Viewpoints

Wed
05
Sep

Letter to the Editor: Myths about addiction that undermine recovery

To the Editor:

Honest, courageous and insightful aren’t words typically used to describe drug addicts. But if given a chance, many addicts end up developing these qualities and contributing to society in a way they never imagined possible. These successes occur in spite of major obstacles, from the ever-present threat of relapse to the pervasive stereotypes addicts encounter along the way. Even with decades of research, some of the most damaging beliefs about addiction remain:

1. Addicts are bad people who deserve to be punished.
Man or woman, rich or poor, young or old, if a person develops an addiction, there’s a widespread assumption that they are bad, weak-willed or immoral.
It is true that many addicts do reprehensible things. Driven by changes in the brain brought on by prolonged drug use, they lie, cheat and steal to maintain their habit. But good people do bad things, and sick people need treatment - not punishment - to get better.

Wed
29
Aug

And then I wrote...

by Dick Schilling, "Editor Emeritus"

... that the late Des Moines Register columnist Donald Kaul, when confronted by an action by a government or other public body with which he did not agree, was fond of quoting his father. When similarly affronted, Kaul said his father would always say it was expected because “they are all in it together!”

That sprung to mind when I read about the “coordinated response” by hundreds of daily papers (estimates range from 200 to 350) which followed the lead of the Boston Globe and ran an “it’s not our fault” type editorial on the same day.

Gist of the editorials was that the dailies are as pure as the driven snow and don’t deserve presidential criticism.

Wed
29
Aug

Word for Word 8/29/18

Our nation’s flag has been the source of considerable controversy in the National Football league, and one of the figures who’s feeling the heat in center of the firestorm is NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. I’ve been thinking about sending Mr. Goodell a letter and offering him a few suggestions about how he and the NFL might handle things. My letter is still a work in progress, but here’s what I’ve written so far:

Hello, Mr. Goodell!

About the time I start thinking that being a pastor is the hardest job anyone could have, I read another news story about people being upset that some of your players are taking a knee during the national anthem, and I’m glad that I don’t have your job.

As I understand the who’s who and what’s what of all this, you’ve got some players who believe that the values and ideals for which the flag stands are being disrespected, and they’re taking a knee during the national anthem to call attention to that injustice.
I get that.

Wed
22
Aug

And then I wrote...

by Dick Schilling, "Editor Emeritus"

... that the nuns at St. Patrick’s prepared me well enough in high school that I did not have to suffer the indignity of taking “communications skills” as a university freshman, so I could take an American literature course instead.

It was there that I met author/poet T. S. Eliot (in print, not in person) and became acquainted with some of his works. He was still very much alive in the middle 1950s, and I admired the gall of someone who could write such works as “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and the epic “The Wasteland.”

So when I saw a quick reference to the name of the judge presiding at the Manafort trial, I mistakenly thought that was the judge’s name. Turns out, it is T. S. Ellis. Judge Ellis has become known for his impatience with Mueller’s minions, accusing them of taking too much time developing insignificant things.

Wed
22
Aug

Letter to the Editor: A series of letters to Senator Ernst

To the Editor:

This is a combined series of letters that I wrote to Senator Joni Ernst about a situation and a policy that I deem very unfair to veterans who fought for this country and who ride the Veterans Affairs (VA) van from their home or hometown down to the Iowa City VA Hospital for a doctors appointment. While at that appointment, the veteran, such as I, found out he or she needed a procedure done.

My appointment was changed from the next day to the following week and I was like many others who needed to go home to make arrangements for his or her family or animals for an extended clinic stay. After signing all the waivers to safeguard the VA from any responsibility, I found out the VA’s policy was that I couldn’t ride the van back home as they said I was a liability due to my condition and pending procedure.

Wed
22
Aug

Letter to the Editor: Democracy is alive in Peru - in jeopardy from Progressives in the U.S.

To the Editor:

I look forward to the dinner Mr. Hill is going to provide me! Hope I do not have to wait three or four years.

Mr. Hill would do well to take a close look at what is happening in Peru right now.  What happened in 1992 is history. Fujimori went to prison for his excesses. I was there. I repeat, democracy is alive and well there.

I wonder why Mr. Hill did not mention Chile in his examples of how outsiders destroy democracy. Salvador Allende did so in Chile for a while, imposing Communism on the country until he was overthrown by a military coup. Chile is now being proclaimed as the best run country in South America, because of democracy and capitalism.

Wed
15
Aug

And then I wrote...

by Dick Schilling, "Editor Emeritus"

... that current debate about what constitutes real news or fake news convinces me that my chosen profession, journalism, has undergone a major change since my university education.

A major factor in that thinking is that I know Jim Acosta’s name.

I should not.

He is the CNN White House correspondent.

And as such he frequently reports on his beat to his network news shows. Which is as it should be. But I don’t spend a lot of time watching the evening news on that channel, and yet his name is perhaps best known of all network beat reporters.

Why?

Because his open antagonism to the current administration plays out in Shakespearean tragedy at every White House news conference. As a result, he often not only gets air time on his own network but his name is repeated on others as well.

A journalist should never allow that to happen.

Wed
15
Aug

Letter to the Editor: Missing the point

To the Editor:

Mr. Engle missed the point of the book How Democracies Die and my letters. The book examines the manner in which democracies around the globe have transformed into authoritarian states.  Neither the authors nor I said Trump was Hitler.  The book points out Hitler was a member of the political fringe when he was asked by the President of Germany to form a government as Chancellor, combining his extreme right wing party with more moderate conservatives in order to break a political stalemate.  Once   Hitler was brought into power, he used his position to turn the country to totalitarianism. Trump was also viewed by the Republican Party as an outsider who was unfit to lead the country.  Mitt Romney, for example, in March 2016 in a speech at the Hinckley Institute of Politics saw Trump as a danger to the party and the country, calling him a “fraud” and “having neither the temperament nor the judgment to be president”.

Wed
08
Aug

And then I wrote...

by Dick Schilling, "Editor Emeritus"

... that Nature and Nature’s creatures are much more active in warm weather than in cold, especially in this area which is on the migration route for many of them.

Those of us who have lived here for many years are familiar with sights and sounds of local residents and most of the temporary visitors.

But there are exceptions.

One recent night, before midnight, during one of my frequent nighttime sleep interruptions, I heard a creature making a very loud and totally unrecognizable sound. I have no idea what it was. I tried to look out the window but could see nothing, nor even very accurately divine the exact location.

I had recently watched a segment on TV about “howler” monkeys, and there was a little bit of that in the howl. But unless it was a zoo escapee, there are no monkeys in northeast Iowa.

Wed
08
Aug

Word for Word 8/8/18

Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg
Msgr. Ed Lechtenberg

Please meditate on 1 Kings 19:4-8, Ephesians 4:30-5:2, John 6:41-51.

In these scriptures, we hear about bread-food. We hear at least in the Gospel, about people who are grumbling, actually the word used today is murmuring, as in, “The people started to murmur in protest because He claimed, “I am the bread that came down from Heaven.”

Jesus confronts the murmuring head-on. He says, “Stop your murmuring.”

Jesus is a lot like us, isn’t he? He doesn’t like grumbling, murmuring or whining any more  than we do. All three of these words are onomatopoetic (good to remember this word for crossword puzzles). The word sounds like the meaning of the word. Grumble, grumble, grumble. Mur-mur-mur-mur-mur. Whiiinne, whiinne, whiinne.

All very unpleasant sounds, aren’t they?

Is that any way to behave toward God? Making unpleasant sounds? You don’t do that, do you?

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