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August 11 Letters to the Editor

Tax code fairness

The Maine People’s Alliance is calling on Congress to ensure that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share in taxes, allowing us to create jobs, restore economic stability and return to the fiscal strength our nation once had.

As a canvasser for the MPA I have knocked on doors across our state and spoken to countless men and women who are furious with the ever-growing distance between the upper and lower classes. Every evening I find myself listening to the stories of people who have been laid off during this Great Recession, and are finding it next to impossible to keep themselves afloat.

Meanwhile, during the Bush administration, the wealthiest Americans and unregulated businesses were given trillions of dollars in tax cuts, and continue to benefit from this free ride while these families in our state and across the country are suffering. The effective tax rate for the wealthiest 400 Americans has dropped drasti-cally from 29 percent to only 17 percent in just 15 years.

We must repeal the Bush-era tax cuts, reinstate the estate tax to at least 2009 levels, close tax loopholes and inform Americans and our elected officials of the importance of responsible tax and budget policies in order to restore stability to our nation’s economy.

Patrick Braley



Save the Maine’s sister

I recently have learned of the impending fate of the USS Olympia, a U.S. Navy special cruiser that played an integral part in the Spanish-American War and World War I. It was on the Olympia that Adm. Dewey uttered the words, “You may fire when ready, Gridley.”

The ship is located at the Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia. As the museum is no longer able to fund the preservation costs for Olympia, it is to be sunk and made into an artificial reef next month.

Why should Mainers be concerned about the destiny of a museum ship in Philadelphia? It is the sister ship to the USS Maine that blew up in Havana Harbor, Cuba in 1898. The investigators studied the Olympia for clues to the explosion of the Maine.

The Olympia was also a ship of many firsts for the modern U.S. Navy, and it brought home the body of the Unknown Soldier of World War I.

To let this piece of American history slip away would be a shame, and as Mainers, we should see this ship preserved for future generations. It would be a wonderful educational and tourist draw if it ever were brought to Maine.

Our economy is not ideal, and money is needed in other areas. However, once the Olympia is gone, it is gone forever. To contribute, contact Friends of the Cruiser Olympia.

Lance Brown



Women count

It has been an important few years for women and the law. The first female solicitor general. The second first lady with a law degree. The third female secretary of state. And now, the fourth female Supreme Court justice in U.S. history, and the first time three women will sit together on the highest court in our country.

The vote to confirm Justice Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court is an undeniable landmark for women everywhere. For me, as I prepare to begin my second year of law school, the decision feels especially significant. This vote added to a list of women I look to for a bit of perspective on the more difficult days. If they can break glass ceilings, I can pass my torts final.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a family and a culture where I was constantly encouraged to realize my limitless opportunities. I witnessed a daily cast of strong female leads, and admired iconic groundbreaking women from afar. I had my mom and I had Oprah, what more example does a 12-year old girl need?

I count each of these trailblazing femmes as blessings. But sometimes, I wish we were all ready to stop counting. I look forward to moving beyond the days of noting female “firsts, seconds, and thirds,” and into a generation where high-achieving women are the norm, not the exception.

By the time my nieces and daughters start their own journeys, I hope their role models are known by name, not by number.

Meghan Higgins



Sold by communists

While the Chinese have been burning the midnight oil on R&D for China’s “carrier-killing” missile, the U.S. has been distracted on the ground (and in the air) in the Middle East.

Let’s not forget that China is a communist country. I have remembered that for the past several years by reading labels. If it’s “Made in China,” I pass it up. Granted, there are components.

This country is funding China’s bottom line (yes, I know, they “own” us, and we are living in China’s world, they aren’t living in ours). However, if U.S. citizens took a serious stab at this practice, we could hit them where they hurt with no R&D money involved at all. Simply boycott goods “Made in China.”

Alix Williams



Bands, not contraband

We went to see Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Charlie Daniels Band at Bangor Waterfront Park. According to the paper, organizers predicted a crowd of 10,000; there were actually 8,000. They predicted a “rowdier, blue-collar crowd.” There was no mention of the items we could not bring into the show in the paper.

Unlike the Celtic Woman show goers, the unruly ones weren’t allowed to bring in chairs, alcohol (that was being served in the watered-down, overpriced beer garden) water, soda, umbrellas for the pending rain and apparently something called contraband.

I couldn’t predict as well as organizers can and never gave it a thought that my husband’s jackknife that he’s carried for the last 20 years would have been considered contraband. After being frisked, the guys in yellow shirts took it. We tried to get it back upon leaving, but “yellow shirt” said we couldn’t.

Friday morning I started the runaround phone calls to get my husband’s “contraband” back. I finally got the head honcho — bad news — people will never see their lawn chairs again, they got tossed with the contraband.

I was told we need to predict going to have fun in a crowd as if we are boarding a plane; we weren’t, we were paying to listen to bands who love God, family, country and America. Give me back my jackknife.

Barbara Ann Brackett



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