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March 11 Letters to the Editor

Fiscal restraint timing

Since the inauguration of President Obama there have been many comments from fiscal conservatives voicing their concern over the perception of runaway government spending. I have a question for them. If they really are so troubled by deficit spending, why were they so quiet for the last eight years? Cats had your tongues?

Martin O’Connell



Don’t bypass Star City

The state of Maine is as broke as the federal government and yet Gov. Baldacci wants to throw $20 million at a road project, the Caribou Connector, which is entirely unjustified. The same thing in Presque Isle: state government is pushing to spend millions of taxpayers dollars to construct a bypass road around Presque Isle to take traffic away from downtown.

And the governor maintains the “people can’t wait for the project to begin.” Well, I’m here to say that almost no one in Presque Isle is for the project. The very idea of rerouting traffic around the downtown area is insane and extremely unpopular. Rerouting potential business away is the most unsound idea I ever have heard.

Go ahead and put it out to referendum; it will be defeated summarily

In this economic climate, wasting a nickel should be criminal, especially the taxpayers’ nickel.

Dick Graves

Presque Isle


Single-payer cure

Kudos to Meg Haskell for a well-researched and written piece in the March 7-8 BDN about highly compensated employees in the health care industry in Maine.

A good administrator can often pay his or her own salary many times over by efficiently running their organization. But things seem truly out-of-whack throughout the health care system, not just locally but at the national level. There will be no real changes until we take a hard look at the real costs of health care from top to bottom, from CEOs to doctors to the pharmaceutical industry to the private health insurance industry.

It is difficult to imagine any significant reform to our current system without a unified single payer. Unfortunately, none of the current players stand to benefit from this model, which explains why there is no meaningful discussion of a single payer plan at the national level. For those interested in learning more about this option, check out www.pnhp.org.

William Wood Jr., M.D.



No assist, BDN

Many of us in eastern Washington County were thrilled when both the girls and boys teams of Woodland High School won state championships in basketball. We felt that this was a very significant and newsworthy event. The Bangor Daily News, however, chose to treat the accomplishment with routine sports page coverage.

In contrast to this coverage, when an altercation between two groups of young people in this town occurred, the BDN decided that event was worthy of front page feature treatment with the suggestion that Baileyville might be a racist community. This was despite denials by officials of both communities that were involved that there were any racial overtones to that event. These editorial choices have done wonders for our community’s public image.

Carleton M. Brown



Give Obama a chance

Under Presidents Reagan, Bush and Bush, we now have seen 20 years of what might best be described as borrow-and-spend conservatism. During that time we heard a lot of talk about the evils of big government, yet those presidents did very little to shrink the government and a great deal to expand the national debt. And we have seen the wealth of this nation rise steadily to the top 1 percent. Today we can see that these policies have brought us to a very low position economically.

So what do you say, fellow Americans, to letting the new president have a decent chance at turning things around according to his best instincts and ideas? Rather than listening to hot-headed critics like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, who clearly are terrified at the possibility that Obama may succeed, why don’t we spend our time supporting the new administration and urging our representatives and senators to do the same?

Michael Zuck



Brown bat, black fly

Several years ago, I saw a clutch of wild ducklings feeding enthusiastically on black flies blown by a stiff breeze to the shoreline at Lake Wassookeag.

In addition to other birds, dragonflies and fish, black flies are also a food source for bats. One common species in Maine is the little brown bat. It weighs about one-third of an ounce, and lives to be 20 to 30 years old. It is reported to be able to eat more than 1,000 insects an hour, and while many hibernate in local structures, others migrate up to 600 miles to hibernate in caves and abandoned mines.

Bats are critical to the health of forests as they eat an enormous number of moths and beetles whose young feed on trees. This is why an article a year ago in the Bangor Daily News about a woman who was on a quest to rid her area of black flies was troubling. It described her lugging in a bucket of biological solution and dumping it into a remote beaver pond. About the same time, reports started to surface about “white nose syndrome” in Vermont, in which bats, in underweight condition, were dying by the thousands.

A relation between white nose syndrome and black fly control has not been established, but should be highly suspect. The best intentions can have serious unanticipated consequences when you start messing with complex ecological relationships. The introduction of control agents into waterways for black flies should be closely regulated or banned outright in Maine.

Gene Wilbur



Senators irresponsible

I have read the letters extolling the “courage” of our senators from Maine as they joined Sen. Specter and the liberals in voting for the “recovery-stimulus-spendulus” package that not one representative or senator had time to read before voting on it, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13.

I was sitting in the Senate gallery with my husband at this time, listening to Sen. Coburn and others speak against this, and his concern was that these 1,100 pages had not reached anyone’s hands until after midnight of that day, so how could they possibly vote on it?

Courageous is not the word for anyone who went along with this, but total irrationality and the desire to follow a socialist leader would make a better description. I still wonder how many calls and e-mails to their offices were asking them to vote no, but we probably never will know.

Sharon I. Rideout


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