Letters to the Editor 

Unhealthy problem

Jane Slaughter mentions the registered nurses strike over mandatory overtime in Massachusetts against Tenent, the second-largest health care corporation in the nation, in her story ("Nurses strike back," MT, Dec. 13-19). At the same time, there was an eight-week RN strike in California and a five-month RN strike in rural New York. This abusive staffing "alternative" is sweeping health care facilities across the country.

Last December, RNs at a hospital in Nyack, New York, struck over the same issue, as well as others. They stayed out for 151 days, until the hospital agreed to, among other things, limit mandatory overtime. Their strike lasted three times as long as the one in Massachusetts and the hospital spent millions of dollars hiring strike-breaking agency nurses rather than spending much less to make the workplace improvements the RNs needed to do their job effectively and efficiently.

If this is what it takes to stop the abhorrent practice of holding employees hostage at work rather than hiring sufficient numbers of qualified staff, than this is what we are going to do. Nurses are on strike across the nation, all for the same reasons — workplace conditions and worker-patient safety. —Julie Semente, RN, New York City, New York

Safety issue

I just wanted to thank Jane Slaughter for her story about nurses striking back. Mandatory overtime and other safety concerns are huge, not just for nurses, but for all the patients they care for. Thanks for giving some visibility to this issue. —Carol Feuss, carol.feuss@minurses.org, Okemos

Another road?

It's a good thing your newspaper has such a good entertainment/What's Happening section, because the liberal writers you have working for you are producing some of the worst, most one-sided stories I have ever read. I thought the Freep was bad, but they can't hold a candle to the Jack Lessenberrys of this wonderful world. Is it too much to ask for an occasional middle-of-the-political-road article? If not, thanks for keeping me updated as to the goings-on in my favorite city — Detroit. —James Coyle, coyle13@yahoo.com, Berkley

Jack Lessenberry responds: I will try to break it to you gently, but your favorite city cast 94 percent of its votes for Al Gore, and another 1

percent for Ralph Nader. I'm a barely acceptable moderate in these parts.

More on Gore

The only thing more enjoyable than watching the Republicans take over the White House (after the Oval Office is disinfected after eight years of Clinton stench) is reading the laments of the left-wing liberals whining about the death of democracy in the United States.

What is truly amazing is that, in all these stories on the partisan theft of the presidency by the U.S. Supreme Court ("Yes. They stole the election," MT, Dec. 20-26), never is it mentioned that the Florida Supreme Court (which ruled in favor of Gore) was composed of six Democrats and one independent. Partisan, my ass. Not only did Gore lose according to the laws of this country, but, more importantly, his political career is over. Never again will the democrats nominate Mr. Personality (not) for the presidency.

Surprisingly, I have voted Democratic in the past. Jimmy Carter was the last decent man to lead the Democratic Party and he received my vote.

You lost, loser. Get over it. Of course, you always have the option to leave the country. —Tim White, Milford

Jack Lessenberry responds: But seriously, what do you really think? I do remind Comrade White of the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which says that the powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states. That's why Florida ought to have been allowed to recount its votes as its Supreme Court directed, until the fascists on the U.S. Supreme Court staged their little coup. Incidentally, your suggestion is out of date; my comments are, indeed, all mailed in from my barracks in Moldova.

False shuffle

In his pique over President-elect George W. Bush’s victory, Keith A. Owens played the race card with great panache ("Rights rescinded," MT, Dec. 20-26). Owens correctly recalls that "far too many" died so that blacks could have the right to vote. Yet he concludes that the white power structure is terrified to give up power to "the historically disenfranchised." Something seems amiss. On the one hand, we have whites dying for blacks’ freedom. On the other, according to Owens, we have whites afraid of blacks who exercise the freedom that whites died to provide.

Has Owens revealed one of the direst ironies of Western civilization? Or is his argument the rhetorical equivalent of a pregnant chad? I think the latter. No, Mr. Owens, Al Gore didn’t have the election stolen from him in Florida. What happened is that he finally came face to face with a controlling legal authority. And it is us. —Martin Yanosek, St. Clair Shores

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