February 15, 2006 

that's so gay

If I have to read one more fucking human-interest-style story in the Idaho Press-Tribune or some other back-assward daily about some little old man who schlepped all the way to the Statehouse floor from Weiser or somewhere to "defend" the world from gay marriage, I might go postal. Seriously: I understand the desire to portray all sides of the stories, but these people are bigots, plain and simple. A note to the editors of the aforementioned dailies: Decades from now, in a more enlightened time, professors will present your stories to their students as proof that these were dark years for the American press. I honestly don't think I even know a gay person who would want their marriage to be legitimized by such a loathable institution as the State of Idaho if they had the chance, but my heart still aches for gay folk statewide.

--Mary Shepherd,


Editor's note: Mary, the little guy from Weiser was actually defending gay marriage, not defending marriage from gays.

Food reviews

You guys really need to get serious about restaurant reviews. Not all of the valley's eatery's are "decent," "generally good" or "recommendable". I have yet to see you hold some of these substandard places accountable for their marginal-to-bad food, especially when you pay $7.50 for a burger (as if there aren't enough places that serve burgers and fries in this town). The worst reviews you people ever present always go something like "the waitress was a little slow, but boy was that glass of water cold."

If it's about wanting to support local business, I say you are doing your local readers no service by these extremely soft reviews, which is who you are really supposed to be serving. Here's an idea, if you all don't want to talk about how bad the food was, maybe do some sort of rating scale at the end of the review that has some relation to reality and is less likely to hurt feelings? Maybe read the New York Times or Washington Post for some pointers? There certainly is nothing "alternative" about your approach.

The bottom line is, get some credibility and call it like you see it.

--Darrin Gilbert

The skinny

I have been researching adjustable lap band surgery for eight months. You are correct that it can be adjusted by a port placed under the skin but there is no stapling of the stomach during this procedure. Since in your article (BW, feature,"The Skinny on Weight Loss Surgery", February 1, 2006) you called it "binding" I wanted to make sure you are not talking about the Lap Band.

I believe that a lot of people will read this and I want to make sure the ones that are maybe thinking of getting the lap band aren't scared off thinking they will have their stomach stapled at the same time.

--Sheri A. Winter, Boise

In response to the article (BW, feature,"The Skinny on Weight Loss Surgery," February 1, 2006) I'd like to remind your readers that surgery should always be the last resort for any injury, condition or disease.

Obesity is no exception. It's a mistake for anyone to abandon, or worse, sidestep the proven behavioral solutions of exercise and a balanced diet.

The risks of invasive bariatric surgeries (such as gastric bypass, adjustable gastric banding, duodenal switch, etc.) are substantial.And their benefits can be achieved with less cost, no risk, and less aggravation, using natural means.

Mortality rates for bariatric surgical procedures can be as high as one in 100, according to estimates by Virginia Commonwealth University. That means that 1,500 of the projected 150,000 Americans that will undergo the procedure this year will die as a result.

The survivors can expect months of difficult recovery, common complications such as vomiting, ulcers, hernias, and internal bleeding, and the surgery's dirty little secret--the cruel irony of a nightmarishly strict diet for the rest of their lives.

Most patients are restricted from eating certain foods ever again (which vary depending on the person). In addition, patients are often required to take a variety of supplements and medications to combat predictive malabsorption, a serious side-effect that stops the body from digesting crucial nutrients.

After gastric bypass, naughty indulgences that contain excess fats and sugars can become life-threatening transgressions because they take up crucial stomach space but have no nutritional value.

Sadly, many of these patients could lose their extra weight without surgery, given a well-designed fitness program that includes diet, exercise and proven behavior modification techniques.

In over 20 years of treating obesity, I've rarely recommended bariatric surgery, and when I have, it has only been in the very most extreme cases and with great trepidation. Even in the most extreme cases, behavioral therapies can be as effective and rewarding as invasive procedures. And behavioral programs are always more flexible, not to mention safe.

With a well-planned approach, and the help of a medical professional, anyone can lose their excess weight, without losing the freedom of a normal lifestyle.

--Dr. Boyd Lyles M.D., Dallas, TX

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