As a physician, I'm concerned about the decision of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to forbid dairies from labeling their milk products as hormone-free ("Hormone labeling of Pa. milk to end," Dec. 23) if they do not use recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH).
The literature is clear about the health risks on the human body associated with milk consumption. Milk treated with rBGH has been shown to increase levels of IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor-1), a potent stimulator of cell growth. Although IGF-1 naturally occurs in organic, nonorganic and non-rBGH animal milk, levels have been found to be highly elevated in women with breast cancer at seven times that found in cancer-free women, as well as other dairy links to colon, prostate and ovarian cancer.
Furthermore, rBGH results in cows developing chronic mastitis, which necessitates heavy antibiotic use by dairy farmers. Consumers have a right to know what's in their food - especially if it presents a potential health risk.
Samuel L. Jacobs, M.D.
Associate Professor of OB/GYN
Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Camden
Thanks for having the courage to publish the Dec. 27 commentary, "Impeach Cheney now." It is essential that all future administrations, Democrats and Republicans, know that the American people will not tolerate the disregard of our constitutional laws and that those in authority who lie, deceive and commit crimes will be held accountable.
The act of impeachment merely calls for an investigation of the facts and, regardless of public opinion polls or party affiliation, the American people deserve to know the truth from their elected officials.
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I disagree strongly with Mark Bowden's Dec. 23 column, "In defense of waterboarding." I want to thank him, however, for articulating so clearly and strongly both a practical and a moral rationale for allowing U.S. interrogators to use this and other "coercive methods" (i.e., torture).
Also, I'm grateful to The Inquirer for publishing Bowden's piece just two days before Christmas, when Christians celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, who asked his followers to show compassion for everyone, even their enemies.
If we believe that torture is an inexcusable evil, then Bowden's arguments are exactly those that Christians - and everyone who values the preciousness of human life - must answer.
If we fail to respond to the kinds of arguments Mark Bowden and others are articulating, then we come down on the side of those who believe that torture is justifiable and necessary in this post-9/11 world.
Richard K. Taylor
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In The Inquirer's Christmas Day issue, I found no reference to the significance of the birth of Christ until I turned to page A18 and saw the article "Pope ushers in Christmas."
Given The Inquirer's habitual front-page attention to diversity, it's curious that it gives such scant notice to the highest of holy days on the Christian calendar, and that in a liberal/antiwar newspaper, the commemoration of the birth of the Prince of Peace gets relegated to the back pages.
A Freemason, too
Thank you for the Dec. 25 article on George Washington ("Washington was a portrait in leadership"). I'd like to offer another reason why Washington was the person who he was. He was a Freemason and firmly believed in the principles of our fraternity.
As "master" of his country, he had ultimate power. However, just like a master of a lodge, he could run the country effectively only if there were peace and cooperation among the members.
Although Washington didn't have the formal education of men such as Benjamin Franklin (another Mason) and Thomas Jefferson, he was willing to listen, learn and govern in concord.
Henry A. Seigel
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