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Letter: Obama’s Bad Decisions

Obama’s Many Bad Decisions

To the Editor:

In his letter “Ignore Republican Propaganda” (Dec. 31), Robert Pollard demonstrated misinformation and emotion-based partisanship. Contrary to his accusations, not everyone who opposes Obamacare marches to the beat of conservative talking heads. Many oppose it because our government rarely does anything efficiently and competently. Waste, fraud and abuse are rampant in many federal programs. Nobody needs the GOP to so conclude.

I buy my own health insurance. Under Obamacare, once the extension expires at the end of March, my existing plan (with which I am satisfied) will no longer exist. What about Obama’s promise that “if you like your health insurance you can keep it”? The most similar coverage I have found will have higher premiums, a higher deductible and will require a co-pay once the deductible is met. This is “affordable”? Furloughed federal employees reportedly received back pay once the so-called shutdown concluded. Essentially they got a paid vacation. Where’s the problem?

It was a lousy presidential decision to close national parks. There were plenty of other expenditures that could have been postponed, such as the $5 million purchase of hand-blown glassware for American embassies. If President Obama had just kept Air Force One on the ground a few times, or canceled one of his multi-million-dollar vacations, the money saved would have funded many things. Self-sacrifice is evidently not for the ruling elite.

Closing the World War II memorial was among the worst of Obama’s poor decisions. I’ve been to that memorial: It is an open-air facility with no gates which provides a beautiful place to pause and reflect upon the sacrifices made by a great generation. To hire armed guards to keep the public out of that monument was nothing short of an arrogant abuse of power.

Dick Tracy

Sharon

Clearing the Air

To the Editor:

In response to “Smoking Report Marks 50th Anniversary” (Jan. 5), I would like to note that the Upper Valley has taken several steps to “clear the air.” Thanks to laws in both states, we now have smoke-free indoor workplaces, bars, restaurants and theaters. Many workplaces have smoke-free campuses, including Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, King Arthur Flour, the Co-op Food Stores and Hypertherm. Towns have even taken the bold step to establish smoke-free policies. In 2012, the Hartford Selectboard approved tobacco-free parks and recreation areas; in 2013, the town of Sharon declared that all town-owned property would be tobacco-free and the town would provide resources to help residents quit tobacco use. Currently, several of Vermont’s colleges and universities are exploring becoming smoke-free because young adults comprise the segment of the population where there is an increase in the smoking rate. The Community College of Vermont already has a smoke-free policy, and the Vermont Technical College is in the process of becoming tobacco-free.

For those who want to quit tobacco, many resources exist to help people overcome their addiction to nicotine. DHMC, Mt. Ascutney Hospital, and Gifford Medical Center all offer comprehensive quit programs. Health Connections of the Upper Valley works with these hospitals and the Vermont Department of Health to bring cessation services into the community. These cessation services are free and often provide free nicotine replacement aids, such as the nicotine patch, gum and/or lozenges.

According to the most recent data from the Vermont Department of Health, approximately 18 percent of adults in the White River Junction Health District Office service area smoke. And according to the New Hampshire 2011 State Health Profile for the Upper Valley area, approximately 11.2 percent of adults smoke. Far fewer than 50 years ago, yes, but we need to do better. Adult tobacco use contributes to youth tobacco use, exposure to secondhand smoke, and money spent on health-care needs that could have been prevented. If all of us advocate for smoke-free spaces, provide positive encouragement to smokers to quit, and urge retailers to eliminate tobacco advertisements and cover up their cigarette packs and tobacco paraphernalia, we will eventually see a further decline in the prevalence of smoking and tobacco use. We will also all enjoy a healthier community.

Cathy Hazlett

Executive Director, Health Connections of the Upper Valley

North Pomfret

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Letter: Do the Arithmetic

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

To the Editor: Having just read Dick Tracy’s letter about “Obama’s Bad Decisions” (Jan. 11), I am moved once again to wonder where the right-wing outrage was when the Bush administration lied us into a war that resulted in nearly 5,000 American deaths and perhaps as many as half a million Iraqi deaths? Where was the indignation when that war, …