Maybe Losers Should Stay Angry
"So You're a Loser" [Nov. 9] offers strategies to those of us on the losing end of the election for recovering from Nov. 2. Although I appreciate the consolation and the mental health tips, I think that the story gravely oversimplifies the issue by comparing the loss of the election to the loss of a sporting event, and a voter for John F. Kerry to a player who just lost a game.
The election can not be confined to an isolated event on a single day. For many Kerry supporters, the loss of this election is about the loss of the next four years. To ask them to construct an optimistic vision of the world is unrealistic.
Those of us who disagree with the unjust and intolerant attitude of our president need to stay angry, not "get over it" and become complacent. Anger can be a good thing; it can drive change by reminding us of our passion for and commitment to our values and beliefs and the dreams that we hold for this country and the world.
Tuning Out TV's Negative Effects
"Tuning in to a Problem" [Nov. 9] did not go far enough. What it did not mention is that television is specifically structured to induce anxiety and fear, in adults as well as in children.
Commercials suggest that something is wrong with your life but that their product will make you whole. The regular programs also induce anxiety and fear, showing endless murders, arguments, fights, thefts, deceptions and arcane diseases. The news programming focuses on violence, murder and death. Even cartoons show cute little animals who hit each other on the head with croquet mallets. All of this creates a sense that the world is dangerous and that people are untrustworthy.
I was raised in a house without a television and do not watch any television now. (Yes, none. Really.) As a result, I am not afraid to fly, I am not afraid of terrorists, I do not expect to be murdered, I do not think that I am fat, smelly or unattractive, and I know that my neighbors are pleasant, decent folks who would help me out in a pinch.
Your article was so wishy-washy on the subject of the effects of TV on toddlers that I was left with more questions than answers. I have two children who are 3 and 1 who have never watched "Sesame Street" or, for that matter, any other children's shows or videos. TV is not an option in our house, so they do not even know what they are missing.
I would much rather have my children interacting with me or each other than passively watching a TV. Peaceful and quiet are not adjectives I would use to describe my household, but real-life interactions and teachable moments abound.
Jacqueline A.T. Camerlinck
I have always disliked shows like "Dora the Explorer," "Blue's Clues," "Sesame Street" and others (don't even get me started about "The Wiggles") that appear to be created merely as an excuse to sell a seemingly never-ending supply of toys, clothing, games and other licensed merchandise.
I am extremely alarmed that there are networks like Noggin and videos like "Baby Einstein" created exclusively for very young children. These children have absolutely no business spending time in front of a television or video, and I don't need experts in the field to tell me so.
Karen L. Ward
One Dose of This Drug Scheme Is Too Much
I read with interest "Single-Dose Antibiotics" [Nov. 9] on the new "once daily" Zithromax not yet released by Pfizer.
This is a classic story that speaks for itself. The patent for the current drug is about to expire. In order to extend the patent (and the obscene profits that are made for the pharmaceutical manufacturers), the company comes up with a "new use" for an old drug. The FDA extends the patent based on this new use (despite the fact that is essentially the same drug), and generics are disallowed. The study was funded by Pfizer, the company that is trying to make a profit on the drug. Well, duh!
In 2003 the top 10 pharmaceutical manufacturers of the Fortune 500 made more profit than the other 490 companies combined. The United States is the only country in the world that does not have price controls on drugs. It is not the "research and development" that makes these drugs so incredibly expensive (six 500-milligram tablets of Zithromax cost $115.71), it is the armies of lawyers, lobbyists and ad agencies hired by the drug companies.
Jessica Hirschhorn, MD
Working Out, One Way or Another
I agree with the letter writer who, in response to "Single-Set Theory" [The Moving Crew, Nov. 2] said that, if anything, most Americans do not work out at all, and confusion over how many sets and how long to spend exercising does not help.
On the other hand, the writer referring to "SuperSlow" and "Slow Burn" is implying that one set works for him, but I believe these protocols are not the same as the typical person doing 12 reps of biceps curls at 15 pounds and calling it a day. From my previous reading about these techniques, they sound just about as time-consuming as just doing two or even three sets at a more typical pace and with moderate weights. Plus, most exercisers who have taken classes or used exercise videos are probably much more used to a pace that can only be done with somewhat light weights, since these routines are often more for toning and endurance than true muscle-building.
A caption accompanying a story on high-tech body imagery in the Nov. 9 Health section compared an electron microscope image of arteries to "vines nourished by darker, thinner veins." We were abusing our artistic license. Arteries are not nourished by veins. Arteries carry blood from the heart through the body; veins carry blood from the capillaries back to the heart.