May 08, 2002


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talkback...

Not physical therapy

Your article "Pain in the Neck" [4/17/02] states, "At a time when massage is widely accepted by medical professionals as legitimate physical therapy, San Francisco remains unclear on the concept that massage does not equal sex."

While I'm pleased that massage is gaining wider acceptance among medical professionals, massage is not physical therapy. In order to call yourself a physical therapist, you must have a master's degree from a university with a program in physical therapy. There is an internship requirement; then you must pass a state licensing exam.

Physical therapists study all aspects of the musculoskeletal system (muscles, bones, and joints). Physical therapy programs include training in massage. Some of the other subjects covered are anatomy, neuroanatomy, diseases of the muscles and bones, therapeutic exercise, joint mobilization, gait training (analyzing and correcting problems with walking), and postural analysis.

Physical therapists help people rehabilitate (i.e., help them to regain their maximum function). They work with people with a variety of conditions, including stroke, amputation, hip fracture, and spinal cord injury, sports injuries (from twisted ankles to broken bones), and neck and back pain, to name a few.

Wendy Richardson physical therapist San Francisco

A better database

I read with interest your 4/24/02 article about the issues surrounding a centralized homeless database in San Francisco ["Down for the Count"].

I was surprised that you did not mention the current client database being used at Multi-Service Center South, the large homeless shelter at Fifth and Bryant Streets. This database was developed at a cost of less than $10,000 through the collaboration of the Department of Human Services and MSC-South. This database, if used at all homeless service centers, would meet the congressional mandate of producing an unduplicated count of clients using homeless services.

The database identifies clients using their name, date of birth, and last four digits of their social security number (if they have one). No biometric identification (e.g., fingerprinting) is used, and no one is turned away if they do not provide this information. The statistics produced by the database are not perfect but represent reasonably accurate numbers.

The database is not connected to any external network outside the building or to the Internet, and attempts to preserve client dignity and confidentiality while meeting the data-reporting needs of the clients and the DHS.

Gary Koenig San Francisco

Garcia's garage

If Ken Garcia is so concerned about every last tree in Golden Gate Park, I wonder why he so wholeheartedly endorses the San Francisco Chronicle publisher's plan to build a parking garage there.

Kendall Willets San Francisco

Pacifists are losers

If ever one needed a primer on the bankruptcy of political pacifism, they need look no further than Paul Reidinger's truly bizarre essay over the legacy of Abraham Lincoln's leadership in the war against the Southern slavocracy, or the Second American Revolution, as it is more precisely referred to ["The House That Lincoln Built," Lit, 4/24/02]. Echoing the long-discredited argument of right-wing intellectuals and Southern "redeemers," he claims the war was only "nominally" fought over slavery, and that in essence it was a "Bismarckian war of subjugation," the long-term result of which has been the creation of an imperial nation-state on "an inhuman, emotionally inhospitable scale." Shuddering at the "gruesomeness" of the war, he wonders if we wouldn't all have been better off if Lincoln had gently "hemmed in" (whatever that means) the rebels, letting them, at some distant time, abandon slavery on their own.

Democratic rights enjoyed today in the United States, however weak or indifferently observed, are nevertheless the fruit of unremitting revolutionary and, yes, violent struggle. The Civil War, carried to the end, was objectively necessary precisely because 80 years of temporizing, compromising, and finally giving in to the slave owners had yielded nothing.

Reidinger's piece shines light, however inadvertently, on the tendency of pacifism, with its recoil from all armed struggle, to open the door to reaction and defeat. Lincoln's place in history is guaranteed because of, and not in spite of, his prosecution of a progressive and historically necessary war.

Fortunately, while Reidinger may not get it, many more do. The thousands who marched for Palestine here a few weeks ago made that clear with a chant that is as true as it is simple: "No justice, no peace."

Peter Anestos San Francisco

Paul Reidinger responds: In the excitement of calling me all those names, Mr. Anestos seems to have forgotten to make a coherent point – unless unsubstantiated assertions, stridently phrased, are now to be counted as coherent points.