Letters to the Editor for April 17-18

Posted April 16, 2010, at 6:56 p.m.

Not always racism

I can’t believe that the Bangor Daily News printed a letter from someone essentially saying that anyone who criticizes President Obama is racist (April 13, letters to the editor).

There have been many hints of this over the last year, in the media as well as by several well-known personalities. This appears to be a tactic to make those dissenting uncomfortable and clearly shuts down some who take it to heart.

Is there still racism in our country? Absolutely, but we did elect an African-American man president a year ago.

Sometimes an orange is just an orange. Both sides may have valid points on many issues without an “agenda.” Can we please stop trying to demonize those that disagree with us?

Gregory Bouchard

Bangor

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A time to lead

We have one of the most technologically advanced countries on earth along with wealth second to none. Our thirst for a better union has never been stronger. Our values have never been more tested.

The last decade has given us 9/11, two wars, near financial ruin, lost pension funds, record foreclosures, millions of jobs lost, a drastic need for health care system improvements, energy dependence from parts of the world that we defend with our lives and wealth.

This is a tall order for any government or country.

As a citizen of this great country I know there is more I can do to improve this crisis we are in. I ask our leaders to find a common ground to help us achieve this goal. The time has come for leadership.

Wayne Damboise

Caribou

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Monitor Route 1A

U.S. Route 1A between Bangor and Ellsworth is a road I have traveled daily for the past 30 years or so. I believe it has become the most dangerous road in Maine with accidents at least weekly and deaths more than yearly.

I have lost any semblance of peace of mind while driving it, with drivers speeding 20 mph and 30 mph over the limit passing in no-passing zones, forcing bottlenecks at lane convergences, beside talking on the phone. I truly feel I risk my life every time I drive this highway.

I realize that the state and municipalities are strapped during this economic downturn, but I think it would be a very wise investment to increase monitoring of Route 1A for dangerous drivers.

This highway is extremely important to the state’s economy. It must be a safe road for everyone’s sake. I write this after having just missed a head-on collision with someone passing on a curve.

Jace Cohen

Ellsworth

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Insensitivity to Jews

On Monday, April 12, people of good faith around the world marked Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Sixty-seven years ago, the most cultured country in Europe sought to murder every Jew on the planet.

What Hitler openly promised to do, his government did. The Nazis built extermination camps, with trains of human cargo arriving every day and every night to be gassed and then incinerated. It was so much more efficient than shooting and burying. The Nazis succeeded in killing 6 million Jews and millions of others they deemed unworthy of living.

It was therefore profoundly disturbing to read the BDN editorial about Iran on Holocaust Remembrance Day “More warmongering,” April 12).

Not only did it make no mention of the repeated pronouncements by the president of Iran denying the Holocaust and openly threatening to “wipe Israel off the map,” but it also gratuitously and incorrectly referred to AIPAC as “probably the most powerful lobby in Washington.”

It isn’t — that honor, according to Fortune magazine, goes to the AARP and its retirees.

Americans support Israel by an 8-1 margin because it is a democracy that shares our values.

Like Germany of its day, Iran’s open threats — and now open preparations — to commit genocide must be taken far more seriously than in your editorial, which apologizes for them as mere “difficult behavior” in a way that might have made Chamberlain proud.

Choosing, as you did, to instead malign American supporters of the country that is in Iran’s target sights is cowardly and just plain wrong.

Steven Schwarzman

Bangor

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Coffee Pot heartburn

With all due respect to the Rist family, I’ve just about had enough of this Coffee Pot feud. Yes, the Coffee Pot was a Bangor icon. Yes, we all loved Skip because of his cheerful smile, white apron and his ability to round off your change. But what we really loved were the sandwiches.

I have no problem buying an onion, meat and cheese sandwich somewhere else, and if it tastes like a Coffee Pot, then, to me it is a Coffee Pot, whether it’s called that or not, and no matter who makes it.

The Farnsworth family in Orono had no problem franchising out the Pat’s Pizza name so that we can still continue to enjoy that local icon without all of this petty tit for tat. The same goes for Pilots Grill Cheese Spread available at Leadbetter’s stores.

Maybe the Rist family should have done the same, or at the least protected their sandwich with a trademark. They didn’t, so they should respectfully remain silent. Good luck to all of those entrepreneurs smart enough to see a local need and to fill it. And if we are lucky, the “coffee pot” style sandwich will spread from here and Bangor will be known as the birthplace of a really great sandwich.

Michelle Thomas

Bangor

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Clear the airwaves

Recently, the University of Maine in Orono took the commendable step of committing to a smoke free campus. The university should now go a step further and stop broadcasting its sporting events on WAEI-FM 97.1, a radio station that aggressively promotes tobacco use to it listeners.

Dave Danielson

Blue Hill

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Home first classroom

I read with interest the results of the Maine state math meet. Did anyone else notice that Asian surnames dominated the list of top performers? Would that suggest that cultural background and family attitudes toward education correlate to the attainment of a student’s exceptional learning skills?

Rather than being unduly influenced by the educational lobby whose principal goal is the insatiable demand for more capital per student, our federal and state budgeters should direct their dollars to programs that stress the importance of parental involvement in student performance. Witness the achievement of home-schooled kids versus the sad state of Washington, D.C. education, despite one of the highest cost per student ratios in the nation.

The fault for mediocre student performance cannot be placed entirely on the teacher and/or the lack of funding. Its roots can be traced to the home.

Parents must be made more aware of the importance they play in educating their children from the get-go.

Ron Goldstone

Dexter

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