Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor 2/29

A private matter

Rick Santorum said Sunday, on TV, that the separation of church and state makes him want to throw up. He also brought into the discussion the Founding Fathers.

Now, I am not an expert in U.S. history because I came to this country from Italy in 1967 (just like some of Rick’s relatives), but I know enough about both the history of this country and the history of Europe to know that church and state must be kept separate and that the Founding Fathers were very serious about that separation.

I could go on with about 100 pages or more to explain why I think this way, but there are and have been enough instances in the history of the world to draw the conclusion: Keep church and state separate.

If Rick Santorum had any political smarts he could communicate to the country a much better message than he has been, but since he appears not to be able to do that, he will never be elected president or even vice president in this country. Not in today’s America.

We have seen what happens to presidents who wear their religion on their sleeves.

JFK was right. Religion is a private matter.

Fabrizio Griguoli

Shell Beach

Enemy of morality

When I read that Rick Santorum rejected John F. Kennedy’s promise to keep church and state separate I was reminded of the remarks made by John Stuart Mill about his father’s “aversion to religion.” James Mill regarded religion “as the greatest enemy of morality ... by radically vitiating the standard of morals; making it consist in doing the will of a being, on whom it lavishes indeed all the phrases of adulation, but whom in sober truth it depicts as eminently hateful.”

Rick Santorum would have the people obey the commands of his God because he believes that the revealed will of his God is the only standard we need to make moral decisions. But James Mill is surely right about this. The Divine Command approach to ethics not only demands that we stop deliberating about right and wrong, but it has no place in the governance of a diverse citizenry in a constitutional democracy.

Laurence Houlgate

Paso Robles

Federal assistance

Government language is often inventive, if sometimes strained, and for purposes far different from clarity. David Carter (letters, Feb. 19) a touch indignant, decries the label “federal assistance” on the Medicare insurance. He prefers to call it his “earned benefit.”

Mr. Carter calculates his payroll tax cost of Medicare insurance, adds to it his cost of a supplement he chose to buy, and concludes that this fully paid amount “is certainly not support from the government.”

There is another perspective: Employers pay half of the current 2.9 percent payroll tax on workers’ earnings. The government uses these dollars to help pay for the covered medical services used. The Mr. Carters pay only half of the cost of the covered medical services they use. Except that the payroll tax does not cover those costs.

The Medicare trustees’ report for 2011 shows income from payroll taxes of $182 billion, and premiums paid of an additional $61.8 billion. But the health care delivered cost $515.8 billion. Income fell short of expenses by $272 billion. Adding all other income and expenses, the trustees had to balance the books using $294.7 billion in general revenues.

To cover Mr. Carter’s Medicare service costs requires not only the employer payroll tax but also an infusion of general revenue funds on top of his Medicare payroll tax. Is the government subsidizing — providing “federal assistance” — to Mr. Carter’s Medicare insurance?

To quote a woman often in the news these days, “You betcha!”

Jim Talbot

Arroyo Grande

Spread the word

There is afree program for seniors and physically challenged people. We Read To You Free is a service program whereby a volunteer comes to your residential facility or house and reads to you or simply visits with you according to your needs. The readers are all volunteers. The program is currently in the cities of Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo, with hopes of expanding.

We are also always in need of more readers. I have more than 15 openings right now in the Morro Bay facility.

Would you like to improve the quality of someone’s life? How about improving your own sense of well-being? Readers need to donate about one hour or so each week. That’s it, one hour! Interested? Why not call me at 801-9634. Bless you!

Lori Kennada

Los Osos

Not really recovery

I noticed today that the economy is recovering because the stock market hit 13,000 for a short while.

This simply means that those who have are investing. It doesn’t help those standing on corners asking for food because they don’t have jobs, or those who walk because they don’t have the means to buy a car, or gas to run it. Hasn’t helped those who lost their homes and are living in their cars or by the creek either. The economy has improved for those who have, but not for those who don’t have! This doesn’t sound like recovery to me.

Jim Stainbrook

Paso Robles

Amazing medication

Providing a safe place to obtain medicinal cannabis for patients struggling with standard medications is not only the right thing to do for our citizens, it is lawful for local and state governments.

Waiting for state and federal governments to agree is an arduous, lengthy process, but it is happening. While this disagreement has taken place, a whole industry has blossomed. Even if the wheels of government are slow, I feel we can be relatively certain that legislation that protects the fundamental right for an individual to choose the best medication for oneself will be adopted.

Although this is a new industry without effective regulation, it is evolving and it is evolving into the direction of complete legalization.

Compassionate Cannabis Information Center is only focusing on helping those with a medical need. With knowledge and courage on our side, we can evolve with the new legislation now, not wait for two years from now to start helping people. Time has been squandered long enough on this issue.

On March 6, please show your support to help the good people of this county to have a safe place to obtain this amazing medication.

Tammy Murray

CEO/Director of Compassionate Cannabis Information Center Inc.

On birth control

I am going to take Maura Casey’s advice (commentary, Feb. 24) and speak out about Catholics and birth control.

I have been a Catholic for the entire 62 years of my life, one who attends church Sundays and tries to live the teachings of Christ, i.e., treat others as you would like to be treated.

I have also practiced birth control my entire adult life. My mother, who would be 93 if she were still alive, practiced birth control. I personally don’t know of anyone in my generation or younger who did not practice birth control. I believe that is much more humane than having children you cannot afford, who grow up in poverty, and as such are more likely to join gangs and end up in prison.

The Catholic bishops do not speak for me. I only could wish that the clergy remain entirely out of politics or politically charged subjects; however, that is a wish that I doubt will ever be fulfilled.

Sharyn Young

Morro Bay