Lawmakers should pass prevention act
As a mother and as a pediatrician, I believe I speak for the majority of my colleagues with this plea: The Idaho Legislature should join most other states in the country and pass H191, The Idaho Skin Cancer Prevention Act, regulating children's use of tanning devices.
There are more skin cancers diagnosed each year in the U.S. than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined. And rates of skin cancer, including deadly melanoma, continue to rise, even in our young people.
Along with the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Dermatology, (and Dr. Oz!) the American Academy of Pediatrics supports legislation prohibiting access to tanning salons or use of artificial tanning devices by children under 18.
We should confront public health hazards to our children that have a significant negative impact on all of us collectively. That's how we treat alcohol and tobacco. In the case of tanning beds, benefits are cosmetic. But skin cancer kills just like lung cancer kills.
NOREEN WOMACK, Boise
Military budget has much room for cuts
The sky is falling, the sky is falling. Or so the president, several members of Congress and the military would have us believe.
Sequestering will force the Department of Defense to cut its budget in all areas by $572 billion. So we hear how badly it's going to affect Idaho, but most of those are choices within DOD. In other words, they are trying to scare us.
In 2011, a Pentagon audit showed $70 billion in waste for one year. Since 9/11 the GAO said projected cost of only the largest programs in the DOD had risen by $135 billion, bringing the increase to $1.68 trillion since 2008, most of which is spent overseas.
I spent 29 years in the military, and trust me, I've seen the waste firsthand. We can, and need to take these cuts to get back to running a leaner, more effective, quality military, and not one based only on quantity. This Defense Discretionary Sequester in FY 2013 will not kill us, will not make us less strong. It will start us on a road to a healthier economy. The sky is not falling!
MICHAEL "MAGS" SHAW, Boise
Government schools are not the answer
What if your religion was planned by the government? What if from ages 6 to 18 your spiritual life was dictated by politicians, bureaucracies and religious worker unions? What if you were told what to read, learn and think during this time and your parents could be sent to jail for not sending you to a government-sanctioned church?
That would be insane. So in the omnipresent debate about both Idaho's and America's failed state of government schooling, I propose we make a similar commitment to the complete separation of school and state.
Imagine a world in which every single dollar of the hundreds of billions looted from parents and taxpayers every year were spent on an unlimited amount of private-voluntary education options. Imagine unleashing our education entrepreneurs all over the state, thinking of new and innovative ways to inspire kids to learn; imagine the opportunities for new fields of study emerging to advance our society. Imagine kids being treated like human beings, not assembly lines. Imagine no more politicians in education.
We can free society from violent government schooling the same way our founders freed society from government-based religion. We can do this.
DAVID LOWENTHAL, Boise
One store shouldn't dictate policy for all
Why are our elected officials pondering spending a one-time only outlay of $600,000-$700,000 and an annual cost of $200,000-$300,000 to make one store more efficient?
My store and others look forward to the first of the month for the extra business that occurs. We see this as a blessing, not as a curse. If large grocery stores want to "improve" their business model, then they should fully fund the implementation and maintenance with the costs associated with changing the distribution of the food stamp program.
It seems ridiculous to expect the taxpayers to pay to make one business more efficient. This money could be better spent on education, roads, etc.
REGINALD STATES, Boise