Asbestos victims and ‘tort reform’

I have just read your article concerning frivolous lawsuits (“Tort reform means victims can’t sue,” PWW 2/26-3/4). My husband passed away from lung cancer, related to asbestos exposure, and I don’t consider trying to make companies pay for his pain and suffering, a frivolous lawsuit.

While there is no amount of money, that can replace my husband and the father of my children, I don’t think asking for the companies involved to pay something is wrong.

My husband’s death certificate reads: cause of death, lung cancer. It doesn’t mention that his liver was engulfed with it and that it had invaded his bone.

He was a very proud man and took pride in his job and was a very loyal worker. He trusted the people he worked for and never dreamed that he would meet such a fate, because they failed to tell him and his co-workers the danger of removing asbestos.

By the time he went into the hospital and was diagnosed, it was too late for treatment. On the day he was told what his options were, he took a chemo treatment and three days later he was dead.

The sad thing, how many more families are out there like myself? My heart goes out to them and the companies don’t care. In Texas there already is a cap on gross negligence cases and, believe me, they jump on that fact. People like myself can’t fight them.

I guess Mr. Bush and the lobbyist think that we are all dumb and don’t know that most of the companies that have filed for bankruptcy have re-organized under new names and are back in business and the victims of asbestos can’t touch them. So they win no matter what.

I feel sorry for the workers that lost their jobs over lawsuits, but it is the fault of the companies themselves, not the asbestos victims and their families.

The bottom line — greed caused the problem, because making money and a profit was more important than caring about the welfare of the workers.

Patsey Haynes Via e-mail

Clarification on blues article

I am disappointed in the drastic editing of my submittal on the blues (PWW 2/26-3/4). I know you have space restrictions, but by deleting “reparations” and the concept of a national foundation to organize and go after the money instead of just whining about it, the focus of the article is changed.

Also, Singing the Blues couldn’t be more inappropriate for a title. “Singing the Blues” is a white country song first recorded by Marty Robbins, who also did racist bootleg recordings for the Klan. The term has been used as a title placed by white record executives on blues compilations and commonly in the white community to mean, “Oh, I feel blue today.”

[On the positive side], That’s a very, very nice layout with cool photos.

Don SantinaVia e-mail

Editor’s note: Due to space limitations, Santina’s original submission, “Reparations for the Blues,” had to be severely shortened. We should have indicated that what appeared was abridged. Technical difficulties added to the problem. We apologize to the author for too sharp a knife and appreciate his clarification on the title.

Truth commission

A judge in Spain [Baltazar Garzon] is trying to create a “ truth commission “ that would investigate crimes against humanity committed during the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. He also attempted to try former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Mr. Garzon should be commended, and judges in other former dictatorships should follow his lead.

I would like to see the creation of an American Truth Commission that would investigate and publicize the U.S. government’s support of dictators (Batista, the Shah of Iran, Saddam Hussein, the House of Saud, etc.) over the years. But it won’t happen since both the Democratic and Republican parties would be implicated. Isn’t that a shame?

Chuck MannGreensboro NC


As a longtime communist and veteran (infantryman in WWII in the South Pacific), I would like to protest against the biased reporting that goes on daily in the media which makes everything that the U.S. is doing okay and anybody who disagrees with the Bush Administration disloyal.

An example is the fight about WMD with Iran and North Korea. It is ludicrous for the Bush Administration to call for the elimination of WMD by anyone. We have the most WMD of any nation. And the media never discusses the horrible fact that this country is the only nation in the world ever to use nuclear weapons on people as in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. I always saw the use of the nuclear weapons as the start of the Cold War rather than the end of World War II.

Larry McGurty Hometown IL

The cowardly media

I am waiting for the day when the mainstream media will tell the final, bitter truth about President Bush and his illegal, immoral war in Iraq: that in the name of bringing freedom and democracy to the world, but actually under a covert policy of radical Christian fundamentalism conducted in a regime of constant domestic fear and world domination, he has sent nearly 1,500 of our brave troops to their deaths, slaughtered countless Iraqis and caused the wounding, physical and psychological, of countless more on all sides.

I am waiting for the day when the mainstream media acknowledge that this disgrace to the office of the presidency, with the help of his evil genius adviser, Karl Rove, has convinced many of our troops that they are actually fighting for something worthwhile such as peace, freedom and democracy in Iraq when in truth they have been victims of the technique known as The Big Lie raised to the nth power and are being sacrificed daily on the oily altar of global hegemony by this nefarious administration — that, so sadly, they are dying in vain.

I am waiting for the day when the media calls this president what he is: a mass murderer, a war criminal and one of the most Machiavellian men the world has ever seen.

I am waiting for the day when the media call Mr. Bush what Fidel Castro called him recently: deranged.

I am waiting for the day when the media urge the Congress to finally show some courage and in the name of preserving our democracy, bring articles of impeachment against this president who failed to protect us against 9/11 despite ample warnings from many sources; who has ruined in the economy for the sake of the well-being of his principal financial/political backers; who has torn asunder our precious Constitution, abolished our civil liberties and challenges the patriotism of anyone who dares challenge him.

I am waiting for the day when the pusillanimous press — far more concerned with maintaining “access” to the White House and afraid of being called “disloyal” by the far right wing — has the guts to print letters such as this.

I am waiting for the day…

Willard B. ShapiraMinneapolis MN