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Them and us 

Thank you for translating and printing one of the Opinions of the Street columns from El Latino.

How about do the article El Latino printed a few months ago (and surely archived) about the Win Rockefeller study showing Hispanics pay more in taxes and by shopping than they receive in state services?

This Them and Us attitude that both sides seem to have needs some type of bridge to show people with good hearts on both sides.

Anne Neighbors

From the Internet

Prison blood

I just read the article by Mara Leveritt on prison plasma. I am an ex-employee of Pine Bluff Biological Products. I worked for them from 1987 to 1990. I worked at the Diagnostic Unit in Pine Bluff. I worked as a phlebotomist and a donor screener. The only thing I was told to look for in the medical records was any signs of sexually transmitted diseases. I was only one year out of high school, with no medical training. One day the manager called a meeting and told us we had to be extra careful now because someone got through and donated plasma that had, and I quote, “everything under the sun.”

I always did my best when searching through medical records but I really didn't have the proper training to do such a serious task. I always thought that if by chance someone got past us, that same company was testing the plasma to make sure that it was safe to give to the public.

It's sad that someone died from something that was supposed to save them. I experienced the same thing. My mother was given a blood transfusion in the '70s and died of sickle cell. My brother is now the director of RNs of a Texas hospital. He told me that the symptoms that our mother had were consistent with that of AIDS, but blood really wasn't tested for AIDS back then.

I always thought that the plasma program was a win-win situation. The inmates could make money to buy stamps, envelopes and cosmetics such as deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes. But if the plasma was not tested properly, then that is a BIG problem, because there is a high rate of homosexuality in prison.You would think that the plasma from there would be tested more carefully.

D.L. Thomas

From the Internet

Why didn't the red lights and alarms whistle loud and clear in the very beginning about the prison blood program? WHY do we have politicians like former Gov. Bill Clinton acting as ambassador for the HIV/AIDS initiative with this history of corruption that is now here to haunt him? Perhaps this unforgivable situation began before he became governor. However, once he became aware of what was happening in the Arkansas prison system it was his duty to act. The responsibility is not his alone. Former members of the Arkansas Board of Correction should be accountable for the mismanagement and exploitation of prisoners. Why wasn't this program shut down immediately once it became known beyond the walls of the Arkansas penitentiary?

A co-worker of my former husband lost a 14-year-old son to HIV as a result of receiving clotting factors needed for his treatment of hemophilia. I am a registered nurse in the state of Maryland. The thought that as a health care worker I may have unknowingly transfused a patient with contaminated blood products during my career as a result of unethical harvesting of blood, such as what occurred through the Arkansas Plasma program, sickens me. Authorities failed society by allowing this plasma program to be created, much less continue to run for years. The state of Arkansas has much to account for.

Karen Lynn

Millersville, Md.

Let down

I have always been a fan of the police but they have let my family down on two occasions lately. My husband and I are senior citizens and were a victim of identity theft. When I called the police department to report it they blew me off. I was informed that there is very little they can do and they recommended that I try to resolve it on my own. After 7 years of fighting collection agencies we were finally sued, which was a total relief because the collection agency had to produce proof and of course there was none.

Now, my little grandchild's four-wheeler was stolen. The police recovered it but my son has to pay $140 to get it back. He has proof of ownership, he reported it immediately. Why should he be charged when the police were simply doing their job?

Ann Porter

Bryant

Big mistake

I made the mistake today of picking up the Aug. 16 Arkansas Times and thinking it was a newspaper. After reading the line “despite losing 110 pounds he still looks soft and pasty” written by Ernest Dumas about Mike Huckabee, I realize that this is just a teen blog in print.

Gordon Caffey

Little Rock

Summer reading

This is not exactly light summer reading, but anyone wanting insight into what has happened at the top levels of government the past six years should read “The Time of Illusion” by Jonathan Schell. On page after page, it is incredibly easy to simply substitute Bush for Nixon and Iraq for Vietnam to paint a picture of things as they are today. Tom Tomorrow's recent cartoon on the parallels between then and now also drives the point home forcefully, with the insight from Schell's book that Nixon's assault on the media, coupled with Reagan's gutting of the Fairness Doctrine, made possible the current news climate as described in that cartoon's last panel.

The people who are now nominally in charge of our government (not “running” it, for they have proven incredibly inept at doing that) are pursuing the same Nixonian strategies and tactics, sometimes with the same people or allies (e.g. Pat Buchanan, Henry Kissinger), and with virtually identical effects. The main difference is that if Bush and Cheney are impeached, there is no Gerald Ford in the wings to begin the healing — Pelosi's accession would probably exacerbate the division.

History here repeats itself; the first time as tragedy, the second time not as farce, but — more tragedy.

Mark W. Riley

De Queen

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