Minivan 1 to home base, do you copy?

The New York State Assembly recently passed a ban on the use of cellphones while driving (News In Brief, June 24). As a flight instructor for general aviation pilots, it amazes me that people have problems communicating and driving at the same time. I think the challenge is keeping the priorities straight while driving.

Flying a small aircraft is much more complex than driving and talking on the cellphone. The pilot is flying the airplane, navigating through complex airspace, and communicating with the complex air traffic control system.

Perhaps it is time for drivers to learn a lesson that student pilots learn early on in their flying career - putting priorities first. That is: Aviate, navigate, communicate (ANC). First you must fly the airplane above all else - aviate. When the airplane is under control, know where you are going and know what is happening around you - navigate. Finally, communicate with whomever needs to be talked to in your airspace.

Drivers can: "driveate," navigate, communicate (DNC). First drive the car, know where you are going (navigate), and be sure you are in a safe position to talk, then use the phone (communicate).

Hands-free talking is strongly recommended. Most pilots use headphones, so should drivers. Keep DNC foremost in mind while communicating, and don't hesitate to say, "standby" if you need to driveate or navigate. You can always stop talking if you need to focus on driving. Keep the priorities straight.

If the phone conversation becomes very absorbing or emotional, follow the technique that many fathers and husbands do on long vacation trips - tune them out.

Kris Maine Redondo Beach, Calif.

Natural homes and food for pigs

Thanks to the Monitor for the article "Doctors weigh in against antibiotics in animal feed" (June 22).

The cruel methods of these industrial animal factories are something the public should be aware of. If they were not so inhumane the operators would not need to fill the animals with antibiotics just to keep them alive long enough to be slaughtered.

Everyday practices in industrial pig factories are so biologically unsound that low-levels of antibiotics are routinely added to feed to maintain productivity and control disease.

When allowed to live naturally and free of antibiotics, domestic sows behave identically to their wild ancestors. They live in social groups, build nests for their young, and spend much of the day rooting, exploring, and foraging for food.

Natural housing methods are proven practices that have been used for generations by independent family farmers.

Chris Heyde Washington Animal Welfare Institute

Retrospective on US deeds

Regarding Mario Kaiser's opinion piece "My Germany, my burden" (June 8): Mr. Kaiser should not be so quick to gloss over his native country's almost unique acceptance of blame and responsibility for past acts of evil.

Here in the US, where we quickly forget that black Americans could not vote until the 1960s; that much of the country was built on stolen land; where we whine endlessly about moral dilemmas our young gunmen faced in Vietnam while not caring a whit for the 1 million Vietnamese killed in a war we created; and where we continue to believe permanent poverty is a fair price to pay for Central America's docility - we could use a dose of introspection unbounded by our nation's cast-iron prohibition against self-consciousness and self-criticism.

Glenn May Richmond, Calif.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor

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