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Obamacare and the Court, antibiotics in agriculture, and more 

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Kevorkiancare

If the Supreme Court repeals all or part of Obamacare, compassionate conservatives are said to be pushing for assisted suicide as a replacement. Think of the billions of dollars we could save.

— Glenn Perry

Colorado Springs

Attacking antibiotics

President Obama recently directed federal agencies to serve antibiotic-free meat and poultry in government cafeterias. The FDA will require animal producers to obtain authorization from a licensed veterinarian to use drugs to treat a specific disease, rather than just to promote rapid growth, as is current practice. As much as 80 percent of all U.S. antibiotics are used in animal agriculture.

The moves come amid growing concern about the link between routine antibiotic use in animal agriculture and human infections by bacteria that have developed resistance to antibiotics because of their excessive use. The CDC estimates that antibiotic resistance causes 2 million illnesses and 23,000 deaths per year in the U.S. It also adds $20 billion per year in health care costs and $35 billion in lost productivity. And we thought that animal products were just linked to heart disease, cancer and stroke.

While government agencies reduce antibiotics in animal products, the rest of us can do better immediately with wholesome vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains and a rich variety of plant-based meats, cheeses, milks and ice creams. These foods contain all the nutrients we require without the deadly pathogens, antibiotics, carcinogens, cholesterol and saturated fats.

— Claus Singer

Colorado Springs

GOP and social issues

Larimore Nicholl's most recent letter ("Sign me up," June 3) tells us what wonderful things Big Government "gives us" and adds his historically inaccurate version of how the "socialist agenda" has helped with social issues.

He lists all the wonderful things government "gives" us like the armed forces, roads, damns, bridges, roads, public schools, etc. Those are what most conservatives believe governments are supposed to do with the "stupendous amount of taxes" we give the government. Big Government is all the other things governments do with our "massive taxes" that take money from the things they are supposed to do so we end up with roads full of potholes.

Mr. Nicholl claims the "socialist agenda" helped abolish slavery, got women the right to vote and passed civil rights legislation.

The Senate passed the 13th Amendment by 38-6 with all Republicans and only two Democrats voting for it. It passed the House with 103 Republican and 16 Democrats voting for it, 56 Democrats against it.

The same goes for women's right to vote. In the House, 200 Republicans and 102 Democrats voted for it while 19 Republicans and 70 Democrats voted against it. In the Senate, 36 Republicans and 20 Democrats voted for it while eight Republicans and 17 Democrats voted against it.

For the Civil Rights Act of 1964, only 63 percent of House Democrats voted for it compared to 80 percent of Republicans. Only 69 percent of Senate Democrats voted for it compared to 82 percent of Republicans.

I think Mr. Nicholl could blow his nose and mail the Kleenex to the local newspapers and they would print it.

— Bill Schaffner

Colorado Springs

Where the people are

I enjoy following population data. Yeah, it's strange, I know. Anyway, here are some interesting details:

• It is very likely Phoenix has displaced Philadelphia as the fifth-most populated city in the U.S. If not, it will certainly occur by the start of 2016.

• San Jose should lose its 10th-place standing in four years or less, given current growth patterns. Austin, Texas, will become the new No. 10.

• With Austin, Texas would have four of the Top 10 most populated cities in the U.S.

• Atlanta and Colorado Springs are at Nos. 40 and 41, respectively. Their growth rates are pretty close, with the Springs having a slight edge. Both cities are more populated than Cleveland, St. Louis, Miami or Pittsburgh.

• Once-mighty Detroit has fallen below 700,000 and continues that trend. Memphis and other cities have moved ahead of Detroit.

• Denver and Seattle have overtaken Washington and Baltimore.

• The fifth-largest city in North America is very likely Toronto. It's a good bet that it overtook Chicago in the past year or so. Houston likely can dethrone Chicago as the nation's third-largest city by 2020.

Metro areas are a whole different animal. For instance, Tucson is a much larger city than Cleveland but in metro population, Cleveland wins by a huge margin. Nonetheless, Tucson has a growth rate many times that of Cleveland's, which is in decline.

— Len Bentley

Colorado Springs

Hightower answers

It's unsurprising that [Richard] Evans, the top lobbyist for a Walmart front group, would use factual errors and hyperbole to accuse me and Mother Jones of using factual errors and hyperbole in articles that rightly condemn ARAWC's privatized workers' comp scheme ("ARAWC responds," Letters, April 29; "Workers' comp is under attack," LowDown, April 22).

He's dead wrong to assert I spend my time "bashing job-creating businesses" — in fact, I'm the proprietor of one! I do, however, expose the shameful greed of corporations (like the ones he fronts for) that use campaign cash and vast lobbying networks to rig the rules against working people.

In Texas, which has the corporate utopia of privatized workers comp that Evans & Company intend to impose nationwide, fewer than half of the privatized plans offer benefits to seriously injured workers — or even families of workers killed on the job.

— Jim Hightower/LowDown

Austin, Texas

Seeking reality

I'm at a loss to understand climate change skeptics. A recent letter ("Not so hot," April 1) cited three of them: Nic Lewis (denierlist@wordpress.com), an ex-financier who admits that CO2 is causing global warming but doesn't think it's all that serious; Tony Heller (aka Steve Goddard, see Wikipedia entry), disowned by his own climate-denier fraternity for misrepresenting climate records and for having to retract a statement re polar ice melting; and, strangest of all, Patrick Moore, an ex-Greenpeace member who lied about being a "founder" and has ties to the energy industry himself.

Last of all, our own neighbor John Wark accuses John Hazlehurst of a lack of gravitas and of being disingenuous, while not checking his sources and not including Big Oil and Big Coal in his list of the nasty folks conspiring to enslave us in their bottom line. Pointing a finger at the so-called "climate change industry" is like blaming garbage collectors for our own waste, while denying that it even exists. To what end, Mr. Wark?

— Dave Shahan

Colorado Springs

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