Hacks and flacks: Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Take a Memo," in the August 15 issue:
Wow! How refreshing it is to read a real piece of journalism that is based on the truth. It is so frustrating and discouraging to see the public-relations machines of these huge companies (State Harm, Enron, Worldcom, etc.) try to convince people that corporate thievery and intimidation is okay. And it is scary to see the watchdogs of liberty (the press) too often controlled by the corporate bullies and being nothing more than an extension of a corporate PR department.
Congratulations on your independent thinking, and my respect for your journalistic determination to find out the truth and report it. You give hope for true freedom and power and rights for the individuals in our country.
Parkersburg, West Virginia
Bad medicine: As a chiropractor, I am involved with a lot of car-accident victims, and I see crap that State Farm pulls on a daily basis. I testified earlier this year regarding insurance in Colorado and watched State Farm bring in its best talkers to lie through their teeth to state legislators (who are very ignorant about insurance and crash victims in Colorado). The room erupted in boos and hisses from the hundred or so people in there to testify. State Farm still cites the "no car damage/no people damage" lie (it works for juries). The truth is that vehicle damage is irrelevant. (Does a person in a Lexus get hurt worse than a person in a 1968 VW van?)
Over the next two years, insurance companies stand to make it big in Colorado, because the statute is up for revision. They are working hard to make sure that they have control of doctors, juries and settlements. They will push for either tighter PPO restrictions (where the patient thinks he has full coverage but unknowingly signed up for a care-limitation rider) or to go back to tort reform. Either way, they will win. Their doctors. Their rules.
One more thing: It's no coincidence that the Discovery Channel, Law & Order and the Learning Channel all have programs on those "crooked auto-victims/lawyers/doctors" within a few hours of each other several times per year. Look at who really funded the programs. What do you suppose those effects are nationwide?
Anyway, thanks for continuing to show how State Farm cheats and lies over and over and over. Yes, they continue to look bad...but to whom? They're still Number One for their billion(s) in profits.
Deform movement: I just wanted to thank you for sticking to your guns. State Farm and its followers are guilty of this conduct regularly. While the "Good Neighbor" claims to be there for its insured, it seems to forget that sentiment when it comes to paying the claims. Thank you also for making the point that jury verdicts are not on the rise. This is not the case in West Virginia, either, but if you listen to the tort reformers, it is a crisis.
Although I would love to rumble on about the ills of the "Tort Deform" movement, I am a trial lawyer, and while I believe in my heart that what you say is the truth and statistics support that position, anything I say could be touted as simply self-serving.
Thanks for sticking up for the Seventh Amendment.
Christopher W. Cooper
Parsons, West Virginia
Language barriers: I really enjoyed Robin Chotzinoff's "Kitchen Magician," in the August 8 issue. However, can you ask Jason Holben to pick up where he left off? I work in a manufacturing warehouse and hit language barriers every day, and it just doesn't stop at Spanish! Try asking someone whose first language is Thai if he knows where a skid of boxes should be placed! Trust me on this one: Just make eye contact, point to the skid, then point to the place you want it to be stored. Yes, a book of translations for the warehouse/production industry is sure to be another bestseller!
Choice words: I am a chef of many years, a gardener of some repute, and an owner of a signed first edition of Chotzinoff's People With Dirty Hands. Now she's gone and reviewed the book I just chased down at Savu. Please let Jason Holben know how much I love it; I've been doing something similar with index cards for years. And I feel the same way he does about unfortunate employment choices. Yes, I'm burnt, I'm cut, I'm greasy. But what is there to life but mudpies and tea parties?