Union Democrat staff

Celebrate diversity

To the editor:

Regarding the irate letter of Nov. 20 (Dorris Kindvall), protesting the issue of U.S. postage stamps that celebrate Muslim holidays:

Is it hatred or sheer stupidity that generates such narrowness? Instead of celebrating the uniqueness of our country's diversity, some still bury their heads in the sand and think that our whole country is cast from one mold.

Up until 50 years ago there weren't many Muslims in this country, but as many Muslim countries were freed from European colonial domination, many Muslim students came here to study and, adopting this as their country, became U.S. citizens. They constitute a productive and contributing component of our nation, making their mark in medicine, law, social service and non-profit sectors. It is estimated that 7 million Muslims now live in the U.S.

In these days of skepticism, cynicism and racism, we need to acknowledge the many things we have to celebrate. Celebrate our diversity. It is our strength.

Peggy Kingman


Rethink capitalism

To the editor:

It is obvious to me that when you look to where large sums of U.S. profits are going, we need a rethink of capitalism. Capitalism was supposed to give somewhat equal shares to labor, land and capital.

Please notice that I put labor first and not second, like college economics text books. The bankers of Wall Street (capital) are taking too much of the pie when you consider their input to profit.

When Labor gets insufficient shares of profits, workers can't afford houses, etc., and the middle class shrinks into poverty. When capital gets too much, bankers and investors play games with money and do not bear enough of the pain of potential losses.

What is the solution? One might be heavy taxes on absurd salaries and bonuses. It is obvious that Wall Street has no shame and controls the machinery of Congress, the Treasury Department, etc.

Our number one problem is not terrorism. It is instead the lack of campaign finance reform which has caused Congress to be prostitutes for capital.

Dennis Schneider

Angels Camp

No answers

To the editor:

Recently my son was injured and I had to take him to the hospital. He broke his wrist in several areas.

The orthopedic surgeon on call said he required surgery. We were told to call in the morning, and it would be scheduled.

The next morning, I received a call from the surgeon's office. They asked some questions about my son's injury and insurance. After finding out we had the state's Healthy Families program for insurance, the receptionist said they would not be able to see him and we needed to find another doctor.

My son requires surgery to repair his badly broken wrist and is being denied because of the insurance we carry. I think that this is the most ridiculous and prejudiced thing I have ever heard of. If a doctor is on-call at the hospital, how can he refuse surgery to his patient the very next day?

In the meantime, my son lays in pain and I have no answers.

Mary Billings


Wish book

To the editor:

With the holiday approaching all too quickly, I tend to get a little melancholy and begin to reminisce about Christmases past.

Does anyone remember the good ol' Christmas "wish books" from Monkey Ward and Sears Roebuck? (Now, there are so many catalogs that all the fun of ordering, anticipating, and finally receiving delivery is almost gone.) I remember flying through them the first time, then going more slowly, page by page, after that. I could discover something new and amazing each time, for days. My folks could always tell what I really, really wanted by which pages were the most worn! (Years later, I used the same trick with my two children.)

Now that I think about it, I can't recall if I ever got anything that I wanted. I doubt it, because we were not-so-affluent dairy farmers. If I actually was so lucky, I don't know how my parents pulled it off. We lived about nine miles outside of Modesto and had rural mail delivery. Parents can sure be sneaky!

It's just too bad that we still don't have our "wish books." Why do we always have to lose the finer and more special things in life?

Merry Christmas to all, and here's to reviving the "wish book."

Sandra A. Prosco


Consider the odds

To the editor:

Since the new recommendations about mammograms came out, I'm hearing a lot of concern and confusion from women about what to do. So I thought I would share some facts I learned from a recent talk on cancer prevention by an expert from University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine.

A woman in the U.S. has a 1 in 500 chance of dying of breast cancer during her 40s. For every 2,000 women who get a mammogram every year or two during their 40s, one life is saved. Women age 50 to 69 have a 1 in 100 chance of dying of breast cancer during those two decades. For every 300 women in this age group who get an annual mammogram, one life is saved.

The experts assure us that these are the facts, even though they may seem to fly in the face of common sense. It is for each woman to decide whether the discomfort of the procedure, the anxiety of the call backs and biopsies, and the expense is worth the one in 2,000, or one in 300 chance that the procedure will save her life.

The expert who presented these figures suggested that we physicians give this information to our patients and decide together how often to do a mammogram or whether to do it at all. I hope this is helpful.

Ralph Retherford, M.D.


Saturday night dance

To the editor:

I went dancing a few Saturday nights ago. I spent hours with my dance partner, Seth, rehearsing. I asked everyone I knew for money. I bought an outrageous dress I will likely never wear again, and became rather tired of the rhumba and the song, "Let's Get The Party Started."

As you may have guessed, I was in the Dancing With The Sierra Stars, the major, final fundraiser to bring digital mammography technology to Mark Twain St. Joseph's Hospital.

I have heard that one gets back more than they give in life. This saying held true for me during this event. I was overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and amazement at the number of folks who voted for us. Each vote cost $5.

Then there was Jillian Bottomley and Lori Weathers, of Jillian Day Spa & Salon, who volunteered to do all of the dancers' hair and makeup. By the time they got through with me, I felt and looked like a star.

That night was a blur. The dancers cheered after each couple completed its dance. Then, suddenly it was all over. Seth and I walked out to join the guests and were given the royal treatment from all our friends and supporters.

I have never felt such a glow. We did not win either the dance contest or the prize for raising the most money through votes, but I won something special - the satisfaction I could actually do this and the help we got from all our friends.

Thank you Michal Houston, Linda Lewis, Cynthia Gomes and Peggy Lucas for allowing me this opportunity to have such an incredible experience.

Marian Coahran

San Andreas

Race track

To the editor:

Please print this, and maybe we will see some improvement for the fast drivers.

You can't get into your own driveway or out. It's a race track, and the language they use is filthy. Who is going to pay to replace the road? Bill the ones who speed on our street; no bonds for the rest of us.

The Highway Patrol could make a quota in one half hour.

Virginia Parrish


Right to ride

To the editor:

This letter is in response to the Nov. 18 article concerning the Forest Service impact decision that would close OHV trails.

The areas where these trails are located have been clearly marked. Signs tell the public which trails are open and which are closed. These signs also specifically state which types of OHVs are allowed.

To spend more taxpayers' money and time on reevaluating a management plan is wasteful. The so-called damage caused by OHV users is only a fraction of what industry does. The closure of any of these trails would be unfair to OHV users due to the fact that many of the trails have already been closed.

Each year more and more trails are being closed. OHV users are part of the public and have the right to ride these historical trails. This public land to be maintained for multiple use. License and registration fees pay for such use. To close such trails is just another example of how much easier it is to attack recreation than business. Anyone who has been to these areas knows that tractors and logging equipment create the majority of the damage.

Scott Wucherer