Earnhardt, not the late Jefferson Davis.”

The late Dale Earnhardt indeed drove the No. 3 but his primary colors were black with a white number. His son, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., has a red paint scheme with a white No. 8.

That's a pretty basic one to miss if one of the points of her column is how the Democrats need to know the NASCAR culture and attract “what's missing from the Democratic parking lot.” The Intimidator is the icon of the sport, the deathless incarnation of the racing “gods.”

It's a good thing Howard Dean didn't make that mistake. The South would have seceded from his supporters for sure.

DENNIS B. CRAFT

Whitehouse

I commend The Blade for its recent coverage of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's remarks to Ohio physicians in Columbus.

Greater Toledo physicians have provided compassionate and commendable care to their patients. This has been documented by major quality-monitoring entities like Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Facilities and National Committee on Quality Assurance. Toledo-area physicians face a constant barrage of frivolous lawsuits that divert their attention from patient care and lead to escalating medical liability insurance premiums.

It also leads to the exodus of highly prized specialists from the state of Ohio. It is essential for the federal and state governments to pass liability insurance reforms that lead to lower insurance premiums while ensuring payment to the truly injured and deserving.

The second most important issue facing both physicians and patients is prescription drug coverage. The lack of prescription drug coverage leads to costly hospitalizations and heart-wrenching morbidity and mortality.

It is unfortunate that at election time politicians drown each other's voices claiming that they will provide prescription drug coverage but it never results in any meaningful legislation and action.

I urge the House and Senate conferees to come up with the best possible prescription drug coverage and relieve the suffering of the deserving elderly.

RIAZ N. CHAUDHARY, MD

Oregon Clinic

Marilou Johanek's Nov 9 column, “Save your sympathy for the likes of Limbaugh,” decrying any tears shed for Rush Limbaugh, was about as nasty a piece of writing as I've read in a long, long time. I expect that kind of invective in, say, the Socialist Workers Daily, but The Blade?

Maybe if Ms. Johanek had just written “Look, I hate Rush and I'm glad he's suffering,” she would have gotten the point across in far less space, and left room for some other, more reflective columnist.

PAMELA TUCKER

Maumee



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