Suspicious of Alt Medicine -- One of the recent articles you ran focused on how "complementary" medicine was cheaper than regular FDA-approved drugs ("Covering the Alternatives," 7/22/04). While this would be fine if these "natural" supplements and remedies worked, they don't. People are naturally skeptical, but when they hear the words "complementary medicine" or other phrases, they believe that these treatment options are scientifically sound and are generally accepted. Most of these phrases are simply double-speak. A 1998 editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association read, "There is no alternative medicine. There is only scientifically proven, evidence-based medicine supported by solid data or unproven medicine, for which scientific evidence is lacking. Whether a therapeutic practice is "Eastern" or "Western," is unconventional or mainstream, or involves mind-body techniques or molecular genetics is largely irrelevant except for historical purposes and cultural interest." The article in question focused on insurance companies and how they didn't cover these questionable methods. Well, now I realize how smart insurance companies are! People say they are "fed up" with the idea of doctors and pills and expensive treatments, yet they spend billions a year on supplements that could be potentially dangerous and have virtually nothing to back them up. Another point: Quacks cite two or three studies and then claim they have evidence, where most drugs and treatments have to have dozens of FDA studies backing them up. For more information, visit www.quackwatch.org. You'll see there's a reason "so-called complementary and alternative medicine" abbreviates to "SCAM."
Harder Lessons -- It's instructive that the Inlander published an angry letter to the editor, "Hard Lessons" (7/29/04), about homeless adults which contained the standard conservative clich & eacute;, "get a job, go to school," while in the same issue it produced a feature on homeless children, "Lost Children," confronting the angry conservative clich & eacute; with its answer. Let's put aside the fact that many working Americans with low-paying jobs are homeless under this Republican regime which refuses to raise the minimum wage and instead concentrate on the fact that from homeless children arise homeless adults.
Where would drinking, drugging 7-to-13-year olds get these jobs the angry conservative tells them to get? Where would street-dwelling children get the clean clothes and the middle-class manners to successfully compete for jobs? Who's going to hire a drunken 10-year-old? No American wakes up one day and consciously "chooses" to be homeless. It takes a long history of abuse and failure or a sociopath's genetic makeup to create the self-destructive psychology with which many adult homeless persons undermine their own best interests.
People who scream about the homeless would better spend their time being grateful that they were born with the genes for a good IQ or helpful parents, or with the genes that make for mental and physical health, with a loving grandparent (like mine) or a school counselor or a middle-class upbringing or an economic status that helped prepare them to hang on when times were tough. Counting their blessings might soften the hardened hearts whose angry jibes only contribute to the indignities already visited upon the homeless.
Joining Forces -- I just read "Activism Now!" by Mike Corrigan (7/15/04) in The Inlander. I cannot express in words the relief I feel to know that Spokane is finally becoming politically aware. I am a political writer in my high school's newspaper, and I have been seeking a place where I belong. I may have found it in the Radical Cheerleaders.
Spokane Valley, Wash.
Part of the Problem? -- Please give us a break and a reason to read your magazine. I am of course referring to your outrageous bias against George Bush. Your magazine covers are very attractive and I look forward to reading them until I open it up. As I browse through it I run into left- wing propaganda and I quickly close it. For instance, "Activism Now!" (7/15/04).
Do you really believe that holding up MoveOn.org as way to become involved has any credibility with any one but the "hate Bush" crowd? Do you believe that it creates credibility for your magazine? These are the people who actively compare an American president to Adolf Hitler. And this is not just an isolated example: Arianna Huffington, Michael Moore, Jim Hightower, Robert Bryce and on and on.
If you are not prepared to provide some semblance of intellectual integrity and balance, please don't expect to be taken seriously as newspaper reporters. Pandering to hard-core left-wing readers certainly limits your appeal to the broader Inland Northwest audience. Your publication is symptomatic of why this country is so fractured. Before you start pointing fingers with righteous indignation, you should first look in the mirror and ask yourself, "Am I part of the problem?" I want to yell at you guys to grow up, but of course that would not be appropriate.
Quotes & amp; Notes and Troubletown will return next week.