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July 9, 2009 Letters to the Editor

No revolving door

In response to Wednesday’s BDN story about the recent personnel action taken by the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee, be assured that no member of that committee should or would ever be considered for a paid position on the BRCC staff.

John N. Diamond

Chairman of the Board

Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce

• • •

Know them by their works

As a non-Christian and longtime admirer of the Rev. Jim Haddix, the Rev. Renee Garrett and their inspiring and welcoming All Souls Congregational Church, I cannot help but compare the church’s recent good deeds in Honduras with the concurrent efforts of Maine’s Catholic Bishop Richard Malone, Michael Heath and others to force a statewide referendum on the new gay marriage law.

No doubt the latter persons genuinely believe that world poverty, overpopulation and pedophile priests in the U.S., Ireland and elsewhere pale beside the mortal dangers to both heterosexual marriages and celibate priests posed by gay marriage in Maine. But in my biased view, the world is a far better place because of the persistent good works of All Souls — not just this summer but in earlier summers and, for that matter, at home as well as abroad throughout the year.

How sad that those other self-proclaimed holy men are consumed by such rage against the civil rights of their gay fellow Mainers.

Howard Segal


• • •

Pass union law

As someone who studies the impact of poverty on the lives of Maine families and has the good fortune to be a union member, I strongly support the Employee Free Choice Act. This federal legislation, currently being debated in Congress, would ensure workers have a free choice and fair chance to form a union.

Union membership has fallen dramatically in this country and with its decline there has been an accompanying increase in jobs with low pay, poor benefits and little security. More than half of U.S. workers say they would join a union right now if they could. And with good reason: Workers belonging to unions earn 30 percent more than non-union workers and are 63 percent more likely to have employer-provided health care.

Currently, management can refuse to recognize a union even when 100 percent of their workers have signed union authorization cards. The election process employers often require gives them the opportunity to intimidate their employees using tactics such as forcing employees to attend one-on-one anti-union meetings with their supervisors, utilizing bribes and special favors, and firing pro-union workers.

The Employee Free Choice Act would provide workers with a fairer and more democratic process by strengthening penalties against offending employers and permitting workers to form a union through the use of signed authorization cards. As Maine workers struggle with low wages, lack of health care and insecure jobs, the passage of this legislation would be one step toward strengthening their position in our all too unequal society.

Sandy Butler


• • •

Graveyard empire

It’s Obama’s imperial presidency now and the hope that he might attend to peaceful voices is dwindling. News on Afghanistan and Pakistan indicates an information campaign is seen as a “solution” for the mess created by our robots bombing civilians, as if changing the message would comfort women whose children had been burned up or silence the women who mourn with them and raise their voices in demanding that funding for the killing end now.

Afghanistan has famously been called “the graveyard of empires,” referring to the failure to subdue the mountain tribes, of whom the Taliban are only the latest generation. Our imperial forces join those of Alexander the Great, the Persian Empire, the Roman Empire, Napoleon Bonaparte, Great Britain and the Soviet Union in bogging down there.

Too bad Afghanistan lies smack-dab on the way from the landlocked energy reserves of Central Asia to the seacoast. It appears Congress and the president will continue to squander American lives and tax dollars attempting to subdue the region.

With 700-plus bases in foreign lands and a policy of bombing civilians, the U.S. looks poised to go down in history as the Empire of Graveyards.

Lisa Savage


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