I assume the editors printed the three letters criticizing the Press Herald’s failure to print the Fox News version of the Benghazi, Libya, attack on the U.S. Consulate (resulting in the death of the U.S. ambassador and three others) in order to allow free speech, no matter how ridiculous, thus allowing its readers to arrive at their own judgment as to validity of the content of these letters (

“Attack exposes Obama’s shortcomings,”

Oct. 30).

My opinion is that Fox News is a conservative non-news network that occasionally gets far away from reality in order to agitate its viewers and stimulate the conservative Republican base.

In this particular instance, I think the letter writers probably got carried away even further by their desire to blame the Democratic president and the State Department for failing to prevent this unfortunate incident.

I am personally quite familiar with international situations in government, law and business, including having served as Peace Corps director in Pakistan from 1962 to 1964.

There were always dangers and risks both for Peace Corps volunteers and staff in both West and then East Pakistan only 13 years after the partition of India and Pakistan, at which time some 1 million people were killed without a gun being fired. Another 1,000 were killed in 1963 in the same manner in Lahore, Pakistan, where my family and I lived.

Unfortunately, the United States is likely the most dangerous country in the world today because we have far more guns per person than any other country in the world. The slaughter in Aurora, Colo., happened only months ago, and deaths by firearms in this country are far greater than in any other country in the world not involved in a war.

F. Kingston Berlew


Livestrong Foundation lets cancer survivor give back

Fifteen years ago, the Livestrong Foundation was started. Since then, the foundation has raised nearly $500 million to serve people affected by cancer, and 2.5 million people have benefited from the foundation’s resources and services.

The Livestrong Cancer Navigation Center provides a range of free services for anyone affected by cancer. This includes people diagnosed with cancer, their families, friends, loved ones and the health care professionals who work with them.

My involvement with Livestrong began in 2004 with the purchase of a yellow wristband, just months after my last round of chemotherapy. I believe in the “obligation of the cured”: the idea that those of us fortunate enough to survive our cancer diagnosis should help others do the same.

Livestrong has provided many opportunities for me to give back, including attending lobbying days in our nation’s capital, urging our elected officials to invest in cancer research, prevention programs and to make cancer the national priority we deserve.

The recent Livestrong Challenge in Austin raised $1.7 million and had more than 4,300 participants, making it the largest cycling event in the city’s history. The gala raised another $2.4 million.

Riding across the rolling hills of Texas, I often pulled up alongside other cancer survivors to congratulate them. I heard story after story of how Livestrong helped them with treatment concerns, insurance issues, fertility options or emotional support.

Through Livestrong, cancer has become a national and global priority, transforming the way people talk about and think about this disease. It is no longer the goal of someone diagnosed with cancer to just live. I’ve worn my yellow wristband every minute since that day in 2004, and I don’t intend to take it off anytime soon.

Jeff Bennett

cancer survivor and Livestrong Leader


Senior athletes inspire effort to triumph over challenges

As we come to the close of another election season, I look forward to taking inspiration from some fresh faces.

While they may be unfamiliar to you, these are the faces of people who have been around for a very long time. And they are amazing.

I am talking about the athletes appearing in “Age of Champions,” an award-winning film about a group of athletes chasing gold at the National Senior Games.

They include a 100-year-old tennis champion, an 86-year-old pole-vaulter, a team of basketball grandmothers and two brothers who have maintained an 80-year passion for swimming. Their stories will surely offer encouragement to older adults about their ability to triumph over the limitations of age.

This is a wonderful film for everyone because these are people facing life’s many challenges, not just age. One is coping with the recent loss of a spouse. Another is undergoing cancer treatment.

They demonstrate the power of the human spirit, and they use it to make their lives as full and as happy as they can be. These are stories about well-being and about taking control of one’s life.

After so many months of hearing from our political hopefuls about what needs to be fixed in this world, I am ready to be inspired by some people who seem to have much of it all figured out.

You will find me at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Center on Nov. 11 for Maine’s premiere screening of “Age of Champions.” Find out more at ageofchampions.org/me.

Marby Payson

AARP volunteer


Review, play raise awareness of area’s cultural resources

As a relative newcomer to the Portland area and having read the review of “Good People” in the Portland Press Herald (“Review: ‘Good People’ takes on timely issues,” Oct. 13), I decided to check out the St. Lawrence Arts Center and take in this play on a dreary Sunday afternoon.

I was not disappointed by the performance of the entire cast and feel fortunate to live in an area with so much diverse quality in the arts offered to the public.

Dorothy Tweer