Letters to the Editor

"It is truly refreshing to encounter some reality among all the addle-brained hoopla surrounding the death of Ronald Reagan."

UW's Fall Guy?

Seems that the University of Washington offered up the wrong guy ["Everybody Knew," June 9]. Dr H. Richard Winn's/neurosurgery's billing errors pale in comparison to the flagrant fraud commit­ted by others at the behest of the UW Physicians management.

Brian McKenna, former executive director of the UWP, and Paul Ramsey, dean of the School of Medicine—aka "Dr. Teflon"—were in charge, so to speak, yet have received little criticism.

Connect the dots: December '01: The UW stands by Winn. January '02: The UW receives a letter from U.S. Attorney John McKay about UWP and Children's University Medical Group (the billing arms) destroying audits and falsifying records. February '02: The UW orders Dr. Winn—who had nothing to do with these flagrant violations—to step down, offering him up to the feds. Hmmmm. Strategic timing?

Marcia Melsness


Public's not perfect

Rick Anderson's first-rate investigative report re massive Medicare fraud at the University of Washington Medical School ["Everybody Knew," June 9] is yet one more cautionary tale to those of us on the left who hold up public insti­tutions and practices as the answer to the endlessly exposed crimes of capitalism (currently, the further exposure of vast, joyful theft by Enron).

Certainly the free enterprise system, which is neither always free or enterprising, and often collaborates with government (e.g., Boeing), must be brought under public scrutiny and legal accountability. Meanwhile, we must constantly demand that all government entities are held responsible for the functions carried on by our sweated tax dollars.

Lyle Mercer


It is truly refreshing to encounter some reality among all the addle-brained hoopla surrounding the death of Ronald Reagan ["Great Communicator, My Ass," June 9]. Thanks to Geov Parrish for a cogent and crisp memorial of all that was atrociously wrong with the Gipper and his reckless reign. Iran-Contra, extensive Latin American chaos and violence, a studied indifference toward the suffering of the poor here at home, along with the rising tide of homelessness—these were just a few items in the sordid legacy of the 40th president.

Reagan was an electronic image, an empty shell whose appearance and vocal capacity to smoothly relate whatever malar­key he was coached to convey obviously touched many people in this age of television and suave media propaganda. Someone once referred to him as an "amiable dunce." Yet Reagan willingly and gleefully provided the avuncular facade for a cadre of ruthless murderers, marauders, mercenaries, and manipulators, many of whom are still in action. Ronald Reagan was a third-rate actor who became a president who shilled shamelessly for greed, mendacity, and social indifference. The maudlin emotional outpouring that is evident in the wake of his death, and the ready exploitation of that phenomenon by the corporate media, is a frightening barometer of the cynical political quagmire that is today's United States.

Joe Martin


Anti-Reagan Spew

I want to respond to the hate-filled refuse that Geov Parrish spewed in his "Great Communicator, My Ass" [June 9]. In this drivel, he stated that Ronald Reagan "refused to adequately fund AIDS research." That is absurd. Under Reagan's watch, the government spent almost $6 billion on AIDS. Geov Parrish and his ilk are simply angry that Reagan did not condone homosexuality and the promiscuous lifestyle that spreads AIDS.

Homelessness is a scourge, but it was around long before Reagan, and will be as long as people do not want to take responsibility for themselves. With all the provisions we have today to help such people, no one should be on the street. Most of the people who are want it that way. If they don't, they have multiple opportunities to better themselves. Reagan did not cause homelessness.

President Reagan was a great leader and made this country a better place. I mourn the passing of a great man and pray there will be others of the same high standards to take his place.

Gena Smoley


Thank you, Geov Parrish, for telling it like it is ["Great Communicator, My Ass," June 9]! I've been watching in slack-jawed disbelief the adulation and tributes being heaped upon this classless, clueless mediocrity with his presumption of leadership and greatness. Even Nixon did not allow such a collapse of the progressive agenda in American politics or such an assault on the most vulnerable members of our society, and at least he was held accountable for the damage he did! Ronald Reagan's so-called geni­ality set the stage for the vile treatment of the Clintons and the general incivility of the right toward the rest of us ever since. Even the welcome breakdown of communism, achieved as it was by its own fed-up citizenry, may have been hastened by Reagan's budget-busting spending in such a way that it left a weakened, resentful Russia, creating more opportunities for ethnic and religious extremism to flourish and for highly destruc­­tive materials to fall into the wrong hands; thanks a helluva lot for that, Ronnie!

Robin Levin


The New Paul Bunyan

I remember the '80s well. That's why I was glad to hear, in the last week, some great stories about the career and accomplishments of our great 40th president, Ronald Reagan. I heard one mourner on the radio say he respected Reagan because he "got the California economy on a sound financial footing and then did the same for the nation." Another said Reagan was "a great family man." The director of the Reagan Library revealed that, as a lifeguard, Reagan "saved over 70 lives." We heard much about the "Tear down this wall" speech, but few people know that Reagan himself took up a pick and shovel and demolished the thing that very night. Of course he won the Cold War, but did you know that when the Evil Empire launched nuclear missiles at us, Reagan caught them in his teeth and threw them back over the pole? It's true, but the liberal media wouldn't cover it. They don't make 'em like that anymore.

Fred Koster


Grandma Millie Meets NYPD

"As one Enron trader put it, they 'jammed [it] right up [Grandma Millie's] ass for fucking $250 a megawatt hour.' They also chuckled about how great it would be if George W. Bush would appoint Ken Lay as energy secretary: There'd be nobody to stop the reaming of Grandma Millie then" [Mossback, "Save Some Outrage," June 9].

Knute Berger must mean ramming and not reaming, a pipe-fitter term; though reaming, in that context, would be even more painful. In the sense in which the Gansevoort Market's Ramrod contextualized reaming, why not use "fist fucking"—a term that might still raise a few eyebrows, no matter that The Village Voice started to familiarize the world with that practice more than a quarter century ago. Ramming together with that one energy trader's "burn, baby, burn" would get us into the realms of the NYPD or prison practices in Iraq. Nice anger, though.

M. Roloff


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