Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner

I read your article about “Three who gave their lives: Remembering the martyrs of Mississippi Freedom Summer, 1964” (PWW 5/25/96), and I wanted to invite you to see their sculpture: www.yoyita.com/civilrights.htm.

Yoyita

Via e-mail

Big Bang correction

In response to an e-mailed criticism by a reader, I wish to correct a mistaken formulation in my review of Stephen Hawking’s book, “A Briefer History of Time” (PWW 1/21-27). In referring to what some have said of the Big Bang or the Big Crunch theories of the origin and end of the universe, that the universe either arose from nothing or would eventually collapse into nothing, I made the statement: “For the Marxists, both possibilities must be ruled out.”

This statement smacks of dogmatism. The philosophy of Marxism does not stand above science, but instead is derived from science. What I was trying to say was that the statement that the universe arose from nothing or would collapse into nothing was a philosophical statement, and as such could be challenged on philosophical grounds. Physics has nothing to say about what happened before the Big Bang or after the Big Crunch. But thousands of years of science have shown us that nothing happens without a material cause, and this principle of causality has been incorporated into the philosophy of Marxism.

John Pappademos

Ferguson MO

Anti-worker attitude

Joseph Donnelly’s letter (“Wal-Mart and health care” PWW 2/18 -2/24) could not possibly have made me any angrier, with his contention that “Those 1,000 workers and jobs that are being threatened in Annapolis are not real jobs if they are working for Wal-Mart.”

So we shouldn’t fight for health care benefits for Wal-Mart workers, because Wal-Mart isn’t a “real job?” And what does constitute a “real job” in Mr. Donnelly’s haughty estimation, particularly when the 1,000 prospective workers in question on the Eastern Shore of Maryland have few, if any, other options?

I think that this statement betrays a distinct anti-worker attitude on his part. This, coupled with the blatant proselytizing on behalf of his bourgeois-oriented Eastern religious philosophy, does not belong in a working-class publication, particularly one with a Marxist-Leninist analysis such as People’s Weekly World, and should not go unchallenged. I don’t believe that PWW should be in the business of giving a forum to such crap, at least without offering some sort of rebuttal.

Ed Jensen

South Bend IN

It’s still a jungle

How are ordinary Americans doing? To read The Wall Street Journal of Feb. 23, the harsh retrospective review by John J. Miller of Upton Sinclair’s monumental “The Jungle,” whose 100th publishing anniversary is at hand, says that “capitalism has served the huddled masses rather well.”

Then I pick up my hometown Star Tribune of Feb. 23 and read the glaring headline “Hunger is becoming more chronic” and that more and more people — working poor as well as homeless — now are forced to rely on food shelves/banks for daily sustenance. If that is not a blatant and long-standing failure of capitalism, what is it?

With the unique brand of “Compassionate Conservatism” displayed for five years now by the Bush administration, which has spent us into oblivion with its illegal, immoral war in Iraq and its serve-the-rich first domestic policies, we all will be in the breadlines and the poorhouse before this crew either is impeached or finishes its term as the worst administration in our not-so-great nation’s history. Bottom line: It’s still a jungle out there.

Willard B. Shapira

Minneapolis MN

Health care here & overseas

The local hospital in Berkeley, Calif., is a paragon of glass windows, crisp uniforms, indoor plants, top-of-the-line computers and all that kind of stuff. But does it deliver the goods?

If you get sick in the U.S. and you are poor, you are screwed. Want to spend 10 hours in the waiting room of an ER? Then America is the country for you! Our health care system is really, really pretty — and it costs an arm and a leg. But does it deliver the goods?

A friend of mine just got back from a Third World country. Here is her report:

“I got desperately sick three weeks ago and went to the local hospital with grave hesitation. From the outside it looked like Abu Ghraib and on the inside it looked like a seedy version of the most run-down office building in Detroit.”

But did it deliver the goods?

“I was processed through reception and triage in less than five minutes. That would be a record in any U.S. hospital. I was diagnosed with bronchitis (not bird flu!) 10 minutes later. Five minutes after that, I had my prescription in hand and was out the door.”

Fine. But how much did it cost?

“It was free! The next week I went back and got free dental care. And when my cough didn’t go away, they sent me to a specialist and I got a chest X-ray and they even had a podiatrist look at my foot. All that and I was in and out in 45 minutes. I swear!”

The place looked like a slum, but looks aren’t everything. American hospitals rate a 10 for appearance. This place rated a 2. American hospitals rate a 5 for service, cost and effectiveness. This place rated a 10.

Moral? Next time you’re sick, move to a Third World country? No. Demand that America provide proper health care here.

Jane Stillwater

Via e-mail

Unconstitutional

It’s remarkable how far George Bush has gotten with defending his warrantless wiretaps on American citizens. He seems to be asserting that, because U.S. troops are in harm’s way (ostensibly defending our constitutional freedoms), he gets to pick and choose which laws to follow.

But when haven’t U.S. troops been in harm’s way somewhere in the world? For decades, this nation has been in a virtually continuous state of armed conflict. Yet no president has heretofore tried to assume such sweepingly unconstitutional powers. Nor has it ever been suggested before that our inalienable rights are, in fact, alienable — on the unchecked whim of the president, no less.

The president’s argument is preposterous. But too many citizens seem to accept the idea that perhaps the president really is above the law.

Cord MacGuire

Boulder CO

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