U.S. should never have banned pesticide DDT
Assume for a moment you're a mosquito. Now assume you have an opportunity to bite an emaciated American tribesman who possesses the ability to annihilate you, or you can feast on a fat American sucker who has totally disarmed himself. What are you going to do? Of course, you're going to have a piece of American pie.
That's just what the mosquitoes are doing right now, sampling our cuisine. But instead of pie, they're chowing down on the American people, and some of our citizens are dying because of it.
Americans disarmed themselves in 1972 when the Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of DDT pesticide based on false information provided in "Silent Spring," a 1962 book by Rachel Carson. President Kennedy was suckered by the book in 1963, and his Science Advisory Panel immediately called for legislative measures against such chemicals as DDT.
The false claims of Carson's book were promulgated by a fringe socialist group known as the Environmental Defense Fund, and they culminated in EPA Director (and member of the Environmental Defense Fund) William Ruckelshaus' making DDT illegal in 1972 by overturning an EPA administrative law judges' decision. He then refused to provide any explanation or justification for overturning the hearing decision. (As an administrative law judge who had a department head overturn one of my decisions without explanation or justification, I know how this can occur.)
Over a 20-year period, DDT controlled mosquito-spread malaria and saved the lives of 500 million people (mostly women and children) in third world countries that used the pesticide, but Western nations, such as the United States, are trying to ban DDT worldwide because they are still being suckered by the lies contained in Carson's book.
Enter a new player -- the West Nile virus -- and it's no longer just the "other guys" in far away lands who are dying. Now we are all at risk. That in itself should dispel the lies and awaken us from our politically correct slumber. It's time to bring back DDT and return the label "sucker" to its rightful owner, the mosquito.
JOSEPH K. WALTENBAUGH
Restore once beautiful Youngstown homes
I am writing in response to the Sept. 4 letter to the editor regarding Belmont Avenue's problems. I, like the writer lived in Youngstown in the 1950s. I have returned "home" on numerous occasions and have discovered that my beloved childhood memories of Youngstown are still intact albeit seen in a somewhat different light.
I remember a much different city than my youthfulness had chiseled into my mind. Belmont Avenue and mainly Youngstown's North Side (where I was raised) have gone through changes that time unfortunately has dealt all of us. There numerous houses are vacant and have deteriorated. Why not renovate theses homes? Are there not government programs that offer owners incentives to spruce up these once elegant giants?
I see great houses that deserve to be salvaged. Can a home be converted into two or more apartments so different families can afford to rent? Wake up Youngstown. Don't let your town get the reputation of being an "ugly" city.