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Letters to the Editor for Dec. 26

Senators pull through

Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe have earned their moderate, bipartisan images. On issue after issue, they are willing to look at the underlying facts and circumstances, unbound by ideology, to determine the best choices for the people of Maine.

This pattern has continued in the current health care reform debate. Both have crossed the aisle several times already on measures to improve the pending legislation, voting for what was right rather than according to the party line.

I think both senators know that Maine needs health care reform. In eastern Maine in particular, so many of our friends and neighbors string together a living from several jobs, work for small businesses or are self-employed — the very type of people who usually lack health coverage and could finally afford it under the reform being considered by Congress. I worked for several years at Acadia National Park as an employee of the Department of the Interior, and most of my colleagues were seasonal workers who did not have health insurance because they could not afford it. As it was, a few of those colleagues had to hold down one or two additional jobs simply to feed and house their families.

I know Sens. Collins and Snowe will make us all proud once again when they put their constituents first and their party second in the deciding votes on health care reform.

Sarah E. Baldyga

Bar Harbor


The Three-Ring Binder

The BDN’s recent stories about building an information highway were another “not everybody” report. Whoever set up this scheme with its Three-Ring Binder maps has left out the entire coastal Hancock County, East Penobscot Bay Region including Mount Desert Island (with its Jackson Laboratory), the Blue Hill Peninsula, Castine (with Maine Maritime Academy), the towns of Stonington, Deer Isle, Brooklin, Sedgwick, Penobscot and Brooksville and even Chellie Pingree’s home town island, North Haven.

This doesn’t include all of us who might like to be included in the 21st century broadband infrastructure.

Anne Fontaine



The Three-Ring Binder II

Changing technology makes it less expensive and more energy-efficient to bring the classroom to the student instead of the student to the classroom. The Three Ring Binder project connecting Maine towns with broadband should be part of a state mandate to set up an online, distance-learning, statewide system of education.

The state also needs to set up a knowledge-grid of accredited courses that can be accessed by young and old.

Even a one-room schoolhouse could deliver what a costly big box school is supposed to deliver. Distance learning allows for larger classrooms, larger curriculum, learning to their own pace and content that is responsive to the needs of public and private sector investment. All this without the threat of pandemics, gang violence, “lost” in the hallways, busing students and parents driving long distances, outrageous property taxes and out-of-town school boards.

Jay Cook

Tenants Harbor


Behind closed doors

“Behind Closed Doors” might be the title of the next big movie, since the biggest scams to hit America have been formulated behind the closed, changed-the-locks-by-Democrats doors in our nation’s capital.

The Senate leader called for a 1 a.m. vote just 24 hours beyond the time senators received the bill for a nominal read, let alone a strong perusal. He certainly does not deserve to be called by his name or anything more than “Senator Yessir, Mr. Obama.”

This is a tactic that is nothing short of sleep deprivation to keep senators up reading and trying to understand the completely new bill, if they even have it in its entirety, then faulting them for not jumping on the voting bandwagon. We as taxpayers will be paying for the killing of unborn babies, for more people to use emergency rooms for doctor appointments, for illegal aliens to have open-armed health care coverage — all while hardworking Americans will be fined for not purchasing the very insurance that others will get for free.

We as concerned Americans have been bamboozled for too long — not just in the last three years. So look for your next big feature movie, “Behind Closed Doors,” starring Barack Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Senator “Yessir, Mr. Obama,” Representative “Yessir, Mr. Obama, and their supporting cohorts. The toothy smiles will brighten the dark movie theaters.

Sharon Rideout



Threat of hugs

I imagine that Courtney Tway (Letters, BDN, Dec. 21) sees her little band of merry huggers as simple emissaries of good cheer. Among other things, mall management could have been concerned that this was a well-organized pickpocket ring taking advantage of otherwise distracted shoppers. I suspect that what the management of the Bangor Mall saw, though, was a bunch of self-absorbed college kids thoughtlessly imposing physical contact on unsuspecting mall shoppers.

Given that this group seemed unable to suppress their urge to commit this low-level physical assault upon mall patrons, mall management understandably felt compelled to step in and impose its own impulse-control.

This year in particular we are being advised to be especially diligent regarding personal hygiene. The H1N1 virus is circulating and is responsible for several deaths in Maine alone. You can add to that the annual threat of the flu and the common cold, all potentially transmittable through well-meaning hugs.

Next time I would advise Ms. Tway to consider the consequences of her actions a little more deeply. Or to at least ask permission.

Jay Hall



Cut football

The letter on University of Maine football by Amy Fried hit the nail on the head. Football is a luxury the university can no longer afford. Recent research on concussions from football and early dementia suggest that the violent sport of football and the mission of the university are incompatible.

In many years as an adjunct professor at Maine, I have had bad experiences with football players. On the other hand, nearly all of the basketball players and other athletes in my classes have been good students.

I have also noticed that good programs are chronically underfunded at the university. Now, with the hiring freeze at UMaine, the situation is even worse. If students cannot get courses they need for their majors, they will transfer, and talented young professors will leave.

These losses that cannot be translated into dollars undermine the health of the university. Hofstra and Northeastern have the right priorities: in a time of financial crisis, drop football.

Peg Cruikshank


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