The Militant(logo) 
    Vol.63/No.16           April 26, 1999 
The Great Society  

Workers - who the hell are they! - Citing the Toledo, Ohio, Blade, Associated Press reports: "During the last five decades, the U.S. government risked the lives of thousands of workers by knowingly allowing them to be exposed to dangerous levels of beryllium, a metal critical to the military."

Why? - "Beryllium is a gray metal lighter than aluminum, yet six times stiffer than steel. It is vital to the operation of missiles, jet planes, and nuclear weapons." - AP

Skeptics on the march -"Stuttgart (KNA) - Only every other German believes that there is a life after death. Among Catholics, more than two-thirds are convinced of it, among Protestants only one in two, according to a survey of the Inra Institute for The Best of Readers Digest. Among west Germans 73 percent believe in God... in east Germany only 31 percent."

Progress or dwindling collections? - In Scotland, the Catholic archbishop is offering "fast track" absolution to women who have had abortions. Priests can now can return women to the church without consulting the bishop.

The offer also holds for doctors and nurses who performed the procedure, and relatives who counseled it.

That's capitalism - When she was 18 months old, Mychelle Williams, died of a treatable infection easily detected by a simple blood test. Her family belonged to Kaiser HMO, but an ambulance took her to another hospital. Kaiser refused to pay for the blood test there. She was then sent to Kaiser where she died. Her family sued and a jury awarded them $1.35 million.

P.S. - The California Supreme Court upheld an appeal against the award to the Williams family. Ignoring a federal law against "patient dumping," it sliced the $1.35-million award, basing its decision on a state law capping jury awards at $250,000. After paying the lawyers, the Williams family will have less than $150,000.

Cleaning up the clutter - A truck loaded with lethal radioactive waste drove from the Los Alamos nuke research center in New Mexico to the first radioactive waste dump, near Carlsbad, 270 miles away. An AP report said: "The shipment contained 600 pounds of plutonium-contaminated trash, including clothing, gloves, and metal pans."

Aren't issues in wrong order? - Reporting on the latest in a series of fires at northern California oil refineries, the Los Angeles Times headlined the story "Fire at Refinery Raises Safety, Gas Price Issues."

Really, Dick Tracy - Nearly half the students tested at three Los Angeles elementary schools were found to need glasses. Traditionally, school nurses have screened children for eye problems. But nurses who had been full time at many schools are now there two days a month. Declared the district administrator, "It's a real problem."

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