June 14 Letters to the Editor

Posted June 13, 2010, at 6:38 p.m.

Fireworks not free

How many of you have a Fourth of July tradition of grabbing a lawn chair or a blanket and taking the family to see the fireworks in Bangor? How many of you have never donated to make this event possible?

Don’t take it for granted. Donate to the 4th of July Corporation now. Help them not only meet their goal but start the fund for next year. Send your contributions to the Bangor Fourth of July Corp., P.O. Box 2712, Bangor, ME 04402.

Stephanie Leonard

Bangor

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Senators out of step

Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins showed their true colors in voting for the Murkowski amendment to remove the EPA from responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions of oil, gas and coal under cover of biomass being carbon neutral.

Interesting — carbon emitted by burning trees releases that stored carbon instantly, not as it has accumulated over time. Though the amendment did not pass, Snowe and Collins surely made their business lobbyists happy by their votes.

Do they live on our planet? Do they know any fishermen? Do they know any farmers? How about kids who have asthma?

By the way, have they heard about BP and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? We breathe the air that coal and oil fired power plants emit from Ohio, Pennsylvania and west all the way up the East Coast. Those emissions accumulate here in the Gulf of Maine in our air and our ocean. That’s why the ozone level is so often too high for people at risk even to venture outside.

It is time for Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to realize that we, the people, want to be heard when we send them to Congress, not big business. It is time they represent Mainers, not their own self-interest and the lobbyists who schmooze with them in Washington.

Thank goodness other senators recognized what responsibility to constituents really means!

Becky Bartovics

North Haven

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Going Republican

After receiving three surveys from the Democratic National Committee, I have decided to quit the Democratic Party. All the surveys praise President Obama for accomplishing much in his tenure, including passing the health care bill despite overwhelming opposition by a majority of Americans, using bribes, bullying and honey deals. They claim the economy is on the rise when nothing shows it is. They brag about regulating our financial institutions and investment markets, and that America’s stature has improved in the world when just the opposite has occurred.

One of the surveys asked what to do about Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, who are simply Americans expressing their views on this administration.

Since when does our government try to censure its citizens? It smells of communist tactics. It seems this administration and the Democratic National Committee have been infiltrated with people of that leaning.

The Democratic Party I was a member of no longer exists. When Nikita Krushcev said in 1963, “We will take your country without firing a shot,” he may have meant the agenda of Democrats in power today. The Democratic Party is just a cover for communism.

If we want to preserve our representative government and our Constitution we will have to knock the incumbents out and reclaim our country. I am bent toward the Tea Party, but since it is not a party I am going Republican.

Howard Cutler

Dixmont

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Numbers in context

In a June 7 letter, reader David Huck suggests that Democrats ought to be more critical of President Obama, in part because government benefits as a share of personal income reached a new high in the first quarter of 2010.

Mr. Huck suggests this represents a pay-off to the president’s “indigent supporters,” whom he depicts as watching TV and enjoying the fruits of others’ labor.

For evidence, Mr. Huck cites a USA Today article based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. But if one examines the BEA data directly, a different picture emerges. Those figures show that from late 2008 — that is, before Mr. Obama took office — to this March, total individual income from such programs as Social Security, Medicare, veterans benefits and the like rose by just 2 percentage points.

Interestingly, the family-assistance category that Mr. Huck seems to have in mind is at an all-time low, less than 1 percent of all personal benefit income.

The category showing the biggest jump in recent years is unemployment insurance, explainable by our current severe recession, which was well under way before Mr. Obama took office.

With six job seekers for every job opening, UI is not just an important safety net for workers and their families. When private firms are not hiring and meeting payrolls, government spending helps keeps the economy from freezing up altogether. In the short run, this raises the federal deficit; in the long run, the economy recovers and stimulus spending can taper off.

Elizabeth Johns

Orono

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Pay now, or pay later

I was thrilled to read the recent articles highlighting early childhood education. Solid investment is crucial since this age has the greatest potential for a lasting, positive impact on the individual’s future.

A recent report by Mission: Readiness presented startling facts regarding the role of early education in Maine and the nation. For instance, the average high school graduation rate in Maine in 2009 was 76 percent.

Research shows that quality pre-kindergarten programs increase graduation rates by up to 44 percent.

Also, one in 81 adults is under correctional control in Maine. A study of three and four year-olds randomly excluded from preschool programs showed they were five times more likely to become chronic offenders by age 27.

Criminals cost society, on average, over $2.5 million each. Unfortunately, Maine continues to allocate significant resources toward treating social symptoms rather than spending wisely to prevent these issues.

Quality programs, such as the Child Study Center (CSC) at UMaine, can provide significant developmental stimulation and direction during the most vital time in a child’s life – age two to five. Sadly, funding for the CSC is being eliminated after building a solid 72 year legacy. In this program, children are encouraged to use critical, abstract, concrete, and creative thinking while they explore their own interests. The CSC is also responsible for teaching college students. Approximately 50-60 students per year receive practical experience and professional instruction.

I hope our public officials and education administrators will step up and support quality preschool programs like the CSC.

Jacob Marquis

Glenburn

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