Propaganda?

An article under your March 22 Briefs column had the following headline:

"Cuba hikes salaries for doctors, nurses."

Because 1 have two relatives who are senior medical students at MUSC, I read the article with interest and saved it to show them. I feel strongly that the article deserves comment and criticism.

It began: "Cuba is giving its hundreds of thousands of medical workers raises that in some cases exceed 100 per cent, official media on the island announced Friday, though pay remains much lower than what medical professionals earn elsewhere."

The next paragraph quoted the Communist Party daily newspaper Gamma: "Cuba expects to take in $8.2 billion this year for the tens of thousands of medical workers it sends to care for the poor in countries such as Venezuela and Brazil."

The real facts emerge in the last paragraph, after the reader thinks the story is already told. The third paragraph of the article gave a sample of the pay hikes, which take effect June 1: "At the high-end, doctors with two specialties will see their salary go from the equivalent of $26 a month to $67, while an entry-level nurse will make $25, up from $13."

I feel the article is pure propaganda from Communist Cuba. It should have received comment from your editors at the time, but it is still not too late. I hope you will give it some space on the editorial page.

Dorothy M. Anderson

New Street

Charleston

Second-hand risks

I am a 51-year-old male. Two weeks ago I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. A week later my 9-year-old golden retriever was diagnosed with lung cancer.

I was a smoker until recently. As adults and as humans we get to make choices and decisions that for the most part affect only us.

While for many years I disregarded the news stories and research indicating that second-hand smoke is harmful to both people and animals, today I can no longer ignore the facts.

I will accept any consequences that my behaviors have on my health.

But if these behaviors could have caused my dog's suffering and affected her life span and quality of life, well, if so I would have failed pet ownership 101.

I learned today that the cancer affecting my girl is not caused by environmental agents. Even so it was the possibility that I contributed to her sickness that instigated this letter.

When we bring a pet into our lives it is our responsibility to do all we can to give them a long, full and happy life.

My hope is that anyone reading this, pet owner or not, will do a little research on the effects of second-hand smoke. It truly could save a life.

Alex Andrews

Highway 17 N

Mount Pleasant

Tree talk

SCDOT should investigate the trees in the median of the southern part of I-95 in South Carolina. There appear to be just as many as on the dangerous section of I-26, and they are closer to the road.

The shoulders of the road slope toward the median, also. There must be some reason the I-95 trees do not attract cars like the I-26 trees. If speed is a factor in the I-26 crashes, it certainly doesn't apply on I-95.

Wayne Wicker

North Hermitage Road

Beaufort

Religious dogma

Evangelical Christians claim that they believe in the separation of church and state and whine about being under attack by the liberal media and advocates for gay rights. However, they don't practice what they preach.

The S.C. Legislature penalized the College of Charleston $52,000 and the University of South Carolina $17,000 because they assigned two books with gay and lesbian themes for incoming freshmen.

A conservative Christian organization, Palmetto Family Council, instigated this travesty through the efforts of Rep. Garry Smith, R-Simpsonville. Evangelical opposition to abortion, gay rights and same- sex marriage is based upon their religious beliefs. No one questions their right to believe what they will.

It is mind-boggling, however, that they are able to use the state Legislature to impose their religious beliefs on secular state colleges and universities. That is the direct opposite of the separation of church and state.

In South Carolina we don't have a lot of which to be proud. We are ranked 11th nationally in teen pregnancies.

We are ranked number one nationally in men killing women. We are ranked 43rd in health care by the American Health Foundation. We are ranked seventh nationally for obesity.

We can be proud, however, of our state colleges, universities and technical schools. If the Legislature continues to capitulate to the Christian right's agenda, academic freedom, which is essential to the legitimacy of our institutions of higher learning, will be irreparably damaged.

Tom Greene

Attorney at Law

Segar Street

Johns Island

Take the money

Kudos to a recent letter writer for his enlightened thoughts about South Carolina accepting federal dollars. He was right on target.

How can it be that one source of federal dollars (military) is any different from accepting education or health care dollars?

Who is on the receiving end seems to make a big difference. Heaven help the poor child whose education or health might be improved.

Jan H. O'Loughlin

Marvin Avenue

Charleston

Ominous pattern

On March 12, 1938, Hitler annexed Austria. Then later that year he took control of the Sudetenland. The world did nothing.

See any similarities here with another ruthless dictator? Ignore history and be bound to repeat it.

Robert Weitzel

Brenda Weitzel

Farmhill Drive

Summerville