In light of recent news concerning the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, I would like to share my personal experience.
I am a retired Presbyterian minister, having served as a pastor, a marriage and family counselor and a hospital chaplain for over 50 years. I have had the experience of visiting and being a patient at various medical centers throughout the country.
Today, as a Vietnam veteran, I receive my physical and mental care at the Ralph H. Johnson Medical Center in Charleston. In comparison to the treatment I have received from many medical centers and physicians in private practice, the VA center goes above and beyond.
There appears to be a dedication not only to the practice of medicine but to the care of the whole person. When I see my primary care physician, Dr. Lisa Von Moll, she is interested not only in my physical well being, but also in what is going on in my personal and family life. Other veterans have shared the same experience.
There is also the satisfaction that there is not just one physician concerned about my health, there is a team of physicians, nurses, technicians, secretaries, administrators, volunteers, working together like one big family seeking to meet the needs of as many veterans as possible. This is the reason I have served as a volunteer for the past 10 years.
There is a long waiting list, largely due to the influx of veterans returning from the wars of the last two decades.
There are oversights, bad judgments and staff problems at the veterans medical center. There are similar problems in all medical centers in the private sector as a evidenced by past and present lawsuits.
In my personal and professional opinion, the issue with VA is not medical but political.
Three College of Charleston basketball players have transferred since the end of the basketball season. When is the College of Charleston basketball coach going to transfer?
Fort Lamar Road
They bolt in New York City, they bolt in Rome, Italy, and they bolt in Charleston. Are these horses trying to send a message?
Articles always address how the passengers fared, but what about the horses' "minor injuries, scratches"? Was a vet called? Who knows? Worst of all, who cares? At least New York City is addressing the carriage industry head-on and the mayor supports the rights of the animals.
By the way, it is not the carriage industry in Charleston, but the 17-passenger wagon industry.
Call City Hall and protest when it's 98 degrees and horses are struggling with their overloaded wagons.
Cove Bay Lane
What am I missing?
Did our armed forces not push their way onto the shores of Normandy on June 6, 1944 to liberate first the French and ultimately all of Europe?
Did not nearly 10,000 men (and women) pay the price on that day for the freedom we enjoy this day?
How is it then that our nation's flag flew at full staff on June 6, 2014, from the nation's post offices and elsewhere?
I inquired about it at the post office that day. The reply was, "We only lower the flag if we get an official notice or e-mails from D.C."
Amazing isn't it? And did I hear our commander in chief was on vacation that day, somewhere in the free state of Hawaii?
In only 70 years (not even a full lifetime), our citizens have forgotten who paid the price for all we take for granted. And they apparently could care less. Our freedom is not granted; it is earned, each day and in each generation.
Perhaps we as a society need to revisit the values our fathers taught us in the '40s and '50s. We dishonor and disgrace them by our lack of respect and gratitude.
I was struck by the recent letter about "fictitious" global warming. What happens when the atmosphere is filled with more and more CO2? This layer is more transparent to high frequency solar radiation than is the low frequency (infrared) reflected radiation, preventing it from being radiated back into the cosmos, but rather warming this CO2 layer.
Part of this retained heat goes to warming and acidification of the oceans, leading to the killing of many coral beds. Part of it goes to melting Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland ice layers, highly documented events.
Physics tells us that ice will melt only when its surface is warmed above the melting point. An increase in ocean level is factual, as a result. Another part goes into violent atmospheric disturbances (polar air circulation anomaly) so that last winter at one point it was colder in South Carolina than in Helsinki. Hence, tornadoes and hurricanes have increased in frequency and severity for decades.
Periods of ice age are not the result of natural temperature fluctuation, but such things as blanketing the northern latitudes with a thick layer of volcanic dust obscuring the sun, as in the explosion of Krakatoa, leading to temporary "endless" winter and famine in the Nordic countries well over a hundred years ago.
The enduring ice age well over 10,000 years ago happened before the written record. Another such catastrophic cooling event wiped out the dinosaurs and jungle vegetation.
This is a partial answer to the question "what is global warming, and where is it?"
It is everywhere, interrupted by local cooling events.
Lake Moultrie Drive
Doomed to fail
Thomas Friedman in his June 26 column opines that autocratic Arab governments are ultimately doomed to fail. I wonder if he holds the same opinion for autocratic American governments.
W. H. Kastner
I have been moved out of my armchair to write a letter in reaction to a caption in the June 4 Post and Courier regarding the guilty plea of Patrick Cannon, the former mayor of Charlotte. It read in part "... ending a remarkable rise for a man raised by a single mother."
I felt ire when reading it. Being raised by a single-parent had nothing to do with the guilty plea and was in fact not germane to the article at all.
If one only read the caption and not the article, one is left with the impression that a single parent household could well equate to a life of crime.
Having been raised by a single mother, I personally don't feel that upbringing had a thing to do with my future, my career, or my path of lawful behavior. In fact, the mother in many such cases is likely a very strong, independent individual.
Shame on The Post and Courier for a caption worthy of a tabloid magazine.
Headquarters Plantation Drive
A June 22 column by Ron Brinson addressed the poor condition of our roads and bridges and that failure of either the governor or the Legislature to pass a state gasoline tax increase.
To me the solution is quite simple - enact legislation tying gas tax increases/decreases yearly to a percentage of the state GDP. That calculation should start with the GDP in 1987, when the last gas tax hike was enacted.
The Legislature needs to pass such a law and the governor sign it. Their responsibility should be to the citizens of South Carolina, not the next or current election.