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DR. KOOSHIAN: WOTTA GUY!
What conscience! The idea of Virgil Opinion "wiping tears from his eyes" and stating, "my conscience is killing me" almost made me laugh (R. Scott Moxley's "'My Conscience Is Killing Me,'" July 27). I have been a patient of Dr. Steven Kooshian's for more than seven years, served on the board of a local AIDS charity with him, and observed firsthand the pain he suffers when he can no longer help a patient. I've also seen the endless hours of community service and the countless patients he treats for no charge. Even during his own life-threatening bout with cancer a few years ago, he continued to provide and care for those people who mean the most to him: his patients. This is not a doctor who would shortchange someone on their medication.
What does Opinion give to his community? Nothing that I'm aware of. His allegations are laughable. While it's true Dr. Kooshian lives in a beautiful home, we have frequently discussed investments and particularly the stock market. More than once he has told me, "This is where I make my money, not medicine, although few people know that." Medicine—helping people—is still his first love.
I, for one, smell a rat, and Mr. Opinion and his attorneys should know better. Dr. Kooshian is not a bad doctor. I stand ready to testify on his behalf if needed.
Captain R. Chris Prilliman
Until a year ago, I was a hepatitis patient with good insurance being treated by Steven Kooshian. Therefore, I am alarmed by the statement made by Virgil Opinion in Moxley's article: "He always wanted the patient shortchanged, especially HIV and hepatitis patients with good insurance." Two years ago when Dr. Kooshian handed me the surprise diagnosis of hepatitis C, I began taking interferon and ribavarin, which are purchased as a kit for home administration by the patient—yes, the patient, not the doctor, administers the required thrice-weekly shots. So, Virgil, how is Dr. Kooshian able to shortchange the patient? During my six months of drug treatment, I, too, became severely anemic. (Ribavarin kills the red cells in the blood and the bone marrow.) Dr. Kooshian said he was tempted to give me a shot of epogen but suggested that I lower the dose of the ribavarin instead. I did this, and we continued to track my red blood cells until they had clearly rebounded, and I felt better.
Virgil: I guess Dr. Kooshian let one get away, huh? If he's so greedy and dishonest, why didn't he suggest lowering the ribavarin dose and give me a shot of saline disguised as epogen, thus raking in a tidy profit to help pay for his Porsches? And Moxley: When did it become criminal to own more than one Porsche or live in a gated community? Hell, it seems like half the people in Orange County either live in gated communities or should live in one. Perhaps your motto should be "Journalism so yellow a monkey would eat it."
You did hint at some objectivity but only at the end of your article when you asked Virgil, "If he believed Kooshian had been defrauding and jeopardizing patients for 11 years, why didn't he quit earlier?" Were you suggesting that Virgil might be just another disability scammer? Well, it came too late and was too subtle to counterbalance the crucifixion that preceded it.
Though Moxley's article was distressing to me and, I fear, irreparably damaging to Dr. Kooshian, in all other aspects I love the OC Weekly. Life behind the Orange Curtain would be poorer without it. I have been a steady reader of Moxley's previous articles harpooning the power utilities, slum lords and right wingers in general. This time, instead of the white whale, he hit the white knight.
If it would increase my chances for publication, in keeping with the journalistic style of the Weekly, I would be happy to pepper the above with a plethora of swear words.
Virgil Opinion has been a friend for six years. Two years ago, I told him, "My partner is very ill. I want to know who the very best doctor in the LA/Orange County area is and how can I get in touch with him." Without hesitation, Virgil stated, "Dr. Kooshian. I will get you in right away."
I don't know what this is about, but Virgil and I know it's not about Kooshian's competency. This whole thing smells of "disgruntled employee."
executive editor, The Bottom Line Magazine
Thanks, Moxley, for the wonderful investigative reporting on behalf of the gay community. It's reassuring to know that someone does give a shit. So many times, our community is afraid of pointing fingers and naming names, afraid the rich won't give to certain charities, or, worse, afraid of offending the big-money folks that help to float our community.
SCHOU GETS THE ELECTRIC CHAIR
Nick Schou's provocative article "Anti-Nuclear War" (July 27) was not only misleading and inaccurate but also disserved the public's interest. Besides citing unfounded claims about the safety of working within and living near a nuclear power plant, the article overlooked the established record, especially as it relates to the safety environment at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. For the record: since the opening of the plant in 1968, employee and public safety has always been and continues to be our highest priority. While there have been legal claims made by individuals in an attempt to link employees' limited radiation exposure to cancer, the courts have returned unanimous verdicts indicating that the facts and science demonstrate that there was no connection between a person contracting cancer and their employment at San Onofre. In addition, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, relying on the National Council of Radiation Protection and the International Commission on Radiological Protection, among others, has established "federal limits" as to how much exposure any person working in a nuclear facility can receive. This is called "occupational exposure." None of the individuals named in Schou's article ever received exposure in excess of those limits. These important points were not emphasized in your article.
vice president, Southern California Edison
THE SUN IS OUR FRIEND
Paul Studier dismisses as "socialism" a a proposed California mandate that energy providers get 20 percent of their energy from renewable sources (Letters, July 27). A quick look at history clearly indicates that the U.S. has never been a "free-market capitalist" society. We have a mixed economy: the state has always provided capitalist firms with essential subsidies, guaranteed markets, bailouts, land grants and natural resource giveaways, notwithstanding free-market ideology. The key point about solar energy is that it is online during peak hours (when energy shortages occur) more reliably than any other source but wind.
GLOBAL WARMING IS A SCAM
I know that in responding to Jim Washburn, I'm not responding to any kind of serious political commentary. But what the hell: in "A Nation of Consumers" (Lost in OC, July 27), he mentions the "overwhelming number of scientists [who] have determined that human activity is contributing to climatic changes that will make life on this planet difficult if not untenable in the decades ahead." Actually, an overwhelming number of scientists have determined no such thing. The pattern usually goes as follows: some outfit like the National Academy of Sciences calls for articles on global warming from scientists. Scientists submit their articles, which run the gamut from tentative agreement on global warming to outright skepticism. All the submissions are combined into a publication so large that nobody ever reads it. The outfit then tacks on an introduction that states their own predetermined conclusion, not supported by the submissions. That is what reporters read, and that's what the media reports. Protests from scientists about the misrepresentation of their articles are generally ignored by the media. Is this the method of science? I don't think so. Such methods are more consistent with a hoax, a scam, a rip-off—all to support a political agenda, specifically the left-wing, environmentalist agenda.
Jim Washburn sez: Dear Jim, I haven't personally waded through the scientific reports, and I doubt you have either. We're both going by what we're told, and the only difference is that you're listening to idiots. If the grim summaries drawn in all these reports—one after another after another by respected scientific bodies—are misrepresentations of what scientists themselves are finding, don't you think your precious president would be seizing on that in his arguments against the Kyoto accords? Instead, he agrees that global warming is a problem and essentially argues that saving the world would be bad for business. Why would the heads of these scientific panels lie? Most scientists, curiously enough, rely on business for their income. How do they benefit from taking an anti-business stance? Perri the Squirrel isn't going to pay their salaries. And what liberal media are you talking about? TV networks and newspaper chains cost billions, and the same few very rich people who own them own plenty of other businesses as well. How do they benefit from an "anti-business" agenda? If it is because sensationalism sells papers, wouldn't the news that these scientific reports are lies be even more sensational? I would far rather you were right. I'm not keen on making the sacrifices necessary to even begin controlling global warming. But I would like even less having to explain to coming generations why we sold out their future for our convenience.
Washburn's article jokingly suggests that when a genetically engineered crop contaminates someone's divinely engineered crops, the makers of the new-and-improved version would be wise to seek relief in the courts for patent infringement. Although this may seem the stuff of paranoid liberal fantasy, a Canadian federal court has recently set a precedent that makes this scenario all too real. In Monsanto vs. Schmeiser Enterprises, Schmeiser was fined and made to pay compensatory and punitive damages to Monsanto after he sold his canola crop, which he knew to have been contaminated by Monsanto's GE canola from neighboring fields. Apparently, under Canadian law, the thing to do when you find out that your crops have been contaminated by Monsanto's high-tech mutants is to notify Monsanto and let them come take the crops that they now rightfully own. Schmeiser is appealing his case, but if the precedent stands, you can bet Monsanto's stock will prove a good investment as they take over the rights to the world's food supply.
DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS
Nick Schou's July 20 article "Two Down, One to Go" erroneously reported that prosecutors now admit George Lopez, the Garden Grove youth serving time for a 1999 robbery of an Anaheim commercial loan business, is innocent of the crime. Prosecutors have admitted no such thing, and we regret the error. Call it wishful thinking: three witnesses to the crime say Lopez is innocent, as does convicted felon Johnny Manuel Santacruz. Santacruz has in fact offered to tell prosecutors who really robbed the store in return for immunity from further prosecution—an offer the district attorney has so far refused. Wait! This just in: in an interview with LA Times reporter Stuart Pfeifer published Aug. 1, Santacruz said he committed the crime for which Lopez was convicted. The DA's office still hasn't talked to him. Once again, we're really sorry.
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