Balloons’ lure no hot air
The BDN’s Aug. 24 article on the Maine Balloon Festival held in Presque Isle inspired our trip to Aroostook County. The balloon launch was both majestic and beautiful; however the real gems we found were the authentic, caring people of the towns we visited.
We admired the way the townspeople emulated a sense of pride in their work, their way of life and their community. The hospitality we experienced while in The County was well worth the drive to remind us of how life in Maine is meant to be.
Amy Lemieux Nisbett
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Passing of an icon
The death of the much-admired and loved nine-term U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts ends the life a man whose actions, accomplishments and efforts touched the lives of thousands of people throughout the USA. His very presence made all who knew and worked with him in the U.S. Senate think and act more carefully as they did their work.
He wasn’t perfect, no one is. But his ability, experience, knowledge and demeanor caused all to listen and, more importantly, watch how and what he did. He was a leader who possessed the art of influencing those around him to do good things for people’s lives.
He never failed to dream, as did those family members before him, and he worked diligently to fulfill those dreams that affected our people and our great country. He was eloquent, strong in his convictions and had a heart bigger than life itself. He never looked for praise. He did what he thought was right.
Ted will be missed, but never will be forgotten.
Charles J. Birkel
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People don’t need to tie themselves in knots analyzing the mess our politicians have made of our governments to realize there is a systemic problem that may ultimately lead to the collapse of our republic.
Just consider what might happen globally if we are forced into economic default. Right now, with the massive unfunded liabilities we carry, we could not begin to pay off our foreign creditors if they called in even a significant fraction of what we owe. Printing money like we are doing for domestic consumption just exacerbates the problem and waters down the value of the dollar. Over the last few decades, we can see how much inflation has eroded the dollar as it is.
Recent polls are showing that at least 57 percent of adult Americans favor throwing out the bums, or Congress, and starting over. The ranks of independents is growing and with the two-party system running things, it leaves most independents disenfranchised.
Starting over might suggest doing away with the primacy of the two-party system. Maybe it’s time for a constitutional convention to modernize our archaic, creaky, top-heavy and unfair system — go to unicameral legislatures, cut the size of Congress, reduce the power of Washington by moving more power back to the states.
The administration and bureaucracy also need to be reined in. Smaller government means fewer targets of opportunity for lobbyists, a fringe benefit for overburdened taxpayers. There are surely other considerations for improvement but we have to start somewhere.
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Moral element to debate
Recently deceased Sen. Ted Kennedy’s impressive legacy of service to the least fortunate among us always included universal health care for this powerful and wealthy nation that is the only developed country without access to good health care for everyone. However, the senator died before his dream was realized.
As Congress resumes its work after the August recess, it should put health care reform on the fast track and finally pass legislation that ensures that every American, rich or poor, powerful or powerless, white, black or yellow, Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Hindu or atheist, straight or gay can have access to quality health care.
Those Republicans, especially those who were Kennedy’s
good friends and have yet to sign on to universal health care, should realize that this legislation is a winner for every legislator regardless of party; they should take a good look at the election results last November and then decide to respect their constituents’ wishes that their representatives or senators put politics aside and put into law a health care plan that is worthy of this country, which has let its people down for too long when it comes to the delivery of health care.
As Sen. Kennedy often said, “Health care is a moral issue; it is a right for the many, not a privilege for the few.” His views were also in synch with the teachings of Jesus Christ that whoever does good to the least among us does it to Him.
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The only thing clear in the current debate about health care is that no one is being clear about what is to be reformed: health care or health insurance. If it is health insurance Congress wants to reform, it needs to remember that the regulation of health insurance lies with the states, not the federal government.
So, why are the states not involved in the reformation process? Why are states not screaming about this blatant usurpation of states’ rights? Are they keeping quiet so their constituents don’t realize who is responsible for the health insurance mess?
Are Maine legislators afraid to admit their actions are what have driven up the cost of our health insurance, have given us sky-high deductibles, large co-pays, and have left much of Maine’s middle class without insurance? Will they admit their underpayment of Medicaid forces doctors and hospitals to charge the rest of us more and caused some doctors to refuse to take Medicaid patients?
If there is to be true reform for health insurance, the current system needs to be dismantled and a new one built. There are several ways to do this, but in any scenario states would need to repeal all or most of their current laws and put in place new regulations that provide more options, better coverage and a lower cost for most people.
Are states willing to give up control of health insurance? Do we, the people, want them to? Or do we want the federal government to dictate what coverage health insurance companies can provide and to whom?
Helen A. Shaw
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