Dedicated jail docs: As a charter member of the inmate fraternity in the Harris County jail and a person with a chronic illness (I was incarcerated there slightly over three years), I believe I am well suited to address Melissa Hung's article ["Drug Resistant," September 13].
In general, the grossly undermanned clinic department does a heroic job in caring for the thousands of incarcerated inmates. The public must remember that the vast majority of the inmates are either homeless or have poor outside living conditions. Whether it be AIDS, HIV or TB, they will be cared for at the jail. The time it takes them to be seen in the clinic is merely a function of the available manpower. And there are a vast number of inmates awaiting treatment.
This system is not perfect, but the dedication of the medical staff in general is apparent. During my stay, I saw Dr. Michael Seale numerous times and was impressed not only by the quality of his care but by his devotion to each case.
Although criticism can only hope to make a system better, it is how seriously such criticism is taken by the authorities that can actually make a difference. In the case of the Harris County jail, the clinic department and its leadership indeed care about good health care for those incarcerated.
Name withheld by request
Repair rage: I was at first shocked that you chose to publish the Best of Houston issue [September 20] little more than a week removed from the tragedies of September 11. For a weekly that ritualistically bashes Houston Chronicle and other local news media outlets for ignoring "the really important news," I found it hypocritical and opportunistic of you to forge ahead with your issue in light of what had just befallen our country.
And for Best Automotive Repair, you astonishingly honored the Montrose Tire and Automotive Center. I was at first elated, because long before you recognized them, I had brought my car there for what I considered a friendly and rather inexpensive oil and tire change. Days later, my car began giving me some difficulty. For essentially the same work, Montrose Tire and Automotive wanted to charge me $853.58, while "one of those expensive dealerships" charged $373.23. The discrepancies arose in the estimates of parts and labor necessary to remedy the problems. I acknowledge that Montrose Tire and Automotive subsequently amended this latter estimate (albeit only slightly) after I informed them that the dealership was willing to do the same repair at a fraction of the cost.
Awards for Best Bartender, Best Condom Vendor, Best Place to Scratch Yourself and whatever subjective entity upon which you choose to bestow awards are acceptably anecdotal in nature. But after having exposed crookedness within the automobile repair industry, awards by your weekly for Best Automotive Repair must not have been anecdotal.
I would encourage you as a source of my news to be vigilant in all things that you do and subject yourselves to the same rigorous criticism you levy on your counterparts in this city. Those who so loudly proclaim to stand for honesty and integrity in this city should damn well be ready to deliver it!
Onward Christian Soldiers
Is Laden listening? I have just read your article ["Bush Spiritual Adviser," by Tim Fleck, September 27] regarding the Reverend Caldwell's sermon on prayer and that Christians have not been praying enough. Your "challenge" at the end as to whether the president and Mrs. Bush are praying for bin Laden was interesting, but I am sure they are praying for him.
They are praying for him to do the right thing and surrender so that innocent civilians won't get hurt. They are praying that God will change his heart, so that no more terrorist acts are perpetrated. And they are praying that people ignore bin Laden's message, so that there will be no more strife from the Islamists.
The only question is, Will he listen to the effect of prayers, or will he end up being persuaded only by the sound of TNT going off above him?
I pray that he gives up, too. I just think that he may not be listening.
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Granada Hills, California
Coal bin: There is an imperative within Christianity to "pray for those who hate you, who despitefully use you." That is within the context of the Old Testament injunction, "If My people which are called by My Name shall humble themselves and pray I will hear from heaven and heal their land," and the Pauline text of "pray for your enemies, for it is like putting burning coals on their heads."
The heart of the enemy is Osama stripped of evil and coming to repentance. However, nowhere does the scripture say we are to lay down arms and not defend ourselves. The oft-quoted words of Jesus that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword were in the context of one man against another. If Osama refuses to repent and come to trial, he should be hunted down and killed like any enemy. And even repentance does not mitigate the power of the state to inflict severe and final punishment.