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June 17, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Save the sunspots

It’s mid-June in Maine; the grass is green, the birds are chirping, children are riding their bikes in the street and it’s freezing outside. Is it just a bad weather trend or something more?

The lack of sunspots could very well be the reason. A sunspot is a strong electromagnetic field on the surface of the sun. These spots become more frequent and then subside in an 11-year cycle. We are currently in the eighth year of this cycle, which means there should be an increasing amount of sunspots. Guess what? There have been hardly any sunspots for nearly a year and the best astronomers don’t know why.

Many of you are wondering why all this matters to the weather of Maine. Well here’s the bad news you all need to pay attention to. The last time there were no sunspots the temperature dropped for nearly 75 years. In fact, scientists refer to this period as “The Little Ice Age” which went on from roughly 1645 to 1715.

The scientific community may have a differing opinion on this theory regarding the recent cold weather. However, two things are for certain: it snowed in Wyoming recently and when you travel to the beach this summer you better pack a sweater in the picnic basket.

Sean MacMillan


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God, churches, IRS

Has the Maine Revenue Service or the IRS begun the process of removing the tax-exempt status from Maine churches currently involved in politics? I understand many evangelical and Roman Catholic churches are distributing petition forms to force a referendum to repeal the newly enacted law allowing same-sex marriages in Maine. Will tax laws be enforced against those churches or are they above and beyond the law?

Does God want Maine churches to act illegally?

Milt Gross


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Bang, bang

I wasn’t aware that Sen. Snowe was into guns but according to a recent article by Robert Reich, she is in talks with corporate crony Democrats about a “trigger” to start a public option (single-payer being the only sensible option) for health care in the event Big Pharma and insurance don’t come through with significant savings in a few years.

That pop gun has no caps. The one in her other hand, the one Dirty Harry would be proud of, is aimed at the heads of the poor and middle class.

As the first fizzles, the other will be squeezed.

Others in her collection have been fired to reduce bankruptcy protection (health care emergencies being one of the largest causes of bankruptcy, with most of us close to that edge) and to allow usurious interest rates. Both barrels there.

Devon Carter


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Government cheaper

In response to the OpEd piece by Maya MacGuineas, “Beware health reform savings myth”: MacGuineas was identified as president of an outfit called Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. With a Google search on this organization, I found that sponsors include, among other corporations, insurance and pharmaceutical companies who sure don’t want their money spigot cut off by universal health care. (Frankly, it isn’t my responsibility as a reader of this paper to go to the trouble of fact-checking to see why the author is given such a prominent forum in the paper.)

There is no way that corporations can handle Medicare for everyone as cheaply as the government has proved it can. Compare the overhead of the Social Security Administration and Blue Cross, it will open your eyes. I checked out what various Blue Cross CEOs made per year. Some might think there is just one CEO for one national Blue Cross. There are many. By the time I checked out several state Blue Cross CEOs and got into the hundreds of millions of dollars for their salaries and bonuses, I quit my search. Obviously a very large percentage of the premiums went to fat cats.

Every citizen deserves as good quality health care as their elected senators and representatives. Every dollar of additional overhead that goes to insurance companies is a dollar that does not go to taking care of ill Americans. If you think government can not do anything efficiently, my response is: “How is that private highway you drive on working out for you, or your private army and police department?”

David Gholson


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Obama’s economy

I, for one, am ready to concede that President Obama did indeed inherit the worst economy since the Great Depression. He inherited it from the Democrats who were swept into office in 2006, coincidentally the same time it started to go south. And yes, he was among those who did not heed the warnings given by the Bush ad-ministration and others.

So, oddly enough, he inherited a lousy economy from himself. And first the Bush overspending and now the Obama megaspending have and will make things worse for many years to come.

Dan Richardson


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Cheap sarcasm

I’d like to know what Pat LaMarche hoped to accomplish in her June 10 column In theory, she meant to strengthen the argument for gay marriage, but I think it is more likely she alienated moderates.

Sarcasm has a place in humor. Otherwise, it’s irritating, even to those who share the same views. LaMarche’s point is well taken — gay marriage does not hurt the institution of marriage. But it seems to me that Ms. Lamarche is practicing a dangerous level of intolerance while at the same time railing against intolerance.

On the editorial page opposite of where LaMarche’s column appears is a quote from our new president: “So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace … [T]he cycle of suspicion and discord must end.”

Although these comments were made in reference to the Middle East, I think they apply to just about any area of disagreement.

Sarcasm is cheap. With a little more effort, LaMarche could have worded her column to educate and enlighten.

Mary Offutt

Deer Isle

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