From the week of January 18, 2001

Julia Salo
via Internet

Dog's life: Thank you for the article "Animal Fights." More so than many, it attempted to give a balanced presentation of the arguments for and against animal experimentation. Most media are lopsidedly pro-vivisection. There are some points I wish to take issue with, however. The old argument that the polio vaccine was created through animal models is patently false, even though widely propagated and believed. The Nobel Prize was awarded to Enders, Weller and Robbins, who first cultured the disease in human tissue, and Sabin himself admitted under oath to Congress in 1984 that the animal monkey models delayed understanding of the nature of the disease in humans for decades.

This is because animals are biologically and physiologically different from humans, and findings from them are only tenuously applied to us, even in creatures very close to us, like chimpanzees.

The AMA and medical community support vivisection because that is the model they were taught, and because this is where the gravy train of federal money flows. They will not even consider arguments opposing it made from a growing number of reputable doctors and scientists like Ray Greek and Murray Cohen. This does not say much for the so-called "openness" to new ideas of scientists and of the scientific model. Also, many of the discoveries made with animals were not necessary, i.e., it was unnecessary to use animals to obtain the information.

The comment by Dr. Dale Dernado (to the effect that he works with lizards because people don't care about them) was particularly revealing: Lizards belong to a different species from us, are cold-blooded, covered with scales, etc., so the usual excuse for vivisection, helping cure human illnesses, obviously doesn't apply here. He's experimenting on these animals because he's supported for doing so and because people don't object.

Patricia Panitz
Centerville, Massachusetts

Anchor Steam

Ego terrorist: Dewey Webb's article about Liz Habib ("Liz, They Hardly Knew Ye," January 4) was not only interesting, it was awesome! I loved every bit of it.

What I thought was so funny was the verbal vomit that was flowing out of Habib's mouth. These were comments that only Mick Jagger, Madonna, Jack Nicholson, et al., could get away with. It's rude, but they could get away with it. How humorous that a local news personality expects everyone to not only know who she is, but to roll out the red carpet, too.

The article was great and deserving. It will probably benefit her even though most would think it is a negative. Hopefully after catching flak, she may look inside and reevaluate who she really is.

Phoenix is self-absorbing in many ways, and our proud Liz exemplified this in her excursion to Dos Gringos. Keep up the good work on exploiting egomaniacs. Be gone with all who think they are above the fact that we really are all made of the same carbon.

Name withheld by request

Liz and learn: What's with the story on Liz Habib? Your point was . . . ? Who cares!

When I saw that you ran this old story, I felt as though it was done with cruel intent, not for reporting reasons. Liz, like many other people, made a mistake. If one of your people did the same thing, would it make the news?

It's sad that we live in a society that has these people up on high but are so ready to knock them down. Because of this story, I hope you know your newspaper has lost my respect. Don't lose your conscience!

Name withheld by request

Rube Tube

Telly communication: Robert Wilonsky's recap of the 2000 TV season ("Blow Up the Box," December 28) was one of the funniest and most entertaining articles I have read in any publication -- and that includes Salon and Slate. The scary thing is that Wilonsky nails the annoying things in Will & Grace, ER, Bette, etc., that most people celebrate. Thanks for the laughs.

via Internet

Bury My Heart at San Carlos

Apache tears: I am an enrolled member of the San Carlos Apache tribe. I was appointed under two different tribal administrations as the tribal secretary to the tribal council coupled with providing press releases of actions taken by the tribal council. Because of my candid reporting, I was fired 12 times and rehired 13 times by the tribal council.

I would like to commend your writer, Robert Nelson, who was bold enough to come onto our Apache Indian reservation to write a story ("Tribal Belt," December 14) that needed to be told about the mishap and political vendettas taken against Margarite Faras for her ability to speak out and to tell the truth. How sad it is to have the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation be labeled the most corrupt tribal government in Indian country. Sad as it is, it is true. I can attest to various actions by the tribal council. For the same reason, I, too, have had my life threatened on more than one occasion. But someone has to tell the truth.

Mr. Nelson was very articulate in his reporting. There is so much political turmoil with the high rate of turnover of tribal council members. The story couldn't possibly be covered in one article. What the readers read was only a small segment of what has truly happened. There were 14 key staff members who were fired just because they stood behind Ms. Faras, believing that the council was discriminating against her. She was wrongly removed from office.

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