Happy patrons: Same-sex marriage supporters cheer the N.Y. Legislature's…
Hats off to N.Y.
Re "N.Y. legalizes gay marriage," June 25
It's bittersweet, but mainly sweet, seeing the great state of New York post a milestone in human rights. It's bitter in that my state, California, should have and could have been the first among the big states to do it instead of succumbing to the idiotic bigotry of Propositions 22 and 8.
Poor California, which used to be the vanguard in so many ways, has been reduced to the vanguard of budget crises and little else. Truly sad.
While the politicians congratulate themselves, all I can think about is the last 50 years of my life that were robbed from me by these same people.
I chose to stand up as a gay man 31 years ago. Friends, family, church members and co-workers — all turned their backs on me. I've paid a heavy price over the decades in lost jobs, opportunities and relationships.
Marriage? Great! But where is the apology? Not only from the straight people who betrayed equality, not only from all the closeted gays who betrayed equality, but also from all the drag queens and leather boys who cast the overwhelming majority of gay Americans as freaks, thus setting back gay equality decades.
I know I won't get one, but I'll keep waiting.
The recent approval of same-sex marriage (still an oxymoron in my book) in New York gave rise to statements such as "brings marriage equality to a new plane," "a new level of social justice" and "doing the right thing as treating all persons with equality."
All the talk, including by The Times, seems to apply only to same-sex couples and never explains why these arguments shouldn't apply also to multiple persons wishing for a common marriage or to siblings wishing for a formal relationship.
I won't hold my breath expecting these consequences to be addressed.
Brand-name drugs vs. generics
Re "Justices shield generic drug makers from lawsuits," June 24
That the Supreme Court would rule in favor of generic drug makers whose products caused irreparable damage is unbelievable.
Justice Clarence Thomas believes that warning labels are the responsibility only of the brand-name drug makers and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, not generic drug makers. That's like saying that generic cigarette makers are exempt from warning labels on packages. If a drug, generic or not, is harmful, then patients deserve to be warned.
It is difficult enough for patients to get drugs that actually work without serious side effects. It's just as hard to sift through outrageous claims by supplement makers promising cures with the little disclaimers saying that their supplement will not diagnose or cure a disease.
The public needs reliable and truthful information on all drugs and supplements, whether they are brand name or not.
The public has been dealt another blow by the Supreme Court. And the ruling sets a precedent.
Makers of generic drugs — 75% of prescriptions — do not have to warn patients of newly revealed dangers. According to Thomas, makers of generics can't be sued for inadequate warnings if those warning didn't exist on the original.
So let the buyers of generics beware.
Better yet, try and be as healthy as possible to avoid having to take any drugs, even the FDA-approved ones that eventually may be found to cause health complications.
It's still just torture
Re "Petraeus talks torture," June 24
Army Gen. David A. Petraeus favors, as The Times put it, "special interrogation techniques when a detainee is withholding information that is immediately needed to save lives." Let's not mince words: Petraeus favors torture.
It starts with "a ticking time bomb." First, it has to be nuclear. Then any kind of bomb. Then you just want to save lives. Next thing you know, you've got an illegal prison in Guantanamo, a torture palace at Abu Ghraib, black sites in Eastern Europe and a program of illegally kidnapping people ("extraordinary rendition") to get them there.
Petraeus should not be confirmed as CIA director, and Bush (and Obama) administration officials found to have designed or implemented programs of torture should be prosecuted as war criminals.
I am so sick of hearing about the "ticking time-bomb" scenario that is a staple in hour-long TV dramas. I have yet to hear a single apologist for so-called enhanced interrogations give a single example of this occurring in real life.
In practical terms, if I were a terrorist with a ticking time bomb, I could lie and mislead long enough for it to go off.
But what really matters is this: There is no excuse for torture. Period.
Re "U.S., allies to tap into oil reserves," June 24
The administration's decision to tap into our strategic petroleum reserves does not represent a response to an actual emergency but a response to a political emergency for President Obama's reelection hopes.