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March 7, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Closing not an option

We are all watching with great interest as the task force assigned to recommend structural changes in the University of Maine System makes its way around Maine, visiting Maine’s public universities and gathering input. The task force has a difficult job, but one that is essential as we all work to find better, more sustainable ways to deliver university education in Maine.

News coverage might lead observers to erroneously conclude that the University of Maine in Orono is advocating for closing smaller system universities to solve the existing structural problems. That is simply not true. During the task force meeting at UM, a few members of our community did suggest that the task force consider that option.

The task force chair explained, as Chancellor Richard Pattenaude has also indicated, that closing universities is not an option. I support this position and I look forward to continuing to work together with the other system universities in ways that will advance our shared objectives.

As I perceived it, the UM task force visit was really dominated by discussion of UM’s distinctive role and how we might more effectively work together as universities, sharing resources in ways that will make the entire system stronger and better able to serve Maine’s people statewide.

That is what our citizens expect — and deserve — from their public universities.

Robert Kennedy


University of Maine


• • •

Principles needed

Last fall, Americans voted for bipartisan change to fix our country’s problems. What we got on the stimulus was not respectful negotiation in good faith, but an outrageous insult. It was business as usual — petty bickering, partisan bullying, disingenuous statements, political grandstanding, steadfast adherence to failed policies, lockstep party loyalty and beltway myopia. The rudderless opposition is betting on future political gain if the stimulus fails.

President Obama carries our hopes and dreams that things can be turned around before it’s too late. If Congress can’t put political ambitions aside for the good of the country, they should get out of Washington, and find some other corrupt way to make a living before they bring about total collapse.

We may never get back our jobs, homes and investments. We imagine Congress gloating over evening cocktails about how they’ve finally got us begging them to take our money and our future, to support themselves and their Wall Street cronies. Their handpicked watchdogs and our shallow corporate media appear incapable of investigating, analyzing, reporting and punishing their hypocritical arrogance.

Democracy cannot survive this lack of principled leadership. How long will it be before Americans wake up, rise up, refuse to pay taxes, storm Washington and bring down the whole house of cards?

This crisis of confidence began in corporate America and ends with Congress. If we don’t straighten them out soon, they will precipitate a painful, calamitous fall and relegate this once great nation to the trash heap of history.

David Estey


• • •

Oppressed unmarried

A bill before legislators in Augusta, “An Act to Expand Rights of Maine Families,” is meant to expand the legal rights of unmarried couples on the Domestic Partnership Registry to bring them more in line with the rights enjoyed by married couples in Maine. I encourage anyone who values freedom and equality to examine the intention of this bill closely as it unfortunately runs the risk of being distorted or overshadowed by another bill being described as its competitor, the so-called gay marriage bill.

One important result of the expanded rights bill will be to illuminate the little acknowledged issue of discrimination against unmarried Americans.

It provides an opportunity to highlight this issue so it can begin to be addressed.

As Americans, we pride ourselves on our many freedoms, and choice is certainly one of those. It’s interesting that we continue to limit or refuse many societal benefits to those who choose not to get married. Support for this bill should not be confused or minimized by the interpretations of those who may use it to satisfy their own agendas. Don’t let their spin suck you in.

Unmarried Americans are an oppressed group which deserves an opportunity to share the same benefits as married Americans.

Linda Collins


• • •

Definition of marriage

There is no such thing as – same-sex marriage. Marriage is heterosexual by definition. Calling a homosexual relationship a marriage is like calling a partnership a family. It only works as a metaphor. There are similarities but they aren’t really or legally the same. A partnership can be like a family, but it still isn’t really a family.

There are not enough similarities between homosexual and heterosexual relationships to call them both marriage. The literal definition of marriage was created by God and must not be violated or altered by people.

The Rev. Gregory Du Bois


• • •

Who ran up the debt?

Op-Ed writer Lawrence Lockman (“Collins, senators lock out constituents on stimulus bill,” BDN, Feb. 23) is either pulling our legs or is in denial.

He says he’s worried that his grandchildren will have to pay the cost of the Obama administration’s reversal of the current economic crisis.

He fails to mention that we are on the verge of bankruptcy because of the profligacy, incompetence and corruption of the recent Republican administration, which he apparently supported. He fails to mention that before his grandchildren get around to any bills left by the stimulus plan, they will have to pay for President George W. Bush’s $2 trillion in tax breaks for the rich and for Bush’s $1 trillion (and counting) illegal, unnecessary and stupid war in Iraq.

He fails to mention that he was nowhere to be found when that money was being wasted and the bills passed along to his grandchildren. It is clear that for Mr. Lockman and his party in Congress, politics trumps concern for the nation’s welfare. Their shameful obstructionism will render them even more marginalized and irrelevant, and that’s a good thing.

Dan Lourie

Bar Harbor

• • •

Tax deadbeats

It’s bad enough that President Obama continues to choose political appointees who are tax dodgers, the latest being [trade representative nominee] Ron Kirk. It’s an insult to those of us who pay our taxes when the White House shrugs it off as “a few minor issues.”

Why aren’t these people in jail? They should start with the treasury secretary.

Beverly Nichols


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