March 8 Letters to the Editor

Posted March 07, 2010, at 5:26 p.m.

Transgender rights

Regarding “Transgender rights spark debate” (BDN, Feb. 17), letting children use the opposite sex bathrooms because they think that they may be gay is ridiculous. Are they going to do the same thing in nursery school? Why don’t we just decide for them in the maternity ward?

Using innocent children as a pawn for their own coalition shows how low people will go to get their way; it doesn’t matter whom they hurt. What a shame!

These children do not have a clue about their sexual preference especially when they are in grade school. Are the parents telling them that they have to choose the alternative lifestyle?

Our children are the future of this country and need to be protected, not exploited in a way that profits a group of people that will go to any lengths for their causes. Don’t they care about our children?

There are safety issues on both sides, not to mention the psychological effects that it may have on them. Let the children grow up and decide for themselves.

It is repulsive to force children to do something in a public bathroom that they are uncomfortable with. What will they do next, put cameras in there to make sure nobody is getting molested? What about public bathrooms in the store, etc? There are pedophiles can say they are transgender and help themselves to the kids.

Alan and Barbara Thibodeau

Stetson

Cruel solitary

Alone. Indefinitely. Very few of us can imagine being locked in a 7-by-12 room, 23 hours a day, seven days a week, or restrained in a chair, arms secured behind us and legs chained down with the chair tilted back.

That still goes on at Maine State Prison, in what is euphemistically called the “Special Management Unit,” another name for solitary confinement.

Overuse of the SMU endangers everyone, including the inmates (most are mentally ill or become so), those who guard them and we who await their return to our communities. In the past two years, the Mains State Prison has released 43 SMU prisoners directly to the streets.

The Maine Council of Churches and dozens of religious, medical, civic and social work professionals concur that living in this isolation is a form of torture causing permanent behavioral problems in prison and after release.

By dehumanizing prisoners, we dehumanize ourselves. LD 1611, sponsored by Rep. Jim Schatz, An Act to Ensure Humane Treatment for Special Management Prisoners, would place limits on isolation, based on constitutional due process, and ban the use for seriously mentally ill prisoners.

Jim Bergin and Judy Garvey

Blue Hill

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Why F. Lee Bailey?

I do not understand our society glamorizing criminals. We wonder why our children have problems. Kids learn by what they see, not what they are told. What message are we sending when someone breaks our laws, flaunts their ego and then we pay them to put on seminars to teach us things? What happened to recognizing good behavior, principled achievements and getting things by working hard and honestly? I am tired of watching television shows that have criminals, domestic violence abusers and drug addicts being brought on to tell us how to live our lives.

I can’t believe Bangor Chamber of Commerce brought F. Lee Bailey to our city to tell us how to deal with prison reform. This man is a criminal himself. He flaunted his arrogance and broke our laws, was disbarred and we have him come to our city as a paid speaker to inform us. What a wonderful message to be giving our young people.

They say one person can change things, so let’s start today by recognizing the winners, the ones who work hard and do things the right way. Let’s listen to the ones who have become successful being honest.

Derald Cochran

Bangor

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Fringe thoughts

When George W. Bush was running for president, the people who said a Bush administration would set this country back 50 years were labeled the “fringe element.”

When people spoke out against tax cuts for the wealthy and a trickle-down economy, they were labeled the fringe.

When people spoke out against preventive war and the invasion of Iraq, they were labeled the fringe.

When people spoke out against shipping our jobs overseas, they were labeled the fringe.

When people pointed out health care should be for people, not profit, they were labeled the fringe.

If there’s anything I’ve learned from recent history it’s that America should listen to the people it so often mislabels “fringe.”

So stated, I now say stop supporting our corporate empire abroad and bring our tax dollars home.

Ron Warner

Bangor

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Some belt-tightening

You have to wonder if there is even a scintilla of common sense in Washington anymore. We need to cut back, Obama says — and we do after giving away trillions to the banksters — but no, no we must not cut back the military! We spend more on defense than the next 10 nations combined.

We have 100,000 troops in Iraq, 100,000 in Afghanistan or headed there, 28,000 in Korea, more than 35,000 in Japan, and 50,000 in Germany. According to the Department of Defense’s “Base Structure Report,” we have 716 U.S. bases in 38 countries. U.S. troops are now stationed in 148 countries and 11 territories.

Estimated combined budgets for the Pentagon, two wars, foreign aid to allies, 16 intelligence agencies, thousands of contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan, and our new fortress-embassies: $1 trillion a year. It is insane to argue that all this firepower is essential to our security. Indeed, our military presence, our endless wars, and our support of despotic regimes have made America, once the most admired of nations, almost everywhere resented and even hated.

Is it not absurd to borrow hundreds of billions annually from China, Europe, Japan and the Gulf States, to defend Europe, Japan, China and the Gulf states?

What is it — something in the water, air, or just bad vibes down there that has Washington doing what is so preposterous? The seriously deluded are in charge and we’re headed downhill, at a faster and faster pace.

Ron Poitras

Surry

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