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Letters to the Editor 

Obama Trauma

The Obam-Applause-O-Meter [Fair Game, April 4] is a perfect model to show the idiocy of Obama supporters. Under Obama we now have 1.9 million fewer jobs in America, our economy has continued its plummet, gas prices are at their highest ever, and he has not been able to bring his “change” to the country unless he intended for “change” to mean “I’m going to destroy this country and send us into the worst economic recession the country has ever seen.” Obama should hear no such applause and should certainly not receive a dime out of Vermonters’ pockets. Vermont has thrown away $750,000 to a man who hasn’t kept one of his promises.

Vermonters gave away their hard-earned money to our president who, rather than running our county, is too busy campaigning. Obama is nothing but a phony magician amusing his supporters with his simple card tricks. It’s time people realize that the deck is stacked. It’s not magic, it’s not impressive, it’s just a simple trick.

Leif Mitchinson


Immigrant vs. EB-5

I am writing in response to Paul Heintz’s “Seeing Green” [April 4]. He got my thoughts half right and out of context. Yes, the “Cash-for-Visas” program is hypocritical. Under both Democratic and Republican leadership, U.S. immigration policy has not been “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” but rather “Send me your wealthy, and we’ll deport your poor.” The hypocrisy on this issue is in Washington, D.C. The only immigration policy agreed upon after 25 years of gridlock is this immigration for the rich and pumping nearly $17 billion a year to militarize, criminalize and profile hardworking immigrant communities.

To be clear, I didn’t say that the state is ignoring the plight of those propping up “the dairy industry.” Rather, the State of Vermont, under the Shumlin administration, is now moving to recognize and defend the rights of all those living and working here, regardless of immigration status. We are very hopeful that the State of Vermont will do the next right thing by affirming the fundamental human right to freedom of movement of all our residents by creating access to driver’s licenses for all, regardless of immigration status.

Brendan O’Neill


O’Neill is an organizer at Vermont’s Migrant Justice.

Drug Abuse Is Drug Abuse

It’s scary to think that your trusted nurse or doctor could actually be someone who is addicted to drugs and steals them from the hospital to feed their habits. I found Ken Picard’s article “Are Drug-Stealing Nurses Punished More Than Doctors?” [April 11] to be very appealing because the article brings forward a topic that isn’t really discussed that much. What really bothers me is it seems as though everyone is beating around the bush to answer the question: Do nurses get punished more than doctors? They are using words like it may “seem” like more nurses are punished and to a harsher extent.

It also irritates me that people are basically using the excuse that it is easier for doctors to get away with stealing, and since nurses get their drugs more directly through patients, they are punished. Seriously? Drug abuse is drug abuse! It shouldn’t matter that a doctor can write himself a fake prescription whereas nurses steal drugs from dead patients. In the end they both stole drugs and are both addicted to prescription drugs.

It doesn’t matter to me that doctors bring in more money for the state than nurses; I strongly believe that they should be punished equally and more should be done to uncover doctors abusing drugs. Also, since when is it not a crime to steal and illegally take prescription drugs? Just because these people work in hospitals doesn’t give them the right to not be treated as criminals!

Bea Potter


What’s Up, Doc?

After reading the article “Are Drug-Stealing Nurses Punished More Than Doctors?” [April 11], I agree that doctors aren’t as severely punished as the nurses with the same or similar abuse problems. In recent indiscretions, hospital personnel have been “dealt with” by different groups. Medical staff should be investigated by the board of health alone; that way, the same procedures would be followed. Also contributing to the dilemma, studies show nurses being more vulnerable to having self-harm and drug- and alcohol-abuse problems due to their compulsive, perfectionist personalities. However, such competitiveness is connected directly to the mind-set that, in society, doctors are placed on a pedestal, overlooking the female nurses below them. Are gender differences at the foundation of these abuses?

Aaron Bushey-Hansen

Sheldon Springs  

Their Bodies, Our Gain

As a 2001 UVM grad, I am writing to say that, hands down, Jean Szilva is the best instructor I have ever worked with [Work, “Body of Proof,” April 11]. As a student of nutritional science, I knew very little about gross anatomy and was amazed to find it not just a little interesting, but fantastic. I have changed careers to work as a licensed practical nurse, and cannot imagine taking on my new work without the help of Jean and her cadavers. These specimens are generously donated in the name of science, and students definitely need them to become great practitioners. Thank you, Professor Szilva!

Rebecca Agone


Anti-Chloramine Business

Now people in Grand Isle know of the respiratory, eye, skin and digestive effects hundreds of people in the Champlain Water District suffer from chloramine, despite the best efforts of state officials to keep them uninformed [“In Hot Water? Chloramine Controversy Bubbles Up in Grand Isle,” March 28]. Chloramine = chlorine + ammonia, which is very different from chlorine, with different and more serious health effects and worse by-products, none of which is required to be monitored.

Due to a national outcry, Erin Brockovich is fighting chloramine. I am very excited and encouraged to be on her national chloramine team.

The Vermont Department of Health calls chloramine “safe” even though they know no health studies exist on chloraminated water. VDH eventually had to stop claiming studies exist.

[State toxicologist Sarah] Vose claims that a 2008 “physician study” shows nothing? The questionnaire was written to get the “right” results, asking physicians whether they “clinically” suspected chloraminated water caused these symptoms. Since there are no studies, no doctor could say yes, even if he or she believed it to be true. The questionnaire should’ve asked if they had seen an increase in respiratory, eye, skin or digestive problems in their practices since April 20, 2006, when chloramine was added. There would’ve been a different outcome.

Heads up, Tri-Town, North Hero and Rutland for a switch to chloramine soon. Learn from people living with chloramine, not spin-doctor officials:,

Ellen Powell

South Burlington

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