Letters to the Editor

Look at diet to curb fossil-fuel appetite

Like millions of other Americans victimized by outrageous home-heating costs this winter, I will be lowering my thermostat, covering my windows with plastic sheeting, and using electric space heaters to keep my personal space temperature tolerable.

The fossil-fuel crisis is only likely to get worse, as an exploding global demand confronts the reality of a limited supply and the vagaries of Middle East politics. We can blame the Bush administration and the oil companies for the current crisis. But, for the long run, we must reduce drastically fossil-fuel consumption in our cars, our homes and our diets.

Yes, our diets. According to Cornell University Professor David Pimentel, production of meat and dairy products accounts for about 15 percent of our national fossil-fuel consumption.

Most of that goes to manufacture fertilizers, operate farm machinery, and run irrigation equipment for growing animal feed. The rest is used to operate factory farms and slaughterhouses and to process, transport, refrigerate and prepare meat and dairy products.

Anyone who cares about the cost of fuel this winter should consider these effects on meat and dairy production on their next trip to the supermarket.

- Louie Gilverstine


Polls lacking in logic

Polls show Democrats ahead on the issue of the Iraq war, but Republicans still ahead on the terrorism issue. The latter does not follow from the first.

According to President Bush himself, the centerpiece of his war on terror is the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and the liberation of Iraq. He says he's fighting terrorists over there so he doesn't have to fight them here.

The war in Iraq is 99 percent of his war on terrorism, so how can anyone say Bush and his party are effective against terrorism yet mishandling the war?

To be logically consistent, you either have to believe that he's made a shambles of the invasion and has been merely lucky that there hasn't been another attack on our soil since the Sept. 11 attacks, or you have to maintain that the war is an overall success and that terrorism is contained as a result.

The polls only make sense when you consider that a conservative party appeals to some people because its rhetoric is reminiscent a strict parent.

Tough-talking conservatives make these people feel secure, irrespective of the actual facts of the situation.

- Dean Poirier