FRIDAY’S LETTERS: Praising ‘For Better,’ Vietnam Suicides, Bush Photo Ban

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By: E&P Staff

In today’s letters, a reader reacts to the White House’s ban on still photos during the recent Bush address, another praises Lynn Johnston’s comic strip “For Better or for Worse,” and another reader disputes statistics about the number of soldiers who committed suicide following the Vietnam War.

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Bush Bans Still Photos

Our Canadian cousins had this problem with [Prime Minister Stephen] Harper. They just quit providing him a venue and soon talks opened about more open access. While they had an issue with access, interviews and photos the result was that Harper, and by extension the Conservatives headed for a vote of confidence, couldn’t get their man on the pages. In this case Republicans may not want their man on the pages.

In any case this is starting to sound like it’s coming from “The Autumn of the Patriarch” or “No One Write to the Colonel.” Very scary stuff.

Richard L. Fricker

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For ‘Better,’ Only the Best

Thank you for the update and thank Ms. Johnston for all the wonderful years of For Better or Worse. The strip is forever embedded in my heart and I read/re-read old strips every day! I wish Ms. Johnston well and will hold her in my prayers as she confronts the future which I hope is bright. She has given to us a hope, a laugh, a look at life challenges which we all face. Thank you again.

Glenda M. Collins
Los Angeles, Calif.

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Re: Greg Johnson’s Letter on ‘Bogus’ Vietnam Suicide Statistics

A 2002 National Institute of Mental Health report says that every year 30,000 people die by suicide in the United States. A CDC Vietnam Experience Study Mortality Assessment showed that during the first 5 years after discharge, deaths from suicide were 1.7 times more likely among Vietnam veterans than non-Vietnam veterans. After that initial post-service period, the suicide rate of Vietnam veterans and non-Vietnam veterans was similar. Almost 3 million people served in uniform in Vietnam, 58,148 were killed in Vietnam, 75,000 were severely disabled, 23,214 were 100% disabled. An unknown number of veterans are not counted in any study simply because they never sought help. So whether it is 200,000, 9,000, or some number in between, many Vietnam veterans committed suicide, many people died or were maimed in that conflict, and to this day there are still veterans of that war who suffer from health problems, drug addiction and homelessness as a direct consequence of that war. That’s the point.

George Stamas
Seattle, Wash.

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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Gone? Not So Fast…

I think one of the explanations — at least in my own case — was the shift from Atex keyboards to PC keyboards (about seven years ago). My problems lessened considerably after that shift.

Though now retired, I still have problems if I type under stress for hours at a time or when I travel and am not regularly using the PC for a week or two and then return. I do think some of the hysteria has abated. People still have the problems but know better how to deal with it and ask for ergonmic relief, which is usually quickly provided.

Jane Hadley
Seattle, Wash.

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A Stewart/Colbert 2008 Convention?

Any chance to squeeze into your article the link to the petition [for the Stewart/Colbert convention]? We want a gazillion signatures so Viacom might seriously consider this — as their goal is to make $$, right?

Also, I am writing a script for a full motion picture starring Mr. Colbert (shhht… it’s a secret?;o) but he doesn’t know about … yeah … kinda “Bowfinger” experience. … Not really, just kidding. But yes, I am writing a script and looking for backers and co-writers. Let me know if you are interested. To watch the trailer, click here.

Enza Sebastiani

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