Israelis want two states
Here in the United States, we don’t often hear what Israelis think of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Most often we hear the Israeli government’s position. In Israel, there is a far more vigorous debate about peace and how to achieve it.
According to a March 2010 joint poll conducted under the auspices of the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at Hebrew University, 71 percent of Israelis want a negotiated settlement resulting in a two-state solution. With peace talks on the horizon, the question is: How do we get to peace in the Middle East?
A few days after the Israeli military stopped the flotilla headed for Gaza, the former commander of the Israeli Navy and director of Shin Bet — Israeli’s Internal Security Agency — spoke out. He discussed specific actions Israel can take to promote security through working toward a two-state solution for Palestinians and Israelis. Ami Ayalon’s remarks were recorded and this video is being presented, with discussion afterward, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1, at the Bangor Public Library.
Who better to help reflect on this deeply troubling event than one of Israel’s most decorated military heroes — who at one time commanded the very naval commando unit that carried out the May raid.
J Street of Eastern Maine, which is hosting this event, seeks to foster open conversation about how to best advance the interests of a democratic, peaceful Jewish Israel.
Great week of baseball
After the busy time of the Senior League World Series baseball in Bangor, I’m hoping for a quieter week!
We attended games daily at Mansfield Stadium after buying a weeklong pass. From the opening game Sunday with Bangor facing off with Canada to the championship game featuring Bangor and Aruba, we saw some fantastic games! We didn’t know any players, but sitting alongside fans from all over the world, we quickly began recognizing faces from different teams and had conversations with others during the week.
It was great to see the camaraderie among players and fans during this great event. We became a part of the high-fiving, cheering, clapping fans of the home team, Bangor. We were part of history in the making as Bangor won four games during the week, when they’d only won one game in prior years. What a great accomplishment for these young kids.
And what a wonderful atmosphere at Mansfield Stadium! The organizers of this event, especially tournament director Mike Brooker, deserve more than a huge pat on the back for the countless hours spent putting this fantastic week of baseball together. They are all volunteers who worked to ensure this tournament run smoothly.
We’re already looking forward to the third week of August next year. We hope to be sitting in the bleachers enjoying another week of summer baseball, watching young men play a sport they love and wondering if we’ll ever see them in the professional arena. One never knows.
Warren the right choice
It’s about time we had someone looking out for Americans, not Wall Street. That’s exactly what the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will do — and Elizabeth Warren is the best choice for the job.
There is no time for someone to learn on the job. The middle class in this country is in dire straits. Professor Warren has carefully thought through not only the policy goals, but also the implementation challenges. There will be no time-in-training —she will hit the ground running on the first day.
Senators have a powerful role in the decision, and consumers need senators to fight for consumer rights. The best way to do that is by publicly supporting Warren and letting the president know that consumers have gone unprotected for long enough.
It’s time for the Senate to stand up for Elizabeth Warren. She is the right person to lead the CFPB.
Energy numbers don’t lie
In round numbers, our basic energy supply is composed of 38 percent petroleum, 24 percent natural gas, 22 percent coal, 8 percent nuclear, 3 percent hydro, 3 percent biomass and 2 percent solar, wind, landfill gas, etc.
The $43 billion dollars in support of only 5 percent of our energy seems lavish. Here is the reason: Biomass, wind, solar, etc. are very dilute resources. A tremendous investment in “stuff” is required to produce very small amounts of energy. The Mars Hill wind site produces about 0.124 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in one year — Maine Yankee did six billion!
Coal will be a difficult act to follow. A coal miner produces about 20 tons of coal for each hour worked. In a modern coal-to-electric plant, one pound of coal will generate about one kilowatt-hour. A Maine household will use about 7,000 kilowatt-hours of electric energy each year. One coal miner working for one hour can produce the coal needed to keep a Maine household on electricity for seven years.
The capture and sequestration of the carbon dioxide associated with burning coal has three problems: It takes a lot of energy, it takes a lot of water, and no one knows what to do with the carbon dioxide after it has been captured.
Coal is cheap. On a dollars-per-million-British-thermal-unit basis, coal may cost $2, while natural gas may cost $9. If we are really serious about this carbon-in-the-atmosphere problem, electricity will become much more expensive
Richard C. Hill
What kind of Christian nation?
Religious enthusiasts have claimed that our country is a Christian nation founded by true believers. It is only reasonable to ask them what kind of Christian nation we are. Are we a Catholic nation and, if so, is it Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox? Will our Christian government require the Mass to be held in the vernacular or Latin?
If, on the other hand, we are a Protestant nation, which division of Protestantism are we to be? According to the World Christian Encyclopedia there are more than 33,000 varieties of Protestant churches worldwide. Are we to be orthodox, reform, apostolic, Pentecostal or what?
And when the choice is made, what happens to those who do not accept the tenets of our government’s form of religion? Will they be free to leave and seek the freedom to worship as they please elsewhere? Isn’t that what our Founding Fathers did 400 years ago?