August 21 Letters to the Editor

Posted Aug. 20, 2009, at 6:45 p.m.

Free-choice honesty

Andre Cushing’s July 28 OpEd on the Employee Free Choice Act (“Revised EFCA bill a sham”) is yet another distraction from the real debate. His attacks are simply a way to hijack a fair and well-reasoned discussion of a serious issue.

The Employee Free Choice Act is designed to help workers of America. It has detractors, however, who are spending millions of dollars to put out false information. The greatest falsehood is that workers will lose their right to a secret ballot when forming a union.

Currently, employers have the power to decide which of the two types of election will take place: secret ballot or signing cards. With this bill the choice is taken from the employer and given to the employee; majority wins.

This makes it easier to form and join unions and bargain collectively for better wages, benefits and dignity and respect at work.

We all are entitled to support or oppose this bill but let us at least be honest about the facts behind it. Employee lives are invested in this decision; let us give them the respect they are due.

Debbie Brooks

Orono

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Defending capitalism

According to John Buell’s Aug. 18 column, the American capitalist model is irreversibly broken and must be “renegotiated.” I am writing to put this view in perspective.

Mr. Buell neglects to mention the many benefits of capitalism. History has demonstrated that no other kind of economy can generate similar growth or innovation. To paraphrase Winston Churchill: it is the worst economic system — except for all the others.

America is one of the best countries in the world when it comes to starting a business and protecting intellectual property. This means that the rewards for success are high and the cost of failure is low. The American model encourages entrepreneurship, which creates new technologies, new jobs and new wealth.

American capitalism has produced some inequalities, but it also has produced the light bulb, telephone, radio, airplane, cell phone, personal computer and almost every other invention that shapes our lives today.

Contrary to Mr. Buell, I believe we should nurture this pioneering spirit that is embedded in the American psyche — it will allow us to bounce back quickly from the downturn. Mr. Buell’s example of health care is one of a tiny minority of areas where the market has failed and the price of a good does not reflect its actual benefits (or costs) to society. It is completely appropriate to focus on these instances and to suggest that government intervene to promote a social goal. But in critiquing and perfecting capitalism, we must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bath water.

Nick Hubbard

Holden

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The sound of freedom

I have worked for Maine Maritime Academy for 27 years and have lived and worshipped in Castine as well. If you belong to the Castine Golf Club you will see that I have managed to win the club championship three times over some fierce competitors. I have walked with the veterans to the cemetery, commons and waterfront. Two of my girls attended the Castine school system and now teach in Maine and Florida. We moved to Castine in the winter of 1982 because we wanted to get away from the Cape Cod crowds and felt we were moving into a family friendly environment.

We loved Castine and still do. However, I am extremely disappointed that a small number of residents don’t want to be disturbed by the sounds of our midshipmen marching and saying cadence either for the Navy or Marine Corp Units, or our regimental preparatory training. How many of our alumni and students have served their country during our nation’s wars and conflicts? How many still do?

Last year I awarded 18 Midshipmen the Merchant Marine Expeditionary Medal for their support of operations involving the U.S. military and national interests. Each of us need to look at our own lives to evaluate what types of sounds we have made for freedom.

If I moved my summer residence to Annapolis or West Point, would I expect them to change any of their routines for me? Every time I hear the midshipmen marching or the Maine National Guard refuelers overhead, while enjoying a golf game or afternoon tea, for me these are the sounds of freedom.

Richard G. Youcis

Castine

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Tiger no champion

I write regarding Tiger Woods. Golf champion, yes! Champion person, no!

Tiger Woods did not win the PGA Championship Sunday. There is no question that, despite his loss, he is one of the greatest golfers of all time, perhaps the greatest. But, is he a real champion, a champion person?

I have long deplored his interaction with the galleries at tournaments, the people who “pay” his salary, who make his lucrative product endorsements possible. An occasional, curt tip of the cap accompanied by a scowl, no warmth, no recognition of their support. He is not a Jack Nicklaus, an Arnold Palmer, a Tom Watson, or a Sam Snead, all of whom made it apparent they appreciated their fans.

Sunday, I watched on TV as he arrived at Hazeltine for the final round of the PGA Championship. A young boy was waiting for him. How long he had waited, I do not know, but I observed him running alongside Tiger obviously asking that Tiger autograph the cap he was holding out. Tiger totally ignored him, did not even look at him, as he, the world’s greatest golfer, strode on to the limelight of the practice tee. What an unbelievable slight of that child. In my book, he is not a champion person.

John R. Deane Jr.

Gouldsboro

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Bangor can do better

Calling all environmentally concerned citizens of Bangor: The majority of our daily household refuse is filling Sawyer Mountain (Pine Tree Landfill). The view of this colossal heap is the first exposure outsiders have to Bangor, followed closely by the smell. This does not represent Bangor’s commitment to the environment.

We must control our waste!

Recycling is the best way a person can reduce their impact on the environment. Although many Bangorians recycle, their ability to recycle is limited by what is recyclable. Bangor’s recycling capabilities are stuck in the past: Even if someone wanted to recycle a Stonyfield yogurt cup, they couldn’t because number 5 plastic isn’t recyclable in Bangor.

There is a solution: In May, Portland began using a single sort recycling center, which makes recycling easy and accessible to the public. Bangor needs comprehensive recycling.

Gregory Edwards

Bangor

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Off-target story

I can’t imagine a reason to print, complete with a picture, the recent article about Target. I shop there often with my children, who have paid with coins and wadded bills from their savings. I have never had anything but good service at Target.

Is the BDN going to start printing articles about all poor service at stores in the area, for equal coverage, or is there some weird issue with this store? The lady was apologized to repeatedly; find something else to complain about.

Susan Davis

Stetson

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