In a June 2, 2002 Open Forum letter ("Feed the World") published in The Brainerd Daily Dispatch, the author calls upon each of us to cut back on meat consumption so that 12 million tons of grain could be made available to the "60 million people" who die of hunger each year. Fortunately for us meat eaters, that number is wildly exaggerated.
Indeed, according to the World Health Organization, in its report on the Global Burden of Diseases 2000 Project (or GBD 2000), only 55.7 million people died of all causes worldwide in 2000.
The WHO calls GBD 2000 "the most comprehensive and consistent set of estimates of mortality and morbidity by age, sex and region ever produced." Worldwide mortality for the year 2000 was painstakingly measured, estimated and categorized. Of the 55.7 million total deaths, 97 percent were caused by disease, wars and accidents. Only 445,000 deaths were attributable to nutritional deficiency. For the sake of argument, let's add the 1.0 million infant deaths that resulted from low birth weight to the nutritional deficiency category. (In fact, low birth weight is caused by many factors, including fetal alcohol syndrome.) That suggests that, at most, there were 1.4 million deaths attributable to hunger in 2000, or 98 percent less than claimed by the author. Any reader with Internet access can find these statistics on the WHO Statistics web site (www3.who.int/whosis.)
The writer is entirely correct when he states that the world produces more than enough food to feed itself. However, it is war, political corruption, religious hatred and general chaos that prevent some people from getting the food (and medical services, etc.) they need, not depletion of grain stocks by meat eaters in the U.S.
Michael G. Abbott
Heartbreak came to many persons in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota as torrents of rain poured down on their homes and farms on Sunday, June 9, 2002.
The sudden ferocity of the storm made one remember the devastating floods experienced by Rapid City, South Dakota residents 30 years ago.
On June 9, 1972 Rapid City was a scene of mass destruction as many people were killed by flash flooding. Prior to the disaster, clouds near Rapid City had been seeded with silver iodide to cause rain.
Government weather modification programs have been implicated in various flooding catastrophes in this country and overseas for decades.
If interested in U.S. government involvement in attempts to change weather, readers may wish to read an intriguing book titled "Angels Don't Play This HAARP."
Written by Dr. Nick Begich, and Jeane Manning, the book deals with the High-frequency Active Auroral Research Project (HAARP). It is a ground-based war weapon located in Alaska. Changing weather patterns is one of the weapon's goals.
Elaine Jensen Chesley
Fireworks and fires
Did we have our heads so far in the sand that we didn't see it coming? With so many important issues on the table, no one seemed to blink when the legal sale of fireworks slipped through cracks of a befuddled legislature.
The recent "not so wild" fire that consumed many acres and previous homes and threatened lives is a case in point for how mindless the system can be. Anyone living in the lakes area knows that the woods are tinder dry.
How is it, I ask, that as I write this, I can't obtain a burning permit (rightfully so) due to the extremely dry conditions we are experiencing, yet within a few feet of the same counter I can purchase a plethora of fireworks and other incendiary devices? I'm told that one must be 18 years old to purchase these items. I can see the sign now. "You must be 18 to burn down the forest."
Am I missing something here? I know we can't counteract the wisdom of our state government in the immediate future. Can we however, act locally and restrict the sale of fireworks when there is a ban on burning permits? This idea may smack too much of common sense to be appreciated. I know it runs counter to the capitalistic ideal of a fireworks display in every window. On the other hand, maybe retailers would think twice about selling fireworks if their customers were allowed to use them right outside the door on store property.
A drive to a local public landing the other day prompted this letter. The parking lot was littered with spent fireworks a few feet away from the woods. Will we sit back and wait for the next catastrophe, or can we enact local legislation to prevent the inevitable?
Gov. Ventura and prayer
Gov. Ventura refused to continue a Minnesota governors' tradition of issuing a proclamation in conjunction with the national day of prayer on May 2. Instead, he has recently proclaimed the whole month of June a time to celebrate alternate sexual "lifestyles." He has now proclaimed the month of June as "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Pride Celebration Month".
The man who brought us "Rolling Stones Day" as one of his first official acts as chief executive of our state, promoted the legalization of prostitution and marijuana, and criticized religion as "mindless", has again refused to acknowledge the important role prayer and faith play in our national heritage. I am once again appalled and embarrassed by our governor. Do you think he'll pick a month to honor heterosexuals? Probably not.
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