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July 4, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Reduce truck weight

The influence the trucking industry has on our state and federal legislators is very apparent. This influence is easily uncovered in their talking points. They all make grandstand speeches and introduce legislation on why we should increase the load limit to 100,000 on I-95. They say this would take the 100,000-pound trucks off of the state side roads — truth is, 100,000 pounds trucks would still be able to use side roads — and put them on I-95. The most prevalent reason they give is they have concerns for the safety of the people of Maine.

If they really did have concerns for the safety of the people, they would try to reduce the weight to 80,000 pounds. Independent research shows the death rates increases for 100,000 pounds. The extra 10 tons over the 80,000 pounds does have an impact on truck crash survival.

In the name of decency, please look at the impact of all studies, not just the talking points of the trucking industry.

Stanley Abraham


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Disconnected pols, TV

Was it too much to expect that the government could effectively manage the changeover to digital TV? We were promised grand new services like better picture quality and many more channel possibilities. What we got was no service at all in fringe areas even with the box and a special new antenna.

The government auctioned off usage rights for the old TV analog frequencies and in the process collected billions of dollars from commercial interests. Some of these funds could have and logically should have been used to make the new digital service reception at least as good as the old.

Big business and the government itself very much wanted the old spectrum and got it, but in the process cut off a significant slice of over-the-air TV viewers. This matter is not the most pressing issue of our time but it does demonstrate, once again, how disconnected our Washington representation is from the average person.

David Spaulding


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McMahon’s service

In February 1943, I was called up for the Navy’s Air Cadet program. The candidates reported to the Fargo Building in Boston. Twenty-five cadets were assigned to Texarkana, Texas to learn to fly in Piper Cubs and Aeronca airplanes. The train-ride to Texas was highlighted by the personality of one of the cadets named Ed McMahon. The affable Irish kid led us singing songs like “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and “The Eyes of Texas are Upon You.” Unforgettable!

We soloed in Texarkana when the Navy grounded us for pre-flight school at the University of Georgia in Athens. Three grueling summer months in the Georgia sun proved us physically fit to fly Navy aircraft. Proof of the pudding was at Love Field between Dallas and Ft. Worth where the “Yellow Peril” Stearman trainer awaited us.

The Yellow Peril was a beautiful plane but it had a few quirks. Its narrow landing gear was unforgiving to the unwary cadet. Loss of concentration was a guaranteed “ground loop” which many cadets remembered with embarrassment. Ed and I were fledgling “Red Barons” in our World War I-type biplanes, learning to loop-the-loop, snap roll and tailspin.

We survived the Yellow Peril and were assigned to Pensacola for serious Navy flying — and that is where we were separated. I never saw him again until he surfaced as Johnny Carson’s sidekick — still the cheerful Irishman that endeared him to me and to millions of TV fans. He retired a colonel in the United States Marine Corps Reserve. Good bye, Red Baron.

Paul Lucey

Old Town

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Warm, hard facts

Dr. Alan Boone, “Securing energy for America’s future” (BDN OpEd, June 29), uses half-truths and misstatements to dismiss the issue of global warming. He states that 2008 was the coldest year of the decade, but neglects to note that while 2008 was the coolest year since 2000 — not a decade, it was in the top 10 warmest years since 1880. All of the top 10 warmest years occurred between 1997 and 2008.

He also asserts that the University of Illinois Arctic Research Center reports an expansion of arctic sea ice. The center’s Web site states that present arctic sea ice extent has been below average continuously for the last five years, and that currently it is about one million square kilometers less than its long-term average for this time of year.

Dr. Boone correctly notes variability in Earth’s temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels in the last 400,000 years. What he fails to say is that this is the first time in the Earth’s history that increases in CO2 and other greenhouse gases cannot be attributed to simply natural phenomena, but also have a human contribution.

Dr. Boone sees vegetation as a consumer of CO2, but as widespread deforestation occurs, this buffer is destroyed. He also fails to mention that CO2 is absorbed by the world ocean, resulting in acidification with detrimental effects for marine life.

U.S. government action to curb greenhouse emissions is not a threat to our way of life. It represents an investment in protecting our environment, and an attempt to address the global changes that have

Alice Kelley


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No ‘dread’ for kids

I think Sarah Smiley’s perspective on children and summer is extraordinarily sad and I feel badly for her children. In her June 29 BDN column, she stated: “No. 1 reason not to home school: Public school is free and not inside your house.”

I have home schooled my three children from the start and my No. 1 reason to do so is because I want to be with my children. I find children delightful to be with. I often find their company preferable to that of adults, which is why I do volunteer projects for children in our community as much as possible.

According to Smiley, “Waiting in the pickup line at school on that last day, you could actually see the dread on the parents’ faces.” Dread?

Really? Do parents truly dread being with their kids? I hope for the children’s sake she is grossly mistaken.

Alison Johnson

Birch Harbor

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Marriage in trouble

The institution of marriage is under assault. Just last week, it was reported that Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., had a lengthy affair with a married aide. He too is married, with children, and was a member of a Christian ministry called “Promise Keepers.”

What’s to be done to reverse this kind of moral decline relating to marriage? Marriage clearly needs some help. It needs people who are committed to their children, to each other and to marriage itself. It needs reinforcements, fresh troops with a gleam in their eyes and love in their hearts. This is another reason why I support the equal right of gay and lesbian couples to marry, raise children, and fully participate in society as couples and families.

David P. Frasz


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