Rachel Carson, whose book “Silent Spring” led to a study of pesticides, testifies before the Senate on June 4, 1963, urging Congress to curb the sale of DDT and other chemical pesticides.
The World Heath Organization reports that between 537,000 and 907,000 people, mostly children, died of malaria in 2010. DDT drastically reduced human suffering caused by malaria until it was banned.
There is a worldview where children's lives are no more valuable than animal lives. As Ingrid Newkirk, founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has said, "When it comes to pain, love, joy, loneliness and fear, a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy."
To people like Newkirk, the preventable deaths of children who had little or no hope of a "quality" life are part of nature.
The banning of DDT has questionable scientific and moral validity. When studying statistics, you learn that correlation is not causation. DDT might or might not have been a factor in the bird deaths mentioned in your article "Carson still a force of nature 50 years after 'Silent Spring' " (Aug. 13).
An article by scientist Art Robinson, "USNAS Estimates DDT Saved 500 Milion Lives Before it was Banned," states that "'Silent Spring' is a book filled with deliberate falsehoods and blatantly marketed unreasoning and unjustified fear."
There are enough other articles (i.e., "When Politics Kills: Malaria and the DDT Story," by Kendra Okonski, writing for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and "Malaria, Politics and DDT," The Wall Street Journal) that bring into question the DDT ban that we should question the overall impact of the publishing of "Silent Spring."
Finally, we the people have allowed executive-branch agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, to assume power that violates one of the most basic tenets of the Constitution -- separation of powers.
We the people have allowed the EPA to pass law. Every rule the EPA passes has the force of law. Executive branch cannot pass law, but it does, by the thousands.
Rachel Carson did notable work on educating Americans on the value of properly caring for and managing our natural resources. Giving her work credit for bringing about the EPA and banning DDT harms her record, unless Americans now believe that "a rat is a pig is a dog is a boy."
Profane, anonymous note example of divisive rhetoric
After enjoying a wonderful bike ride to Bug Light on a sunny late-summer afternoon, we stopped for lunch in Scarborough.
Upon returning to our car, we found a handwritten note on our windshield stating, "Jesus would bomb your car because you have a (expletive deleted) Obama sticker on it."
By way of explanation, we have an "Obama for President" sticker as well as one that says, "What would Jesus bomb?"
This threatening rhetoric exemplifies what is wrong with the political climate in the U.S. today. Earnest debate and respectful discussion have been replaced by unveiled threats and hateful throwaway slogans.
Because we don't listen to one another, we are sacrificing the diversity of our backgrounds, cultures, experiences and wisdom. Positive change can only come about through civil discourse and compromise.
P.S. To the person who left the note, "What would Jesus bomb?" was a rhetorical question, because Jesus wouldn't bomb anything. He would find the nonviolent solution.
William and MaryFrances Frank
Technology could prevent another Aurora tragedy
There's been so much talk about ways of preventing the likes of the Aurora, Colo., shootings.
The commentary in the July 29 newspaper ("Life after Aurora") addresses the issue from the point of view of a psychiatrist (Mark Ragins).
Some say that gun controls are the answer.
Others even suggest carrying a personal gun to protect themselves from such killers.
But I don't ever hear the one solution that would help prevent such mass killings.
Think of the technology that we have. Whenever you use a credit card, the credit card database system immediately tells you if your account has sufficient funds, or if your card has been compromised, etc.
So why not have a central database that gets red-flag inputs identifying people making unusual purchases from multiple vendors, for supplies that could be used to hurt others?
Example: If a person buys five rifles or handguns from a vendor, enter that in the database.
If he makes another such purchase at another vendor, enter that in a database with a red flag.
If he purchases a half-dozen hand grenades from another vendor, enter that in the database, with another red flag.
In other words, with the proper software algorithm, such an individual would instantly become the focus of attention of every security agent in the country.
If this kind of information had been brought to the attention of the Aurora police, this mass killing would have been thwarted before the killer would have entered the theater.
So what prevents our security experts from devising such an alerting tool?
Unfair criticism undercuts farmers market's prospects
Regarding the article "Is this farmers market weathering market forces?" (Aug. 3):
As a daily subscriber to The Portland Press Herald, I have followed the articles about the farmers markets in Portland, South Portland, Scarborough and others in York County. These markets operate in a competitive environment (both locally and nationally). That's business and that's life.
The one thing the market in South Portland does not need is the incessant whining and negativity of City Councilor Rosemarie DeAngelis (The market is "not going very well"; "I think it's dying a very slow and painful death"; "It's like a ghost town"). DeAngelis, in the words of business, "adds no value."
As far as the farmers who are having difficulty covering their costs -- welcome to a competitive, prioritizing and judgmental world. "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
When politicians and farmers begin speaking positively about the farmers markets, I believe things will improve and grow. The Portland Farmers' Market is a perfect example of what can be.
Thomas J. Murphy Jr.
Old Orchard BeachTweet