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Swing Voter

Re “What Will Justice Kennedy Do?” [June 18]: It is depressing that Anthony Kennedy seems to be the only Justice not blinded by a set of narrowly held personal beliefs. Every Justice should be that kind of decider.


Despite his comments, Kennedy must understand that the Supreme Court’s actions have consequences that transcend their constitutional implications. Just as the Citizens United decision has made our electoral system a plaything for wealthy ideologues, so judicial action that strikes down Obamacare would perpetuate today’s antiquated, inefficient system. Other industrialized nations would continue to provide more accessible care to more of their citizens at significantly lower per capita cost.

Robert D. Gillette, M.D., POLAND, OHIO

Paternal Instincts

James Poniewozik’s article on the prevalence of the doofus dad in the media was sorely needed [“Daddy Issues,” June 18]. As an elementary-school teacher and a deeply involved father of two, I loathe this stereotype. It is funny sometimes, but when nearly every media depiction of fathers is stuck in point-and-laugh mode, it encourages more and more male detachment. Let’s also not forget the subtle female stereotype that Poniewozik hints at–that all women can instantly provide perfect care for any infant or toddler. News flash: while some science points to a greater nurturing instinct hardwired into the female brain, the specifics of day-to-day parenting are learned. The competence of parents, regardless of gender, is proportional to the amount of quality time spent with the child.

James M. Baker, GRAND HAVEN, MICH.

Life Support

As a palliative-care nurse practitioner who often sees patients like Joe Klein’s parents in the hospital, I appreciated his forthright article [“The Long Goodbye,” June 11]. It’s too bad he wasn’t adequately informed earlier in his parents’ care that feeding tubes for people with end-stage dementia don’t help them get stronger or live longer. Many of us are working to improve the quality of life for people with serious illness, but we need the public to be aware of and to demand these services.


The Geisinger model of care that Klein describes seems logical–paying doctors salaries rather than fees per service. The British system of national medicine is based on a similar model. I wonder why we have such a hard time accepting it.

Raj Natarajan, PEARLAND, TEXAS

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