POSTED ON MAY 27, 2009:
Love Letters/Hate Mail
Empowerment not Programs
I firmly disagree with the founder of the Children's Defense Fund, Marian Edelman's recent assessment that more needs to be spent on education programs to combat poverty. It is not money that is needed, rather it is empowerment. Trillions of dollars have been spent to combat poverty since Lyndon Johnson's Great Society began in the 1960s. In Oklahoma, according to the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, nearly $11,000 is spent per student in our public classrooms. Yet with all this spending, poverty as a percent of the population has remained unchanged.
Ms. Edelman mentions blacks as more likely than whites to be incarcerated as evidence of our system failing. I argue that this example demonstrates the failure of wealth redistribution. Since the 1960s black families have been decimated by a welfare system that encourages absent fathers, abortion, wealth envy, and victimhood. This same welfare system has enslaved blacks and whites to dependence on government.
What is needed to liberate families from the stain of poverty is individual educational empowerment in the form of Universal School Choice. School Choice would be the first effective shot fired in the war on poverty. Health, education, crime, and economics would all radically change in our poorest neighborhoods if we were to advance true School Choice. We need a government dedicated not to "programs" but rather to individual empowerment.
Phillip W. Smith, Oklahoma City
The Salvation Army, Assemblies of God, and Unitarian, Jewish, and my United Methodist churches are doing a wonderful thing. They invite mamas to preach the gospel.
What is it a teacher says to control an unruly student?
"I'll call your mama!" That is the hammer that works,
Here are churches which keep mamas muzzled in church services in spite of these "Mama Superiors being the driving force in their faiths:
1. Roman Catholic Church---66 million members. Pope Benedict XVI worships Mother Mary but reasons only boys can be priests because the original apostles were male. Mary Magdalene was just as much an apostle as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
2. Southern Baptist Convention---16 million members. These Baptists say the wife's duty is to "submit herself graciously" to her husband's leadership and follow bachelor Apostle Paul's lead, remain silent in churches. Women do preach in their Sunday schools and church camps.
3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints---Five million members. Mormons say women might become "priestesses and queens" but only in the afterlife.
4. Seventh Day Advent. Ellen White, its co-founder, was a woman yet no member of her sex can be in the ministry. This lack of religious equality keeps Oklahoma women in the political doghouse because Okies aren't used to hearing it from a woman. In 102 years, our state has had only two Congresswomen---Alice Mary Robertson in 1920 and Mary Fallin in 2006. We have never had a woman in the U.S. Senate like our neighbors, Missouri, Arkansas, Texas and
Kansas. We, Okie girls, have taxation without representation, the battle cry of the American Revolution. Women are 51 percent of the U. S. population so we deserve 50 percent of all legislative bodies. One woman, one vote.
Virginia Blue Jeans Jenner, Wagoner, OK
Up Against the Wall
Congrats, Urban Tulsa! You've proven the old adage to be true, "You get what you pay for." Your free publication is now more or less worthless. Originally a fun read about the local entertainment scene, over the last several years Urban Tulsa has chosen to take a swan-dive into the cesspool and, apparently, found the water just fine.
I picked up your April "Swimsuit" issue at a Tulsa restaurant. Late in the week and there was still a pile of copies in the rack. No wonder. Smug, humorless cartoon strips like "Brick & Wood", "Troubletown" and "Red Meat" - most with an agenda and a political axe to grind - are, unfortunately, not the worst of your offerings. Rock bottom is hit by your "editorial" columns. "Ask A Mexican" is truly a repellent piece of writing. Those on the fence about HB 1804 need only read this column. Suddenly, daft Rep. Randy Terrill starts sounding like a genius.
Then, there's Ted Rall's "Rant 'n' Rall", a left-wingnut diatribe taking the side of Spanish lawyer Baltasar Garzon in his hypocritical attempt to bring Bush's ''Dirty Half Dozen" to trial for supposed human rights abuses at Guantanamo. The Spanish court, realizing that its case didn't have a legal leg to stand on, has since dropped the charges. This is the same Spanish National Court, led by Garzon's colleague and political soulmate, Judge Fernando Andreu, who under the pretense of "universal jurisdiction" has attempted to bring Israel to justice for defending itself against Palestinian terrorists. Garzon and Adren, self-appointed apostles of global government, thinly disguise their anti-American, anti-Semitist feelings as concern for human rights and world harmony. Strangely, the Spanish National Court has never sought to prosecute any Hamas or Fatah terrorists for war crimes, nor have they investigated crimes against humanity in Chechnya or Darfur. Perhaps they'll look into Spain's role in the 1999 NATO bombings of Serbia. Comparing what happened at Guantanamo to an enemy that slices the heads off of journalists and gleefully executes civilians is, in your own words Ted, "charming".
Mr. Rall needs to take a pill and realize that his side won the election already. Urban Tulsa Weekly needs to remake itself once again into a local entertainment guide and drop all the venom.
- Michael Ellison, Vian, OK
Editor's Note: So, what brings you to the Big City?
We as Americans have come so accustomed to having everything at our finger-tips, we can have almost anything delivered to our doorstep without any hardships whatsoever. We're told that we as a society have advanced so much and yet, you can't find a single doctor that will come to your doorstep. Considering from where we came, is that truly a step forward? All the technology in the world hasn't allowed us to offer each and every one of our citizens the same standard of medical care. It hasn't afforded us the ability to care for those who can't see a doctor for lack of fortune or medical insurance. So far, our advancement and technology has only been available to the few. Only people with insurance or an abundance of personal wealth can have such tests as an MRI or a CT Scan. A step farther from this realization is that many more American's can't even afford their monthly prescriptions, doctor's visits, or routine blood work.
Of course there are agencies out there that claim to offer assistance to poor and needy families or those with children. It's harder to get assistance if you don't have any children, perhaps you care for your elderly father or a sibling if you work full time to pay your own bills, your income will be considered available to the person you care for and you may be disqualified from assistance. The process to request this type of assistance and many other services offered by the government is barred by so much red tape that the entire process becomes utterly ridiculous and often not even worth it.
Tulsa's own Hillcrest Medical Center requires a payment of at least $300.00 to visit the emergency room, followed by a large mountain of paperwork and a lengthy list of documents required to prove that you have no money and need assistance. I wonder how many people with insurance try to get away with not using it. The bill with insurance will be far less, regardless of what services you require at the hospital. Putting a cap on the fees that doctors are allowed to charge would do far more good to the American people than one may realize. The elderly that are not old enough for Medicare or government assistance yet not young enough to work a full time job or have the luxury of paying for insurance coverage would be able to receive the same standard of care that so many American's often take for granted.
Doctors deserve to be paid, they go to school for a very long time and just as the rest of us are paid to do our jobs, and doctors should be paid as well. The real question is if they deserve to be paid an outrageous $100 an office visit in which they talk to each patient for approximately fifteen minutes. Blood work may be another $75 and X-Rays are $100 or so. Is it fair that doctors are allowed to charge so much for often doing so very little? Is it not possible, to have a standard amount put in place for each of these routine medical items so that we can all enjoy the luxury of seeing a doctor?
It's not like people have another option, the elderly can't diagnose and treat their own high blood pressure, children can't do this for their autism or ADD, nor can we prescribe our own medications. We have to seek a doctor when we are ill and for those without insurance, it's no picnic searching the phonebook for the doctor that will charge the lowest office visit fee for a "Cash Patient". For those patients it would do a great deal of good having a maximum amount set for office visits, x-rays, or routine blood work. This would open up the possibility of seeing a doctor to many hurting people that otherwise would go without treatment.
Money is the first thing taken into consideration in any medical treatment, if you have it than any test can be performed and any treatment prescribed. If you don't have it, then your options are immediately reduced to the bare minimum of medical care. For anyone who dares to think that money plays no role in their medical treatment, try not having any.
Christina Eichstedt, Tulsa
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