From Our Listeners

Letters: Jail Time for Crack, Google M.D., Steroids

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Listeners comment on the changes in the sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine offenders, finding medical information using the Internet, and the Mitchell report exposing the use of steroids in Major League Baseball.


It's Tuesday, the day we read from your e-mails and blog comments. The U.S. Sentencing Commission voted last week to narrow the disparity between prison sentences for convictions related to crack and those for powered cocaine.

Matthew(ph) in Berkeley, California complained: The decision did not go far enough. The United States is virtually unique in the first world for its severe and, I would say, extreme sentences for non-violent drug crimes, he wrote. The question should not be about how to reduce sentences but rather how to eliminate sentences for non-violent drug users who need treatment.

Another listener, Rodney Robinson(ph), couldn't disagree more. I have not heard anyone talk about the evil involved with selling crack cocaine, he wrote. Good people were turned into bad people because once you've tried it, you couldn't get off. I don't care about the powered cocaine, raise the sentence for that, but don't lower the sentence on the other because it is deserved.

Many of you also e-mailed about our show on online medicine, and told us how you use the Web for medical information.

Dana(ph) in Wisconsin wrote: About 10 years ago, health information I found on the Internet saved my life. I was in my early 20s, living in a remote location with few doctors. I became very ill. Found out I was pregnant and went to a doctor who said I was having a miscarriage. I took all my symptoms, put them into a search engine and up popped ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening condition where a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus causing massive internal bleeding. Two emergency room visits later, I finally found out that I did indeed have an ectopic pregnancy. Information on the Internet can save lives, it did mine.

But listener Jerry Bozarth(ph) in Washington State warned: There is a fine line between having enough information and too much. My 16-year-old son couldn't get my wife and me via cell phone while at dinner and decided that the red spot on his arm was a serious spider bite and called 911. Paramedics determined it wasn't. When we asked him how he came to call for help, Web M.D.

The Mitchell report of steroids and baseball came out last week, and for some listeners the news wasn't much to get worked up about. How far do we go in telling these guys how to live their lives, asked a listener named Barry(ph). All sports are a competition and we, as fans, are constantly asking them to do more, higher, better, faster. What are they supposed to do to satisfy us? And now, when we find out that they are trying to do just that, we vilify them. I don't get it.

For Ron Stetkowitz(ph), a baseball fan in New York, the scope of the drug problem was a betrayal and he plans to do something about it. My friends and I are going to boycott baseball altogether this season. We heard that children in high schools across American were taking steroids because the pros were doing it. Until it can be reclaimed as the sacred American pastime, Major League Baseball will be forgotten.

And finally, Jocelyn(ph) e-mailed about our conversation about the ice storm that hit the Midwest last week. It knocked out power for nearly a million people in Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Hi, Neal, she wrote. I bet that in nine months there will be a baby boom in Oklahoma, a good way to keep warm.

If you have comments, questions or corrections for us, the best way to reach us is by e-mail. Our address is Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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