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Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012 03:54 am

Letters to the Editor 1/26/12

Musicians, cancer and food stamps

art9599

Tom Irwin performing with Theresa O’Hare at the Taste of Downtown last year.
PHOTO BY STEIN DESIGN

TALL MUSICIANS


I was pleased to see Tom Irwin get the recognition he richly deserves [see “The ballad of Tom Irwin,” by Scott Faingold, Jan. 19]. His weekly columns have been consistently informative and funny. It’s always nice to see a fellow member of TMOS (Tall Musicians of Springfield) get some well-earned ink. And yes, Tom, drummers are allowed in the club. 

Denby Glossop 
Springfield


CERVICAL CANCER

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness Month. As a clinician at Planned Parenthood’s Springfield health center, I urge women to schedule a preventive checkup for cervical cancer screening. It could save your life. 

Every year, about 13,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with cervical cancer, and about 4,000 American women die of the disease. Because they are less likely to have access to early screening and treatment, Latinas and black women are more likely to develop and die of cervical cancer. Worldwide, cervical cancer is the third most common cancer among women and the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths among women. 

The good news is that cervical cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. When caught early, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent. Regular cervical cancer screenings and preventive care such as the HPV vaccine are the keys to combating cervical cancer. Planned Parenthood of Illinois offers routine cervical cancer screenings and the HPV vaccine, which protects against the types of HPV that most often cause cervical cancer. We also provide colposcopy and LEEP treatments for abnormal Pap tests. 

Stephani Cox
Planned Parenthood of Illinois 
Springfield Health Center


FOOD STAMPS

Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was wrong to call President Barack Obama the “Food Stamp President.” Gingrich’s undproductive name-calling was pure demagoguery in a sinister effort to drive his numbers up among southern Republican primary voters. 

There’s an old saying: Figures don’t lie, but liars figure. It is true that a record 44.7 million people were on food stamps last year. But we were also in the worst economic downturn since the establishment of the food stamp program. 

Is it President Obama’s fault that he inherited this economic mess? It was his job to lead us out of it, and recent economic indicators show he is doing that, albeit slower than we or he would like. 

The inconvenient truth that Gingrich doesn’t tell us is that under the 2002 farm bill, President George W. Bush dramatically expanded food stamp eligibility, paving the way for the biggest growth in food stamps ever. Most of this growth occurred before the onset of the Great Recession in December 2007. But calling Bush the “Food Stamp President” does not fit into Gingrich’s southern strategy. 

The growth of food stamps under Obama is how the program was designed to work. As the economy declines, enrollment grows, while in economic boom times it declines. The bottom line is President Obama and most Americans do not want their fellow citizens to go hungry because they are out of a job. Apparently, Newt would let them go hungry. 

Sam Cahnman
Democratic candidate for state representative
96th District
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