Forum, June 24: DEET; A Rising GOP; IRS ‘Lies’; Health Care in the U.S. and Britain

DEET Is Safe to Use Against Ticks

To the Editor:

As a follow-up to Cecelia Blair’s letter (“Protection Against Ticks,” Forum, May 15), in addition to wearing high-top boots, I would urge folks to apply the repellent DEET to boots and exposed skin. DEET is not a “poisonous spray” according to many agencies, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, EPA and The National Pesticide Information Center. The rare cases of toxicity involve extreme overuse or swallowing of DEET. As a chemistry graduate student in Oregon in the mid-1960s, my fellow hikers and I synthesized a 40-50 percent solution of DEET (in alcohol) as protection against the giant bloodthirsty mosquitoes in central Oregon. This concentration is higher than the recommended 10-30 percent, but we observed no adverse health effects over four years of use. If applied according to directions, DEET poses little or no health threat to humans, whereas the peril of contracting Lyme disease in the woods of the Upper Valley is extremely serious.

Gordon W. Gribble

Professor of organic chemistry, Dartmouth College


Feeling Good About the GOP

To the Editor:

I am optimistic after attending the Republican State Party meeting on Saturday in Montpelier. The mood was upbeat and positive. There are new candidates, including Scott Milne for governor. There were young people and not-so-young people participating. There were reports from several committees with specific information about progress within their groups. We heard good news about national party activity.

I am optimistic because we have made so much progress despite the need to reshuffle after the sudden and serious illness of our former party chairman last year and the current illness of our long-time office manager. It takes time and angst to reorganize and move forward and Saturday we were able to say we have done it.

I am also optimistic about our goals to balance power in Montpelier. It takes time and we are realistic in knowing that it won’t happen overnight. Much effort has been made to sign up good candidates. The focus now is to train and support those candidates.

I am not optimistic about the direction Vermont is heading under this current administration and Legislature. Last session, I attended many of the Republican House caucuses and saw firsthand the efforts being made to control spending and restrictive laws that affect our business climate. I fear for the future of our children and do not blame them for leaving the state. I also, as a senior citizen on a fixed income, am beginning to look elsewhere for a retirement home.

I am optimistic that Republicans can work to lower taxes and the debt, develop a business climate that will help grow the economy and provide jobs, make our government more efficient and effective, fix the current health care system so it works and pay for education without breaking the backs of the taxpayers.

Become optimistic, too, by joining the Republicans to move forward to make Vermont more affordable again.

Mary Daly

Co-chairwoman Communication Committee

Vermont State Republican Party


No Accounting for IRS Lies

To the Editor:

If any American taxpayer called before the IRS stonewalled, lied and failed to apologize, he would be fined and most probably sent to jail.

Why should the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen be able to get away with stonewalling and lying? He should be replaced, without a “golden parachute” (i.e., pension), and someone from outside the IRS should be appointed, ASAP.

Marcella J. Logue


The Real Leader in Health Care

To the Editor:

I am moved to write by John Lohmann’s letter in the Valley News (“Trouble With National Health,” June 18). He advises voters to unseat Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Rep. Annie Kuster, citing The Independent and its May 22 article critical of Britain’s National Health Service and a serious problem it is facing.

The Independent later reported on the NHS and 11 other countries to point out that, using 12 measurements of medical care performance, the U.K. ranks first and the U.S. ranks last. (The U.S. data predate the regulatory establishment of President Obama’s health legislation.)

So Mr. Lohmann may be right in suggesting Shaheen and Kuster seek care in the U.K. should they fall ill, but not for the reasons he sets forth. Both of them can expect impeccable care in either venue, but here their good care can be attributed to unfettered access to the best the U.S. has to offer, an option often denied to too many under the old U.S. system with its out-of-balance costs and ragged pattern of coverage.

Michael B. Mayor