May 10—16 

Correction

In last week's Art Feature about Jeremy "Jerms" Lanningham, two names were misspelled. Local artist John Warfel's name is John Warfel. Same goes for Burton snowboarding pro Dave Downing, except that his name is Dave Downing.

Bird Brains

This week, the Bush Administration released its plan for dealing with a bird flu pandemic. The plan finds the potential effects more comparable to those of a war or widespread economic crisis, than to those of a hurricane, earthquake, or terrorist attack. U.S. death toll may reach 2 million, once the virus mutates to allow transmission between humans. The deadly H5N1 bird flu virus originated a decade ago in Hong Kong's poultry farms. The 1999 West Nile virus, and the more recent SARS virus had similar origins. The virus strains responsible for the 1918 Spanish flu that killed 20 million people, the 1957 Asian flu, and the 1968 Hong Kong flu all evolved in pig farms.

Today's factory farms are virtual flu factories. Sick, crowded, highly stressed animals constantly exposed to contaminated feces, urine and other secretions provide ideal breeding grounds for the replication and mutation of viruses into more lethal forms. The bird flu virus is spread mostly through global poultry trade, rather than migratory birds, as has been commonly believed. Each of us can help prevent this catastrophe by replacing animal products in our diet with wholesome vegetables, fresh fruits, and whole grains. These foods don't carry flu viruses, are touted by every major health advocacy organization, and were the recommended fare in the Garden of Eden.

--Glenn Newkirk,

Boise

Get Your Chad on, Dammit!

Many people do not notice the often significant day-to-day consequences (both positive and negative) generated by the actions of elected officials. If more of our population realized just how much America's political process shapes not only our country's future, but also our everyday lives, voting would be wildly popular.

From the most local of topics to the most global of platforms, issues are often decided in the voting booth (based on which candidates win). If you already understand the races that will effect you (and your town, state, country and planet), then simply vote in Idaho's primary election on May 23. If you don't know, find out and then vote on May 23. Do this to the best of your ability for every race in every election.

A primary election could be called the semi-final round of political playoffs; Idaho's May 23 primary election simply determines which Republicans and which Democrats will represent their respective parties in the finals, November's general election. Meanwhile, candidates from other parties get an automatic bye to the finals and thus do not participate in the primary.

Unlike the November general election (when voters may choose any candidate in any party for each race), Idaho's primary voting law requires that voters on May 23 choose to vote in either the Republican races or the Democrat races. Keep in mind that one's choice to influence Republican or Democrat primary races is just that, a choice. Party allegiances, voting histories or future voting intentions do not dictate which primary ballot one may select.

Finally, if you don't vote, please don't complain.

--Jeremy Fryberger

Ketchum

Read additional letters at www.boiseweekly.com.

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