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Starting the Healing

Barney Blakeney's article "Stopping the Violence" (Oct. 3) spoke much truth about the problems of "crime gone wild" in the black community. But more needs to be said. Mr. Blakeney is right, we have to save our communities ourselves. But addressing his concern for the young people not yet involved in this culture by pointing fingers at the school system or the business community is quite lame. The child has to do more to succeed and the parents have to do more to discipline the child to stay in school in order to succeed beyond his statement that "illegal drug trafficking is one of only a few economic options available to them." Could we stop repeating this destructive form of acceptance of criminal behavior?

I certainly don't have the answers, but some things come to mind: a media outlet is needed (well, we have Mr. Blakeney and The City Paper); concerned citizens are needed to send the message that drug selling will not be tolerated (how about 15-20 people staging protests in front of crack dealers places of business; a hotline could be sponsored for addicts to give information on dealers and get help with their addictions. And at some point, the police could come forward to help fight crack in our communities.

Rosemary Stafford
Charleston

DeMint Getting It All Wrong

It's bad enough we have a senator who refuses to accept his constituents' e-mail. And it's worse that this same senator continues to send e-mail to his constituents even after they repeatedly request his office to remove their e-mail addresses from his list (like me, for instance). But what really takes the cake as the absolute worst offense is when these e-mails that Sen. Jim DeMint sends to his constituents are chock full of false information.

Nope, it's not the part where he blames Democrats for Hurricane Katrina or for the White House's poor response to that malady. And, no, it's not where he blames Democrats for your poor USPS mail delivery. While those falsities are definitely an insult, the part where he lies most is about our State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

In his latest "Freedom Alert" e-mail, Sen. DeMint stated that his Democratic counterparts "hijacked" our State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to provide it to families making over $80,000. This is false, if not imaginary. In fact, no income levels were specified in this new, improved and now-vetoed SCHIP. Maximum income levels are determined on a state-by-state level (a mere $30,975 for a family of four here in South Carolina) and must be approved by the executive branch, as well. No state has a limit that high and would never have one that high. In fact, the Bush administration just recently denied a request by New York, which has one of the highest costs of living in the nation, to raise its SCHIP income cut-off to $82,600 from its current maximum of $51,625.

DeMint also claims that the new format would expand SCHIP "to children who already have private insurance" when, in fact, practically all formats of government-sponsored health care programs can include persons with private insurance. This new format of SCHIP, however, would be a substantial decrease in "crowd-out" range (percent of privately-insured participants) in comparison to these other programs. As even the Congressional Budget Office has stated, there has never been any other policy for the uninsured that would have as little if any affect on private insurance.

To top it off, Sen. DeMint voted against this new SCHIP, and despite polls that show 77 percent of the population approved it and desired it.

It's bad enough that Jim DeMint doesn't want our e-mails; it's bad enough he continues to send us e-mails even though we directly request him to stop. It's really bad that Jim DeMint votes against the needs and the desires of his constituents. But for him to knowingly provide us with false information? That's pushing it, Jim.

Rob Groce
Summerville

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