incoming (2007-11)

I would like to point out, however, that DoubleJay Creative is but one of several current occupants of The Ely Building. As managing partner, I thought your readers would be interested to know that Conversion Properties, Downtown Realty, Elastic Pictures, and my company, Strategux Consulting, all call The Ely Building our home. We have a vibrant environment of young, progressive, creative companies sharing a fabulous historic building and contributing to the downtown community. In fact, Conversion Properties is our ultimate success story: They are expanding, and we simply don't have enough vacant space to accommodate their growth. We are looking to add another great tenant to the mix. Perhaps a private eye named Ruzak would be interested?

Patrick Hunt

When Schools and Bibles Collide

The Intelligent Design movement has purposefully sought to distance itself from outright declaring the God of Abraham as the creator in an attempt to make the theory more acceptable in scientific education. It is nothing more than a ruse by religious men and women who believe in a divine creator and are looking for ever more creative means by which to gain acceptance with critical thinkers.

It is a matter of a fact that there is an overwhelming convergence of evidence from innumerable fields of study that expose the reality of the naturalistic world view; however, we should not ever simply dismiss proponents of creationism as comic relief that will soon take care of itself.

We must all be very vigilant, acutely aware, and proactive in preventing someone like this from gaining one inch of unanswered support. These people are quite clever at selecting anomalous "factoids" from one area of science, then back at the pulpit, they marry that up with a piece of scripture and shamelessly exploit it for their cause. They are extremely effective at doing this.

Often it doesn't matter to the adherent how well the argument stands up. We know all too well that when you invoke God, there is presumed infallibility of the argument. Judges and legislators are not accountable to have even a minimal prerequisite scientific aptitude; further, their own faith is often of more importance to the electorate in determining their qualification to serve. If I were to be unapologetically alarmist about it, I would say that this dysfunctional combination of circumstances is most certainly a disaster in the making. Historically, people have died for less, quite frankly.  

Again, you did an excellent job of covering all the bases on this issue, and I'm glad you had the courage and insight to address this issue so articulately and completely. We should not forget that we can't lie down and go to sleep at the wheel, because there is too much at stake.

In closing I agree wholeheartedly with the facts and sentiment of your column, but I do not agree on the tone. Instead of being dismissive we should encourage those who live in the area to contact their legislators, city and county leaders and express their feelings about this resolution.

Keep up the good work!

Allen K. [abbreviated by request]

Health Care Conundrum

Perhaps my solution isn't perfect or even the best, but it could certainly be a starting point for you. To begin with, don't use the following terms: "health insurance," "over 40 million American uninsured," and "socialized medicine." All three terms are inaccurate and misleading in relation to the problem.

I started a very successful career by including health insurance in my sales portfolio. Major insurance companies proudly sold hospital policies with a high $25 daily room benefits and a $300 surgical schedule while others touted major medical policies with a lifetime limit of $5,000. These limits were raised through time as the costs of health care increased due to both inflation and new and expensive treatment. Most reliable companies came to the conclusion that they couldn't compute the frequency and cost of health care on any sound actuarial basis so they either left the business or stopped guarantying the premium. The costs went up and so did the premium. In effect, insurance stopped and the carrier collected the so-called premiums to hold and disburse to the medical providers. The insurance company acted as a "middleman" and made a guaranteed profit, which was usually based on a percentage of the amount handled (which itself is inflationary). I felt compelled to recommend Blue Cross-Blue Shield (which I couldn't sell) to individuals or small groups and only made a commission when I sold a large group since this was the only way my clients could get any decent coverage.

The term "over 40 million Americans uninsured" is bandied about by politicians and drastically understates the problem. Many of those "insured" have coverage that is both grossly inadequate and extremely expensive.

"Socialized medicine" is spat out as a red herring. I believe in free enterprise and the American way but in facing reality, we do presently have lots of socialized medicine. Some of the finest medical treatment in the world is given to our combat wounded as well as to the president and vice-president. The veteran hospitals deliver a less-excellent brand of socialized medicine. Employees receiving medical coverage aren't taxed on the cost, which is tax-deductible by the employer. Individuals can take deductions for medical expenses on their income tax. Those under Medicare and Medicaid receive medical care through the government as well as those in prison or those unable to pay who utilize hospitals or emergency rooms. There are many services provided by public health and safety departments. Medical schools and students receive public money as does medical research. These are just some of the many examples of the existence of "socialized medicine" that we receive.

Understanding these three terms should allow us to come up with a solution to the crippling cost of medical care we now face. I believe the best solution is a two-tier delivery system composed of the pure private and the pure public sectors.

The pure private sector would have no financial public assistance. Individuals would pay fully for all medical services without any tax deduction for any medical expense. Any medical insurance used would have been paid for without any government assistance (no tax deductions). The medical provider could be liable for medical malpractice and choose to accept private insurance--however they and the patient agreed.

The pure public sector would be paid for by the public by various taxes and probably deductibles and or coinsurance. It would be delivered by providers paid through the federal government either by salary or contract. A small payroll would insure all employers paid their fair share and if made contributory would have individuals also bearing part of the cost. A small tax on gasoline would put part of the cost of accidents on those causing them. Perhaps a tax on cigarettes and harmful food ingredients would help keep health costs down. Eliminating malpractice suits for those receiving care would cut costs directly and also indirectly by eliminating unneeded testing as well as keeping medical practitioners in the system and allowing them to practice good medicine. Severe penalties for fraud would also help contain the cost. Much costly paperwork would be eliminated. A unintended benefit would be the first step to simplifying the tax code by the elimination of all references to tax deduction of medical expenses.

This is certainly not a perfect solution--but it is a starting point. The important thing is to get our president and our congress working full-time now on this problem and keeping them on the job until they finish it.

Jack Hutter

Guidelines for Incoming Mail