August 4 Letters to the Editor

Posted Aug. 03, 2010, at 5:56 p.m.

Climate emergency

Last month, we learned that Senate legislation on climate change has been put on hold due to the likelihood that sufficient votes for passage are lacking. These days it takes a lot more than a simple majority of senators to move legislation forward; a minority of 41 percent can stop most action in the Senate.

This erosion of democracy should be shameful to all Americans. The vast majority of climate scientists around the world agree that the global climate is changing and that we must act now to reduce the harmful effects of climate change through limiting the amount of CO2 that is emitted into the atmosphere.

Some of the most obvious signs of the climate change are rising global average surface temperatures, warming oceans, melting glaciers and rising sea levels. It’s an emergency!

Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins are longtime supporters of legislation to reduce carbon emissions. Sen. Collins is a co-sponsor of the CLEAR Act, which will limit C02 emissions in accord with benchmarks and targets agreed to by many climate scientists. (CLEAR stands for Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal.)

Perhaps the CLEAR Act can serve as a bipartisan foundation for a renewed effort at climate change this year. Sen. Snowe has supported the cap and trade system in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. I commend both our senators for their hard work and urge them to work with the majority in the Senate to craft a bill that can pass with bipartisan support.

Martha Dickinson

Ellsworth

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Good dog, good vet

I enjoyed the July 27 AP story, “Pet medicine goes high-tech.” A bit more information about local veterinary surgery would have been nice, though.

Last year, my service dog Brooklyn, a 7-year-old yellow Labrador retriever, required surgery to correct a torn ligament in his right rear leg. Though I would have taken him to Portland or even Boston if necessary, his veterinarian, Dr. Mark Hanks, recommended Dr. Chris Miles without hesitation. I could not be happier with the outcome.

The Lucerne Veterinary Hospital is a sparkling new facility, clean, well-staffed with kind and thoughtful people, and well-equipped. Dr. Miles and her staff did a fabulous job, and within a few weeks Brooklyn was once again trotting along happily until his other back leg gave out with an identical injury.

Though two surgeries within a few months was expensive, there was again no question about doing it, as he was so sad, limping about. About two weeks after the second surgery Brooklyn was once again full of joy, and our biggest challenge was restraining his activity until healing was complete. He now runs and plays happily again.

Doug Sewall

Orono

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Understanding $4B

In the past week I read with interest the details of a $4 billion unfunded liability in the pension benefits promised to Maine state employees. While struggling to understand these numbers by using my one and only brain that was shaped and honed in the one-room schools of Newburgh, I soon learned that I could not comprehend numbers of this magnitude. So, I got out my pencil, my paper, my slide-rule and my adding machine and set to work. This is what I was able to learn:

Four billion dollars is actually 4,000, 1-million dollar bills! If this debt were paid down at the rate of $1 per second it would take 126.8 years to pay it off! If this debt were spread evenly among the 1,318,301 residents in Maine the debt would be $3,034 for every man, woman and child. A household of four will have to pay off an extra $12,136 before thinking of retiring.

I have now put the numbers in simple terms that I can comprehend. What I can’t comprehend is how we could have gotten in this mess in the first place.

Steve Whitcomb

Newburgh

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Clean energy now

As we witness the worst industry-caused environmental catastrophe in our history, the worst coal mining disaster in 40 years and sweat through the hottest first six months of any year on record, it is clear there’s never been a more critical time to move forward with a clean energy and climate policy.

Each day the Senate delays action, our enemies are enriched, and our security is put at risk. Look no further than the fortune we send overseas to fuel our oil addiction. The United States spends $1 billion a day importing foreign oil, money that could be invested and put to better use here at home by creating jobs and keeping us safe.

As we look toward the future, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and other members of the U.S. Senate should use every opportunity available to address clean energy and climate reform by working to limit carbon pollution and invest in clean energy sources that are made in America.

This, in turn, will strengthen us here at home and abroad.

Zoe Geer

Rockport

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Faulty logic on Israel

At first, upon reading the BDN’s July 29 OpEd column by Wallace Manheimer, “Israeli Jews are exactly where they belong,” I thought: How could one think they belong in a long-term conflict? With an interest in the Middle East, I read and learned that Mr. Manheimer was talking about geography and not conflict.

Most disturbing in the article is the logic: “Jews … have much more of a right to Israel than anyone else” because they “turned the land from a wasteland of 1880 to the Garden of Eden it is today.” The article seems to say, might and superior civilizations make right.

I think it is a hard sell to claim Israel has a superior civilization after considering the attack on the Mavi Marmara and the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, the use of phosphorous bombs on civilians, the economic destruction of 1.3 million people living in Gaza, the refusal to let them rebuild, the complicity of the IDF in the Sabra and Chatila massacre, the 1967 attack on the U.S. Liberty and the disproportion kill rates as reported on Web: ifamericansknew.org.

Mr. Manheimer recounts history and uses the term “Israeli Jews,” and although Jews lived on Arab lands for millennia, Israel did not exist before to May 14, 1948. If Israel belongs where it is, is that as of 1948, or as of one of the past conflicts, or as of today, or as of a future conflict, or wherever they build a settlement?

I guess what is needed is an Alexander the Great to cut the Gordian knot.

Fred Artus

Monson

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Correction

The Monday editorial, “Your Credit Score,” misstated the role of FICO. The company created and maintains the formula for the industry-standard credit score. The three national credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion use the company’s formula to independently calculate billions of FICO scores annually at the request of U.S. lenders and businesses.

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