Letters To The Editor


October 02, 2006

Broad AIDS testing a good investment

The Sun's editorial "Too broad a brush" (Sept. 27) expressed the opinion that widespread, routine screening for HIV-AIDS makes little sense because of the high cost.

In fact, two independent estimates of the cost-effectiveness of routine screening of the general U.S. population were published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2005.

Both studies found that routine screening of the general population (in which the rate of HIV infection is about one per 1,000 people) would cost $113,000 to $130,000 for every healthy year of life the testing would save.

We routinely spend more per healthy year of life saved in a variety of areas.

For instance, the now routine practice of vaccinating college students against meningitis costs $138,000 per healthy year of life saved.

Given these facts, The Sun's editors need to clarify whether they oppose all health spending that costs more than $100,000 per year of healthy life saved or if preventing AIDS is an exception.

Dr. David Bishai


The writer is a professor in the department of population and family health sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

Hybrids still save on gas, pollution

I was taken aback by Walt Handelsman's Sept. 26 editorial cartoon.

The cartoon's text read, "Everyone's happy about lower gas prices ... well - almost everyone."

The drawing depicted a hybrid owner - the unhappy one - surrounded by a mass of SUVs.

But I'm a hybrid owner, and why wouldn't I be happy about lower gas prices?

My previous car got about 22 miles per gallon; my hybrid gets 44 miles per gallon.

I'm getting twice the mileage, so I'm paying, in effect, half the price for gas.

Every time the price of gas goes down, I'm happier and happier.

But the real happiness of owning a hybrid car is that I'm contributing to a cleaner environment, which, by the way, is a health benefit for every single thing on this Earth.

So I'm very happy.

Regina Minniss


I have been a hybrid owner for a year. And, yes, I am happy with lower gas prices. However, I am also happy that each time I fill up, usually about every eight to 10 days, I need only about six gallons of gas.

But I am really smiling because I am doing my part to ease global warming.

My car is clean-running, which is more than I can say about all those SUVs, trucks, etc.

I am happy about lower gas prices, but more happy with my hybrid.

Sheila Jacobs


Law of the jungle threatens our rights

In his column "Terrifying revelations" (Opinion

Commentary, Sept. 28), Thomas Sowell made quite a startling statement: "The drive to extend Geneva Conventions protections to terrorists ... is one of a number of dangerous self-indulgences by people who seem to think that being morally one-up is the ultimate goal - and survival is secondary."

Skipping over the glaring omission of the qualifier "suspected" that should be in front of "terrorists," what Mr. Sowell appears to be saying is that human justice and basic morality should be a secondary goal of humanity, ones trumped by mere survival.

I rather thought that every enlightened religion and every civilized nation were founded on the opposite principle.

Mr. Sowell has devolved back to the law of the jungle.

Kristin Kolarik


Contradictory claims about `war on terror'

Thomas Sowell's column "Terrifying revelations," Sept. 28) illustrates the hypocrisy of the far right in regard to the "war on terror," or, as it is known by many, the "war on Islam."

The right-wingers keep reminding us that this war is "a new kind of war," one that is unlike anything in human history.

Then, immediately after that, they often draw an analogy to Neville Chamberlain and the events leading to World War II.

So which is it? Is this a new kind of conflict, unlike any in history? Or is it like World War II?

It can't be both.

William Smith


Dangerous to boost president's power

Our American forefathers had the foresight to establish a system of checks and balances in our government to prevent the abuse of power.

They established three separate branches of government to prevent any one branch from gaining too much power.

Mechanisms are in place to allow for the timely issuance of warrants for legal spying in the United States. These mechanisms have served us well for more than 200 years, despite all manner of threats to our country ("House approves NSA spy program," Sept. 29).

It saddens me to see that the terrorists who dismantled the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, and are now negating our successes in Afghanistan and Iraq, are also helping dismantle our Constitution, with the support of our elected officials.

Do I feel safer because of these assaults on our system of checks and balances?

No, I do not. I feel threatened from without and from within this country.

Mary P. Remington


Democrats are free to back Republicans

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