Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: Oct. 29

Politics

Claims about Obama are false

A Vashon woman told me she was afraid of Barack Obama as president for two reasons: first, because he is a Muslim, trained in a madrassa as a child (fears he’s a terrorist); second, because we’re at war with Arabs we shouldn’t have an Arab (terrorist) president.

Astounded and concerned because she believes the smears, I decided to pass on the facts.

Claims that Obama “is a Muslim,” attended a “Wahabi” school in Indonesia, took his Senate oath on the Koran, refuses to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and is part of an Islamic plot to take over the U.S. are all false. See FactCheck.org.

CNN reporter John Vause went to Jakarta, Indonesia, to visit the school. “I came to Obama’s elementary school … looking for what some are calling an Islamic madrassa ... that teach hate and violence. … I’ve been to {such} madrassas, this school is nothing like that.” The school’s deputy headmaster said: “This is a public school. We don’t focus on religion.”

Obama was sworn in to the Senate using his own Bible, as widely reported in newspaper accounts (FactCheck.org).

The Chicago Tribune reported “interviews with dozens of former classmates, teachers, neighbors and friends show that Obama was not a regular practicing Muslim when he was in Indonesia” (FactCheck.org). He was baptized a Christian in the early 1990s at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago (Newsweek, July 12, 2008).

Is he an Arab? His father was born in Kenya (not an Arab country) and was a British subject (www.uniset.ca/naty/BNA1948.htm) and his mother was an American from Kansas. Obama himself was born in Hawaii.

Barack Obama is an American candidate for president who should be judged on his positions on issues. Friends, don’t waste your vote by basing it on racist fears, innuendo and unsubstantiated rumors.

— Kate Hunter

Island less tolerant than some say

In the last few weeks Beachcomber editorials have responded to the repeated defacing of McCain/Palin signs. The most recent sign was defaced with the word “Nazi.” One of the editorial states that “we have no tolerance for hatred” on the Island and another exhorts “let’s make sure our Island’s much-touted belief in tolerance extends to those who hold and embrace conservative views.”

I find The Beachcomber’s comments about tolerance disingenuous since I see very little tolerance for different opinions on the Island. I never discuss current affairs in “mixed company,” having had very unpleasant experiences of being verbally attacked or ridiculed when expressing a centrist or conservative position. With the Island being so inhospitable to any but left-leaning voices, The Beachcomber may not be aware that there are a large number of other voices. For the most part we know each other and communicate among ourselves.

Intolerance keeps many center and right-leaning voters from participating in civic affairs and without inclusion of all voices on the Island, effective governance is not possible. Recently The Beachcomber printed several articles about the fact that few candidates were running for the Community Council. One article reported that a Republican woman had been asked to consider running. She responded by asking why would she subject herself to such incivility. A first step in embracing a diversity of opinions is to stop giving lip-service to the notion that the Island is currently a tolerant place.

— Pat Parks

Birth control gives control to its users

Flashback to the middle ages! Birth control is bad for women!

To say that “Sarah Palin’s platform as a mother against abortion and birth control is exactly “what women need” (“Palin offers what women need,” Letters to the Editor, Oct. 22) is to overlook the history of women’s suffering due to lack of birth control. It’s one thing to be against abortion. I get that that’s a hot button for many people, and I agree that every woman should have the choice to NOT have an abortion. One of the most basic rights of women should be to decide how many children — if any — to have. If Palin had not practiced some birth control, I bet she would have a lot more kids! The key question in “birth control” is who has control. I feel better when women have it.

But even if Palin were a role model for mothers and mothers-to-be, that doesn’t make her presidential material. If we had true parity in this country — i.e., in business, in Congress, in the President’s cabinet, on the Supreme Court and in the White House — maybe we wouldn’t be so quick to embrace a woman who is clearly out of her depth in this election. There are capable women out there who would have been far better choices as the first Republican VP candidate. We should not be tricked by this obvious pandering for the women’s vote.

— Jessica Lisovsky

Let terminally ill choose how to die

On Nov. 4, Vashon-Maury voters will decide whether to support a terminally ill person’s individual right to receive a prescription for life-ending medication. This choice should belong to the terminally ill individual.

Government, religious groups and others should not dictate these personal decisions. The prescription is available to patients only if two doctors confirm the patient is competent, has a terminal illness and has less than six months to live. Numerous other safeguards in I-1000 include independently witnessed oral and written requests, two waiting periods and self-administration of the medication. Only the patient may administer the medication.

I’m a family physician and HIV specialist in a community health center. I have helped many patients through the dying process, including more than 50 men who died of AIDS. Their deaths, ranging from peaceful to horrific, taught me many things.

I learned about all the excellent treatments for pain, nausea and the other burdens of terminal illness. I also learned about the limitations of these treatments. Even with excellent hospice care, the simple fact is that in some cases a person’s quality of life in his or her last weeks is awful.

Research and analysis of Oregon’s 10 years of experience with a law very much like I-1000 offer much reassurance.

The Washington State Psychological Association wrote, “Patients choose aid in dying because of a desire for autonomy and the wish to avoid loss of dignity and control, not because of a poor mental state, lack of resources or social support. The law has had a positive effect in terms of significant improvement in palliative care for all Oregonians, e.g. increased hospice referrals, advanced pain management, more home deaths, improved physician education and training in end-of-life care and detection of depression, and more open discussions among patients, doctors, and families about dying.”

Whether or not you would personally choose aid in dying, please vote to support terminally ill people’s right to make their own decision.

— Brad Roter

Environment

Composting toilets are affordable

Last week was full of bad news for me, and to top it off my Washington Mutual stock tanked.

Thursday I just wanted to get home and have some comfort food. The tide was low Friday morning so I was going to dig a limit of steamer clams and eat a bunch with garlic butter. Mmmm, that will charge my batteries.

Our beach is pretty clean, but there is fecal coliform in other areas that still affects the whole harbor.

I was getting ready to go down to the beach, and my wife asked me if I had checked the Red Tide hotline. I told her no, I forgot. I reminded her there were no red tides all summer. She went in and called.

I’m glad she did, but the news wasn’t good. Quartermaster Harbor was closed for all shellfish because of Red Tide (PSP) Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning. No clams for me.

I was upset.

Still too much pollution feeding the bad plankton.

I have some good news, though. King County has certified the new electric composting toilets and already approved their usage on the Island.

There is a new house being built at 24123 Vashon Hwy S.W., and it is outfitted with them. They plug in the wall, have one three-inch vent pipe, only require a tiny amount of water per flush, and one toilet will service eight people. The best part is the price. They’re only $1,799 and install in about an hour. There’s even a battery model.

You don’t need a $20,000 septic system any more, so there’s no excuse for polluting the harbor with sewage. Watch a video about them at www.envirolet.com/enmulsys1011.html.

Now, if people with bad septic systems would get one of these, and then if everyone would cut down or stop using chemical fertilizers on their lawn and gardens, we could cut down or stop these pesky red tides.

— Bill Rowling

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