Will lawmakersreally learn lessons?
After hearing the announcement that there will be ethics training next month for the legislators, I started thinking about what that means, how that really looks.
Who, exactly, will be leading this discussion? How in-depth will it be? Are we talking about flash cards in the colors of red, yellow and green: to help show what behaviors are “too far,” what is worthy of a second thought and where to just go forward with gusto?
Having testified before many committees, I’ve watched elected officials do things like open the newspaper and read from it while the opposing side was giving testimony on proposed legislation.
What will be considered participation in the training? Will they just have to show up? Can they catch up on Facebook or email, receiving credit for having been present?
While I fully agree with leadership, that there have been many serious issues in the past, I do wonder if these four hours will really impact the session. Will we still see shenanigans and criminal behavior? I wonder most about the session, will we see a shift to inclusion, and integrity and ethics in the committees, the teamwork, the laws that are created?
THERESA REEL, Boise
Rein in the excesses
There is a mindset among many patriots in our country that seems to glorify war and especially its military leaders. The glitter of medals and stars often blind them to the culture in the military where generals and admirals use the system for kingly living and escape the detailed review that is more common in civilian life.
The recent exposure of the moral lapse of David Petraeus and the witness of lifestyle excesses via former Defense Secretary Bob Gates clearly suggests that the military needs to be reined in. It should start with denying the excessive budget requests of the Department of Defense where it currently exceeds the combined expenditures of all other industrial nations. Some leaders in the Republican Party are especially guilty of bowing to the military craze. Surely all Americans should value an adequate defense, but deplore warmongering and unjust wars.
We should always honor those who valiantly served our country, but never surrender to the military hawks or idolize the military brass whose humanness warrants greater scrutiny.
HARRY A. DENNIS, World War II veteran, Boise
Warming issueis a power grab
The ice melting north of Alaska and Canada so that ships can navigate the Northwest Passage for the first time is proof that the world is warming. The only question is what is causing the warming? I don’t think it is CO2, or human activity since the Earth has warmed and cooled many times in history before the population explosion or the internal combustion engine was invented, or fossil fuel was burned. CO2 should not be curtailed because plants need CO2 to survive and grow.
A reasonable suggested cause of warming is changes in the sun. Global warming is falsely being used to increase government power and control. At the constitutional convention, Patrick Henry said, “Power is the great evil with which we are contending. We have divided power between three branches of government, and erected checks and balances to prevent the abuse of power.” There are many people in government who are eagerly searching for any excuse to increase their power.
JACK H. STUART, Meridian
Beacon Light Roadshould remain rural
The Eagle City Council made it clear on Nov. 13 that the east-west Beacon Light Road in north Eagle must remain a rural road of not more than three lanes of traffic. Hopefully, a needed wide bike lane will be included.
However, the current Ada County Highway District plan wants to convert Beacon Light Road in the future into an east-west major five-lane highway with several signal lights, “in order to accommodate growth in the Foothills and northwest Eagle.” Not a good idea. The country atmosphere in north Eagle is a major asset to the city and its residents and it should remain so. The predicted heavy traffic from future growth should be diverted to Idaho 44 south via Idaho 16 on the west and Idaho 55 on the east. Using Beacon Light Road as a highway shortcut through a rural residential and ranch area would ruin Eagle, pure and simple.
Thank you, City Council, for sending an official letter to ACHD, recommending Beacon Light Road remain a rural road in a rural area. ACHD will hold public hearings on its traffic flow plan for north Eagle, and I encourage Eagle residents to speak for the city’s best interests.
PAT MINKIEWICZ, Eagle
Blame shoppers, not retailers
Don’t blame retailers, they are reacting to shopper demand. The blame belongs squarely on the “sheeple” who must buy, buy, buy. As long as profits are to be made, retailers will continue to push the early opening envelope. If everyone just stayed home it wouldn’t be an issue: no customers, no profit. Those shoppers who waited in line and left the dinner table early are your friends, neighbors and family. As Pogo would say, “I have met the enemy and he is us.”
PATRICIA KELLEY, Boise
An affront to ourfounding values
The Dec. 1 Associated Press article regarding $1 currency did not mention one very important negative trait of the presidential coins. These coins, as far as I know, are the only form of U.S. currency that does not include the phrase “In God We Trust.” As such, the presidents that these coins were minted to honor probably have rolled over in their graves with disgust and certainly would not feel honored by some set of bureaucrats rejecting their foundational belief for some misplaced alleged progressive notion.
The founders of our great country carried this phrase through every aspect of their lives and in the building of this country and it should always be so. I have no clue how or why or by whom this phrase was dropped but if Congress is being solicited to consider the $1 bill be replaced with coin, let’s ask them to do it with the right kind of coin with not only metallurgical consideration but with our nation’s foundational constitutional belief system in place as well.
More of us might then use these coins.
BILL EISENBARTH, Boise
Vaccine warrantshealthy skepticism
I have concerns about the shingles vaccine. Efficacy studies (New England Journal of Medicine, 2005; Journal of the American Medical Association, 2011) were conducted for three years using vaccinated and unvaccinated persons 60 years and older.
The vaccine was shown to be about 50 percent effective. This is not a high level of immunity and the immunity is short-lived. There was no detectable immunity beyond three years after vaccination. People over 70 are at greatest risk for shingles. Some advertising recommends the vaccine for people over 50, not appropriate considering the brief immune response. The rapid decline in immunity is not mentioned by health care professionals or via advertising. Consequently, most seniors believe that protection is long term. It is not.
Only persons with healthy immune responses were used in the efficacy studies. Since the vaccine is for elderly people, many of whom are immunologically compromised due to age and/or disease, the efficacy results reported are likely better than would occur in the general population.
Efficacy testing of this vaccine, as with most human and animal biologics, was financed directly or indirectly by the manufacturer. Therefore, a healthy skepticism regarding vaccines and drugs, especially those new on the market, is warranted.
LYLE LESLIE MYERS, Meridian