Printed letters, May 13, 2011

Our president just did something very presidential. He directed or authorized the taking out of our archenemy, American-hating and mass-killing Osama bin Laden.

As my ol’ preachin’ Daddy might have said: “Hallelujah, Brother!”

I’ll not waste any time on the mind-warping chore of trying to rationalize bin Laden’s existence into some connection with humanity.

Now that our president has demonstrated this example of leadership and political courage,  I’d personally appreciate the image of him pointing to our multiple billions of dollars of foreign aid to folks who don’t like us much anyway for consideration in budget cutting.

All American programs should be considered first. And while we’re at it, why not — since al-Qaida has effectively, by word and deed, declared war on us — let it be known to all in the areas who support them that we will consider support of al-Qaida opposition to us. Therefore, it may be required that we penetrate to reach al-Qaida support and interests and reduce or cease any foreign aid.

RAY LASHLEY

Grand Junction

Celebrating death hurts America’s reputation

I keep remembering right after 9/11 all the people in many countries jumping up and down in the streets and celebrating the death of thousands here in America. It made me sick to see people advocating and being happy over the slaughter of innocent people. I thought it showed their true nature.

However, I was aghast at seeing our own college students and others doing the same thing, celebrating a death. Even knowing bin Laden and his followers needed to be stopped and his death was justified, it doesn’t make me happy that we, as Americans, could and did stoop so low to actually celebrate a death.

Our celebrating made America look just as dumb and stupid as they were after 9/11. We are better than that, or should be. All it accomplished is giving others more reason to detest us. What a shame we couldn’t act from the high ground.

R.M. SHERMAN

Grand Junction

Choose correct proteins for insect control

The April 30 science article by Gary McCallister, “Is it wrong to want baby blood-suckers to die?” contained several misleading statements.

The correct spelling is Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis (BTi). There are many varieties of Bacillus thuringiensis (BT) that are toxic to different groups of insects. The protein toxins of BT act by binding to the insect’s epithelium and disrupting the integrity of membranes. The insects stop feeding and die through starvation.

BTi is used to control mosquito larvae and other dipteran species, but not for grub worms or pests on cabbage. However, these types of pests can be controlled with other varieties of BT.

BT var san diego is active against certain coleopteran insects (beetles) such as the Colorado potato beetle and elm leaf beetle. BT var kurstaki is widely used for lepidopteran (butterflies) pests such as the gypsy moth on trees and cabbage loopers and other pests of cabbage and lettuce. In recent years, genes encoding the BT proteins have been engineered and used to control the tobacco hornworm, the cotton bollworm and the corn rootworm.

The use of BT to control susceptible insect species has increased in recent years due to environmental concerns and insecticide resistance. BT products are safe to mammals and non-target organisms, and humans do not have to be concerned with the exposure to them on their food or from handling them.

So if you plan to use a BT formulation make sure that you apply the correct BT formulation as specified on the label. One useful reference on this topic is “Analytical Chemistry of Bacillus thuringiensis,” edited by L.A. Hickle and W.L. Fitch, 1990.

GEORGE TOMPKINS

Entomologist/Microbiologist

Grand Junction

Medicare patients can help agency save money

Five years ago, sleep apnea prompted a prescription for supplemental oxygen for me. Medicare supports such prescriptions by paying $200 a month (minus a $40 co-pay).

Instead of using Medicare assistance, I bought an oxygen concentrator for $700. As a result, Medicare saved $9,600 and I saved $2,400 in co-payments over this time. These were actual savings, not theoretical estimates.

Not all Medicare patients could save such amounts, but if prescribing doctors made patients aware of such options, I believe there would be a large number of patients who would accept responsibility for following a doctor’s prescription in this manner. This is a painless way for patients to help save Medicare for future generations.

J.F. RANEY Grand Junction



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