The May 26 story about Lizzie Velasquez was a heart-wrenching and heart-elevating account - a beautiful song sung in the night of affliction, a song that embodies the intrinsic paradox that out of the deepest darkness the light of transforming love can shine. In this blessed narrative "the ugliest woman in the world" reveals herself to be the most beautiful of creatures.

When Lizzie was born and doctors showed her mother a picture of her child, Lizzie's mother relates, "I started crying inconsolably, but I asked them to bring her to me nevertheless. I wanted to see her, hold her and love her."

In later life, Lizzie has this to say about her parents: "They're the best parents in the world. From the moment I was born they showered me with love."

The best way I know to thank her for the inexpressibly lovely story she is, is to quote a line from "Fantasy on the Resurrection," a poem by Vassar Miller: "... the nail-gnarled have caught Heaven/Like a bright ball."

This precious young woman is a voice for and manifestation of the light that is love shining in the deep darkness that love alone can overcome. Shine on, Lizzie, shine on.

William Decker

Sanderson Lane


The $15.75 million settlement paid by the Humane Society of the United States and other animal-rights activists in a racketeering lawsuit should serve as a red flag to animal lovers and the public ("Animal groups agree to pay nearly $15.75 million to Ringling," May 16).

The conduct of animal-rights groups was bad enough, with a federal court uncovering a scheme in which activists paid a key witness who lied to the court. But this abuse of the legal system also has a cost for animals.

The Humane Society of the United States tells the public that insurance will cover the settlement.

But HSUS's insurance claim for this suit was denied, so its share of the $15.75 million settlement came from donor money. That's money (in addition to its legal fees over 14 years) HSUS raised with ads promising to rescue needy dogs and cats that will now to go to settle a lawsuit.

Local humane societies are separate from the Humane Society of the United States. Support a local shelter and you'll help pets in need - not help pay for a legal settlement.

Will Coggin

Senior Research Analyst

Center for Consumer Freedom

Vermont Avenue

Washington, D.C.

I've had chronic back pain since my Vietnam days, but I was always a little leery of turning over my health care to the Veterans Administration. When I was young, it was said the VA always had long lines and their doctors either weren't up to snuff or were in training so they could go some place else. We read newspaper articles that the operating suites had mold and the place was full of old and dying soldiers. So for me, it was Dr. Ray Ivester Sr., who gave me many nerve blocks as he managed my back pain. Ray's been gone a long time but I still sing his praises.

I've also been blessed with private health insurance, so I wasn't forced to take the care offered by our government. Many of my fellow veterans weren't so lucky.

Today's veterans deserve first class medical care from Veterans Affairs but can't get it because of poor government funding or bad management or the health care administrators who are deciding who gets health care and who doesn't.

All media should launch an investigation into our Ralph H. Johnson VA Hospital. Let's make sure ours is different from other VA centers now under investigation.

What if the VA hospitals of today are the model for the government health care our children and grandchildren will receive under Obamacare? That would truly be a travesty.

I don't want a future president calling another press conference expressing his or her outrage over what he's just learned from the media about government health care.

Charlie Lybrand

Sp-5, U.S. Army, 1967-1970

Cloudmont Drive


Maybe there are still a lot of people out there who have a fever: And the only cure is more Skip ReVille stories.

Why not do this? Designate the first week of every May "Skip ReVille Revival Week." That's right, a week all unto itself where The Post and Courier can pick old ReVille scabs and help some readers get their pent up curiosities about this guy satisfied at the same time.

You can put it just ahead of the Ernest Hollings' "VAT Tax Promotion Week."

K. L. Schaub

Pierce Street