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Letters to the Editor 

Don't Mess With a Good Thing
As a resident of New Orleans and a victim of failed federal policies (Army Corp. levees, FEMA), I am baffled by a recent vote in Congress where Rep. Charlie Melancon voted for a resolution that would put Medicare Part D under the complete control of the federal government. According to HR 4, the secretary of DHH would be required to negotiate the prices of medications included in Medicare Part D.

What will happen when the drug companies decide that they are no longer interested in participating in the program because of the government's interference with the free market? The result will be the failure of a program that currently provides millions of Americans with much-needed prescription assistance.

Jay Henderson

Don't Be Cruel
The Humane Society of the United States strongly supports S.B. 39 by state Sen. Arthur Lentini to ban the cruel and barbaric practice of cockfighting. We urge all residents of the state to contact their state lawmakers to urge them to support this legislation.

Louisiana is now the only state in the nation to allow staged animal fights. The state is even more isolated on the issue after Congress passed new legislation to make it a felony to move any animal across state lines or the nation's borders for fighting purposes. I am pleased to report that Louisiana's entire congressional delegation supported this important reform.

According to reputable surveys, the people of Louisiana overwhelmingly support a ban. It is time for state elected officials to heed the voice of the people and stop this undeniable cruelty.

Wayne Pacelle
President & CEO
The Humane Society of the United States
Washington, D.C.

Don't Bet What You Can't Lose

In a country in which gambling is almost universally condemned, we are forced to participate in wagering if one wishes to own a vehicle or house.

I speak, of course, of our insurance industry. They have wagered that you won't have a hurricane, an accident or ill health, and you (in many cases required to purchase insurance by law) have bet that you will.

In my humble opinion, it is time for big insurance to stand up and accept that they lost. They should make good their wagers.

If, as they seem to believe, the federal government contributed to their losses, I fully support their right to use the courts for redress.

Guy Crager

Who's To Blame?
Mr. Jason Berry has done his usual fine job of identifying N.O.'s problems that Mayor Nagin is now trying to address ("History & Ray Nagin," April 10). As is also his usual, Berry has analyzed the causes and found them to be -- ta da -- the Republicans. He is so predictable when it comes to assigning responsibility for social ills. The only surprise is that he did not somehow find a Catholic priest to blame.

Bill Brockman

Home on the Deranged
If the Angola Prison Rodeo is anything like the rodeo event I saw in March at the New Orleans Arena, prospective spectators would be likewise entertained at an elementary school yard watching playground bullies antagonize smaller kids.

Rodeo events are displays of men oppressing docile animals that are provoked into violence. I witnessed that the bulls at rodeos are completely nonthreatening. I saw cowboys leaning idly on the bars of the pens, facing the docile bulls. The bulls did not charge at these cowboys along side the pens. They were content being left alone and occasionally would gently sniff each other's noses just like cats.

When the bull was in the "chute," a man was holding its tail, and I saw him roughly jerking upwards with force. The chute door opened, and the man pulled back violently before releasing the tail. No wonder the animal explodes from the chute; he's trying to get away from a source of pain and discomfort. I witnessed several more times when the bulls were terrorized by cowboys.

Some will defend the rodeo as a sport that honors the history of the Wild West. But wait. Did cowboys ride on bulls in the Old West? Nope. They only herded them, so why are cowboys riding them now? Why is rodeo called a sport when both participants are not partaking with free will? Why are rodeo fans amused at such unnecessary cruelty? The bulls really don't want to perform, and the only time the bulls acted fiercely was when a man was strapped on their backs. Cowboys have to provoke aggression and hostility in these bulls. This boring event is what I would consider sadistic and juvenile. Maybe that's why it's cowboy and not cowmen.

Monica Ferroe

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