In “Why baseball can never run out of home runs,” in the Maine Sunday Telegram on Aug. 5, Susan Feiner, a University of Southern Maine economics professor, draws analogies between baseball runs and money.

She states that, like baseball, which can’t run out of home runs, the U.S. government cannot run out of money.

She equates money to being nothing except a series of simple “clicks” by those who transfer and/or produce those “green pieces of paper.”

Despite her position, the poverty of intellect that Feiner displays in her article is mind-numbing and beyond frightening when one thinks of the young minds she influences.

Feiner reduces money to “nothing” and states that all that our government need do is “click” some magic button to make more of it appear.

She accuses conservatives of “obfuscation” of reality by using “austerity policies to damage ordinary people.”

Apparently, what Feiner doesn’t understand, and what is the fallacy to her premise, is that money is not “nothing” or a “click.”

It represents something about which she seems to be unaware.

Money represents, at the very least, effort, risk, sweat and sacrifice in the form of work by ordinary people.

All of that work becomes money.

A click does not become money!

Feiner concludes by saying that those ordinary people can finally live middle-class lives when they have “surety that public and private necessities are forthcoming.”

I contend that if those ordinary people do not continue to do the things that money actually represents, then our government can “click” to its heart’s delight, but the money won’t be there.

Feiner’s cup of absurdity runneth over.

Baseball will not run out of runs.

But our government (do we remember that our government is actually the people?) will run out of money!

Robert J. Sbrilli


Our broken chemical safety system on way to being fixed

As a mother who has been waiting for Congress to help protect my family from toxic chemicals, I am thrilled to learn that the Safe Chemicals Act has been voted out of committee and is headed to the Senate floor.

It is the first time in more than 36 years that Congress will vote on overhauling our nation’s broken chemical safety law.

I would like to thank Sen. Olympia Snowe for demonstrating public support to fix our broken chemical safety system, and for pushing for action in the Senate this year. 

She listened to us during our recent bus trip to Washington and honored her commitment to overhaul our broken chemical policy.

I know too many people, including my parents, who have died from cancer.

I want to keep my children safe from toxins in products we use each day.

We can’t shop our way out of this problem.

If it weren’t for Maine, we might not have gotten this far.

Sen. Snowe sent a letter to the Environment and Public Works committee chairs to express her support for the vote, and mentioned the support she has seen in Maine for reforming chemical safety laws.

This is an exciting moment for all of us who want toxic chemicals out of everyday products.

Now I hope our senators will help lead the way toward passing the Safe Chemicals Act in the U.S. Senate.

Lalla Carothers


Human activity cannot be separated from natural cycle

I am writing in regard to Ted Sirois’ letter in the Portland Press Herald on July 25 about climate change (“Romney’s reality-based view doesn’t sit well with NAACP”).

Whenever someone writes as fact that climate change is “all about natural cycles,” that is, nonhuman-related, a red flag goes up for me.

Due to the immense complexity of the world’s ecosystem, no one can make that statement with certainty.

Human activity cannot be separated from the natural cycle.

We are part of nature and part of the carbon dioxide cycle.

For example, photosynthesis and respiration are the natural processes that drive life on this planet.

Photosynthesis creates oxygen and organic carbon matter — plants, for example.

Respiration by the animals that eat the plants produces carbon dioxide.

Fossil fuels such as oil on which our ever-growing population depends are generally prehistoric photosynthetic remains.

Just as carbon dioxide is a product of respiration, carbon dioxide is a combustion product of our fossil fuel usage.

So, in essence, we are reintroducing carbon dioxide products from a carbon cycle that occurred long ago into our current carbon cycle.

Now what this means in terms of the effects of human activity on climate change, I cannot say unequivocally.

But I can certainly see a cause for concern.

Perhaps there will be “a natural and very dramatic global cooling” within the next several years, but I certainly don’t want to wait to find out.

Aside from avoiding the potential climate consequences of inaction, converting to clean energy options will also help us be less dependent on foreign oil and also prevent oil spills.

And the latter is definitely a result of human activity that has definitely caused both environmental and human suffering.

Ruth Gleim


If the bill is not to your liking, why not just say no?

I see by Sen. Olympia Snowe’s whiny letter (“Snowe defends vote on disclosure law,” July 28) that she continues to use a remarkable excuse for her behavior as our elected senator.

She says, in essence, if a bill isn’t “perfect” according to her, she will filibuster it, that is, not allow a vote.

The obvious question is, if the bill is not to your liking, why don’t you simply vote no?

Own your values and opinions, senator.

I would hate to think that you, in fact, do own the value of refusing to allow a vote rather than have the honor to vote no.

What about it, senator?

Can you summon the courage to allow votes, and then cast a no vote?

It would be in your constituents’ best interests, not simply the interests of your party.

Dorothy Chaisson