Thanks to Joe Boone and the Flyer for the excellent story on how the natural gas industry is wreaking havoc on property owners and recreation facilities in the Natural State ("An Unnatural State," March 29th issue). I know lots of people who bought country property to retire and enjoy nature but who now have no choice but to allow the noise and pollution of these "fracking" drillers on their land. Lesson: If you're buying land, make sure someone else doesn't own the mineral rights.
Affordable Health care Act
Why are the Republicans so upset about being forced to buy insurance (The Rant, March 29th issue)? That's what seniors are forced to do when they turn 65. No one seems to be upset about that. I am forced to carry Part A and Part B in Medicare, and around $100 is deducted from my Social Security check every month without my permission.
I don't do Western medicine. I quit going to doctors in the late 1970s, and I do not take chemicals. I do acupuncture and take vitamins and herbs, none of which are covered by Medicare. Having Part A is okay for me. I have no use for Part B. But I have no choice.
What is the difference between that and the Affordable Health Care Act? It's fine for seniors but not people under 65? If "Obamacare" is a way to gain some control over the insurance business, then maybe it's a necessary evil. If the Supreme Court decides that one cannot be forced to buy health insurance, then seniors should not be forced to sign up for Medicare.
I'm angry at the 45 million Americans who receive Medicare and who are sitting around like sheep while Paul Ryan and Republicans dismantle Medicare right in front of their eyes. Medicare works! It's cost-efficient, sound, and will outlive you and me, if we protect it. Medicare is the best thing that has ever happened for the over-65 population.
Let's use our 45 million votes to put the GOP ideologues who want to destroy Medicare out of office.
Nevada City, California
The North American Bridge Championships recently drew more than 4,000 players to the Cook Convention Center for an 11-day tournament (City Beat, March 29th issue). This is likely to be the biggest convention of the year for Memphis. The Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau estimated that the tournament was worth $10 million to the Memphis economy.
Many Greater Memphis folks rediscovered how special downtown Memphis is. Most of them rarely go downtown, so it was almost like seeing the trolley, the restaurants, the river view, and attractions like the National Civil Rights Museum and Stax for the first time.
International players from more than 40 countries around the world also were happy with their Memphis experience. Many had always wanted to see Graceland, and many had wondered what Beale Street was all about — now they know.
This was the first time Memphis had ever hosted an NABC. Just about every comment I heard was favorable — so much so that the American Contract Bridge League hopefully will consider Memphis for another NABC in a few years.
It appears that the meat industry is playing us for April fools by hiding its violations of humane and sanitary laws. Under intense pressure from the meat lobby, Iowa and Utah have enacted "ag-gag" laws that criminalize taking or possessing photographs and videotapes documenting the atrocious treatment of animals in factory farms and slaughterhouses. Six other state legislatures (Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and New York) have been considering such legislation.
As these bills were being debated, the head of the World Health Organization forecast the "end of modern medicine," unless the meat industry stops its wholesale use of antibiotics. Industry uses these drugs to ensure that animals survive the extreme crowding of factory farms.
Each of us has a choice to make on our next trip to the supermarket. We can continue to subsidize the inhumane and unsanitary conditions hidden by the meat industry and condemned by the World Health Organization. Or we can choose a wholesome, nonviolent diet of vegetables, fruits, and grains recommended by leading health authorities.