April 24, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Posted April 23, 2009, at 5:41 p.m.

I’ll drink to that

Thank God for Peter Alexander bringing news of PepsiCo’s alleged support of gay rights, “Boycott PepsiCo” (BDN, April 17). I’ll purchase two six-packs of its soda instead of one this weekend.

Kim MacGowan

Old Town

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Denim and decadence

I can’t let George Will’s April 16 column, “How Levis denimized the nation,” pass without comment. At first I took this as an attempt at humor. Denim at the airport! Denim at the mall! Oh my! And his invocation of St. Paul’s and St. Barack’s wish that we put away childish things, starting with denim — too rich!

While George Will is not known as a humorist, a bit of checking with “the Google” will uncover some other examples of George Will humor. He can be very funny, but only when he is being way too serious. Like his lament on ABC News after our president’s address to Congress when he asked the question “when did men start hugging?”

I suspect that Mr. Will harbors elitist views but I did not expect him to confirm it as openly as he does in this rant against denim — “that ubiquitous fabric, which is symptomatic of deep disorders in the national psyche.”

He recasts Mark Twain’s cynical observation that “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society” to something like “Clothes make the man. People in jeans have little or no influence.”

To Mr. Will, it seems, we must stop wearing denim for the good of society. So Mr. Steve Jobs, Mr. Richard Branson: dress like Fred Astaire or the world will pass you by. Here’s to you George; what’s next on your sartorial hit list — the Maine hunting shoe?

John Nickerson

Belfast

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Expensive recovery

The suggestion by the State Planning Office to use $2.3 million to recover old, used, waterlogged lobster traps from the ocean bottom starts the alarm bells ringing. This is precisely the type of “stimulus funds” use that taxpayers should fear and question.

The SPO believes that as many as 80,000 traps may be recovered with those funds. That works out to $24 per decrepit trap. But then, what do they plan to do with those traps?

The recent article tells us that, for one thing, they will be better able to study “what other types of species may be caught by ghost gear,” an interesting consideration in a year when lobstermen have been forced to lay out funds to purchase rope complying with the new right whale restrictions.

Best of all, those who hunt and gather the traps that may well lead to more restrictions on fishing are “a maximum of 420 contracted lobstermen.”

Huh. Leading to a situation where you are hoist by your own petard, guys.

Valerie Chiasson

Brooklin

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Insulting to veterans

The recent Department of Homeland Security report on the potential increase in right-wing extremism was unnecessary, inappropriate and seemingly timed to position the planned nationwide “tea parties” as an example of this extremism. Moreover, it was insulting to veterans and everyone with conservative values. This agency could better serve America by focusing on the real terrorists.

John Mullins

Gouldsboro

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‘Big lie’ on biotech

It’s called the “big lie” — repeat it often enough and it sounds truthful — that biotech crops and the foods made with them are untested, unregulated and unsafe. Diana George Chapin repeats it in her April 6 OpEd, calling for the labeling of foods containing biotech ingredients. As a scientist, she should know better.

Even the European Union (no friend of biotechnology) doesn’t believe the “big lie.” The European Food Safety Authority recently published an evaluation of insect-resistant corn and concluded it was “unlikely to have an adverse effect on human and animal health or the environment.”

The Board of Pesticides Control acknowledged the safety of insect-resistant field corn and its importance to Maine farmers when the first varieties were approved in 2007. The recent approval of insect-resistant sweet corn is further validation of their value in Maine.

In 2008, 80 percent of the corn planted in the U.S. was genetically engineered. Now, Maine farmers can begin to benefit from this technology.

It’s time for Chapin and her allies to stop trying to disadvantage farmers who choose to farm conventionally and join the larger conversation on how to make Maine a better place for all farmers.

Douglas Johnson

Maine Biotechnology Information Bureau

Stonington

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The meaning of illegal

I am not an Obama basher. I am, I think, a common sense American. On a recent evening I was watching the news and saw President Obama speaking with the president of Mexico about “illegal” firearms crossing the border.

President Obama made the following statement, paraphrased: The U.S. needs to do its part to stop the crossing of “illegal” firearms and money coming into Mexico; they are “illegal.”

So my questions is this: If “illegal” firearms need to be stopped why aren’t we stopping and taking care of the “illegal” immigrant problem we have in this country? Wouldn’t this help the U.S. out in its highest unemployment in decades? I am not against other immigrants; as a matter of fact my family came here from Canada. I believe in “legal” immigration, but I think it is time the U.S. take care of Americans first then maybe if there is anything left in our “savings bucket” we can help out others.

Maybe everyone in Congress along with most of our state legislators needs to take a Dave Ramsey course on finance. We can’t spend what we don’t have.

Fred Gagne

Old Town

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‘Bad logic’

In his April 8 letter to the editor, Aaron Eastman asserts that since every child needs a father and mother figure in his or her life, legalizing gay marriage is bad for children who are raised by same-sex couples. By extension, does this also mean that single parents should be obligated, by law, to find and marry a person of the opposite sex?

I don’t dispute that it is highly desirable for children to have strong role models, both male and female. Somehow, though, I find it hard to believe that a child who grows up without a “mom” or “dad” in the traditional sense will become something less than what they should be (and I’m sure a lot of widows, widowers, and divorcees would agree with me).

Parenting is about love, not necessarily the gender of the caregiver. I’m not exactly sure yet where I fall on the issue of gay marriage, but it seems to me there might be more compelling arguments than this one against it; this one just seems like bad logic.

Melissa Walton

Bangor

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