Good strokes on energy
The members of Congress who voted in favor of the House's renewable energy package this month should get hearty praise ("House votes to raise tax on oil firms," Page 1, Aug. 5). Among them was my congressman, Democratic Rep. James P. Moran. He and his colleagues took an important first step toward expanding our use of clean and renewable energy.
For the first time, we have a real shot at boosting the amount of electricity we get from renewable sources such as wind and solar power while also getting better energy efficiency.
Renewable sources of electricity such as properly sited wind turbines and solar power are essential to solving global warming and achieving energy independence. Recent studies also have found that a renewable energy standard will save consumers money and create jobs.
It's a rare win-win-win situation when we get cleaner energy, improved security and good jobs in a single stroke. Let's hope the Senate and President Bush do their part by supporting the amendment themselves.
National Audubon Society
'No' to government medicine
Paul Belien offers a wake-up call to those who fantasize that the fastest and most compassionate way to reach more Americans with quality health care is to give government total control of medicine ("Costly 'affordable' health care," Op-Ed, Wednesday).
The socialized solution in which government redistributes wealth through heavy taxation and maintains a monopoly on health care delivery seems simple until its flaws play out in everyday practice. When the demand for health care inevitably exceeds available supply, government resorts to utilitarian rationing. Cost-cutting bureaucrats insist on cheaper if less effective drugs, institute interminable patient waiting lists even for critical care and ration care based on which patients are deemed to deserve it more than others.
Mr. Belien's example of how his elderly grandfather died after Belgian bureaucrats mandated a cheaper, deafness-inducing drug illustrates how older patients already suffer in this utilitarian calculus. It's not hard to imagine a similar utilitarian devaluing of the lives of disabled persons who drain the economy by requiring intensive care or of the unborn, who can be made simply to disappear without anyone hearing their cries. The weakest link gets voted off.
As the Soviet experiment of last century proved, fixing prices and prohibiting individual choice depresses motivation, innovation and productivity. Yet some would persist in repeating the same mistakes by socializing medicine in America in the name of compassion. Admirers of socialized medicine should consider carefully how well compassion fares when government calculates care.
Vice president, government
Christian Medical Association
Insane immigration policy
We all have read about illegal aliens suspected of murdering three college students in Newark, N.J. last week ("Atrocity in Newark," Editorial, Tuesday). In July, there was a report that two illegal aliens had been accused of murdering a 15-year old girl in Milwaukee, Ore.
It is clear that illegal aliens are involved in an increasing number of violent felonies and in traffic accidents causing serious injuries or fatalities. Alcohol often is a factor in these accidents, and often the driver has no valid license, no legitimate vehicle registration and no liability insurance. As noted in the editorial, "there can be no place in the United States for these criminals."
Given this situation, as well as the many other problems associated with the invasion of our nation by millions of illegal aliens, it certainly has been good news to learn that the deployment of National Guard troops to the southern border apparently has been effective in decreasing the number of illegals coming into the United States. So why is it that the White House has decided to start pulling out the National Guard a year earlier than originally scheduled and to reduce the number of troops supporting the efforts of the Border Patrol by half? By this logic, if indeed the "surge" is working in Iraq, I guess it must be time to pull out half of those troops.
While the administration is pulling National Guard troops away from the border, it is directing members of the Border Patrol to build the new fences along the border. Is there no end to the abuse Border Patrol agents must endure? For years, the Border Patrol has been undermanned and underfunded . Border Patrol agents risk their lives daily trying to stem the incoming tide of illegals. Too often, federal prosecutors and even local prosecutors are bringing charges against agents who face impossible odds every day. It is unfortunate that some of these prosecutors cannot be forced to spend six months serving as uniformed Border Patrol agents. Perhaps then their eyes would be opened if they just don't turn tail and run. Now, to add insult to injury, these officers will be detailed as laborers. When will this insanity end?
Preventing teen drug-abuse
The editorial calling for parents to be alert to teen medicine abuse provided a great service to parents. Alerts such as these are key to protecting our teens from this potentially dangerous, but largely unknown, substance abuse problem ("Teens and prescription drugs," Tuesday). In fact, research shows that teens who talk to their parents about drug abuse are half as likely to abuse drugs.
Parents should be on alert for over-the-counter medicine abuse in addition to prescription medicine abuse. With 2.4 million teens reporting they have abused cough medicine to get high sometimes taking 25 to 50 times the recommended dose parents need to safeguard their medicine cabinets like they do their liquor cabinets.
The good news is that there are places parents can go to educate themselves and help their youngsters steer clear of medicine abuse. The Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), which represents the leading makers of over-the-counter cough medicines, has numerous educational campaigns to raise awareness among parents about the dangers of cough medicine abuse. The recently inaugurated Web-based campaign FiveMoms.comprovides parents with the tools they need to safeguard their medicine cabinets and asks each person the campaign touches to tell five friends.
We also have teamed up with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America and D.A.R.E. America to encourage parents, teachers, substance-abuse prevention experts, law enforcement officials, school administrators and others to learn about medicine abuse and how to prevent it.
LINDA A. SUYDAM
Consumer Healthcare Products