So what’s left for Bill Cosby after the collapse of his career and the besmirching of his reputation? It seems impossible to nuance this scandal by saying that he also did much good. Serial rape, if allegations are true, effectively cancels out any assets on his balance sheet. A cynic might even say that his humanitarian acts and avuncular persona only served as cover and atonement for his evil deeds.

Perhaps like other disgraced American celebrities, Cosby might find some traction outside the United States and its firestorm of publicity. Michael Jackson remained popular in Japan during his molestation trial. The distance might also give Cosby a chance to reflect upon his deeds and how he used his celebrity to rationalize them. Mount Fuji would be a peaceful place for Cosby to contemplate his life and career and the lives he may have destroyed in the process.

Jim Manion, St. Paul

• • •

Cosby could gain some credibility if he would go into a room with all of his accusers and look them in the eye and be able to tell them that he doesn’t believe he did anything wrong. If he could do this, then I think people could legitimately believe he is innocent. If not …

It is time for this story to run its course.

Chad Mead, Buffalo

INDIAN SCHOOLS

Neglect, indeed. Our attention is needed.

The Oct. 23 Opinion Exchange section contained two stories presenting, in stark contrast and irony, competing priorities of the Obama administration. A commentary by Paul Krugman (“Humane treatment is bottom line”) praises our rogue president’s decision to grant a three-year exemption from deportation to certain groups of undocumented immigrants. In Krugman’s opinion, the ends justify the means. Perhaps the president’s slogan from the 2008 primaries should be changed from“yes we can” to “yes I can.”

A second story (“Indian schools: A nation’s neglect”) is the first installment of an editorial series. The federal government, and we as a nation, should be ashamed of our failure to act to provide our real Native Americans with schools that are safe and conducive to learning. The price tag of $1.3 billion is less than our federal government spends in four hours.

Which of these issues should scream out for our immediate attention?

Gary Dreyer, Bloomington

• • •

I am outraged after reading the first installment in the Star Tribune Editorial Board’s series. I am reminded of the time in the 1860s when Native American people in Minnesota were starving and the storehouses of their food were locked. Indian children now are being starved of the educational nourishment they so desperately need. It’s time we unlocked their storehouse doors!

Marlene Nathanson, Minneapolis

• • •

Shame on us! We can provide a rich man a new stadium for his football team but we cannot provide a decent school for our children. I know this comparison is state government vs. the federal government. But really.

David Trapp, Andover

 

HEALTH CARE

With great options come great costs

I appreciated reading about experimental immunotherapy in the Nov. 23 Science + Health section (“A risky procedure, a race for her life”). The woman undergoing the procedure was very lucky, and I hope she remains healthy. This article does speak to one of the main reasons health care costs and medical bills are so high, however. We expect every medical advance to be explored, experimented with and, in the end, paid for by us. Other systems in other countries are far less expensive because desperate measures with sometimes small success are not pursued, equipment may be outdated, checkups and physicals are less thorough and less frequent, etc. So we need to ask ourselves: In our time of need, would we rather say no to lifesaving methods or quality-of-life issues to keep health care affordable? Or do we say yes to everything and anything possible with the consequence of higher prices? In this case, it is true what they say: You do get what you pay for.

Sharon E. Carlson, Andover

• • •

“Health care consumers in the dark” (Nov. 23) emphasizes major difficulties in determining health care costs and quality. The discussion is relevant and interesting — here are two additional points related to our uniquely warped, expensive health care model:

1) Unraveling costs is extremely difficult. Health care facilities receive payments for a fraction of their charges, and the payments vary by source (Medicare, Medicaid, insurance companies). Seemingly inflated charges are set to receive payment for many unavoidable costs: heat, biweekly payroll for all employees, physicians, supplies, diagnostic equipment — therefore, the true cost of delivering care cannot be easily dissected, and charges are deceptive.

2) Quality measures are closely linked to patients’ conditions, their habits and their compliance with prescribed care. Differences in quality measures between health care facilities are markedly affected by differences in patient case mix and acuity (both have imprecise measures). While the quality of care between facilities may be equivalent, quality measures may appear to be different. To further complicate attempts to improve quality, a patient’s freedom to consume cigarettes, alcohol, drugs or too much food is not controllable by health care facilities.

To better understand cost and quality differences, standardized systems must be adopted for breaking down costs and controlling for patient differences.

Alexander Adams, Minneapolis

The writer is a respiratory therapist.

 

JACK WHITLEY

Sharp response to his bigotry is heartening

The inflammatory comments made by Big Stone County Republican Party chairman Jack Whitley, and the subsequent developments, made me, as an American Muslim, appreciate how fortunate I am to reside in this country (“FB posts cost GOP boss day job,” Nov. 25).

From the action taken by business owners Bob and Sue Kulbeik to stand up against bigotry, to the statement issued by the Minnesota Republican Party condemning Whitley’s anti-Muslim writings, I am thankful to the Ortonville community in particular and fair-minded Minnesotans in general for sending a strong message against hatred. In perfect accordance with the teachings of Islam, I strive to live by the slogan “love for all, hatred for none.”

In this holiday season, I hope this message resonates within our communities.

Abdul Naseer M.K., Minneapolis