Foxnews.com readers weighed in heavily on Charlotte Twight’s column revealing the government's ability to access the "private" medical records of citizens.
Michael Straka’s piece paying homage to Old Spice aftershave as a solution to consumer vanity received enthusiastic responses as well.
Readers also responded to Joanne Jacobs’ column on discipline in the classroom, the Off-Campus discussion of the necessity of males, Wendy McElroy’s thoughts on the frequency of racist accusations, and Eric Burns’ story about a reporter charged with the offense of speaking his mind.
Here is a sample from this week’s mail:
In response to Charlotte Twight’s The End of Medical Privacy:
Greg Anderson writes:
This article is somewhat inaccurate, especially at its end. A physician can choose to transmit all health information electronically, which will exempt the practice from HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) transaction standards. Failure to transmit data electronically does not necessarily exempt a physician or practice from the HIPAA Privacy Rules. The rules are separate.
Lynne Sommer writes:
If a bank has your deposits and investments they know a lot about you. If they household and document demographics, they know about your family and roommates/associations. If they track your online banking activity they know whom you pay. Same for debit purchases. If you apply for credit they have your entire history. If you apply for credit with any merchant who then submits the credit application to the bank behind the scenes, the bank still has the information.
If all this information is processed overseas, for example, to foreign information technology consulting companies, what are the regulations involved in that? What privacy rules apply to that? What relationship/contract/legalities are involved if the technology affiliate is within the realm of foreign governments? Many banks and insurance companies process data overseas. What relevance does the U.S. federal and/or state laws have with any privacy issues when considered in that foreign processing context?
L. M. writes:
Is the United States turning into a communist country with yet another right being violated all in the effort of security against terrorism? I believe that we as a nation should do all that is possible to protect ourselves, our country, our people against acts of terrorism, but is invading an individual's medical history securing the nation against acts of terrorism? I don't see how knowing the medical history of "John Q. Public" protects the nation against further acts of terrorism.
Mike Everitt writes:
As someone directly involved in implementing the HIPAA regulations, I rather enjoyed the fact that an economics professor from Boise State was having a little difficulty understanding the new privacy requirements. My view is that these new laws are particularly dangerous to the medical profession. The law is very clear about patient privacy. If anyone including the doctor and his staff reveals anything that is not necessary to provide conscientious care, the lawyers shall prevail. Any infraction could lead to simple termination or at worst, protracted and expensive civil litigation.
In response to Mike Straka’s The Old Spice of Life
Bruce Curran writes:
Our priorities need some serious overhauls. I felt that your description of watching your father shave was one of the most important points that you made. Many fathers today don't have a clue as to how they are influencing their children.
John Salvetti writes:
I used to give my son a hard time about "having" to use Old Spice instead of the stuff the rest of the family uses. However, being in the Marines and also because of the magnitude of Sept. 11, I too have learned that there are much deeper, valuable things to worry about than saving 50 cents on something my child appreciates.
Have you noticed how full and bright the moon was the past few days, or how much better the Starbucks Gingerbread Latte tastes when you’re with your wife? I think Sept. 11 made the simplistic things that we took for granted, like family, friends, faith, and time, and elevated them to the top of the list, where they rightfully belong. I only hope that it doesn't take another tragedy to have to rekindle this national feeling in about 8-10 years.
Bob Dejaiffe writes:
We all need an "awakening" at times in our lives when we lose touch with reality. Often it happens due to trauma (an accident or serious illness). However, sometimes we just "grow up" a little.
Mike Tanner writes:
When I turned 18 back in 1973, I started using a shaving brush and mug: the venerable Old Spice saving soap in their signature mug. I broke several mugs over the years (dropping them off the counter). I think they disappeared from the drugstore shelves about 10 years ago. I'm still using a brush and mug, which I had to explain to a friend who tried to sell me her Mary Kay shaving cream. She didn't even know what a brush and mug were. I miss my Old Spice.
In response to Joanne Jacobs’ Teachers as Targets:
Dennis Moore writes:
I'm sick of stereotypes. I've seen home schooled kids who are out of touch; I can't deny it happens. But my experience with most of them over the years is that they are generally more motivated, ambitious, articulate and dedicated to their studies than the average public-school student. Of course, they start out with an advantage that probably would help them succeed in public schools: parents who are actively engaged in their education.
Kristy Dickens writes:
Your article is the reason I do not teach in a public school environment. I have a passion for teaching. I feel it is one of the most important jobs in our society, however I feel that cases like this are all too common.
Teachers are handcuffed by poor teacher education programs that teach of ivory tower theories but very few real classroom skills. There are administrations that enforce policies designed to keep lawsuits at bay rather than educate students, and political systems that constantly vilify teachers and schools in an effort to gain votes. Teachers who have a passion for teaching either find places where teaching is possible, or burn out and quit. The sad thing is that for all the trouble this causes teachers, just think what it is doing to our nation's children. It breaks my heart that their futures are being flushed down the drain.
Terese King writes:
People also seem to fail to look at the parents' idea of maintaining discipline at home and then using a school problem as a way to get money. I have seen situations where parents will abuse a child at home and then scream "abuse" at the school system when a teacher dares to raise their eyebrow at a child having a tantrum in class. In the end, everyone loses out except the person who takes home the money they won in a bogus lawsuit.
At the same time, there are school systems begging for more money to increase their curriculum in order to do a better job at teaching school-aged children the basics. Just how can they manage to do that if they will not allow a teacher to have a say in what happens in the classroom? There isn't a child alive who can learn effectively in an environment that has no structure. School for some has turned from education to free daycare for kids of all ages.
Gene Rossi writes:
First let me say I agree that teachers need to be able to be more effective and need to have control in thier classrooms. By allowing bad behavior we have created an atmosphere where kids who desire to learn cannot. But about home schooled kids, the research shows that they do develop good social skills and score higher on state testing and academically they are more prepared for higher education. I wish I could home school. I believe my child would get a well-rounded education.
In response to Off Campus from the University of Pittsburgh:
Theresa Needham writes:
I read your article with much amusement and am writing to re-assure you that there is at least one woman out there who would not do without a male: me. I am married and so have laid claim to my male. For one thing, there is no replacement for the joy that he brings me in the bedroom. I can talk to him like I can talk to no other. Women don't always get it, but men are an invaluable resource and I will spearhead the movement to keep you on the evolutionary map!
In response to ifeminists:
Jim Walker writes:
As a middle class white male, I am incensed at the constant barrage of racial and gender charges -- usually stemming from some ignorant extremist who has no regard for the damage it causes. Also, when you add the daily bashing resulting from being a member of the "SUV driving, gun loving, anti-abortion, religious right" it is even more disgusting. Last November's election result was no accident- - expect more to come!
In response to Fox News Watch:
Michael Holt writes:
Whose e-mail service did Mr. Cotterell use? I would assume that the reader comment came to, and the response was sent from, the newspaper. If so, Mr. Cotterell’s words may have been seen to represent his employer rather than himself.
It is generally understood that an opinion writer speaks for himself, not the newspaper (unless of course your editor is Howard Raines). But does this understanding apply to e-mail also? I don’t know what the norm is for this. One fact that might bear on that question is whether the reader addressed the newspaper or Mr. Cotterell?
Dennis Acosta writes:
I agree with you about Bill Cotterell in principle, but I would suggest that his response to an emailer complaining about his work was not a private affair, even if he was responding from his personal computer. (I don't know if he was, but the point stands).
Mr. Cotterell should have resisted the urge to respond to a vitriolic email sent to him; he should have circular filed the thing and moved on. The statement was over the top and he could have made his point in a more professional manner, since he is supposed to be a professional. Journalists are not immune from the rules and he should have known better. I feel confident that he could have gotten his point across just as strongly, without the acid.
Curtis L. Anderson writes:
Free speech is getting pretty scarce and in this depraved era of political correctness, one had best not express any personal views that don't conform to those of the "Political Correctness Gestapo."
Maybe I've just grown numb, but about all I can suggest is a long learned policy of mine: never email something you don't expect to see forwarded places you can't control. Which covers just about everything. It doesn't have anything to do with fairness, free speech, or any other right or privilege (other that the unbounded right to take offense). Email just makes it just too easy to act on.
Randy McKenzie writes:
I have lost my respect for most newspapers over the last 20 years or so for this type of 'view management' and censorship. I respect the rights of people to say what they feel and as long as they don't try to force me to think that way I'm OK with that. This country was built on certain freedoms and it has to stay that way whether or not a few people get their feelings hurt along the way. If there are people in this country who think our rights should be changed they should find a country that has the laws and rights (or lack of) that they feel comfortable with and move there. There is nothing wrong with what Bill Cotterell did. It's sad though to know that we can't even express ourselves anymore without the fear of punishment.