Gene Lyons’ column “Climate-change deniers are the new Marlboro Men” had me laughing aloud, and sadly reminiscing about John Wayne. I remember the release of his public service announcement for the American Cancer Society.

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In the 1970s, it took a brave man to talk about “The Big C.” Wayne didn’t need to say tobacco was implicated in his illness. Americans knew. The risks felt remote until Wayne brought it into our homes via TV. Wayne made it heroic to quit smoking.

My dad was a doctor, a psychiatrist, who understood addictive agents, nervous habits, and unintended consequences. Yet dad smoked until my kid sister made his life miserable — snipping his cigarettes in half, hiding ashtrays, throwing away matchbooks. She began her guerrilla warfare shortly after Wayne’s ad. Years of nagging dad with words had failed, and she refused to abandon him.

All this applies to “The Big CC.” Americans know climate change is happening, we pretend CC’s remote, but it’s here. CC’s dangerous. It’ll worsen if we continue risky behaviors. In much of America, it’s still unacceptable to discuss CC. Readers should please talk about CC constantly, reminding everyone that we need heroes to get involved locally and nationally.

Judy Weiss, Brookline, Massachusetts

Overgoverned

Along with millions of my fellow citizens, I’m doing the paycheck-to-paycheck struggle to keep in some semblance of the middle class. Yet every time I hear some economic “genius” squeal, “Tax the rich! Tax the rich!” my tax bill goes up. Sure enough, another 15 percent. Did I mention the paycheck-to-paycheck, thingy?

Maybe, for the sake of argument, we aren’t overtaxed. We are, however, as the Sun-Times has aptly pointed out, overgoverned. The cost of our immoderate government is bankrupting our state, and driving my family, and many others, out of our homes. And in some cases out of the state altogether.

This state is not struggling because of a shortage of tax funds. We are suffering from a gross mismanagement of public funds, at every level of government. And mismanagement of money is not cured by giving those doing the mismanaging more money to mismanage!

It is way past time for a peaceful tax revolt in Illinois.

Eric D. Showley, Niles

New bill had better be good

U.S. Rep Robin Kelly says we need federal legislation to halt illegal gun trafficking, particularly regarding the sale of same across state lines. Says Rep. Kelly: “According to the Chicago Police Department, more than half of all crime guns used in Chicago come from outside Illinois.”

Rep. Kelly, how many of those gun sales you speak of were carried out while following the rule of law?
Were FOID cards possessed by the buyers and/or sellers? Were proper background checks done? Was all the proper paperwork filled out and filed properly? I’ll bet you none of that was done. Do you agree?

If that was the case, then your new bill had better be a really good one. In fact, it had better be a bill that is so good that no criminally inclined person would ever consider violating it. If it’s not that good, then don’t bother trying to get it passed, as those criminally minded people out there are going to ignore it just as they ignore every other law regarding gun sales currently on the books.

John Babush, Big Rock

Telephones are lifelines

A telephone is a lifeline to emergency services, family, jobs, schools, childcare and more. Going without a phone is a risk many do not want to take and, as president of the nonprofit board that oversees a telephone assistance program in Illinois, I want to make your readers aware of a program that may help them get a telephone if they are struggling to afford one.

The Lifeline program is a federally funded program that subsidizes the cost of one telephone per household, either a cell phone or a landline phone. Internet service as part of the cost of the phone is also being phased in and may be available from your phone provider. Participants in Medicaid, SNAP, SSI, Federal Public Housing Assistance, or Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefits programs or someone making 135 percent or less of federal poverty guideline are eligible.

If you believe you may be eligible, contact your phone company. In Illinois, a program funded entirely through voluntary donations also subsidizes the cost of landline phone installation for Lifeline participants. If you would like to donate to the program, you can do so on our website at http://www.linkupillinois.org. We all fall on hard times, but luckily no one has to choose to go without a phone. You can learn more about the program at linkupillinois.org.”

Allen Cherry, Loop

Risks of football

Football as we have known it is finished. It should probably be known as “headball.” Myriad fans, business people, and some players undoubtedly will disagree and may be upset at the concept. Regardless, centuries ago people argued that the Earth is flat. Furthermore, what professional football players are paid cannot compensate for the shortened, damaged lives many are likely to experience. The negative influences of such a future, physical and emotional, on them, their families, and friends cannot be estimated and should not be acceptable.

It’s time for our collapsed world to discover ways to reclaim some of the stature that it has lost by resolving to interact with people without hitting one another in any way. Rationalizations posing as reasons will never change the data. Science doesn’t discard or ignore its data. Facts, unlike the lamentable behavior of many people, are not corrupt. For example, the law of gravity applies equally to everyone, despite who they are. The same applies to people, especially large ones banging their heads and bodies into each other. Cerebral traumatic encephalopathy is rapidly coming into the awareness of the public.

Why anyone would expose — even encourage — a school-age child, whose brain and body are not yet fully developed, to risk such head and other injuries defies reason. Earning more money, as important as it is to many people, must never be more important than valuing the wellbeing of all people.

Headbanging is preposterous and cruel. It should be over. Its time has come. Deny all one might, but survival needs will remain paramount.

Finally and apropos the above, all reasonable people should remember the following age-old, profound wisdom: To all things there is a season; all business relationships come to an end; and the only thing permanent is change. Football, it’s time to revise.

Leon J. Hoffman, Lake View