A healthy diet is health insurance; On hot days, donít leave dogs in cars; Dog deaths in cars are entirely preventable; Support gun control; We need a national workers party

A healthy diet is health insurance

The documentary movie "Food Inc.," playing at the Varsity Theater in Ashland, explains how Americans have become increasingly unhealthy as a nation during the last decade, due to a handful of large corporations that dominate the food industry. The film shows how central control and profit are more important to these giants than the health of the public or the environment or the welfare of their workers.

The first steps to reducing health care costs in America are: Stop subsidizing junk food and enforce and strengthen the laws on food safety and inspection, provide support for organic small farms and organic small food businesses and make stricter laws improving labeling and preventing chemical poisons and other contaminants in food.

As a satisfied Medicare recipient, I am concerned by the politics in Washington around health care insurance reform. Under Medicare, a single-payer system like Social Security, I am completely free to choose my own doctor. My Medicare payments are deducted directly from my Social Security income.

A New York Times poll showed that 74 percent of Americans favor a public option (i.e. like Medicare) — people know the present private insurance system is broken, whereas single-payer insurance has been proven to be more efficient and less expensive. New research by the Indiana University School of Medicine shows that 59 percent of doctors support a national health insurance system.

Therefore, I propose a national single-payer health insurance system, like Medicare, as the primary health insurance system for the U.S. I see no problem with private insurance being offered as an option for those who prefer it. Tell your friends nationwide to contact their legislator and get it right on a national health insurance system — and to reduce health care costs, improve the diet.

John Fisher-Smith

Ashland

We need a national workers party

I render all due respect and sympathy to Jessica Kinsey and her family in their all too common economic and social plight (see July 15 guest opinion "America's culture of irresponsibility"). But let it be acknowledged that she directs her criticism at the wrong causal agency. Assuming she is not referring to Wall Street and our infamous banksters, it is not a "culture of irresponsibility" that plunges hardworking, thrifty, educated and intelligent people into economic disaster.

What she and her family and millions of other similarly situated Americans are experiencing are the ineluctable consequences of "free market" capitalism wherein all but the very wealthy are required to struggle and where "social programs" of any and all sorts, to be paid for by high taxes on the very rich, are regarded as "socialism" to be avoided like the plague. Note that the very banksters, like Goldman Sachs, who required enormous bailouts from taxpayers like Kinsey but a few months ago are experiencing "blowout profits and setting aside $6.5 BILLION for employee compensation in the second quarter" (New York Times/Washington Post).

The Kinsey family and millions like them are thrown out of work and, through no personal fault of their own, are "allowed to fail.'' There is something out of synch here but the rentier class — the top 1 to 2 percent — love it when the victims blame other victims and call their fellow citizen-victims "irresponsible." In fact, it is all about class warfare and the exploitation of all workers. We need a national workers party.

Gerald Cavanaugh

Ashland

On hot days, don't leave dogs in cars

As temperatures soar around the Pacific Northwest, people should be mindful not to leave dogs in parked cars. Even on a 73°F day, the inside of a parked car can reach around 100°F in 10 minutes and 120°F in 30 minutes. Dogs can succumb to heatstroke — which can result in brain damage or death — in just 15 minutes.

If you see a dog left in a car, get the car's color, model, make and license plate number and have the owner paged inside the store, or call local humane authorities or police — you may be the dog's only hope.

Signs of heatstroke include restlessness, excessive thirst, heavy panting, lethargy, lack of appetite, dark tongue, rapid heartbeat, fever, vomiting or lack of coordination. If an animal shows any of these symptoms, move him or her to shade immediately and call a veterinarian. Visit www.HelpingAnimals.com for more lifesaving tips on safeguarding animals during hot weather.

Heather Moore

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Norfolk, Va.

Dog deaths in cars are entirely preventable

Thank you so much for reporting on the dangers of keeping dogs in hot cars! (July 30 article "Dogs in Ashland found trapped in hot cars"). Every year around the country, dogs die after being locked inside cars while their owners shop or run other errands. These tragic deaths are entirely preventable.

United Animal Nations operates the My Dog is Cool Campaign to let people know that leaving a dog in a car for even "just a few minutes" may be too long. People who want to learn more about this issue and educate others can find downloadable fliers and brochures on our Web site: www.MyDogIsCool.com.

Thanks again for this lifesaving article!

Karen Brown

United Animal Nations

Sacramento, Calif.

Support gun control

From recent newspaper headlines:

Eight shot in Texas Southern University drive-by attack

Oakland sideshow shooting claims teenager

Mom kills son atop Mt. Diablo, then shoots self

Man convicted of murdering grandpa for money

Two in car shot and killed in Richmond

Man killed in San Jose restaurant

Man indicted in Holocaust Museum killing

Had enough?

Support gun control.

Tom Dimitre

Ashland