I, too, like your previous correspondent, Brian Fejer of Albuquerque [Letters, “Impeach Them All,” Jan. 19-25], wrote to Heather Wilson concerning the impeachment of President George "WMD" Bush, and was equally offended at her dismissive response. She actually responded with the standard little form letter thanking me for my "message about Harriet Mier's nomination to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States." I didn't even mention that ridiculous nomination in my letter, although Heather "Just Roll Me Over and Take What You Want" Wilson kindly explained nonetheless that "Article II, section 2, paragraph 2 of the U.S. Constitution gives the Senate responsibility for considering and confirming the President's executive and judicial nominations. The House of Representatives does not vote to confirm the President's nominations," another way of saying, "I have nothing to say regarding this, because it's not my responsibility—it's the Senate's." It's hard to believe someone who has so little respect for her constituents that she won't even send back the correct standardized form answer to their honest inquiries was ever properly elected to Congress. Has she ever actually done anything for anybody in New Mexico, or is she just another Republican-aligned hack with a vote to sell that New Mexico needs to get rid of? The day they dismiss our letters and our concerns is the day we should dismiss them as our representatives in Congress.
The Judge and the Hubris
Despite his unwavering evasiveness during his confirmation hearings, it is clear that Samuel Alito would open the door to abuses of our basic liberties if confirmed to the Supreme Court. He believes in an unbridled executive; a particularly dangerous legal theory considering the very real hubris of our current president. One of our basic freedoms is freedom from undue government interference. Samuel Alito agrees with President Bush that unwarranted eavesdropping on Americans is a good idea. I am all for catching the bad guys, but not at the expense of liberty.
Problems with Parole
[RE: Ortiz y Pino, “Bad Math and Big Jails,” Jan. 12-18] I served as the medical director of the Penitentiary of New Mexico for over six years. One of my old patients with medical problems has been on parole since July; however, he has never been allowed to leave. He has a bed waiting at Dismas House and he sits in prison in Las Cruces. He has been moved three or four times in the last six months. There are several advocates that have written letters but so far, nothing has worked. It seems that the prison oversight committee accepts the excuse of the moment put forth by the Department of Corrections.
There are dedicated people trying to do counseling and education in the prisons but it is incredibly difficult in the repressive environment of our system. It is a gulag. It is no wonder that people go back to their previous way of life when they get out. The pathology they came in with has been exacerbated by their time inside.
Drugs are a very important reason why our recidivism rate is so high. People addicted to drugs are much more likely to return to prison. Some people don't learn to use heroin until they are incarcerated. A group is working on a buprenorphine opiate replacement program for soon-to-be-released women. It offers hope to reduce recidivism. More treatment programs and fewer prisons would help more children and their families stay together and have a chance at a future.
Sandra F. Penn, MD
Potato Starch Could Cause Cancer
I've come to the inevitable conclusion that two important New Mexico Regulatory Boards (Pharmacy and Environmental Improvement) are unable to proceed with hearings to consider banning aspartame. Is it too much to ask that the Legislature be more courageous? Both asked for the Attorney General's opinion about potential federal preemption deriving from aspartame's FDA approval. Attorney General Bill Lockyer of California is suing nine large fast-food corporations to require that they put a label on every bag of french fries that states: "This product contains a chemical known to the state of California to cause cancer." This is because potato starch, when heated to 425 degrees, turns into acrylamide--a carcinogen.
Lockyer is doing this in spite of the FDA's objections, which were short-lived because the FDA commissioner chose to resign because he had not disposed of some stock he owned. I wish New Mexico's Attorney General were as pro-consumer and as protective of our health as Bill Lockyer. New Mexico has everything to gain and nothing to lose with such a proactive stance, which hopefully we will see in the next Attorney General.
Vote the Power Abusers Out
The power abusers in authority who use the nation's resources to invade our homes with high-tech spy equipment and exploit the American family maliciously should be reprimanded. I believe in the president's current course for the country. I support our troops and believe in their mission. I see great improvements for the economy in 2006. However, we must protect the privacy of the American home. The abuses of power that are going on in the great state of Texas are appalling. When power abusers are allowed to maliciously defile the American home they make a mockery of the freedom we are fighting for.
Changes need to be made to protect Americans from an invasion of privacy in their own homes. I believe in America and the American dream. America is, and always will be, the home of the brave and land of the free. We as Americans must up wake from our complacence and elect those who will ensure that America does not become a chilling depiction of how the power of the state could come to dominate the lives of individuals through cultural conditioning. Let us use our rights as voters wisely for the upcoming elections. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. May God bless America.
Roman R. Stockton
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