Letters to the Editor | Letters to the Editor | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Published July 7, 2010 at 4:56 a.m.

Lyme Aid

Ken Picard has written one of the best summaries of the chronic Lyme disease epidemic [“Ticked Off,” June 23]. It’s sad and amazing how much power the corrupt Infectious Diseases Society of America has in causing the denial of treatment and the persecution of Lyme-literate doctors across the country. No wonder the heroes of chronic Lyme treatment wish to remain anonymous. For accurate information, seek out the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, or your state Lyme Disease Association.

Douglas Maass

Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.

Bad Ad

I love beautiful women. I am in a committed relationship with one and I see others everywhere.

In the interest of standing up for what I love, I have to register my disgust with the recent Sports & Fitness Edge ad you printed, as well as your willingness to print it. The ad, for those fortunate enough to miss it, shows a thin woman and a heavier woman back to back, from the neck down, and asserts, “It’s your choice.”

I don’t know where to begin: With these women being reduced to their bodies, while personalities, talents and even smiles are ignored? With a company using the culturally common self-loathing that many women feel about their own bodies to make money for itself? With a publication such as Seven Days that presents itself as “hip” and “edgy,” but is too stuck in the sexist mainstream to take a stand and reject an ad designed to make people feel bad about themselves?

Readers should be outraged, along with journalists, commentators and other advertisers.

It’s time we all stood up for women who are told they can’t enjoy food, they should feel guilty if difficult pasts leave them depending on food as a solace (while smoking or drinking carry no judgment), that they must exercise to achieve a conventional body that is “acceptable.” If we treated women like they deserve to be happy with themselves, however they look, I think we’d be surprised at the true beauty that we’d see emerging all around us.

James Sharp


Asleep at the Wheel?

Come on, Jernigan taxi man, how can you say that you can drive 14 hours without fatigue and still be nimble and quick, behind the wheel of your taxi [“Hackie,” June 16]?

No way! I’ve driven every kind of rig that’s ever been made (thanks for the line, Lowell George) including tractor-trailers and taxis, and fallen asleep driving everything also.

The law limits over-the-road truckers to 11 hours straight driving in a 24-hour day, and even that is a lot of hours behind the wheel.

Taxi drivers are not limited to a certain number of driving hours by any regulatory authority, but driving 14 hours is way too much to stay sharp, even if you think you are sharp.

Daniel G. Cohen


Two-Way Safety

I drive a vehicle on Burlington and area streets daily. I have ridden a bike in New York state, Alaska, North Carolina and Vermont on city streets and country roads. I am mindful of pedestrians and bicyclists while driving. I applaud your efforts at making biking safer [“When It Comes to Bike Safety, Vermont Falls Down — Hard,” June 16]. However, in the interests of bike safety, I have to ask: Aren’t bikers subject to the same rules of the road as all other vehicles? Aren’t bikers supposed to stop at stop signs and red lights rather than ride through the intersections? Barely one-fourth of the bikers that I observe are willing to stop. They usually ride right through and give you a dirty look if you honk at them, especially if you had reached the intersection first. That’s pretty sorry for a group that is advocating safety issues. Bikers and motorists need to respect each other.

Robert Flynn

Essex Junction

Balanced Diet?

To begin with full disclosure, I am a proud omnivore as well as a vendor of vegan foods at the Burlington Farmers’ Market. I live with a vegetarian partner and choose to raise my son as a vegetarian. And I really like eating meat. Generally, I quite enjoy Alice Levitt’s writing and look forward to her articles. This particular article [“Farewell to the Flesh,” June 23], however, seemed to be lacking a balance that I’ve observed previously. While I appreciate the author’s sense of humor and her predilection for meat-based meals, I would challenge the author to retake her own challenge after doing a bit more research on vegetarian foods. In fact, I’d offer to consult with her on creating meals that would not be significantly more expensive, unhealthy or vacuous. I think that the article’s slant that eating vegetarian is “a general pain in the ass” does much damage to people who are honestly trying to eat less meat, whether for health, financial or environmental reasons.

Jason Frishman


Levitt’s Lazy

Alice Levitt is not a “committed carnivore” — she’s a weak, clueless addict with a lot of excuses. Are we supposed to be shocked or impressed with her carnivorous bravado? In her quasi– article, “Farewell to the Flesh” [June 23], she memoirs on about her brave pledge to go a week without meat. WTF? Perhaps this “unabashed cat [lady]” should spend a week re-reading The Jungle (please tell me you’ve read it). Levitt, like so many meat eaters, is simply too lazy or unwilling to digest the fact that the meat industry is fucked up and contributes to over 60 percent of greenhouse gases (local meat, too), not to mention the ethical issues of killing helpless animals. Why doesn’t Levitt start her own vegetable garden or check out the Food Network website and pick one of the hundreds of veggie recipes for free?!

In the end, if you find all this too difficult, try eating yourself or your family... I bet they taste like chicken fat.

Harry Bliss

South Burlington

“Unhappy” with Coverage

Ken Picard’s Blurt post [“A Rainy Day for Gross National Happiness,” June 1] on the “unhappiness” of the conference “Changing What We Measure from Wealth to Well-Being” was a very sad reminder of why it is vital to seek out your own facts. This story covered the Bhutanese refugees outside in the rain on the first day of the conference in Burlington. At issue was the fact that one of the conference speakers was from the country the refugees had been exiled from.

While Ken Picard’s article focused on the challenging road of these refugees and their compelling stories, it did not mention the purpose of the conference, much of which is built upon a culture of compassion and connection. Ken interviewed the refugees on the street, but did not mention the many conversations — and invitations — that conference organizers had with these refugees when they came inside.

Most notable was an incredibly honest and respectful conversation that had been quickly built into the conference the next day where the refugees dialogued with the invited Bhutanese and other participants from around the world. If Ken had chosen to cover this, it could have been a compelling, complex story of hard but openhearted dialogue aimed toward reconciliation instead of the unfortunate and uninformed rant against conference organizers and their sponsors.

In fact, no one working on the conference was ever contacted to learn what the conference was about, to get our perspective on the refugees … or even to get the perspective of the Bhutanese present at the conference. What a missed opportunity, as it would have been quite a different story.

The goal of the conference, whose urgency for action was underlined by 350.org speaker Bill McKibben, was to begin to change the economic lens by which we measure progress … and to begin to model the goals of a more sustainable future in Vermont. We invited one speaker from Bhutan because that country is one — of many — countries that are looking to expand the definition of measures of well-being. There were more than 20 speakers and panelists from other countries and around the U.S. and Vermont.

By inviting the secretary of Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Commission, it did not mean that we were somehow endorsing the actions of the government of Bhutan … or that this per-son represents the specific actions of that government.

Chris Wood


Tick, Tick, Tick

Thank you for the article on chronic Lyme disease that was recently published