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Letters 10/23/03

Various - October 23rd, 2003
Believe it

In regards to the article on music file sharing (10/2): I once saw an episode of Star Trek in which captain Picard, standing in his quarters, addressed the ship‘s computer and stated the name of some classical piece. Instantly music was heard. It could be assumed that the captain could have named one of millions of songs and been able to enjoy it immediately. And taking into consideration hyperspace communication systems, that database didn‘t even need to be on the Enterprise.
Star Trek is a fictional story line, which takes place 300 years in the future. Are we to believe that we have to wait 300 years and achieve captain of a starship status to enjoy such luxury? Should we believe that the best the music industry has to offer -- the best we can enjoy in the mean time is tapes that stretch and lose sound quality and CDs, which easily scratch? Both of these mediums hold a very small amount of music compared to what is available and are of a tangible financial value.
Are we to believe that to have a variety of music available we must spend ridiculous amounts of money on an inferior product and decorate an entire wall of our house with plastic? Are we to believe that our neighbor, to have the same or a similar selection of music, must redundantly do the same? Are we to believe that a person of lesser wealth doesn‘t deserve to listen to as great a variety of music as we do? The future is now. The technology is available. The only thing missing -- no, that which is abundant: greed.

J. Scott Petersen • via email

Nursing on the ropes

I implore you to read the article in the September issue of the Reader‘s Digest, “America‘s Biggest Health Care Crisis,“ if you have any questions of why the nurses are on strike at Northern Michigan Hospital. There is a crisis in nursing.
There are a half million licensed nurses today that work outside their profession. I was almost one of them. Six years out of nursing school, I was so disillusioned because I could not care for my patients the way I felt they needed to be cared for due to short staffing. You want to be able to go home at the end of the day and feel that you did the very best for each and every one of them, for their lives are dependent on you. I didn‘t feeel that way.
I have remained a hospital nurse for 31 years and have not witnessed much change. Change needs to occur!
Across the country, caregivers are joining unions at a record pace in order to solve our health care problems. Their top reasons for organizing are not the usual pay and benefits, but staffing, working conditions and bringing quality health care to all Americans. There are more than 41 million Americans with no health insurance in the wealthiest nation on earth.
As quoted in the Denver Post by nurse Linda Luton, “I am convinced that one of the keys to solving our health care crisis is for caregivers to join a union and work with the health care industry to improve quality and access to health care. In order to be truly effective advocates for our patients, we decided to form a union so that we could speak with one voice.“
In the legislative arena, health care employees are turning up the heat on politicians to make health care the top issue in the next round of elections. Members of the Service Employees International Union recently helped spearhead a successful effort to provide $20 billion in federal aid to states for Medicaid, which restored or will maintain critical services to seniors, children, people with mental illness and other residents.
We want to be a part of hundreds of thousands of nurses throughout the country who are demanding better staffing and increased access to quality, affordable health care for all Americans. Health care reform needs to happen.

Jeannie Stephenson • Alanson

Big Rock‘s shell game

During the past few days people have called me and stopped me, almost in a congratulatory way, thrilled that the Big Rock reactor vessel was now gone from our beautiful shores.
That transport seems to lull people into a wrong sense of all that “bad“ radioactive material is gone now, we are safe, lets go and have a pool party in the old, spent fuel pool.
Although I am not glad to see that transport go on our highways and rails, it‘s a deed underway, after all the “stuff“ has to go somewhere -- NIMBY, but Barnwells.
Point is that the real highly radioactive fuel rods are still out there on Lake Michigan in above ground storage, with enough poison to build a few bombs in containers -- for how long, no one really will know.
Missile tests in Germany done on above ground storage containers that are better built than our U.S. ones, could not withstand the impact of a missile -- nice to know in these times of terrorists fear. So I ask, how and for how long, in what way are those above storage containers monitored, maintained and secured?
From what I read in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission papers, not much is required -- not enough to make me feel more at ease. How much staffing will be there at all times to monitor the above ground storage containers?
Come on Big Rock, we live here; fess up and tell us about your dismal record in Palisades in regards to above ground storage containers; tell us where did all the water from the spent fuel pool go? Diluted in small batches into Lake Michigan, while I was rock-picking next to it at the road side park?
The reactor vessel might be gone, the turbines might go next, then the green ball and all the contaminated parts it contains. But that does not make the ground “lily-white.“
You are still leaving Charlevoix County a legacy of nasty poisons right next to the lake for many years to come with little assurance that those casks are as safe as apple pie.
To have that reactor vessel leave is just a small part of the dangerous material that is still out there and our community seems to be nicely lulled into a false sense of security that all is over now. Not so.

Christa-Maria • Charlevoix
 
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