Need for reform
I can’t afford health insurance for myself and my family. Many of my clients — I’m a licensed professional counselor — don’t have insurance, either, which prevents them from receiving the amount of treatment they need.
But as I watch the current health care reform debate, I often find myself thinking about somebody else. My father-in-law, Bill Eaton, died in June 2003, a month shy of his 65th birthday and eligibility for Medicare, the hugely successful government-run insurance program. He had avoided going to the doctor for years because he lacked insurance and couldn’t afford to pay for his care out of pocket. His untimely death would most likely have been prevented if he had had regular medical attention.
My wife and I miss him deeply; my two young daughters ask us about him all the time.
The health care fixes being debated in Washington may not be perfect, but they go a long way toward improving the current situation, which is intolerable. I urge our two senators, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, to display their typical bipartisan courage by supporting the bill now before Congress. We must have health care reform this year, so another family doesn’t lose a beloved member like Bill Eaton simply for lack of health insurance.
Climate red herring
Recently there has been a lot of chatter in the news regarding “climategate.” In case you missed it, this manufactured issue relates to an incident where criminal hackers stole thousands of personal e-mails from a handful of scientists working on climate research in the United Kingdom.
Special interests groups representing oil and coal industries as well as extreme right-wingers have pored over these e-mails, many of which are well over a decade old and cherry picked phrases from them. They have then used these phrases out of context to make it appear as if climate change is the most elaborate hoax ever per-petrated on the public. The fact is these e-mails do not show this to be the case at all.
Despite some inappropriate comments among scientific peers sent in personal e-mails, the overwhelming majority of evidence remains the same.
Climate change is real. A warmer planet will have catastrophic effects on its inhabitants. Human beings are responsible for a large amount of these greenhouse gases. The evidence is unequivocal. To deny this and the thousands of scientific findings that support it would be like denying that the world is round.
We need to dismiss this nonsense of “climategate” and get back on track to solving the problem. I urge my fellow Mainers to let our leaders know that we need them to address this crisis and slow the catastrophic effects of climate change. Our future and the future of our children depend on it.
The acquittal of Josh Busby on sexual assault charges is only the most recent failure on the part of the Hancock County District Attorney’s Office.
The sense is that they will press forward with weak cases that have only a slight chance of succeeding simply to punish persons whom they feel to be guilty.
This abuse of their discretion is becoming an ongoing scandal that deserves greater attention from the media.
Risk worth response
Former Vice President Dick Cheney thought a 1 percent chance that al-Qaida would obtain nukes was a bad enough risk that we should treat it as a certainty in our policy and planning. Granted, a nuclear weapon detonated by terrorists would cause severe damage to a small geographic area and even a potentially large number of people. But let’s apply that same logic to global warming.
A 1-foot rise in sea level could wipe out the eastern seaboard in the U.S. and countless other cities around the world. Now Mainers who live north of Freeport might not weep at the drowning of Boston or New York City, but I ask them to stop and think for a minute — where do you think all those people will go in search of high ground? They might even get all the way to Abbot.
Even the most adamant deniers of global warming would grant at least a 10 percent chance that the climate-change horror stories could come true.
And the whole world and everyone in it will be affected by the melting of the polar ice and rising seas. So using Cheney’s logic, if a 1 percent chance of a moderately bad outcome equals a risk that demands we address it, what does a 10 percent chance of a disaster for the whole globe merit? Ridicule from Cheney and his echo chamber?
Support the climate change legislation now before Congress and remember, as it is with ostriches, a man who buries his head in the sand makes an awesome target.
Grateful to Kings
As the proud father of 2nd Lt. Kyle McCrum of Bravo Company of the 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Unit, I am extremely grateful to Stephen and Tabitha King for their generosity, enabling the troops to come home for Christmas before being deployed to Afghanistan. What may seem like a small gesture to some means the world to these soldiers and their families.
We are extremely fortunate to have young men like these who voluntarily serve their state and country and we are also very fortunate to count Stephen and Tabitha as fellow residents of this great state.
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Kings trump Grinch
It’s obvious the Grinch (Gov. John Baldacci) tried to steal Christmas this year from our National Guardsmen. Fortunately, Stephen King once again stepped in to save the day as he has done so many times.
I owe Mr. King an apology after his statement made a few years ago about troops in Iraq and an education. It’s obvious there was no malice in his words and he truly does care about our troops.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about our governor. We continue to pour out money to our oversized welfare system in this state, but we can’t bring home those who defend this country and state for the holidays. During this season of giving, it is a blessing we have folks like Mr. and Mrs. King and our National Guard.
Lloyd R. Bryant, USAF (retired)