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Letters to the editor

March 29, 2004

Protect our vitamin supplements


To the editor:

The FDA's recent announcement to ban ephedra has initiated a virtual avalanche of negative commentary regarding the effects of the existing law governing dietary supplements. As one of approximately 190 million health conscious individuals who rely on these supplements, this escalating "bad press" is of great concern to me.

Despite the inaccuracies and misrepresentations being perpetuated about DSHEA (the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act), the truth is that it is a more than adequate vehicle for regulating and ensuring the safety of dietary supplements.

The real problem lies in the FDA's inability or unwillingness to enforce the law and avail itself of the numerous avenues for monitoring and control it provides. It is for just this reason that those who would promote the passage of a so-called "new and improved" dietary supplement law should instead encourage and support the FDA in fully utilizing its enforcement powers as granted by DSHEA.

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Protect my rights to purchase the vitamins I need.

Ryan Blair
Hagerstown




Mars least of our worries


To the editor:

The president has plans to send Americans to Mars and establish a permanent presence on the moon. This proposal should be relegated to the trash bin. Why?

First, the U.S. Treasury has already been assured of massive deficits for generations to come due to the gigantic Iraq expenditure. Just recently the U.S. Congress approved Mr. Bush's $87 billion annual budget for the next fiscal year with no end in sight. Some military experts predict a five-year occupation and massive reconstruction costs of $498 billion.

Second, our present deployment globally demands huge expenditures for years to come. Some 255,000 troops have been stationed in Germany, South Korea, Japan, Kosovo and now in Iraq, costing American taxpayers a whopping $322 billion in 2001. Again, deficit spending supports these gigantic global military commitments.

Third, the loss of American jobs in off-shore contracting means more and more factory workers are losing their paychecks. Just in the last three years alone, manufacturing shipped 2.6 million jobs overseas. The Forester Research Institute estimated that we will have lost 3.3 million service jobs by 2015 unless drastic measures are taken.

Where is the tax base coming from to support Mr. Bush's pie-in-the-sky deficit spending for a moon station and a manned flight to Mars?

Fourth, no one in the Bush administration will address the baby boomer retirements coming in the next five years. It is predicted (see CBO Web site) that 77 million boomers and their heavy claims on federal retirement programs are already beginning, and will continue in full-swing for the next few years. This means fewer federal taxes to beef-up the federal coffers.

In short, unless enough voters critically analyze these politically motivated proposals we are doomed to another four years of outrageous deficit spending. Moon space stations and manned flights to Mars are unreasonable proposals and should be taken for what they are - headline grabbers to politically influence certain voter constituencies.

Blanton Croft
Hagerstown




Doctors need our help


To the editor:

We need to stand with our doctors as they work to lower health care costs. We need to go to Annapolis for them. We need to write our delegates and our governor.

It is high time someone stands up and speaks the truth. We must put legislation on the table that is realistic concerning this health care dilemma.

There must be a realistic cap on award with special acceptance for gross negligence firmly defined. Damages need to reflect actual cost and or loss of income.

Allow awards to pay all existing incurred bills from occurrence then pay remainder over a number of years. Put a cap on what attorneys can receive from these awards.

Again. we the people must stand up and make ourselves heard. Please don't wait until your doctor leaves the state of Maryland. Even attorneys need doctors.

Monty R. Jones
Williamsport




Falsehood season has started


To the editor:

You can tell the political campaign season has arrived, by the ads over the airwaves. However, when these ads are placed to smear the reputation and character of the opponent, then it is time to address the matter.

Reference Sen. Arlen Specter's campaign against his opponent, Rep. Pat Toomey.

The following are some examples:

Lie No. 1: "Toomey says he is for protecting our children, but voted against warning labels on violent obscene records, movies and video games."

Truth No. 1: Congressman Toomey has never voted against warning labels on violent and obscene records, movies and video games. In fact, the U.S. House of Representatives has not voted on the warning labels issue since Toomey became a member.

Lie No. 2: "Toomey says he supports the military, but voted against needed pay raises for the men and women fighting terrorism around the globe."

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