News From Terre Haute, Indiana

November 23, 2013

READERS' FORUM: Nov. 24, 2013

The Tribune-Star

---- — Tech fails, but change positive

The failures that have occurred with the ACA (Affordable Care Act) website reflect on the deficiencies or limitations of technology and our unquestioning, unrealistic faith in it as a solution to our problems. Anyone who has integrated technology into their daily activities has experienced, frustration, embarrassment, loss of time and cost related to trying to use technology. We have for example the failures of processing Indiana ISTEP  scores by the testing companies, and the fiasco with IBM processing welfare enrollments in Indiana.

Many older individuals resist using technology because they don’t understand how it works. Some embrace it, but rely on technically savvy individuals to implement the needed technology. Although this is an explanation for initially low enrollment, it also can be explained by procrastination and a tendency to hold on to money until the last possible moment, e.g. tax time. Those opposing the implementation of the ACA have so  flooded the market with misinformation. This has further fueled the flames of panic. Unfortunately, the administration has allowed itself to be sucked into panic mode.

We are on the verge of significant positive changes. We can continue to delude ourselves, or really make it better and more affordable. For the good of the country, the obstructors should roll up their sleeves and pitch in to help make the system work.

— Raymond Quist

Terre Haute Take care of your own trash, please

This letter is to the person who dumped their trash in a neatly tied yellow store plastic bag on Woodsmall Road at the CSX crossing. I have the last four digits of your credit card. The trash consisted primarily of wrappers and napkins from fast-food restaurants in Oakland City and Evansville. Also, there are two energy drinks and a cheap kids toy empty package.

Why neatly wrap the trash then place it along Woodsmall Road? What kind of parent are you teaching your kids it is OK to dump trash along our roadways? I live alongside Woodsmall Road and often have to clean up after idiots like you that have no consideration for the beauty of nature along our roads, nor do you have respect for people who live there.

Take your trash home and throw in your own front yard, or better yet, in your trash can for pickup.

— Jerry Lehman

Terre Haute

What about the women?

Terre Haute’s Walk of Fame (see The Tribune-Star, Nov. 12, 2013) is a welcome reality thanks to a committee that works hard, on a volunteer basis, without a real budget, to create something meaningful and lasting.

Citizens proud of our city and its past should visit and gaze on the plaques embedded along Wabash Avenue. The Walk of Fame, those recognized on these beautifully cast iron plaques, are all deserving of celebration. They are all an important part of Terre Haute’s heritage.

But heritage is a tricky term. Heritage is not history, history being that hard, messy business of collecting evidence and asking and trying to answer questions about what happened in the past.

Heritage? Not much in the way of inquiry going on. The plaques along Wabash Avenue smile up at us, factoids, evidence not history.

Historians a thousand years from now may dig through the debris of a past civilization, calling their government research grant something exciting, maybe, “The Search for the Hautean People of the River.” You can imagine their excitement when they find these Walk of Fame plaques buried deeply in the sediment of hard, sun-baked clay. What might they make of them? What questions would they ask of this evidence? What conclusions might they draw from the story told by these mute memorial facts?

So far, thirty individuals have been chosen for the Walk of Fame heritage project. Of the thirty only four are women. Why is this?

Heritage has been a man’s game. Visit Rome and count the marble heads in museums and the saluting generals and emperors on columns and plinths. Men rule — literally and in stone and bronze. And now it seems in cast iron plaques along Wabash Avenue. In the not-too-distant past, inheritance (a legal form of heritage) was about property and power being passed on father to son. But history has changed. Historians ask new questions of the evidence. Questions along the lines of “What about the women?” are now standard among historians.

Women are half the population, hold up half the sky, and have lived among the “Hautean People of the River” almost since Terre Haute’s origins.

So how does our silent but impressive Walk of Fame contribute evidence to answering the question: “What about the women?”

At present, this “What about the women?” question can only be answered with a quizzical shrug or a cynical “not much.” But here’s a start, one long overdue. Tomorrow the selection committee for inductees should announce that Ida Husted Harper will be added to the Fourth Class of Walk of Fame inductees.

This short-hand run down lists some of Harper’s national and international accomplishments:

• Journalist and editor for Terre Haute newspapers for 20 years.

• Early organizer of Indiana’s woman’s suffrage organization.

• Handles press relations for California suffrage amendment in 1896.

• Close friend and biographer of Susan B. Anthony.

• Editor of volumes 4-6 of History of Woman Suffrage,

• Head of Leslie Bureau of Suffrage Education for National American Woman Suffrage Association.

• Delegate and head of press relations for International Woman Suffrage Alliance.

• Nationally syndicated writer for many newspapers and magazines

If you think gaining the vote for women, half the population of this nation, was a good thing, an amazing achievement, a banner marker in the history of our nation’s representative democracy, then think of Ida Husted Harper as one of the top 10 leaders instrumental in achieving this.

I look forward to seeing Harper added to the list of recent Walk of Fame inductees.

The next group of inductees should be all women. Suggestions for this catch-up list are forthcoming.

— Gary Daily

Terre Haute

Another view of a physician’s life

I would like to respond to Ronn Mott’s column in the Nov. 9 Trib-Star. I am a physician here in Terre Haute, and I’m not sure whether I “make more money than King Midas.” I am not enough of a student of history to know how much that would be in today’s dollars, but I do indeed make a comfortable living.

To his point that doctors make too much money, Mr. Mott surely knows that physicians must pay for four years of college and four years of medical school. We then have a minimum of three years of postgraduate training (residency) with a less than generous salary, while starting to pay off the loans of the previous eight years of school.

In my case as a subspecialist, I then had three more years of fellowship training, again on salary. Although the resident physicians of today don’t work the 80-100 hours per week that I did back in the day, it’s still way beyond a 40-hour-a-week job, and one is expected to be reading and studying on one’s own time as well.

I was 33 years old when I finally got out of training, and 35 when finally eligible to contribute to a 401(K). That’s a lot of catching up to do in terms of saving for kids’ tuitions, retirement, etc.

As a physician in practice in the specialty of pulmonary and critical care, I work a minimum of 60 hours per week. When it’s my turn to be “on call” on the weekend, it’s 80 hours or more. There is no time-and-a-half over 40 hours, as I am paid on piece work. But many of those hours are not compensated at all. Every evening when I finish paperwork for my patients such as certificates of medical necessity to get them home oxygen, it is at no charge. Every phone call I get during the night is free care. And even when I’m not getting paid, I am nonetheless legally liable for every decision I make. I can and will be sued if I make a mistake.

Also, I am board certified in pulmonary medicine, critical care medicine and sleep medicine, each of which requires recertification every 10 years. I need to study, pay for Continuing Medical Education credits and then take a rather expensive exam for each of those certifications, and I don’t get paid a dime more to be a board certified physician than a doctor who isn’t.

It is, however, an objective assurance to my patients that I am what I hold myself out to be, so I willingly do so out of my sense of respect for the patients I serve.

I don’t know that I am “entitled” to a good living (and my Cadillac, purchased here in Terre Haute, thereby supporting the local economy) after 14 years of training, working 60-80 hours a week, getting awakened thousands of times during my 20-year career (and counting), missing much of my children’s childhoods attending to critically ill patients who don’t just get sick during regular business hours and being held to a near infallible standard during all those hours of compensated and uncompensated care. I’ll leave your readers to be the judge of that.

But when  patients show up in the ICU at 2 a.m., or when they are sick on a weekend and call the answering service, there will be a doctor of my specialty available to answer questions and accept responsibility.

Sometimes it takes a fair amount of money to ensure that a service remains available when it is needed. God willing, Mr. Mott, you will never need to use my services, but if you do rest assured my colleagues or I will be there 24/7/365 nonetheless. Thank you.

— Lawrence R. Dultz, M.D. UAP Clinic

Terre Haute

Could you follow these instructions?

Did you notice that the new car manuals seem to be in direct competition with the encyclopedia Britannica as to the amount of words they can put in one place?

Back in the good old days, the new Ford Model A car manuals probably contained just a few pages. Can’t really say for sure as I never even sat in a new car during my first 30-some years.

Maybe they would say, set the emergency brake. Say what? I don’t believe they had emergency brakes and if they did they were rusted to the point of unworkable.

OK, here we go, chock the wheels so when you take the car out of gear it won’t run over you. Car out of gear, set the hand gas throttle about one quarter of the way down, retard the spark lever, pull out the choke rod, turn the choke rod a couple of turns to the left to let more gas into the carburetor, push the crank in and turn two quarter turns. (A safety note, make darned sure your thumb is not around the crank handle; that is a good way to lose your thumb if the motor kicks back.)

Push the choke in and if stout enough, spin the motor using the crank. If you are lucky and it starts, run around the car and get in the front seat, pull the spark lever down and, as the car slowly warms up, turn the choke rod to the right until it idles good.

Now, let the fun begin. Push in the clutch and shift into first gear. (Raise the hand gas throttle as high as it will go, as it can get exciting if you need to slow down while the hand gas throttle is set in the start position.) Push on the foot feed and as the motor speeds up, slowly let up on the clutch, repeat this for the other two gears.

The heating source is air passing through the radiator through a cover over the exhaust manifold and exiting into the passenger side of the front seat. If cold and you ride in the back seat, bring plenty of covers. Believe you me it does not get hot in the back seat. Now, using the AC is a lot simpler, roll down the window.

Brings a tear to your to your eyes to think of the good old days.

— Sam Wallace

Casey Ill.

Just more lies from politicians

I am sick and tired of the lame-stream media’s sugar coating (using terms such as misleading the public, deception and so forth) concerning keeping your health insurance.

The president is a liar and that’s all there is to it. He is not the first to lie to us and he most certainly won’t be the last. I’ve grown to accept it from our leaders.

I think that history will refer to Obama as the Lie’n King.

— Mark Burns

Terre Haute