Oppose Health-Care Reform? Then You Get to Pay More!

Effective immediately: Due to the crippling cost of health care, all Republican and "moderate" Democrat customers opposing health-care reform will be assessed a $30 health-care surcharge. It is the Joe Lieberman surcharge (Downing, Nov. 12).

An ashamed Republican,

James Stilley

Smokers Should Not Get Government Assistance

Regarding "License Crisis Averted?" Currents, Nov. 19: The state of Arizona can immediately save millions of dollars and lives by simply ending all public assistance (welfare) payments to cigarette smokers.

Taxpayers are simultaneously subsidizing the living expenses and supporting the addictions of people who are literally burning money in the form of tobacco. Anyone who has money to spend on smoking neither needs nor deserves tax dollars for free food, subsidized housing, government day care and so on. An average pack-per-day smoker spends more than $1,800 a year on their cigarettes alone, and an idle, unemployed nicotine addict obviously spends even more.

The governor of Arizona already sent a state official to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C., to prohibit the purchase of soda, candy bars, etc., with food stamps. The logic is impeccable and compelling: Food stamps are for nutrition, not junk food. So if cigarette-smokers have money for their nicotine addiction, they don't need food stamps, public housing, government day care, etc.

Instead of crippling essential services such as transportation and public safety, instead of depriving children of decent K-12 education, we must now stop indulging selfish and extravagant welfare recipients who smoke.

In case anyone asks, the same applies to alcohol.

Carl O'Kelley

Helicopter Fuel Dump Shows Why We Shouldn't Be in Afghanistan

One night in July 2005, a Tucson-based military helicopter crew flying over Afghanistan dumps 500 pounds of gasoline in order to make a landing ("Navy SEAL Down," Nov. 12):

"(The pilot) flips open the cover on his dump switch ... and sends 500 pounds of gas pouring from his chopper, probably souring the dreams of Afghanis who sleep on their rooftops on warm summer nights."

The pilot also probably soaked with poisonous gasoline the fur and skin and leaves of the animals and plants and trees in the area. Those 500 pounds of gas did more than wake up a few Afghanis. For the innocent family that is the victim of the gas dump, this is probably the toll: Dead, after days of agony, the old water buffalo who had tilled the fields for years. Dead, the donkey that carried food from town. Dead, the little yellow dog that guarded the house at night. Dead, 10 chickens and three goats. Dead, the green plants on the terraced field, almost ready to be harvested. Dead, two apple and three peach trees. Polluted, the well that the family's drinking water came from.

Can you think of any good reason to keep the American military in Afghanistan? I can't.

Louise Meyer

How Are Animals at PACC Euthanized?

First of all, my compliments to Tim Vanderpool on an incisive piece of journalism ("A Letter From Dogpatch," Nov. 26). That article gave me food for thought—most of it disturbing.

Vanderpool may not have even thought to ask whether the euthanasia agent administered at the Pima Animal Care Center is even an acceptable one. Sodium pentobarbital is generally accepted by most veterinarians as the most humane drug for euthanizing an animal, but it can be expensive and, as a controlled substance, is usually not available to anyone other than a veterinarian. If non-veterinary personnel at PACC are the people administering this drug, they may be breaking the law; if PACC is not using this drug at all, then they are guilty of extraordinary cruelty. (Even sodium pentobarbital can lead to a cruel death if injected into the body cavity or directly into the heart rather than intravenously.)

Most readers will probably feel disgusted, angry and powerless after reading the heartbreaking assertions made in "A Letter From Dogpatch." What can be done? Well, for one thing, write to Pima County Health Department director Sherry Daniels and politely but firmly demand transparency in local government. Next, try Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a known advocate for animals, and tell her that PACC needs a complete overhaul. These may seem like small steps, but if the people nag them enough, politicians will listen.

It's our pound, and if we want it changed for the better, we must speak up.

Gabrielle DiFonzo

Comment From a Reader at TucsonWeekly.com

Regarding Danehy, Dec. 3:

The (length of time) you are willing to wait in a line is inversely proportional to the amount of money your time is worth. I'm sure there weren't a lot of doctors and lawyers waiting in line (on Black Friday) at 4 a.m.


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