The larger context
Recently, The Daily News highlighted the increase in incidence of Narcotic Absence Syndrome (NAS) in newborns. This problem needs to be seen in context. Although this is a serious issue, what is overlooked is the much more serious problem of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). While there were approximately 22,000 cases of NAS last year, there were between 80,000 and 198,000 cases of FAS last year per the Center for Disease Control. Most experts say that while NAS is unpleasant and requires longer care in neonatal units for affected babies, the long-term sequela is minimal by contrast with FAS, costing approximately $2 million per case with devastating long-term consequences for children and adults. The alcohol industry has gotten a pass for a very long time. Now we see the stigmatizing of addicted mothers who become an easy target for retribution as well as a misguided move to end needle exchange. The social and personal costs of alcohol and tobacco dwarf the costs of illegal drugs. Public health issues need to be viewed globally and adequate resources allotted to address the problems without stigmatization.
I agree with the writer of Sunday’s letter of Aug. 13, By the Rules, about those who say “Trump is not my President.” The law says that he is. To disavow him as my president would be to strip myself of any power or right of citizenship to oppose his actions or hold him accountable.
However, I have quickly come to the conclusion that Donald J. Trump has chosen not to be my president. Unlike both Bush and Obama, Mr. Trump has refused to reach out to anyone who may disagree with him in order to bring a divided nation together. Hardly a statement has come out of his mouth that is not offensive, insulting, or, worse, even true. The only national security we are guaranteed is the opportunity to vote him out of office in three more years; the only jobs he has or will be creating is for fact-checkers (who are already way underpaid).
Perhaps Mr. Trump can still be my president — but he will first have to do something — anything — to convince me that he wants to be! I’m not holding my breath!
In my July 14 letter to the editor, I wrote about the Declaration of Independence. I said that when a hand-copied parchment of the Declaration was placed before the signers on Aug. 2, 1776, John Hancock, as president of the Second Continental Congress, signed first, followed by all those others who pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor.
Two readers of my July letter told me they now understand why John Hancock, as president of the Congress, signed in a conspicuous central location on the Declaration, but they still wonder why he wrote in such large letters.
Well, according to history, this is why John Hancock wrote that way: After signing his name on the Declaration of Independence, Hancock stood back and said, “I guess King George can read that without spectacles!”
Incidentally, a few months ago, a second, hand-copied parchment of the Declaration of Independence was discovered by two Harvard University researchers in a records office in England. The researchers dated the document to the 1780s.