Letters to the Editor

Thursday's letters to the editor

Graham can help support the president

Sen. Lindsey Graham, in a conference sponsored by The Atlantic, suggested Republicans act as the loyal opposition and stand behind President Obama.

I applaud the senator's leadership. In war, the country must be unified and have confidence in its leaders.

Sen. Graham needs to follow this list to express support for the president: publish daily the number of casualties and the cost of the war; downplay positive war news; threaten to pass resolutions to cut off funding; establish date-certain troop withdrawal timetables; announce that the surge failed and war has been lost; keep reminding the public that President Bush lied and it's all his fault.

JOHN B. TARSOLY

Columbia

'Bootin' gluten' sheds light on celiac disease

Thanks to Joey Holleman and the team of writers for their well-researched article, "Bootin' gluten," on Tuesday. Celiac disease is an autoimmune disorder of the small intestine that impacts nearly 1 out of 100 people in the United States. Columbia and the state of South Carolina are blessed with superbly prepared gastroenterologists and other medical professionals who are benefiting from a growing body of significant research on the diagnosis and treatment of this illness that is so notoriously difficult to diagnose.

DR. GERALD L. EUSTER

Distinguished professor emeritus, USC

Columbia

Public option needed to insure everyone

Our country is one of the few so-called civilized countries in the world that does not provide health care for all of its citizens, and our statistics reflect that. Yes, there is a greater wait for health care in most of those countries. That is because they take care of all of their citizens, whereas we allow a great many of ours to just fall through the cracks. Can't afford health care? Oh well, too bad.

Those people who are automatically assuming that a public option will be a government takeover of the health care industry do not understand that the option is primarily for those people who are not insured or are insurable. It's one option among many, to provide for healthier competition.

Just try to get insurance or a different insurance if you have ever been diagnosed with cancer, or anything a lot less serious. I had to actually fight to get insurance once when I was turned down for allergies. I appealed, asking, "Do you really think you can turn someone down for insurance because they have a runny nose?" I won. But how many people will or can advocate on their own behalf with the insurance industry?

SUSAN GREY

Columbia

You can't get there the Republican way

President Obama and the Democrats are pushing for total health care reform legislation before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the Republicans want the health care system to be changed one part at a time over years; insurance regulation one year, then perhaps Medicare, then the drug industry, then hospital and doctor payments, and so on.

However, health care is a broken system. A system is the integration of many related parts into a functioning whole - like your car. The transmission, ignition, computer, brakes, engine all have to work together or the car will not function as it should. Unless all the parts of our health care system are changed and integrated into a new system, the result will be continued dysfunction. You can't get system change the Republican way.

In the weeks ahead, the Senate and House will be hammering out final bills; three or four in each body are under debate. In the end, a final bill out of a conference committee will be adopted and sent to the president for his signature.

A bill that provides universal coverage that is affordable to all and that provides high-quality care while bending the curve to reduce costs is only possible through the integration of all the parts of the system. Anything less will not be worthy of being called true health care reform.

ROBERT J. WILDE

Anderson

Local newspapers keep our communities alive

In hometowns across our state, many of us share fond memories of listening for the thump of the newspaper being delivered on the front porch every morning or evening, as the events of the day were dropped at our doorstep. Even with today's immediate and electronic delivery of news, local newspapers still tell the local stories that are part of the fabric of our hometowns.

Where else will you find the stories of local heroes, births, deaths and marriages alongside the chronicling of local zoning questions, street closings, crime and civic debates?

An important role of local newspapers is keeping the deliberations of our elected bodies before the people. Most people rely on the eyes and ears of local reporters and their editors to synthesize what happens and report back to the community.

Newspapers have seen their share of challenges in recent years. Readers are getting more and more accustomed to user-generated Internet news outlets bringing news directly to them without the filter of reporters who are trained to ask questions and to check their facts. But local newspapers are meeting this challenge by marrying the traditional print papers with new online versions that meet the needs of news junkies of all types.

Newspapers are a key to the success of our hometowns and bringing democracy to the front steps of our residents' homes. Celebrate National Newspaper Week this week by recognizing the importance of your local hometown paper.

MIRIAM HAIR

Executive director, Municipal Association of South Carolina

Columbia

Repeat performance for South Carolina

S.C. Rep. Joe Wilson violated the U.S. House's code of conduct with his deplorable outburst, no less on primetime national TV. Many of those who supported him promptly sent campaign contributions for his re-election.

In 1856, in the United States Senate, Preston Brooks, another S.C. congressman, savagely beat Sen. Charles Sumner with his cane. (Sumner, a Northerner, had been criticizing Southerners who sympathized with the pro-slavery violence in Kansas.) After that incident, South Carolinians sent Brooks dozens of brand-new canes.

Coincidence, or mindset?

LORRAINE HUBERT

Winnsboro

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