With the most recent Beer Summit I wonder what lesson we have taught our adolescents this week. What they have seen is that when an issue arises that is bigger than the participants, the best solution our elected leaders and government can come up with is to have a beer together. Do we really want to teach tomorrow’s adults that alcohol is the solution to whatever problem comes down the pike that stirs emotions? I, for one, do not wish my children or my patients to believe that this is true or even worth a try. Alcohol has its place in our society, but as a solution to our problems it is not even an option.
Could our elected leaders not come up with a better solution than a public display of alcohol use as the great equalizer?
The Bangor Daily News editorial on July 29 titled “Cops, Blacks & White House” was disconcerting. The phrase “a logical starting place is the fact that blacks draw disproportionate scrutiny from police” is a moot point, regardless of its accuracy. The logical starting place was the fact that a policeman was called about a potential breaking and entering and needed to investigate the matter. Profiling had nothing to do with this situation despite the interjections of Gates and President Obama. I feel Officer Crowley should have been congratulated for promptly investigating the potential home invasion of a black residence.
Further, to claim Gates was justified in his anger at the policeman is to empower the mindset that views police as constant adversaries. The correct way to respond to this situation is to say, “Nope, sorry, officer, this is my home, nothing seems to be amiss, sorry for the inconvenience.” Simple.
Yet, through years of cultivating an oppositional mindset (from Harvard even), we are to side with Gates in his presumptuous utterances?
The editorial suggests that the most troubling aspect of the situation was the probable cause for Gates’ arrest. His arrest for disorderly conduct was routine, evidenced online by the officer’s report. The Bangor Daily News further suggests that Officer Crowley perhaps acted out of latent racism or a case of class envy. Officer Crowley was responding to an unknown situation, and it was professor Gates who threw the race card (perhaps the entire deck) into the officer’s face.
What we want
I don’t care if members of Congress have a great health plan for which we the people pay and if members of Congress get salaries of $175,000 a year and only work 150 days out of 365, or 41 percent of the year. I don’t care if members of Congress have an average net worth of $1.7 million and if members of Congress have government cars, government chauffeurs and free airplane flights anywhere in the world.
I don’t care if members of Congress pork barrel all the bills they pass. After all, what better way to get re-elected than to show the folks back home a nice new road or a shined-up federal building? I don’t care if members of Congress create an income tax so complicated that only H & R Block can understand it. I don’t care if members of Congress make side deals with lobbyists and hide the money in offshore accounts.
However, I do care about health care for everyone.
I believe that every American deserves great health care. Heck, just let us have what members of Congress have and we will be happy.
Here is a promise to members of Congress — pass a great health care bill this year, or we the people will vote you out of office and you will have to go to work like everyone else.
From what planet?
Listening to all this “debate” about health care in America (which is really about how to pay for health care in America), it seems remarkable that Republicans still seem to think that they have something worthwhile to add to the “debate,” which amounts to “no” to anything the Democrats say.
Republicans succeeded in getting everything they wanted for at least the last eight years and they brought us to two unending wars, The Great Recession and debt as far as the eye can see. Now that corrections are being proposed, they say no to everything because government is proposing solutions and they’re “spending money and raising the debt.”
What planet are Republicans from and where do they think they are living now? They are really impossible to figure out and are no help.
Endangered, not extinct
Lisa Feldman drew attention to the Maine Folklife Center in her June 30 OpEd. I thank Ms. Feldman for her eloquent recounting of the early days of the center and her fond recollections of its founder.
The Folklife Center and the Northeast Archive of Folklore and Oral History developed around Sandy Ives. As I understand it, the archive started in a shoebox professor Ives kept under his desk. Sandy Ives is a luminary in the folklore field, and the Folklife Center, the Northeast Archives and the scores of students and colleagues influenced by this remarkable man are his legacy.
As Ms. Feldman pointed out, the Maine Folklife Center has been hit hard by the budget crisis facing UMaine. I am writing to reassure her and her readers that, while the center is “endangered,” it is not extinct. I have been working closely with Pauleena MacDougall, the current director, to investigate ways that the work of the folklife center can continue and that the archive can be preserved and grow.
We are exploring state, federal and private sources of support, as well as collaborations with other universities, Folger library, the Library of Congress and UMaine departments and research centers with relevant expertise and interests.
I am sorry the budget crisis has impacted the center. I, too, recognize that the center is a unique resource. I am hopeful that, while we may not be able to preserve it in its current form, we can keep Sandy Ives’ legacy alive at UMaine in a meaningful way.
Jeffrey E. Hecker
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
University of Maine
Cash for clunkers
This program is not good for the majority of our population.
Who has the clunkers? Mostly high-income people, as these are vehicles that cost more than the average person can afford.
So, it’s a program to benefit people who don’t need help. Sure they’re taking advantage of it, why not!
The middle class, which is the majority, needs help but somehow the minority or the higher income seem to prevail, probably because the majority of Congress are millionaires.
How about cash for the middle class? Instead, we’re going to be paying for this ill-advised program.