Readers write: pollsters, fast-track trade, animal testing

Letters to the editor for the June 8, 2015, weekly magazine.

Lindsey France, Cornell University/AP Photo/File
This handout photo provided by Cornell University, taken Feb. 13, 2013, shows a 3-D printer being used to engineer a new ear. Bioprinting technology has the potential for applications in medicine, veterinary care, and now cosmetics, as beauty company L'Oreal partners with biotech company Organovo to facilitate the printing of human skin for product testing.

Why polls have a low response
Regarding the May 25 article “British election offers big lesson for US pollsters”: I was amused that the response rate to US political polls is down to 10 percent. Any good polling company should ask its pollees who decline to participate why. Several years back I stopped responding to those long phone polls because the questions were designed to force my answers into one side and did not reflect my true opinion.
Shelley Scott
Bellflower, Calif.

Don’t support fast-track trade
Regarding the May 4 Monitor’s View “Why a US president needs a key tool for expanding trade”: Your argument that the president needs a trade tool to avoid war is very weak. The idea of a trade agreement is to help both countries increase trade. Since the trade promotion authority was enacted some 40 years ago, the United States has been offshoring jobs, creating flat wages, and increasing income inequality. Between 1930 and 1980, the lower-earning 90 percent of Americans were getting 70 percent of the income increases. Since fast-track agreements have put multinational corporations in charge of negotiations, from 1980 to 2014, that same 90 percent have gotten zero percent of the income increases. Those agreements have gutted the US middle class.  
Norman Naylor
Lansdale, Pa.

Alternatives to animal testing
Regarding the May 19 online article “3D-printing human skin: The end of animal testing?” ( More than 30 countries ban such testing. It makes sense for cosmetic giants to invest in developing new technologies to replace problematic animal testing. L’Oréal’s partnership with Organovo will give the company a distinct advantage where such testing is prohibited, a win-win-win for animals, consumers, and the industry.
Pascaline Clerc
The Humane Society of the United States

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

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