April 02 Letters to the Editor

Posted April 01, 2010, at 6:34 p.m.

UM, women’s world

As a mother of daughters, I’m strongly opposed to the University of Maine dropping the women’s studies major. I was born into a society just beginning to realize that “Leave It To Beaver” and “Father Knows Best” did not provide ideal role models for my gender. Magazines advised me to focus on boys’ interests and never give a hint that I could be smarter than them. My mom scared the wits out of me one year, because menopause was a deep, dark secret.

We’ve come a long way. But we still have far to go to achieve true gender equity. We need our best and brightest to move us toward a world in which girls aren’t taught from preschool on that their prime roles are shoppers and hotties; where we evaluate male and female political candidates by the same criteria; in which drugs and other “advances” such as genetic engineering of food are evaluated for their long-term effect on women; where menopause is seen as a normal stage in a vibrant woman’s life, not an illness to be treated with drugs.

Women constitute more than half the population of Maine and an even bigger percentage of the University of Maine student body. Please do not let the university cut out the one major that takes our personhood seriously. There are plenty of people and companies with vested interests in maintaining the status quo or going back to the “good old” days.

Julia Emily Hathaway

Veazie

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Tech program at risk

The University of Maine administration recently has proposed a few different options to help solve the $25.2 million deficit. The proposed budget cuts will result in loss of faculty members, various undergraduate majors and minors, and combining of educational departments.

The Mechanical Engineering Technology undergraduate program is at a major risk of being rearranged and possibly even eliminated.

Students in the engineering technology program learn best by using hands-on techniques. My husband and I both are students, and the education we are receiving is changing our lives in a significant way. Professors are doing an excellent job teaching us the “theory” as well as showing us how to apply what we have learned. The program is financially strong and gives back to the community by incorporating senior design projects to help various groups. About two-thirds of the graduates from the MET program work in Maine, and more than 90 percent of graduates work in the engineering field. Taking money away from this department would be devastating for students and faculty.

MET was started in 1975, and if it is eliminated, then students will have to go out of state to get the education. There are other ways to cut costs without eliminating education. As residents of Maine, the university belongs to us, and we should be the ones to make the final decision on where to cut the budget.

Amarie J. Mooers

MET major

Glenburn

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Wrong side of history

Once again, the Republican Party was on the wrong side of history, just as it was for Medicare, Social Security, child labor laws, civil rights legislation and the New Deal, among others. The party of “no” characteristically voted against desperately needed and comprehensive health insurance reform, affirming that it is a party beholden not to the majority of Americans, but old, dinosaur industries intent on protecting “profits” at a cost of America’s competitiveness and the pain of citizens who are not wealthy.

The health care insurance business model was unsustainable, actually contributing to the rising cost of health care. Republicans trashed reform in 1995 with their Harry and Louise ads predicting the sky would fall if health reform passed. It didn’t, but the sky did fall with skyrocketing insurance premiums trampling Americans until President Barack Obama decided to make good on an important campaign promise.

The Republican Party was revealed through its opposition to the health reform bill as placing party above service, in stark relief given that many Republicans had advanced parts of the bill until they realized that those ideas were in the actual bill, then suddenly they were against the bill. Meanwhile news reports have revealed that Republican members of Congress have accepted an average of $1 million each from health insurance interests.

The Republican Party continues to become more extreme. It is beholden to special interests and angry, irrational “boutique” special interest voters. Snowe and Collins proved themselves to consider this group their true constituents.

Mark Tardif

Waterville

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Cooking with grass

It interests me that little has been said thus far in the discussion of medical marijuana about Marinol, which is a liquid gel cap THC derivative, now in pharmacies, although few doctors will prescribe it.

Last year, it appeared in some MaineCare drug formularies, although MaineCare will not pay for this form of cannabis. Some people dislike the way their bodies feel after ingesting any form of THC, but arthritis sufferers might find it useful.

People with post-traumatic stress disorder should not use this form of pot, as it doesn’t help those symptoms as well as dope that gives more of a head high. But asthma sufferers might find that an occasional “hit” from a very small pipe helps open their bronchial tubes.

Cancer patients sometimes find cooking with grass a gas. Chemotherapy often causes vomiting. Marijuana helps. Just remember, THC quality degrades at temperatures above 325 degrees, so cook those brownies, cookies and cupcakes for a few minutes longer and reduce the temperature for best results.

I’ve even found a recipe for pot butter. THC binds to fat molecules, as every stoner knows. As it is online, I won’t waste words.

Thank you for the opportunity to take “pot” in the conversation.

Jonathan Roberts

Houlton

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Poorer for loss

I enjoyed Levi Bridges’ article on the history of French Island in the March 31 BDN. It is always good to recall what Bridges rightfully refers to as the “often invisible” legacy of French-Canadians in the state.

Too bad the University of Maine, just a few miles down the road and downstream from the island, appears ready to turn its back on the area’s rich heritage by dropping French among an alarming number of other majors.

When institutions charged to keep culture alive begin to lose sight of that mission, then we are all a little poorer for it.

Jason Moreau

Glenburn

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