Call for civility was sadly necessary
Thank you for the column by Dr. Harris Pastides on civil discourse. As an advocate of nuclear energy, I frequently encounter, on both sides of the debate, persons who seem to be more intent on scoring points than on illuminating the issues. Thoughtful discourse on the big issues is seldom seen in our society today. We have grown accustomed to watching opinionated personalities masquerading as news journalists. Unfortunately, they are featured on so-called news programs where the content often includes people being rude for the sake of ratings or to appeal to a particular political persuasion.
Watching adults behaving this way cannot be setting the example we all want for impressionable children. We should be emphasizing the qualities Dr. Pastides extols in his article. Skepticism is healthy in any debate, essential in science, and helps us move forward. It seems though that in our politically charged environment we have allowed skepticism to transform into vitriol, with which there is no compromise. We all need to lay down our poison pens.
Dr. Pastides is to be congratulated for his initiative, although it is sad in a very real way that such an initiative is necessary.
New guidelines put too many lives at risk
The United States Preventive Services Task Force recently issued guidelines which recommended that women not have mammograms until they are 50. The logic of this flawed report itself demonstrates the need for early mammograms. While I am not an oncologist, I am skilled in using long division, and that is the only talent I need to analyze this issue.
There are approximately 20 million in their 40s in the United States. The panel stated that one cancer death is prevented for every 1,904 women aged 40-49 who are screened for 10 years. If you divide 20 million by 1,904, it equals 10,504.2 lives saved.
Therefore, if we value the lives of 10,504 women in the 40s, then we will continue to recommend that women in their 40s have annual mammograms. The only reason not to do so would be some sort of alien cost-benefit analysis which does not take into account moral considerations. How many of these 10,504 women are single parents? How many have incomes that help keep their families above the poverty level? How many are good parents whose children would suffer incalculably if they were to die? Would society really be better off without them?
It is also significant that both the American Cancer Society and the American College of Radiology are both sticking with their current guidelines recommending annual mammograms beginning at age 40.
J. LEEDS BARROLL IV
Don't blame the messenger for news
Rather than condemning the Obama administration's report that showed the number and the cost of creating and/or saving jobs for the dishonest and fraudulent report that it was, 'The Buzz' chose to vilify the "Republicans" for reading and accurately reporting its content.
Here in South Carolina alone, the administration reported spending $40 million to create 155 jobs in our 12th, 16th 43rd, 45th and 32nd districts, even though South Carolina has only six congressional districts. They also reported they spent $1.8 million to create 1.4 jobs in district 00 which obviously doesn't exist. By their own figures they spent $3 million in the nonexistent 43rd district and didn't create even one job. Those are not errors - that's deceit. What ever happened to investigative reporting?
Give Graham a chance on energy
Elected officials are "sworn in to be sworn at," as I recall from my years on the Sumter County Council.
And so it is now with our senior Sen. Lindsey Graham, most recently chastised by the Charleston County GOP for "weakening the Republican brand." It seems that Mr. Graham has dared to seek a bipartisan compromise on global warming and energy independence.
The "road not taken" by most politicians is the narrow, treacherous road of working with the other side of the aisle to do the people's business. Lindsey Graham has had the courage to do the unusual. He accepts the twin threats of global warming and dependence on imported oil. He speaks of the need for a "vision for energy independence" that combines a concern for the environment with good business practices and job creation. He understands that carbon pollution can have a major effect on the world's food supply. Many of us in the business community think that these ideas are worthy of incorporation into a comprehensive energy policy for the United States.
Let's give Sen. Graham a chance to work with Republicans and Democrats alike to come up with a workable compromise on these issues. I know Lindsey Graham. Like his predecessors from South Carolina in the U.S. Senate, he's strong. Hopefully, from all the heat there will come some light.