Letters for December 12, 2002

More bad blood

Her blood is boiling: I was disappointed in the irresponsible approach that New Times took in dealing with the issue of blood services in South Florida ("Blood Trade," Eric Alan Barton, November 28). I believe that the use of terms "corporate thievery" and other sensationalistic devices, in addition to being irresponsible, may well be actionable.

I also say Mr. Barton missed communicating the fact that what this organization and others like it do saves lives in the end. There are many people out there who can attest to receiving this life-saving product and wouldn't be here to talk about it today if it hadn't been for blood banks and the donors who contribute to the life-saving process. I believe the unbalanced article you wrote shows a lack of journalistic integrity. The positive aspects of blood banking and South Florida Blood Banks programs we told you about in our interviews did not receive fair representation.

Growth and the advancements made in the blood-banking industry should not be represented as a negative to the public, especially now that the safety of the blood supply is at the highest level it has ever been. Demand for blood is growing every year. Growth is inevitable to keep up with demand.

Keep in mind, in order for someone to receive blood, it has to be available first.

Kristina Krueger South Florida Blood Banks

via the Internet

He says they're cold-blooded:Hooray for Eric Barton for taking the time to do the story on the blood "kings." I learned of their for-profit venture about 15 years ago when they were getting students from high schools to donate blood. My investigation also showed the organizers were renting buildings to the "not for profit" blood centers, in addition to all other fringe benefits. Keep up the pressure on the blood suckers. Why can't our regional hospitals perform the services as a real nonprofit organization? I know Memorial Hospital in Hollywood has its own bloodmobile. Don't other hospitals? In any case, keep up the good exposés on these silent thieves.

Robert Giacin

Hollywood

Bloodied and busted:Eric Barton's "Blood Trade" (November 28) was well-done. One question: When blood bankers seek blood contributions in our schools, do they ensure that minors (people under age 18) have parental permission to donate blood? Indeed, commercialized blood-gathering in public educational establishments seems to be an unwarranted intrusion of money-grubbing into our educational programs.

Also, the story of Jimmy Walker ("Twice Busted," Susan Eastman, November 28) was a tragedy. Might he be suffering from some form of brain dysfunction that accounts for his intemperate violent outbursts?

Leo Shatin

Boca Raton

You call that poetry? Yes, call me a little touchy (or perhaps, better yet, out of touch), but I have a real problem with this whole New TimesPoetry "Slam" ("That's Not Journalism. That's Poetry!" November 21). This essentially is a public disparagement of the lost art of poetry, which has been shamelessly raped in the past 20 years by a bunch of displaced and spoiled English students and thuggish rap stars, who consider their blasphemous, uneducated street-speak "poems." Poetry is the soul of words and should be handled only by those who respect the true beauty and grace of the language. I understand that this "slam" is all in good fun, but it seems that poetry is taken seriously these days only when it's being crapped on by untalented amateurs who have nothing real to say, hence resorting to insulting and ironic rantings that can be appreciated only by a disaffected and puerile culture. Does no one respect this wilting art form?

I fear I must quote the great 19th Century poet Milkinson from his haunting dirge "Bartholomew": "Oh, the beheaded language bleeds dark and deep...." These columnists should just stick to what they're marginally good at and not tread on wounded artistic ground.

Johan More

New York, New York

Still walkin' tall:So where is my prize? I was at least expecting a pair of bronzed elevator shoes.

Buddy Nevins

Sun-Sentinel

Fort Lauderdale

Love that "gateway drug" myth:Concerning your piece about the stalled effort to decriminalize marijuana in Florida ("Cashed," Eric Alan Barton, November 21): I've never smoked anything, but a close relative of mine did up until nine years ago, when a West Palm Beach police SWAT team burst into my dad's house where I, the relative, and one spouse with a child lived. My dear male loved one had been smoking the stuff, and I knew he was growing plants in an incubator arrangement hidden in a backyard shed. My attorney advised me to turn in the offender or our house could be confiscated for "harboring illegal drug trading." Miraculously, the detective and FBI didn't prosecute because the guilty party agreed to turn informant and so stayed free to see his child grow up.

The best argument I've heard against legalization was by a lawman with drug enforcement experience. He believed we Americans tend to do everything in "a big way." Users who like to inhale presently may smoke only "recreationally" at a party or a weekend night. If it were legalized, they'd soon become potheads, be in jail from stealing to buy it, and get a divorce, lose jobs, etc. I can think of successful executives who ended up on skid row. Even in private Christian schools, I'm told, talk about drugs is overheard by students and teachers but isn't dealt with to avoid losing tuition monies.

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