Letters submitted by BDN readers are verified by BDN Opinion Page staff. Send your letters to letters@bangordailynews.com.

Renaming Little Hall

I read with sadness the commentary by Richard Little in the BDN concerning his father, Clarence Little. Little had many positive accomplishments, and I can appreciate how difficult it is for his family to accept doubts about his legacy.

According to SourceWatch, Little served as scientific director for the “Council for Tobacco Research” from 1959 until his death in 1971. The council was not about “tobacco research” at all, but was a cynical effort by the tobacco industry to sow doubt. Federal Judge H. Lee Sarokin, who presided over tobacco liability cases, called the Council for Tobacco Research “nothing but a hoax created for public relations purposes with no intention of seeking the truth or publishing it.”

Five years after the U.S. Surgeon General stated unequivocally that smoking causes lung cancer and other diseases, Clarence Little used his position as a scientist to cast doubt on these findings and said as late as 1969, “there is no demonstrated causal relationship between smoking or any disease.”

Millions of Americans continued to smoke and die unnecessarily, and I believe that is a result of Little’s endorsement of tobacco products. In my career as a physician, I have seen too many tragic cases of tobacco-related death and disability for me not to react emotionally when I see Dr. Little’s name on Little Hall at the University of Maine. It should be removed.

Peter S. Millard


Health care priorities

This is a concern from an 80 year old guy. I acknowledge that the main concern at this time is any and all effects from COVID-19, but it appears there are also other medical concerns that have seemed to be pushed to the back burner.

In March of this year I had appointments from my primary care provider, my dermatology doctor and my eye doctor canceled. No appointments were ever rescheduled. Only my PCP has responded through email to any concerns I have had. Even though these contacts have been somewhat helpful, I do not believe I received the complete care that in-person contact would have provided.

As to the other healthcare professionals, I have never heard from my skin doctor, and probably will change who I go to.

I was in contact with my eye doctor’s office a month or so ago and was told I would be rescheduled soon. No contact until I called in mid-July, and could not get an appointment until September.

It seems that they forgot about me as a patient as this is six months after my scheduled appointment until I initiated contact.

I am very concerned about what is a priority and what is not with the health care system in this country and especially in the state of Maine.

Nicholas Fox


Retirement dreams hang in the balance

The stock market has been on yet another tear, gaining back much of what it lost because of COVID-19. It is doing so during the pandemic, in spite of poor market fundamentals. Clearly, anticipation of a lot more deficit spending by our government and the Federal Reserve continuing to print money and buy debt are responsible for this unjustified increase in value.

When those are coupled with interest rates of 1 percent or less being paid on bank CDs and U.S. savings bonds, anyone planning for retirement or already retired and needing a fair return on their retirement savings have to get into stocks. There is no longer a safe savings vehicle offering any kind of return.

I am concerned we will not see a fair return on savings for years to come. Our Federal Reserve has insured money is available at close to zero percent for years and cannot even start moving these manipulated interest rates to normal levels for three reasons: the amount of money our government has to borrow everyday, our economy is addicted to free money, and the stock market would drop like a rock if banks had to pay 3 or 4 percent on a 12-month CD.

I suspect as he sits in his cell, Bernie Madoff is envious of this legal Ponzi scheme our Congress has unwittingly created due to their inability to make any unpopular or tough decisions. Instead of spending 100 percent of their time professing their love or hate for Donald Trump in preparation for the coming election our lawmakers should take a hard look at the stock market as workers’ retirement dreams, along with public and private pension systems, hang in the balance.

Richard Ginn