I am proud to be part of the massive effort now underway among basic scientists to uncover the molecular mechanisms responsible for such adverse vaccine reactions. The scientific community is adamant, and it is dedicated. We will get to the bottom of this. The truth will be found.

Sherri M. Skinner, Ph.D.
via Internet

As I am a mother of three, your story really caught my attention. Glenda Matheny was given the choice of accepting the vaccine or not; however, as stated in the article, newborns are given the hepatitis B vaccine, but parents are not given the choice. When I took my youngest child home from the hospital, the nurse handed me a card indicating she had received the first dose of hep B. The hospital staff never told me or asked me about giving my newborn the vaccine. I was horrified to learn they had done this without informing me. Fortunately she has no problems.

The nurse at my oldest daughter's school called me just before school was out and tried to bully me into having my seven-year-old vaccinated for hep B.

Thank you so much for stories like these. No one else will do it, and these articles have to be done.

Angela Alexander

Prison Perspective
This article ["Making a Point," by Wendy Grossman, June 3] touched me in a lot of ways. You never realize what actually goes on behind the doors in a place like this. This affects me because I have a special person in my life who is on the way to the penitentiary. Thanks for printing this article. It makes me look at things in a whole different light.

Jennifer Dixon
via Internet

It is true that medical care in prisons is not practiced as it is in the free world. A factor, as in the civilian population, is funding. The prison clinicians are as competent as the resources available to them.

Rodney Hulin's hanging himself is understandable if one has either worked in the prison system or been a convict. The prisoners are not held accountable for reporting impending problems.

My condolences to Mr. and Mrs. Hulin. It is unfortunate that Rodney was born so troubled and that Rodney's parents and teachers did not take his behavior more seriously. If one wants to find a scapegoat, look outside of the prison system, because it is not geared to rehabilitate criminals.

If the state of Texas has taken the role away from the parents in raising their children, then so be it. In 1999 I would feel that my hands would be tied to discipline my children as my father did us.

I feel that prayer should be allowed in schools and that the paddle should be returned to prudent use by teachers.

Erasmo Riojas, former prison guard
via Internet

Snaking Around
Karl was definitely in a supervisory capacity as senior keeper ["Sick and Fired," by Brad Tyer, May 20]. And most supervisory and curatorial positions at the Houston Zoo were filled by internal candidates. I was one.

I never considered Karl a threat but can easily understand how others could. Safety for Karl, his co-workers and the visiting public was a concern. After all, we are talking about a lot of poisonous reptiles. If there had been a problem, your article would have berated zoo management for allowing him to remain on staff.

The handling of his case is a sad testament to the historical capacity of the City of Houston to botch personnel management. This is one of the many reasons there are so many ex-employees.

Name withheld by request
via Internet

Powers That Be
I think you are a bit heavy-handed in your review of the new Austin Powers movie ["Shaggy Dog," by Patrick Williams, June 10]. If you saw the first one, you knew what you were going to get. Slapstick humor is not for everyone but should be acknowledged for those who appreciate it.

I found every minute entertaining and would go see a third movie, if one comes out. Simply loved the humor and the music. As far as comedic offering, it reminds me of the Dan Ackroyd film Dr. Detroit.

Robert Schaeffer
via Internet

Collision Course
Your article on The Brownstone ["Sex Among the Armoires," by Margaret L. Briggs, June 3; "Sex Among the Armoires, Part II," by Margaret L. Briggs, June 17] has so many avenues open for comment (haven't they heard that public indecency is illegal?). I will restrain myself to just one: The management's comment about the staff's lack of experience reminded me of my last (and final) visit there.

My family had brunch on Thanksgiving Day. The food and service were excellent. As we were leaving, one of the valets jumped into a car and floored it into reverse without looking, just as my brother was helping my elderly mother across the street.

Mother was more agile than we realized; she managed to jump out of the way and was only slightly grazed. No one came to our rescue, and no one apologized.

After getting Mother home and giving her a nitroglycerine tablet, I called the restaurant and spoke to the manager. It must have been the same one, because he told me, too, that the staff "lacked experience." He did apologize but did not offer to do anything to make us want to ever return.

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