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Published: Sunday, 10/3/2004

If a tree falls in the Congress

Just when you begin to think that our elected representatives in the U.S. Congress are sidestepping the serious issues that confront this nation, we get a report out of Washington that the House of Representatives passed legislation to make the mighty oak tree the "national tree."

The article goes on to state that President Bush will sign this legislation once it clears the U.S. Senate, which it is expected to do.

I don't know about you, but my faith in the legislative branch of our government has been, at least temporarily, restored. I am also overwhelmed that both sides of the aisle - as they say in government speak - can put aside their party differences and come together as one on an important issue.

Now that the members of the Senate and the House of Representatives have this fractious issue behind them, perhaps they can concentrate on the more mundane issues:

A balanced budget, a faltering educational system, a Social Security program that is not expected to keep up with demand, a Medicare system that is not affordable to either the government or the recipients, a tax code that even the IRS can't fully comprehend, much less explain or enforce, a war in Iraq that appears to be unsustainable, an increasing number of citizens who can't afford health care, a greater number of people who live below the poverty level, air and water pollution and diminishing natural resources - to name just a few.

These issues should keep them all busy for at least a few more weeks and earning the most recent pay increase they just granted themselves.

We can always hope.

DON DECKER

Holland, Ohio

Pity the poor hunter who has to settle for shooting harmless doves out of the sky in only six counties in Michigan this year.

If The Blade's Steve Pollick is to be believed, hunters across the country should be shaking in their boots because Wayne Pacelle now heads the Humane Society of the United States. He implies that the limitations on Michigan's first dove hunt in 99 years are evidence of Mr. Pacelle's power.

While the HSUS opposes sport hunting as a matter of policy, our active programs target only the most inhumane and unsporting types of hunting, such as bear baiting, canned hunting of almost tame animals in enclosed areas, and dove hunting. We have never had a policy position on fishing.

The HSUS also opposes letting prepubescent children take up arms in an effort to make hunting more popular.

Children too young to drive are not capable of exercising the good judgment that ethical hunting requires. Has Mr. Pollick considered that interest in hunting is declining because a more enlightened generation recognizes the wastefulness of killing wild animals for trophy or sport?

Doves are inoffensive song birds. They neither spread disease nor threaten crops. They are not overpopulated.

Independent polls have consistently shown that the majority of Michiganders, and many Michigan hunters oppose dove hunting.

The real reason these birds are now being killed in mass numbers is that special-interest hunting groups have finally bullied legislators into submission. This is why Michiganders are responding by gathering signatures on petitions to restore the dove shooting ban that was in place for nearly a century. The HSUS is supporting our 267,000 Michigan constituents in making this happen.

SANDY ROWLAND

Director

Great Lakes Regional Office

The Humane Society of the United States

Bowling Green

In the last four years the insurance I have from the company I worked for has gone from $80 to more than $160 a month.

I know people think seniors get a cost of living raise every year. Most of the time it just covers increases for Medicare, but I don't think it will this year, so I see my check going down, not up.

As for my check from the company I worked for, it just covered my insurance, so no extra money there.

Oh, yes, about that big check for income tax reduction? For me, nothing. Zero.

The new card that is supposed to help. Well, I am not able to get it because that's one of the few things my other insurance covers. Why do I keep it? It covers half of my dental bills.

So help us, seniors. Send George Bush back home to Texas.

CHARLOTTE HARDY

Fayette, Ohio

We will continue to see liberal Democrats react in extreme panic and desperation as the election draws nearer.

Americans' support for President Bush will continue to grow stronger as they realize that our homeland will be clearly defended by our commander in chief and not left with John Kerry, Kofi Annan, and the United Nations.

Senator Kerry's stand on Iraqi freedom changes almost daily. His long record in the Senate has been marked with both support of Marxist regimes like Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega's and cuts in every weapons program that our soldiers have successfully used to protect our freedom. Mr. Kerry will not apologize for the attacks he waged against his fellow veterans upon returning from Vietnam.

President Bush stays the course of protecting our nation with integrity and resolve, no matter what the current poll results are. President Bush has repeatedly honored Mr. Kerry's Vietnam service as heroic while down-playing the significance of his own National Guard duty.

Mr. Kerry, along with his partners at CBS and their vast 527 hate groups, have used false documents in a vain attempt to discredit President Bush's military service. Mr. Kerry is showing his desperation further in playing the race card by accusing President Bush of planning to keep African-Americans from voting.

We will soon hear even more from the liberals' old playbook that Mr. Bush will starve children, eliminate public education, and allow the elderly to die with draconian cuts!

Inheriting a recession, unchecked terror, and both political and corporate scandal from his predecessor, most Americans know that President Bush has led us well.

TIM MOHLER

Perrysburg

I have been reading the editorials in your paper for awhile and am astonished by some of the things I read.

So many people writing to try to sway the election to their candidate by trying to tear down the other. Each side saying that their man is the man for the job, and the other is a radical fool.

Neither man is perfect for the job. Each has his own pluses and minuses.

President Bush's agenda for America looks good on paper, but will it work in practice?

Sen. John Kerry's health-care plan sounds great but will the people buy into it?

Iraq is a mess that we should have not gotten into, but now that we are there we cannot afford to leave. If we do, then it will be open season on all Americans worldwide.

Health care in this country is a mess. So many people are without insurance. But does raising taxes (to pay for health care) sound like a good idea? Most in the media seem to think so.

We cannot go on like this. Quit bashing the other side and give reasons to vote for your candidate; don't give me reasons not to vote for mine.

LARRY TOWNLEY

LaSalle, Mich.

I know this horse has been whipped many times, but with today's communication and information capability you and I should be able to vote directly for our president.

The Electoral College is superfluous. The party system already decides who will run, we should at least have our vote count as we cast it.

At the beginning of this great country the checks and balance and the reasons for the college made some sense, much like the fraction of cents for gasoline.

It now means as much as the nine-tenths of a cent per gallon that never changes.

LEE GAGLE

Perrysburg



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