Moral law should rule
I attended the Oct. 23 speech of Attorney General Eric Holder at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono.
In response to a question regarding the prosecution of alleged criminal wrongdoing such as torture during the Bush administration, the attorney general touched on the problem of prosecuting people for actions which were possibly legal at the time.
I do not wish to compare the Bush years with Nazi Germany, but many Germans back then tried to defend themselves by saying they just followed orders. And it was in the Nuremberg Trials that they were reminded of a higher moral order than the laws of that particular country at that time.
And I wonder how the alleged wrongdoings of Americans, for example in Iraq, might be looked at if we keep this high moral standard, our high moral standard, in mind. Would it be permissible or possible for us to hide behind the law or behind orders given by superiors if we remember that particular lesson of history?
Generics save money
With hospital and medical costs in the news, a question comes to my mind on the cost of medications prescribed by doctors and given by nursing homes and hospitals. It is very well known that drug companies pursue doctors to prescribe their medications. The reasons are obvious. Do they also do the same thing to nursing homes and hospitals?
My experiences with hospitals and doctors tell me that they both prefer to prescribe and give brand name medications. What medications do hospitals and nursing homes give patients — brand name or generics? If patients are given brand name medications instead of generics, can you just imagine the savings that could be had if generic drugs were used whenever possible?
Generics have been proved to be just as effective as brand name drugs. Now is the time to force action to see that generics are given whenever they are available.
Bicycling, yes, but safely
A couple of months ago, I wrote a letter to this newspaper asking why the bicycling community in Maine (represented by the Bicycling Coalition of Maine) didn’t actively discourage bicycling on roads without paved shoulders where speed limits are 45 mph and above. There were responses from past and current BCM board members — but no answer to my question.
I had the sense that those who responded to my letter were operating in a world different from the one I am in. My roads have no shoulder, are narrow, have poor sight distances, and have 45 or 50 mph speed limits with the resulting high speed differential between bike and car. They are no place for bicycles.
I did take umbrage at the implied assertion in some of the responses that, because I complain about bicyclists, I must be some combination of discourteous, inattentive, speeder, impatient, not appreciative of the scenery and opposed to economic development. I am none of these.
So, I would like to ask again why the BCM does not acknowledge the danger of bicycling on narrow, twisting, no-shoulder, hilly roads and actively discourage this unsafe activity?
I believe it is irresponsible for an organization that is supposed to be promoting bicycling safety not to oppose bicycling on any state road where there are no paved shoulders. Beyond that, I think the BCM should be actively seeking legislative action to prohibit bicycling on these roads.
Moved to tears
On Sunday, Oct. 18, I was treated to a wonderful production of “West Side Story” at the Gracie Theatre at Husson University. It is an impressive and beautiful facility, a place of which to be proud.
Gracie’s inaugural production, “West Side Story,” was well done. The presentation showed the hard work and dedication of each cast member and crew. Ken Stack and the production staff as well as the cast members should be commended for a great show.
The tender love scenes of Tony and Maria and the rousing renditions of “America” and the street dance were all well done. Tony’s cries for Maria when he thought Chino had killed her and Maria holding Tony in her arms as he died, and her contemplation of suicide brought me to tears. Each song in the show was sung strongly and beautifully.
Overall, it was a great production and I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation. I look forward to more productions by Ken Stack, as well as more productions at the Gracie.
Thanks to all involved with the show for a wonderful afternoon.
In defense of Dechaine
On Oct. 29 Dennis Dechaine “celebrated” yet another birthday in prison for a crime from which all pertinent evidence exonerates him as the killer of Sarah Cherry in 1988. Foremost among this evidence is DNA testing, twice, that excludes him from the crime. Also important is the fact that his pickup truck contained absolutely no trace of Sarah Cherry, negating the state’s claim that Dennis had transported her in that vehicle after abducting her. Moreover, highly trained police dogs could not connect her clothing to the pickup truck. An objective and thorough examination of the house where Sarah baby-sat would have noted that there was no sign of a struggle, a fact that strongly points to an intruder that the 12-year old girl knew and maybe even trusted — not the complete stranger that Dennis was.
The state is guilty of incinerating pertinent evidence: the rape kit and unknown hairs, among others. The sworn testimony of the two police detectives who claimed that Dennis had confessed is contradicted by the notes they had made at the time of the crime investigation. The state also impounded Dechaine’s assets before the trial, thus preventing him from hiring the best defense possible. Was that constitutional?
The least the tainted state can do now is to grant Dechaine another trial where all the evidence can be heard.
Even better, Maine should confess to its flawed behavior, repent and move on.