The Doctor Is in a Snit
As a fellow in the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Department and as one of the subjects mentioned in Jose Luis Jimenez's article "Quincy He Ain't" (May 27), I feel it is important to correct certain facts and to provide additional information in considering the quality of the department and its contribution to the county.
Much of the information in the article comes from sources within the department identified by Mr. Jimenez as "renegade staffers." Clearly the incentive for these staffers to come forward must be questioned. The most glaring motivation may be their self-interest rather than a more civic drive. One staffer was in line for the position of chief medical examiner, now held by Dr. Roger Mittleman, and again two years later for the job of deputy chief medical examiner. In the opinion of the evaluating committee, he was not the leading or most suitable candidate on both occasions.
Others within the department have lucrative second jobs elsewhere in the Miami area and throughout the Caribbean performing autopsies. The desire to protect these activities may be a motivation. Rather than joining a new team, they chose to undermine the office and potentially damage the valuable service provided to the people of Miami-Dade County.
Each administration brings different strengths to the Medical Examiner Department. Some are strong administrators, others are strong doctors and scientists, others excel as forensic detectives. The quality of Dr. Mittleman's leadership was documented when this year's fellows, an elite group of doctors-in-training brought into the department through a national selection process, felt compelled to write their own letter to Assistant County Manager Paul Philip in support of Dr. Mittleman and Dr. Michael Bell.
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These same fellows, including myself, were excluded from interviews for the article for obvious reasons. Mr. Jimenez was told that I had completed my fellowship and had left the department, when in fact I am still on staff. As members of the staff for only one year, the fellows' only motivation is to absorb the leadership and training brought forward by Drs. Mittleman and Bell.
As for the incident cited in the article concerning my findings for a specific autopsy, it is inappropriate and unprofessional to comment on the facts, though others have. I will say that far from being "a recent medical school graduate," I in fact graduated from one of the most prestigious medical schools in the United States almost ten years ago, was intern-of-the-year at one of the leading hospitals in New York, and completed six years of residency at one of New York's top hospitals. This hardly qualifies me as a recent graduate.
Further, the education I received within the United States, where the standards are indeed higher than at many foreign programs, has given me a sense of dedication and commitment the renegade staffers cannot question or match. If records have been changed, one must look to those who sought to create a record for their personal use.
The Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department was established by Dr. Joseph Davis as one of the most, if not the most, pre-eminent medical examiner offices in the nation. It remains so today under Dr. Mittleman. All such organizations can be improved through team members' constructive collaboration in which the goal is to further contributions to constituents rather than for their own gain.
Joann Habermann, M.D.
Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department
Jose Luis Jimenez replies: No employees of the Medical Examiner Department were intentionally excluded from my interviews, though nearly all those I contacted refused to speak. In Dr. Habermann's case, I was told by two department sources that she had recently left the office after completing her fellowship.
The Doctor Is Treated Badly
I worked at the county's Medical Examiner Department for ten years. In my opinion the management practices of electable "Bunny" Lieberman and Robert Lengel were the same: They treated employees with disrespect and a lack of consideration. Mrs. Lieberman could not do her job without constantly calling downtown for answers. And she was the queen of taking credit for what others did for her. She was also famous for constantly talking about personal stuff when it was not appropriate. She treated Dr. Mittleman like shit before he became chief.
Instead of spending her time working, she was involved in intrigue, manipulation, and creating animosity among employees. That was her trademark. In reality she was a slave-driver. She has forgotten how many times she used budget cuts to intimidate staff.
Mrs. Lieberman dies by the same sword she swung in our faces for years. She has harvested what she planted. I have pity for people like her.
Bruno E. Santos
The Doctor Is Diplomatic
Inasmuch as I am pictured in Jose Luis Jimenez's article, permit me some observations. I have not noticed any significant deterioration in the Medical Examiner Department's quality of the work since my retirement in 1996. Granted there has occurred some current and former employee dissatisfaction with a change in management style. But I perceive positive corrective efforts. For example the body-identification tag system and the end-of-day case review systems have been improved over what I left behind.
The quotation at the end of the article was taken from the last portion of a handout for a talk given at an outside seminar, a talk not based on the present operation of the department. I never had the current medical examiner in mind during that presentation. It has been my habit to share my handouts with staff and residents, which explains why it was so readily available.
My impression is that improvement is in progress. The Medical Examiner Department is based on science but is also a people-service organization. Its employees have made it so. Hopefully things will smooth over and perceptions will improve as a result of a more participatory management style.
Joseph H. Davis, M.D.
Let's Stamp Out Deborah Ramey's Dangerous Ideas
I wish to comment on Ted B. Kissell's story about Deborah Ramey and her fight to have her ideas about the National Rifle Association and Marilyn Manson published in her school's PTA newsletter ("Guns Don't Kill Columns, People Do," May 20).
I say good work by the PTA.
With the U.S. Senate recently declaring the Second Amendment dead for individual citizens, and putting an end to the foolish idea that the words "the people" in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights mean anything other than a collective or governmental right to control guns and everything else in our society, it's time to do away with the equally foolish idea that the words "the people" in the First Amendment mean an individual right to free speech. How absurd.
The PTA, being an organization aligned with the government-run school system, is only exercising its collective constitutional right to suppress troublesome and irritating individual speech. Good for the PTA. As a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization, the PTA should continue to use our tax dollars to lobby government for more restrictions on our individual rights. Isn't that what we pay 50 percent of our income in taxes for?
As founder and CEO of Stamp Out the First Amendment (SOFA), I believe that the U.S. Senate has moved us closer to that glorious day when all Americans will live in a society akin to those great bastions of gun-free utopia Japan and England.
We need to become more like our Japanese and British brethren. The state should always come before the individual. You know what the Japanese say: "The nail that sticks out will be pounded down." Twice-yearly visits by the local police to our homes (without search warrants) to inquire about income sources, social interactions, our and our children's sexual activities, and all other aspects of our personal lives will make for a safer society.
Routine beatings of prisoners to extract confessions, police rewriting confessions and forcing the accused to sign them, and few if any jury trials are just some of the things we need to introduce to American society. Just think of all the time and money we will save on our judicial system. (Note that the Japanese have a 97 percent conviction rate for all crimes.)
We can copy the English practice of restricted speech and publication liability. We also need, as the British have, an American Official Secrets Act. Giving our government the power, as the British have, to censor all press and media would put a stop to subversive ideas polluting the minds of our children and causing upset in our communities.
The Senate made the right move by destroying the Second Amendment and setting the stage for abolishment of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth, and Tenth amendments. But they should do more. We all know that our Constitution and Bill of Rights get in the way of good law enforcement and governmental plans for us citizens.
So, tough for Ms. Ramey and her free-speech ideas and right on for the PTA. Government before the individual in all things is the only way to go to keep our children and society safe. As Rosie O'Donnell recently said to Tom Selleck, the Constitution and Bill of Rights were written for a different time. We can have muskets but not modern firearms. And so by extrapolation, our free speech was talk about King George and his mistreatment of our ancestors. He's been dead for 200 years. Obviously the First Amendment needs to go.
It's My Gun and I'll Fire If I Want To
Okay, so Ted B. Kissell and New Times have given Ms. Ramey a bully pulpit for her extremist gun-control views. How about some balance in reporting? Or does the word balance still exist in the liberal lexicon? (Excuse me, I meant to say progressive. Or do you guys still call yourselves liberal?) It would be nice, not to mention fair, to have New Times offer a diversity of opinions in its reporting. But I'm not holding my breath. I suspect that the reportorial and editorial ranks at New Times march in ideological lock step. Leftward ho!
We on the right try to be consistent about our concerns: promotion of the nuclear family; demanding a right to keep more than the 60 percent of our income we presently enjoy after taxes; smaller, more responsive government closer to the people; a rejection of the liberal elitism that has a stranglehold on academe, government, and information sources (thank God for Matt Drudge); a return to individual accountability and responsibility; and a repudiation of the womb-to-tomb welfare-state enslavement.
I suspect that if the Colonial minutemen were around today, they would be sporting NRA bumper stickers. The seminal event of modern liberal democracy was the American Revolution, fought, earned, and won on the battlefield by men fortunate enough to own and keep their own personal arms. Our most important freedom as Americans is the Second Amendment, for all other freedoms flow from that one.
Were it not for the Colonial militias, Ms. Ramey's children would be singing "God Save the Queen" every day before class.
If Jewish boys in pre-World War II Europe had had the gun training and compulsory gun-keeping regimen they now enjoy in Israel, the idea of a Final Solution would have been harder to realize. And the dream of a Jewish homeland that today is a reality will only be maintained by a force of arms.
We lost more than 50,000 soldiers in Vietnam. The highest casualty rate was suffered by those boys coming from the liberal Northeast states where the so-called gun culture doesn't exist and which today has the most oppressive gun-control laws. The lowest casualties came from the Southeast, where the gun culture thrives and the right to own arms is protected.
During the Vietnam War I was an army drill instructor for a time. I watched as nice Jewish boys from New York City held a gun for the first time in their lives. I saw them struggle awkwardly to come to grips with and master a mechanical tool they would need to depend on to survive mortal combat. Contrast that vision with the Israeli army recruit who, by the time he reaches military basic training, has already had several years of weapons training in Israeli public schools.
As an eighth-grader at Miami Country Day School, my schoolmates and I completed an NRA gun-familiarization and shooting program. I will always be thankful to the NRA for their educational efforts. It helped make my military experience survivable.
In the same New Times issue as Ted B. Kissell's article about Ms. Ramey, I was surprised to see an ad for concealed-weapon-licensing instruction on page 27, featuring one of those very nasty Glock pistols. I'd like Mr. Kissell to copy me on his memo to the editor demanding that such offensive advertising be banned from the pages of New Times.
Likewise, on page 59, movie critic Bill Gallo waxes effusive over The Matrix, proudly proclaiming that it "... kicks serious ass." This is a violent movie with gratuitous mayhem where the star walks around wearing a long dark trench coat, à la the Columbine assailants in Littleton, spewing indiscriminate gunfire with an assault weapon. Isn't this pure hypocrisy on the part of New Times?
That issue of May 20 also features two pages of homosexual romance ads, knowing full well that most young homosexual men practice unsafe sex. Sixty percent of robbers shot by homeowners during home invasions survive their wounds. Can the same be said for unsafe homosexual sex?
Don't forget, Ted, you may think of us NRA'ers as being simply knuckle-draggers. But even knuckle-draggers are consumers. We can chose to patronize, not patronize, or even boycott New Times advertisers.
Thanks for making my day. You'll have to pardon me while I finish cutting a new check to the NRA's Institute for Legislative Affairs. You see, I developed an inspiring practice of cutting a check to my favorite right-of-center political organization every time I read upsetting liberal hogwash. You guys are going to make me broke but happy. Please keep up the liberal bleating on your pages. And please tell Ms. Ramey that I'll be happy to place "This House Is Gun Free" signs on her home.
She Actually Prefers Her Toddler Thighs Marinated and Grilled
Regarding Jen Karetnick's review of Bishop's ("Prayer Ribs," April 29) and her description of a rib dish being "tender as a newborn's skin": Was that broiled, braised, or carpaccio style with oil and capers? I know she disses us vegetarians, but this is over the top.
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