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No good excuse for trashing seniors' vans

Another attack on seniors in Hawaii, this time without anyone touching the seniors.

Catholic Charities in Hawaii operates a fleet of vans for transporting seniors to the doctors, meal sites and hospitals. At the moment they are out of business because some group of people or one very mad individual has vandalized all eight of their vans (Star-Bulletin, June 15).

They were not stolen, just trashed. Someone does not like seniors or Catholic Charities or both. Approximately 2,000-plus seniors use these vans each month. Many cannot possibly get on a city bus and cannot afford to use taxicabs.

When and if the perps are caught, we will once again be treated to a rendition of the old courtroom favorite, "I was abused as a child and that's why I'm an SOB." Maybe Dolly or Willy or Johnny can put the words to music. It could be played each time a senior is abused here.

Arnold Van Fossen

Modern farming is barbaric to animals

Carol J. Adams dedicated the 10th anniversary edition of her book, "The Sexual Politics of Meat," thus: "In memory of 31.1 billion each year, 85.2 million each day, 3.5 million each hour, 59,170 each minute." These are the statistics of animal deaths that make one become a vegetarian or an activist for animals.

The bucolic image of happy cows, pigs, chickens and ducks on Old MacDonald's Farm that we still teach children is not the reality at all. The reality is so horrible that the perpetrators do not want their factory farms photographed. They are building walls and putting up tall fences with barbed wire around their facilities and slaughter houses. They don't want the consumer to see or know about the abuses that are going on.

I want to thank Gene Bauston of Farm Sanctuary for his recent talk at the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii's June meeting. He showed the pictures and gave the details. Another meeting will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 13 at the Ala Wai Golf Course clubhouse, when Wayne Pachelle will present "Fighting Animal Exploitation." VSH is the largest regional vegetarian society in the United States. It brings the top vegetarian and animal-rights authorities from around the world to Hawaii, which also is home to many experts in the field of vegan nutrition. This year, Honolulu was designated the Fifth Most Vegetarian City in the United States.

Hawaii leads the world in many ways. It must lead the world with aloha to animals and good human health.

Helen Wells

Health must outweigh church's concerns

Governor Lingle should approve Senate Bill 658, which would require hospitals to give emergency contraceptives to rape victims. I agree with Adriana Ramelli, of the Hawaii Sex Abuse Treatment Center, that the measure is "just good public policy" (Star-Bulletin, June 11).

Had Lingle been such a victim who was denied these medications by one hospital, and did not have the opportunity to go to another hospital that did dispense them, she would have no question with the bill.

I understand St. Francis Hospital's reservations about the measure, given the Catholic church's opposition to birth control, but I believe the welfare of the overall public overrides their concerns.

Stuart N. Taba

Bill offers couples a safe back-up plan

A veto of House Bill 123, the emergency contraception (EC) bill, would be a missed opportunity for Hawaii to enact a safe, fiscally sound policy for promoting women's health and personal responsibility. As an obstetrician/gynecologist, I know EC to be a safe, effective, inexpensive method for preventing unplanned pregnancies.

For couples whose contraceptive method has failed, or for women who have been sexually assaulted, making sure EC is readily available makes sense. EC has been used safely for years both domestically and abroad. Its safety/benefit profile is such that ACOG, the governing body for U.S. obstetricians and gynecologists, recommends that doctors should consider dispensing a prescription for EC along with whatever contraceptive method a patient chooses, to make sure that she has it available should her method of choice fail. ACOG believes that "requiring a physician's prescription for hormonal emergency contraceptive pills makes no sense. ... The prescription requirement poses an unnecessary barrier to prompt, effective use of this preventive therapy."

Other states, like Washington, already have enacted legislation permitting pharmacists to dispense EC and have seen reductions in unplanned pregnancies and in pregnancy-related welfare expenditures. I hope Governor Lingle will not block Hawaii's enactment of this progressive legislation.

Willie J. Parker, MD, MPH

We're in trouble and tax cuts won't help

John Ornellas (Letters, June 8) may think that challenging people opposed to Bush's irresponsible tax cuts to return their checks is amusing. It's just this kind of ignorance that will drive our country into fiscal ruin.

Did Ornellas miss the fact that many senators in President Bush's own party criticized the plan as out of line with reality, and gave in only after Bush rolled out his tax-cut road show to apply political pressure?

Here are some interesting factoids to consider:

>> Bush has managed to grow the national debt by more than $850 billion since he took office in January of 2001.

>> The Bush administration projects annual interest payment on this debt to rise from $176 billion to more than $250 billion in just over four years.

>> The amount Bush will spend over the amount collected is projected to exceed $415 billion this year and $489 billion by next year, shattering the old record of $290 billion set by his father in 1992.

If this country is ever going to finance baby boomers' Social Security and Medicare costs, it cannot borrow this kind of money to pay for the federal government's routine bills.

By the way, why shouldn't concerned citizens cash their modest checks? If they don't, Bush and his cronies surely will ram through another reckless plan to benefit themselves and use a still-sluggish economy to justify their greed.

Roger Thoren


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