USW knows Koch

Re: “Anti-union, anti-gov’t group takes aim at public health plan,”

The Koch family is well known to the USW (United Steelworkers). A few years back they bought Georgia Pacific, a company with whom we had a relationship that was beneficial to our members.

Koch immediately implemented restructuring of work, merit-based pay, and other union-busting methods.

They are, as Susan Webb points out in the article, extreme right-wing ideologues, willing to experiment, at the risk of people, and even the profits of their companies, to enforce their rabid beliefs.

Al Cholger

Taylor MI

Al Cholger is a staff rep for USW District 2.

Sotomayor: role model in many ways

All politics aside, President Barack Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court of Judge Sonia Sotomayor, who has had Type 1 diabetes since she was 8 years old, was a historic one.

Judge Sotomayor represents another important role model for people living with diabetes. As a result of clinical advances and research progress, people with Type 1 diabetes can have full and successful lives. Role models show children with diabetes that they can achieve anything in life, even growing up to be Olympic Gold medal winners, Oscar-nominated actresses, Ironman tri-athletes, leading business CEOs and now Supreme Court nominees.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the pancreas, making it unable to produce insulin and turn sugar into energy. Until research discovers a cure, people with Type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day. It isn’t an easy life — but every day, there are new examples that there are few, if any, limitations on what people with Type 1 diabetes can accomplish.

Ms. Sotomayor’s nomination serves as another inspiration for the 3 million people in the U.S. with Type 1 diabetes—particularly children, who represent more than half of all new cases of Type 1 diabetes diagnosed each year.

Jean Norris

Via e-mail

Dr. Jean Norris is board secretary/nominating committee chair of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Illinois.

Northland Poster to close

After 30 years of speaking art to power, the Northland Poster Collective will close its doors for the last time at the end of June.

Part activist organization, part business and part arts group, the Collective was a union shop and remained committed to democratic self-management until the end. Northland workshops with titles like “Give the Boss an Art Attack,” and “Creative Organizing” were fixtures at union conventions. Its slogans have been a frequent sight on picket lines for the past three decades. In fact Northland coined or popularized such slogans as “The Labor Movement: The Folks That Brought You the Weekend,” “Friends Don’t Let Friends Cross Picket Lines,” “Unions: the Anti-Theft Device for Working People,” among many others.

About their decision to close, founding member artist Ricardo Levins Morales noted wryly, “After 30 years of undermining Wall Street, it finally fell on us.” Some of the services provided by Northland, such as union-made buttons, union T-shirt printing and graphic design will continue as spin-off businesses. Levins Morales will open his own studio in Minneapolis.

During the month of June the Collective will sell all remaining inventory at half price through its web store at and at its Minneapolis shop.

We have been honored to have played a part in so many of your struggles. We don’t intend to miss out on the ones yet to come. See you on the picket line!

Northland Poster Collective

Minneapolis MN

Taiwan’s health care model

The following letter was sent to Alaska’s Sen. Lisa Murkowski:

I would ask that you introduce the number one proven medical model in the world, the Taiwan medical model, as a bill to Congress. If you have any upgrades that you can put into it, to make it better than the number one standing that it has now in the world, then that would be even better for America. But, you could use it as a base to proceed with for a bill. Every one knows by now that Congress is going to put in national health care. What I am concerned with is that Congress will put in a medical model that is an inferior model that does not provide A-1 health care and reduce America’s health care cost like the Taiwan medical model does. That means we will be paying more and getting less when we could have had the Taiwan medical model and we would be getting more A-1 medical care that would cost 55 percent less than what America pays now for heath care.

What I am saying is, beat them at their own game and you put in the best medical model and let them run for second place or less. I bet that there would be a lot of national press on your bill being the best Congress has put forward compared to what everyone else has put forth. In this manner you have a shot at stopping Congress from putting in a bad bill. Your good bill can and should override their bad bill. Don’t let us be stuck with bad health care when we could have the number one health care medical model in the world.

Thank you for your prompt and courteous attention.

John Suter

Chugiak AK

Editor’s note: According to an NPR report, Taiwan’s system is a “Medicare for all” national health insurance model, also known as “single-payer.”

NPR said, “They wanted a system that gave everybody equal access to health care — free choice of doctors, with no waiting time — and a system that encouraged a lot of competition among medical providers. To finance the scheme they chose a national insurance system: a single, government-run fund that forces everybody to join in and pay. The result is a system that works a lot like Canada’s, or like the U.S. Medicare system, but with more benefits.”

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