Muckraking Field Day

Bad outcomes: Good work. ("Home Unsweet Home," October 4) I do risk management and help with prevention in a large area chain of [nursing] homes. It is extremely tough work and has to be done on a budget that almost ensures failure in certain settings. The liability situation has made the cost of insurance greater than acute-care beds, with reimbursement that leaves less and less to care for the resident. In a good home they strive to make do. Sadly, not every home is good.

With the pursuit of the phonebook-TV-billboard attorneys rising, greater than half of the nursing homes in the state have sought the protection of bankruptcy to protect their ongoing operations. This creates a sad situation as all, rather than inappropriate, regulatory interaction is dodged. This will be a growing problem for us all.

Muckraking will have a field day, as all the outcomes will be bad. The question is how to treat the residents with kindness and respect. More so, how to evolve a system that works. The attorneys feasting on the uproar should not be the benefactors. The residents should be.

Richard Soltes, MD
Via e-mail

Calling 9-11

Comic relief: I want to thank you for giving a little spotlight to the 9-11 Emergency Relief book that I and my fellow creators are working hard on for the January 2002 release (Stuff, October 4). The story you did gave me a wonderful feeling that we had the potential to reach all those people who might not have access to the conventional comic shop.

Just as the president said, we need to get back to work, but for many of us it was very difficult to tell fictional stories to entertain the masses when reality became so unbelievable itself. I think that the 9-11 project shows just where America is when mainstream (or the more recognizable) creators came together with the independent (or more cult) creators without any conflict. We came together for one single cause, and we worked tirelessly through the night, putting off our other projects and making sure this book was done quickly and to the highest caliber.

As I look over the thumbnails of my story given to me by the artist, Eric Wolfe Hanson, a creator who's carved quite a niche in the comics world, I feel the rush of emotion and the essence of the story unfolding.

I hope that whatever money is raised not only relieves those affected, but gives them some sort of peace, and that [lets] those many Americans who watched the scenes unfold from their homes [know] what real patriotism is about. It's all about coming to the aid of someone in need for the simple reason that you can give it.

Danny Donovan
Via e-mail

The Deadbeats Go On

Still waiting: Excellent article. ("Deadbeating the System," October 11) Kim is very brave for allowing the dirty laundry of her life to be published.

I have been a member of ACES for 10 years and have been pursuing back child support for 13. My children's father presently owes them $90,033.18. He is one of those people who change jobs and move frequently, and the Attorney General's Office just sits on its hands until I find him again. By the time they confirm his address and employer and start garnisheeing his wages, six more months have passed by, and he historically only keeps a job for about a year. Hence the large arrearage.

In 1999 the Attorney General's Office decided to suspend his driver's license. That is still in the works. The Austin office blames the local office for not getting it done, and the local office blames the sheriff's department for not getting him served right, etc. etc.

I hope you do some follow-up on Kim's story. It is so similar to dozens of others.

Heidi C. Cohenour
Via e-mail

The other side: I thought you might like to know my short story regarding the attorney general.

The Attorney General's Office contacted me early this year and claimed that I owed back child support. I have 15 years of painstakingly kept records proving I do not, as well as the custodial mom saying I did not owe. I faxed (three times) my money order stubs and guardian ad litem statements showing I was current. A monkey could add them up and see I was current. Simple, simple, simple. This was not good enough for these brain-dead idiots. It made me so mad that they were calling me a deadbeat dad! And they wanted everyone around me to know it as well.

Those bastards destroyed my credit status, took my tax refund checks (1,500 bucks), refused to view my records and refused to correspond with me. They would not return any calls or answer any letters. After eight months of them hounding my boss, me and my wife with their threatening letters, the dumb-asses finally figured out what a damned 10-key is for and came to the obvious conclusion that I do not owe any money. The lousy sons of bitches just sent me my two checks and did not even apologize for destroying my credit or my relationship with my boss of 12 years. They are a bunch of drooling morons on a mission. So far, my credit is still ruined, and I have no idea how to fix it.

It scares the hell out of me knowing these "attorneys" are responsible for putting people on death row! Think about it. Hell, I have changed my mind about capital punishment since my experience with the good ol' boys! As wrong as they were here on something as simple as adding up a column of numbers...how in the hell can they be trusted regarding complicated evidence with someone's life on the line?


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