For those of us watching as the pablum of corporate journalism leaves readers in the dark about government, society and everyday life, Anne Stantons story on Lyme disease was a brilliant and hopeful study on not only the disease and its ramifications, but also a sign that there are still real journalists writing about subjects that matter.
Annes story clearly explained the issues involved in a complex topic and broke new ground by establishing the fact that the disease is a problem in Northern Michigan. Describing the difficulties faced by the victims and the medical community was insightful and fair reporting.
Its an especially sad story because it involves people we know; and its an especially heartening story because it shed some light in the darkness by giving new hope to people who found themselves in especially difficult circumstances.
Joe Mielke Kingsley
Pets also affected
I was not surprised to see the faces of several of my clients on the cover of this last issue (May 12-18). I have heard their stories and that of many others living with Lyme disease.
I care for their pets who are at an even greater risk of contracting Lyme disease. When I first moved here, 10 years ago from Florida, I was told by several area veterinarians that we dont have Lyme disease in this area. I asked them how many dogs they had tested for the disease, and the answer was always none.
Obviously, if you are not looking for and testing for a disease, you will not find it. Lyme disease carrying ticks are here in Northern Michigan and a real threat to the people and pets who live here.
The heartworm test we use at our hospital also tests for Lyme disease. We routinely find dogs with antibodies to Lyme disease, some with symptoms and some without.
Thank you for your article; it is my hope it will increase the awareness to this disease, and to its prevention, which is by far the better choice than treatment.
I encourage pet parents to have their dogs vaccinated for Lyme disease; the vaccine is safe and very effective. Monthly flea and tick preventive is also very useful to protect pets and the people they live with. I often hear that my dog is not at risk because of this or that. The people you interviewed probably thought they were not at much of a risk either. Ticks can transmit many nasty and fatal diseases.
Thanks to Northern Express for transmitting knowledge and information to our community.
R. Craig Brakeman, DVM TC
I happened to read your article about Lyme Disease in the 5/12/2008 Northern Express, and I was rather upset by it. Ive not read previous articles written by you, so I do not have a good sense of what goals you seek to achieve by your writing, but Im willing to assume that you intend to provide a positive and helpful source of information to your readers.
If that is your goal, your article Living with Lyme Disease has failed to meet it. By pandering to those doctors (in your article they are styled Lyme-literate) who have the most to gain by perpetuating the myth of chronic Lyme Disease, you do a disservice to both your readers and to the individuals who are pursuing an illusory solution to their very real suffering.
I highly recommend reading at least the first of the articles below. You may be surprised at how many aspects of your article are predicted and described by the authors. You may be inspired to write a follow-up article in which you provide helpful suggestions about how to cope with and attempt to resolve chronic symptoms which arise from a more subtle confluence of factors including stress, social demands and pressure, and the cumulative effects of unrelated diseases and dangerous treatments.
This type of problem is increasingly common and requires a more nuanced treatment than the individuals in your story seem to be receiving. The difficulty of treating such problems is compounded by the prevalence of charlatans who see in these perpetual sufferers a perpetual source of income, and, sadly, by the credulity of the media.
Please, if you truly wish to improve the community we share, take some time to inform your readers about more reliable and successful treatments for their suffering. Below are three articles that might provide a starting point for your research.
Contributions of Societal and Geographical Environments to Chronic Lyme Disease: The Psychopathogenesis and Aporology of a New Medically Unexplained Symptoms Syndrome“ by Leonard H. Sigaland Afton L. Hassett.
The Consequences of Overdiagnosis and Overtreatment of Lyme Disease: An Observational Study, by M. Carrington Reid, MD, PhD; et. al.
Pitfalls in the diagnosis and management of Lyme disease, by Leonard H. Sigal.
Steve Ruble TC
Protect our water
In response to the letter, A disaster for Michigan‘s water future, in the 5/19 Express; I recently contacted Senator Carl Levin with concerns about protecting our most valuable resource from pollution, diversion and exotic species.
I was not surprised that his response contained an interpretation of the pending legislation SB860a and what it hopes to do. His response was that President Bush is poised to gut all the components of the Clean Air and Water Act in order to allow polluters to buy credits to continue poor environmental practices.
I for one am very tired of the blame game and dont care for party lines. I want our elected officials to all place the highest priority on a bipartisan solution that simply does not allow for further threats to our protected water. If we all dont unite and just say no to any effort to harm the watershed, we will have secured a bitter legacy for our future generations. Please remind your representatives that we are sitting on the solution to all our economic woes if we are good stewards.
David North TC
Obama not qualified
Being an avid viewer of the political scene, I am appalled at the obvious media bias towards Barack Obama by our national news media, particularly the cable news outlets.
Don‘t get me wrong. I am not a Clinton fan either and might just not vote for anyone this fall. However, I do believe that our news media has some obligation towards fairness when they cover political events. To any reasonable observer, its quite obvious that our national news gendarme has a real contempt for the Clintons.
The attempt to get Hillary to quit the race even before all the primary and caucus votes were cast is truly remarkable and unprecedented in our nation‘s history.The national news media has clearly appointed our next president.
Not only doesnt Hillary Clinton stand a chance, John McCain doesnt either. The media elites at CNN and elsewhere are doing everything possible to insure that Barack Obama is our next president.
Senator Obama is a decent man, well educated, and highly intelligent. He is a great campaigner and an inspirational speaker. It is not the man per se that I oppose. Nor do I oppose many of his policies. Its what he represents. Its the forces in our society that support Obama, that are using him as a symbol of racial diversity that I oppose.
I have nothing against racial diversity. I do have a lot against affirmative action. Affirmative action has come to represent equality of result over equality of opportunity. The hallowed liberal and corporate goal of diversity now takes precedence over talent, qualification, and merit. Hard work alone is not sufficient in our politically correct society. Many liberals desire diversity to the exclusion of a functioning society.
We have no greater example of this than the Barack Obama phenomenon. A mere four years ago, Mr. Obama was a State Senator. He was in the Illinois legislature where most of the time he voted present on most issues that came before that chamber. He was elected to the United States Senate in 2004 and within three years decides to run for president, where he is given a free pass by our media elites and now is the Democratic frontrunner.
Quite simply, Barack Obama, regardless of his ability to inspire young people and others, is simply not qualified to be our president. If Barack Obama were an ethnic white male, he wouldn‘t have gone beyond the Iowa Caucus. He would have been at best an overnight news item, quickly forgotten, or perhaps been nothing more than a footnote to history.
I believe that Hillary has gotten a raw deal from our national press and punditry alike. Nothing she ever does, either when campaigning or even when she wins primaries, is ever enough. The media simply wants to bury her alive and just get on with their Obama fixation.
Brian R Morgan Gaylord
The business of war
They died in service to our country. That sentence will be heard many times as the nation observes Memorial Day.
Im a father, a businessperson and a Vietnam veteran. Over the past several years Ive examined my military experience. Two-time Medal of Honor recipient Marine Major General Smedley Butler helped me. He finished his career, looked back and wrote a booklet titled War is a Racket. He said he was a thug for big business.
My studies confirm what the general said. Behind all of the flag waving, and the shouts of freedom, democracy and service, is a massive empire devoted to profit by any means. Weapons are our number one export product. The military is a tool. We are taught to puff our chests, and honor the military -- alive and dead -- but we are never taught to question the business of war.
They died in service to our country. I hope we think about those words.
Arnold Stieber Grass Lake