Not even close
And you wonder why the U.S. Postal Service is in such dire straits. I received a letter at my home address (4 Oak St., Old Town, ME), but it was addressed: Denise Doud, 4 Oak St., Galeton, PA 16922.
Another case of machine winning out over man! The code at the bottom is correct.
‘Share’ a two-way street
As an operator of a motor vehicle, I am all for sharing the road. With the onset of warmer weather, I am seeing more pedestrians, cyclists and, of course, motorcyclists. I am aware of the strident ad campaigns demanding that I pay stronger attention to motorcyclists, as they are not nearly as protected as I am wrapped in my truck.
But I would ask that motorcycle operators obey the same laws I am expected to. When they come up behind me on the I-395 on-ramp heading to Brewer from Bangor, it is not legal and it is dangerous for motorcyclists to gun their rides and race past me right at the merge point.
They, too, must share the road.
Brake on economy
Health insurance costs, among others that a business must bear to hire additional help, causes hesitation on the part of an employer. For example, recently my son, the owner of a geotechnical engineering company, considered adding an engineer to his staff, but decided to try to continue to carry the greater workload without the new hire.
The company benefits include health insurance and a contribution to retirement over and above the employer share for social security (FICA). Health insurance alone came to $1,400 per month for a new employee — nearly $17,000 per year at the time. With the other costs mentioned, the company obligation was about $25,000 without the new employee’s salary.
Health insurance costs alone are the brake on economic recovery, on more generous retirement programs and on a general feeling of security and well being in our citizenry. What are the powers capable of doing something about it waiting for? The waiting or stalling doesn’t make sense. At least not to me.
Deliver on climate change
Seasons are lingering, flooding is more intense in the spring, and summer droughts are harsher in the rivers, streams and forests where I have spent 30 years leading canoe and snowshoe trips. Here many residents and visitors hunt, fish, or engage with wildlife and habitat as writers, artists and photographers. These effects will only get worse unless we do something to address the effects of a rapidly changing climate.
Reducing the effects of climate change isn’t just vital to preserving our way of life in Maine. It also is vital for our children and our grandchildren. It also would make economic sense; quality habitat favors forestry initiatives, attracting green sustainable jobs and clean energy businesses, and the bulk of existing businesses that drive the expanding tourism industry.
Sens. Snowe and Collins will have a chance to do something about climate change in the coming weeks when the Senate begins consideration of a bipartisan bill to be offered by Sens. Graham, Kerry and Lieberman. This bill will reduce emissions, diminish our dependence on foreign oil, and create millions of clean-energy jobs.
What the bill also should do is create American jobs on American land, and revitalize our rural economies by restoring wildlife habitat.
People I talk to are tired of Washington gridlock and clean energy seems like a perfect opportunity to break the logjam. Now is the time for Sens. Snowe and Collins to show that Washington can deliver for people in Maine.
A close look at rail
I have been following with interest the possible abandonment of track and train service by the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic railroad in northern Maine. As I read comments in the paper I am concerned that the public, the DOT and the Legislature may conclude that because tracks do not come directly to the door of a business that the business does not have access to rail service. This is not necessarily the situation.
Many modern freight systems use trains, trucks, ships, airplanes and pipelines on a single shipment to achieve the best possible combination of speed, cost and customer satisfaction in getting goods to market. For northern Maine that could be a truck shipment to: St. Leonard, Brownville, Mattawamkeag, Bangor, Waterville or Auburn to be transferred to rail. This solves the problem of underutilized track for a portion of the move. It also provides speedier shipments because of less time needed to build a full train.
Abandonment of underutilized, and therefore unaffordable, track has been ongoing in this country for 50 years; and yet the rail system has never hauled more freight. Most goods that arrive from a foreign country get here by ship. They are then transferred to a truck and taken to a rail siding where they are loaded on a train for a longer move. These goods are then transferred to truck again for final delivery.
It is not necessarily fact that the proposed rail abandonment in northern Maine spells disaster. It may lead to a fresh look at the challenge of solving the age-old problem of getting goods to market.
Health care model exists
Stripped of all verbiage, posturing, empty promises, baseless predictions, calumnious charges, fabricated statistics, veiled threats, and other political theatrics being employed by those highly paid hypocrites that we have sent to D.C., the argument about health care reform devolves down to this: there are 535 overpaid windbags arguing against 308 million fellow citizens having the same health care that they have for the same price that they pay — nothing.
The incentives for their behavior? Fear of unelection, loss of payola from lobbyists, loss of that same free coverage, loss of presumed power, narrowing of job prospects (elimination of the revolving-door syndrome) and the daunting prospect of having to work for a living.
It is well past the time to vote in intelligent, honest and compassionate people who will pass legislation that will put us on a par with the rest of the civilized world by having our right to affordable health care.
And lest the naysayers think that such a policy is unwritable, it is already written. The health care policy given to all 535 Congresspeople must be an excellent model else they would have changed it. Ask your Congressperson for a copy.