Love a vet today!

Thank you to Marion

County's 62,000 veterans

— many of whom still carry the

scars of battle long after leaving the warzone. We owe them the decency of

being aware of their community and its various challenges from the long-term effects

of Agent Orange exposure to the physically depleting weight of Gulf War illness,

nightmares of war horror or unquenchable rage associated with post-traumatic

stress disorder.We can support

them by contributing our time, talents and treasure to groups serving homeless,

incarcerated or remediated vets such as the Hoosier

Veterans Assistance Foundation

. State and federal prisons held an estimated

140,000 veterans in 2004. Vets account for about one-eighth of the U.S.

population and one-fifth of its homeless population. Vets "leave no man behind."

Neither should we.

Cutting Gulf War soldiers' health care

Vietnam veterans finally caught a break when the U.S.

government agreed to ongoing medical care for the lifelong effects of service.

Gulf War vets, who continue to suffer and die from acute Gulf War illness or post-traumatic

stress disorder

, face a law that will end their medical care

and other disability benefits. The cutoff date is currently set for Dec. 31,

2011. Vet support groups are asking people to lobby their U.S. senators and

representatives for an act of Congress. An active lobby continues to ask

Congress to fund continuing research on the myriad mysteries of the insidious Gulf

War illness.


of our sons, daughters, fathers, brothers, and sisters are sick of a toxic environment

created in the fight during the Gulf War," one letter reads. "This

was an unknown risk of war, but we would like you to support veterans and

families in finding treatment and a cure for their illnesses." Vets fought

for justice (even if the true meaning of the term is bent by political gamesmanship.)

Let's give them theirs.

Environmental watchdogs @ work


intersections of businesses and the environment can be treacherous places where

the real-world, lower human tendencies such as greed and arrogance manifest

themselves in the form of air,

water and soil degradation

. Our great democracy allows some

exploration of the decisions we make in service to the all-mighty dollar. This

week pork producers and foes of large-scale agriculture will watch as the

Indiana Water Pollution Control Board updates the state's

rules governing the largest confined feeding facilities

. We'll

see if new rules translate to less nutrient-rich runoff, which chokes streams and

causes fish kill incidents. ... Now if we can just wean our meat farmers off

the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics. É We can't downplay the importance of

water resource conservation. The current picture of key polluted rivers and lakes in Indiana,

according to an Environmental Law& Policy Center study released Nov. 7, demonstrates how "weak state policies and lax

enforcement have allowed the stateÕs rivers and lakes to become fouled by algae

blooms, toxins, sedimentation and dangerous pathogens."