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Avoid industry propaganda


Regarding Chuck Shepherd’s Sept. 9 “News of the Weird”:

There is a lot of tort reform propaganda insinuated into this article. I have volunteered for a consumer organization for going on eight years. I have seen the reality of civil cases, as opposed to spin.

Do you know that many of the “cases” tort reformers use to illustrate their points are made-up or exaggerated?

Do you know that the courts have rules that keep out frivolous suits and that actual frivolous suits make up less than one percent of all cases filed?

Or that corporations, not ordinary citizens, file a disproportionately large percent of all lawsuits? Or that many states don’t allow recovery of all your damages, such as legal fees?

Are people aware that even if you win, you may never collect your award?

Discrediting anyone who has mold in their house is a prime example. I’m not talking about mold in a shower that calls for cleaning; that’s an industry (tort reform) spin to distract the reader from the real point.

I’m talking about construction defects, for example, that lead to water leaking inside walls, where it can grow unchecked and unnoticed for months or years, and destroy the materials the house is made of. (Expensive!) All the while the homeowners may be sick and not even know why.

Few doctors are qualified to diagnose these diseases. Much info on mold illnesses is suppressed by wealthy industry interests who don’t want to pay for it, (builders, insurance industry, etc).

Veterinarians seem more able to admit it’s real, but for some reason if a person is made ill, or their new house rots, because of a bad builder, they’re “litigious.”

Just try getting a builder to take responsibility without having to sue him. Of course if the contracts or warranty include an “arbitration” clause, the homeowner isn’t allowed to sue. (Rare exceptions exist.)

All this poking fun at people with legal problems sounds great to the uninformed — until you’re the one with the problem, and you find out how difficult and expensive it is to try and recover damages from a responsible party.

By the way, how about some “personal responsibility” for the corporations that build shoddy houses?

Cindy Schnackel

Republicans should own their failure


In George Bush’s “Ownership Society,” why is it that the Republicans won’t own up to the mistakes of the last eight years?

Sorry, that’s not really fair: The party of the red states has held the office of president for 20 of the last 30 years and they’ve had control of congress even longer!

Judging from Republican successes over the years as well as the reaction to Sarah Palin, real Americans love “Tough Talk.”

What the Republicans have actually been providing is Tough Talk-Bad Strategy. If the Republicans had been required to provide truth in packaging would we have just thrown away the package?

Prominent Republicans have been telling us our economy is basically sound and anyone who disagrees is just a whiner. I forget who’s been saying these things but one of them (oh, what’s his name?) is running for president!

As a good friend from San Antonio said recently, “After you have been beaten on the head for the last eight years you would think folks would eventually ask who is holding the bat.”

Archie Wilson

Take the time to care


I recently was working out at a local gym here in town and saw one of the custodial staff members looking at something while I finished my last set of lunges. Whatever this guy was looking at gave me enough curiosity to stop in the middle of my exercise and take notice.

By the time I walked over to see what the custodian was looking at he had moved on. Then I saw it jump a few inches, a small frog, no bigger than my thumbnail. I am not sure how the little guy got inside the gym, but I immediately picked the frog up and carried it out through the hallway and lobby and placed it outside in the bushes.

I am not sharing this story to seem more heroic than I really am. I am bothered that there are people out there who cannot take a minute and save an animal’s life. It was a very easy thing to do.

I was infuriated with the employee’s lack of care for something smaller than himself. I am very fortunate to have been raised within a family that values animals and nature.

I am not a hardcore environmentalist, but I realize humans have encroached on nature’s doorstep for much too long. In my opinion, the gym belonged to the frog. The frog is just letting us use the land and space for the time being.

About a week later I came home from a dog walk and was taking the leash off of my dog and noticed a frog had gotten into my house. That night I tried looking for the frog and could not see where it had gone.

I am hoping it got out somehow, but doubt it. I am sure one day while vacuuming and cleaning my place I will find it’s shriveled body decomposing.

I guess you can’t save them all, but you can try.

Harvey Dent