Opinion » Mail

November 17-23


Thank you for printing the hilariously over-the-top letter to the editor from Dennis Johnson (BW, Nov. 10). A good laugh is just what we need after the literally over-the-top presidential campaign. As my son remarked: "And this guy is on the winning side!"

We're guessing Dennis had a drink or two before he lost control of his mouth. To my horror, I realized that after a couple drinks I might have dismissed the "others" equally intemperately, if less scatologically. Actually, Dennis may be more tolerant than I am; I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh or his ilk but Dennis, bless his heart, reads the Boise Weekly. The man can't be all bad.

--Lois Westin



I just read the letter to the editor from Dennis Johnson (BW, Nov. 10). It was filled with enough four-letter words to last a lifetime, but it caught my eye! He is a Bush backer (another four-letter word.) I want to say that I am coming out of the closet and admitting that I am a Democrat and that I voted for Kerry.

I didn't vote for Kerry. I voted against Bush. I believe Bush is a big-time divider, certainly not a uniter. I taught in Germany for several years, and I am still stunned at how the honest, hardworking, clean and cooperative German citizens lined up like lemmings behind Hitler and followed him into the Holocaust. Hitler was charismatic and smart, characteristics he doesn't share with Bush. But I see America veering sharply toward the extreme right.

It is time for us to step back and examine where we are being led, and to decide if we want to go off the deep end here in our country. I had a meeting with one of the two other Democrats in Idaho just yesterday, and we agreed that we need to get involved in the political process far before the next election day comes around. It is far wiser than complaining about the political outcome. I tried to limit my use of four-letter words to "Bush."

--Tom Edgar



Thousands of Idaho smokers are urged to kick the habit during the American Cancer Society's annual Great American Smokeout on Nov. 18. Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States. Here in Idaho, this loss of parents, grandparents, spouses, co-workers and friends is too great to continue. Now is the time to stop this deadly habit.

While smokers are urged to give up smoking to benefit their health, all Idahoans benefit from a new Clean Indoor Air law that prohibits smoking in many public areas. Secondhand smoke is a health hazard, containing more than 60 known and probable carcinogens and more than 4,000 chemicals including formaldehyde, arsenic, cyanide, and carbon monoxide. Annually, 1,500 Idahoans die from smoking and another 150 to 270 adults, children and babies die from secondhand smoke and pregnancy smoking. These numbers do not reflect the larger number of Idahoans who suffer from tobacco-related health problems without dying.

The health care costs of smoking hits everyone in the pocketbook. The state and federal tax burden to pay for the annual health care costs of smoking is $494 for every household in Idaho. The state Medicaid program pays $65 million in health care costs caused by smoking. Everyone pays for smoking in Idaho.

Now is the time for people to speak up. First, encourage and support those you know to give up smoking. The American Cancer Society offers support and information for smokers who want to quit by calling 1-800-ACS-2345 or logging on at cancer.org to begin that first step in freedom from smoking. Second, let your state legislators know that you want Idaho to have a strong smoke-free law. Attempts by the tobacco industry to reduce the effectiveness of Idaho's law must be rejected.

--Maureen M. Ayers, Communications Manager, American Cancer Society, Great West Division