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Oh, doctor! So what's in a title?

First lady-to-be Jill Biden speaks to reporters during

First lady-to-be Jill Biden speaks to reporters during a voting poll meet and greet in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Nov. 3. Credit: AP/Chris O'Meara

Cathy Young’s op-ed "Everyone, just chill over Jill’s degree" [Opinion, Dec. 18] highlights our obsession with titles. For the record, in Europe a Ph.D. is considered more prestigious than an M.D., whereas in the United States it is the opposite. Along with the rise of American universities in the late 19th century came the establishment of professional bodies such as the American Medical Association, American Bar Association and American Historical Association. All were aimed at upgrading the qualifications and expertise of those entering such fields. I am content referring to my physician and dentist as doctor, based on the years of education and expertise acquired. I am also satisfied when my former students, some of whom are now physicians, apply the same prefix to my name based on my classroom contributions. We should focus more on how professionals contribute to the betterment of society than being fixated on how one should be addressed or what title to apply.

Charles F. Howlett,

West Islip

Editor’s note: The writer, a professor emeritus at Molloy College, received his doctorate in American history from the University at Albany.

Corporations should clean water pollution

When a giant corporation pollutes local water supplies, it should have to clean it up. That’s why 27 Long Island water providers have gone to court to hold Dow Chemical and others accountable for 1,4-dioxane contamination. Dow’s financial backing of Long Island Pure Water’s lawsuit against New York suggesting Long Island residents should just get their water from somewhere else looks like typical corporate behavior to avoid accountability for its actions ["LI group files suit to overturn new water standards," News, Dec. 12]. I believe trying to void the state’s action to regulate 1,4-dioxane, perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate is reckless, and claims that the advanced treatment systems needed are "dangerous" are baseless. They demonstrate a lack of understanding of all that water providers and health officials have done to further protect public health. Advanced Oxidation Process treatment has proven effective at safely removing 1,4-dioxane. We, and health regulators, have done the research, conducted pilot studies and confirmed its effectiveness in full-scale systems through thousands of water samples. The treatment results are valid.

Andrew N. Bader,

Plainview

Editor’s note: The writer is chairman of the Long Island Water Conference.

Sad part here is reader’s feelings

The headline "Redeeming cans often can be a sad scene" [Just Sayin’, Dec. 19], in my view, whitewashed the contents of that letter. Or was the headline written to infuse some of the empathy woefully lacking in the letter? I hope so. Otherwise, the headline could have been taken from this sentence: "I am disgusted to see people putting their mouths on a deflated bottle fished out of a garbage can, trying to blow it up so they can redeem it." I do agree with the last sentence: "There’s got to be a better way." One suggestion is if the reader feels "sorry people need this money to apparently survive" that he forgo the ordeal of waiting in line to "cash in a handful of items" and give those items to someone in line for whom "it’s a way of life ... going through garbage cans and fishing for every nickel item."

Lynne Mahoney,

East Islip

I expected to read a letter filled with compassion for Long Island’s homeless and maybe a rallying cry to help. Instead, I read with revulsion how the writer experiences numerous annoyances by those who depend on nickel deposits for sustenance. He acknowledged, "I realize it’s a way of life for some" and expressed irritation at people who redeem more than their daily allotment. The ultimate display of entitlement is when he states, "While I feel sorry people need this money to apparently survive, I find many get hostile and won’t stop stuffing the machines for a few seconds to allow me to cash in a handful of items." I am sorry that the writer is confronted with homelessness and poverty.

Angela Dunne,

Wantagh

A reader describes what people resort to when redeeming bottle and can deposits. He used the word "disgusted" to describe what he sees. Others, though, may describe the same scene as people being resourceful and doing what must be done during these hard times when a pandemic has put so many people out of work. After reading the letter, however, one cannot help but wonder why the author did not realize how fortunate he is and want to count his blessings.

Carol Ludwig,

Wantagh

Two sides of the election controversy

The election controversy has two sides ["Debate over election intensifies," Letters, Nov. 18]. One reader calls out President Donald Trump’s unorthodox presidency, ridiculed by even our staunchest, most loyal allies. The other side continues to spin outright lies to defend Trump, saying the riots in various cities were caused by left-wing groups, when even the FBI has publicly stated that right-wing provocateurs were dedicated to inciting violence and destruction. Another reader claims that "mail-in ballots are a disaster" and a Democratic plot, which flies in the face of facts, reason and history. Even Trump voted by mail. Another reader calls the Russian investigation a hoax — I would bet a tidy sum that the author never actually read the Mueller report. But why bother with facts — especially if they go against a preconceived notion? This kind of cognitive dissonance is why it may be impossible to "repair the break" between the members of Trump’s cult and the rest of America. You cannot argue with a fanatic, and "belief perseverance" (Google it) guarantees that facts will not sway their opinions.

Russell Alexander,

Brentwood

No need to make voting easier

In this country, voting is not only a privilege for citizens, but in my view it is also a civic duty ["The quest to make voting easier," News, Dec. 27]. How much easier can we make casting a ballot than it is already? Is next year’s "improvement" going to be casting your vote at your local 7-Eleven or at the gas station? Maybe just using your cellphone from your living room couch would be more convenient for those who find casting a ballot so taxing. Absentee or mail-in ballots, to me, should be reserved for only those who truly need them — military personnel and college students away from home, the elderly who don’t leave their homes, or those who are too sick or afraid of getting sick by going out. Even those of us who have to work on Election Day can find some time during the day to vote. How much easier do we have to make it?

Rick Hannsgen,

West Islip

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