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July 3-4 Letters to the Editor

Honoring our soldier

We would like to acknowledge and thank the hundreds of people who stood by as we escorted our grandson, Brandon Silk, from Bangor to Old Town. The presence of patriotism and honor was evident along the route. The outreach of the communities was amazing. Coming off the interstate and seeing the Orono and Veazie fire trucks, ladders up with a flag flying between, was very impressive.

We would also like to thank the police, fire and rescue personnel standing along the way, the police escorts and the Freedom Patriots. So many people saluting and holding their hands over their hearts showing respect was uplifting. The children waving flags touched our hearts. Special thanks goes to the many people who took the time and effort to make the beautiful signs that were held and posted along the way.

We are so proud of our grandson and his accomplishments and all of you for accentuating that pride. Thanks to every one of you.

Blaine and Nancy Robinson



Shameful in the extreme

Despite the obvious need for an extension of unemployment benefits to the long-term jobless population, the U.S. Senate is playing a very cruel game of politics with the bill which would extend those benefits.

Democrats have added provisions to the bill that would be perceived as a success for the Obama administration, and Republicans are playing the deficit card to position themselves as the party of responsible fiscal policy. Where were they while a Republican administration sent the deficit through the roof? Meanwhile the unemployed go without help. Mortgage payments will be missed, food purchases will be severely curtailed and the overall consumer spending level in the country will decline in all sectors.

The so-called Republican “moderates,” including Maine’s two senators, are now getting the scent of a possible return of the Senate to Republican control and to vote other than the “party line” could result in punishment if the Senate does, indeed, have a Republican majority next year. All the flag waving of “independence” and “working across the aisle” will now stop for fear of losing committee positions. It’s as simple as that!

There are two points at issue that should disgust Maine voters. One, that the jobless benefits bill has not been brought forward without earmarks; and two, that our senators’ political fortunes are more important to them than the needs of the struggling unemployed. It’s shameful in the extreme.

Hal Wheeler



Forestall the inevitable

According to Joseph P. Ditre’s June 29 letter to the editor, he is counting on additional funding from the federal government to fill holes in our state budget. The problem with this is that next year our state government will have the same hole to fill with no federal money in sight.

Why is it so difficult for some to understand that artificially propping up the budget to pay for more programs that will need to be funded again next year and the year after is just irresponsible? We either face the facts that some things will need to be cut or next year the state will be in even deeper debt. When that happens, many of the programs will be cut anyway, and it will be even more painful.

Gregory Bouchard



Better screening

I strongly agree with Dr. Eric Steele’s June 29 OpEd, “Sharing details about error spurs transparency.” When hospitals recognize a problem, they must apologize for it and make necessary changes to stop it from happening again; this is exactly what they should do.

Why then are hospital-acquired infections, or HAIs, still happening with alarming frequency?

HAIs are medical errors. In 2005, more than 100,000 people got Methicillin Resistant Staph Aureus, or MRSA, and almost 20,000 of them died, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is a disgrace to our modern hospitals. My father was one of those victims in 2009.

Last year, Rep. Adam Goode of Bangor and I got a law passed to screen all high-risk patients for MRSA. My original proposal was for the entire process called active detection screening and isolation, or ADI.

A recent VA study and more than 200 other studies have proved that ADI drastically reduces hospital-acquired MRSA. We also proposed mandatory public reporting of all hospital acquired MRSA. This reporting would allow the transparency and accountability that Dr. Steele wrote of in his column.

The Maine Hospital Association, epidemiologists and other hospital officials statewide fought both ADI and mandatory public reporting in spring 2009 and again in 2010. ADI and mandatory public reporting have proved successful in decreasing hospital infections.

If only the Dr. Steeles of the world would stand behind the necessary action to stop these infections and promote transparency about the rates of infections, thousands could be saved from the suffering and death caused by HAIs.

Kathy Day, RN



Don’t trust Republicans

In her June 29 letter, Pat Cummings points out the failure of Sens. Snowe and Collins to vote for measures aimed to benefit average Maine citizens. I find it appalling that the senators have such a callous disregard for the vast majority of Maine residents, particularly the poor, unemployed and those of modest income.

It appears to me these two are die-hard Republicans in sheep’s clothing, pretending to be middle-of-the-roaders with a possible liberal leaning. But when push comes to shove, this pair will invariably cleave to the party of “no,” with particular deference to the welfare of the rich.

As a winter resident of New Jersey, I am familiar with the predictable Republican deference to the rich, and “the little guy be damned” attitude: New Jersey’s last year’s election of Gov. Chris Christie. In their desire for change, voters swept him into office. Now voters have reason to be sorry. He recently vetoed a bill to institute a “millionaire’s tax,” and instead chose to slash spending for vital services.

Thousand of teachers, policemen, firefighters, municipal workers, library staffs and others have been or will be fired. Many services aimed at helping children, the sick, the unemployed and the elderly have been cut or eliminated. The cost to the quality of life and welfare to a huge swath of New Jersey citizens is incalculable.

I hope average Mainers will realize they cannot trust Republican candidates for national office to work in their best interests.

Gene Clifford

Southwest Harbor


Say no to lion burgers

I was shocked to hear that lion burgers are being served at a restaurant in Arizona. I was even more upset to hear that this isn’t something new or out of the ordinary. That this meat is considered game meat and so easily obtainable is hard to believe since lions in Africa are a threatened species with only about 20,000 left. If we do nothing, they may be extinct by 2020.

The breeding of animals to eat is not bad in and of itself, but majestic wild animals that are going extinct should never be included in our menu. How much longer will we have these animals for them to be an issue?

These majestic animals are not chickens or cows in their massive numbers, and the continuance of the bad treatment will result in irreversible damage.

Banning the breeding of big cats in the private sector would make it impossible for U.S. dealers to acquire and sell this meat. Neither the USDA nor the FDA has the manpower to inspect, regulate and ensure the quality or origin of this food source. Congress should pass a law to ban the breeding, buying and selling of big cats in the U.S. (other than for zoos).

Ashley Henderson-Diman

Mount Desert

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