Thanks for remembering
Thank you for your article on Hanukkah! It was awesome to see an article in a Maine paper about it on the first night of the holiday.
Being a Jew is not always easy in a state where there is very small Jewish population, especially around Christmas time. I’m thankful that Hanukkah is closer to Thanksgiving than Christmas.
Thanks for recognizing this holiday and even mentioning Sukkot, an even lesser-known holiday.
Why finance wind?
Consider this: A couple of days ago, a real estate agent told me she had gainfully employed, credit-worthy clients ready to purchase homes in Bangor who could not do so because banks refused to issue mortgages. And yet I read recently that KeyBank — along with a German outfit — has agreed to give $98 million to First Wind, a company that, by all accounts, is over its head in debt, has never reported a dollar’s worth of profit, is beset by legal obstacles and whose stock is apparently so unattractive that the company has had to withdraw its public offering.
Is there an economist on your staff or among your readers who can explain that picture to the rest of us?
Sen. Snowe’s confusion
You need to call out Sen. Olympia Snowe in regard to statements on her Senate website. In her Dec. 3 press release, she claims she is working to prevent a $1 billion federal tax increase. The only fight is between the Republicans’ plan and the Democrats’ plan, which amounts to moving the top bracket from 35 percent to 39.6 percent.
She seems to be making reference to a fight that does not exist. All agree tax cuts are needed for everyone but the top 2 percent. In 2007, total Maine federal income taxes paid were about $6 billion, which is the most recent number I find at irs.gov.
So for the sake of argument, let’s guess that number is now $8 billion and 50 percent of it is taxed in the top bracket.
That makes the fight over taxes for Maine $180 million, not $1 billion. I would actually wager the number is much closer to $100 million.
Further, she makes no mention of the fact that only about 2 percent of us would pay any part of any increase. She is not trying to lead us, she is trying to mislead us.
The purpose of this letter is to congratulate the editor of the Bangor Daily News for the Dec. 6 editorial and to commend and support Sen. Susan Collins for her announced position for repealing the U.S. military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy, which bans gay and lesbian citizens from openly serving in the armed services.
I agree with Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in that during my three decades in the U.S. Navy, I have served with gay men in various submarines and gay and lesbian personnel in shore assignments. Not only did we always carry out our mission as Mullen pointed out, but also, in the case of all of the nonheterosexual military members I knew, they were hardworking, bright, capable and loyal sailors and officers who were well-respected shipmates.
In my view, to prevent fine, well-educated and skilled (especially in many seriously needed disciplines) citizens from realizing their desire to serve their country is simply wrong. But for the Defense Department of the United States to suggest that it might be all right if these folks are willing to live a lie is a national disgrace.
Thus, I agree with the editorial: Sen. Collins’ colleagues should follow her leadership and vote to repeal DADT as soon as possible.
Charles F. Rauch,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy (ret.)
Tax cuts for rich galling
I think it’s horrifying that it seems Congress is willing to give the richest Americans more than $700 billion in tax cuts but refuses to extend unemployment insurance for only $12.5 billion. How is that logical?
We can’t afford to extend unemployment to people out of work, but we can afford to give the wealthiest Americans a $700 billion free ride? I hope you can sleep well this Christmas knowing you did the right thing.
Assange: man of year
The man who kicked the hornet’s nest, Julian Assange, has been painted as a terrorist or criminal by the governments whose embarrassing secrets he has exposed — and has yet to expose — on WikiLeaks.
But is what he has done really so bad? Consider Daniel Ellsberg, who was reviled at the time he published the Pentagon Papers. His action helped America understand the futility of our unwinnable war in Vietnam. Or Bob Woodward, whose investigative reporting of the Watergate break-in led to the downfall of the Nixon presidency.
Don’t the American people have the right to know the sordid details of the many costly and nonproductive things being done in their name, especially in the Middle East? Much that we have learned from the Cablegate releases confirms the wisdom of what most Americans already want — to get out of Afghanistan.
Government can’t be “by the people” unless the people know what government is doing. I believe a good case can be made for making Julian Assange man of the year instead of public enemy No. 1.
A time for conscience
Please read the Dec. 1 New York Times article by David Leonhardt “In tax cuts, the options run short.” Now is the time to cut our massive debt before the U.S. becomes another statistic in the world of financial failure.
All members of Congress who do not vote to eliminate tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 could be suspect of succumbing to the “big money” supporters of their congressional campaigns. The American people deserve an unbiased person on their side.
Republicans and Democrats (congressmen and congresswomen, not Republicans and Democrats) working together for the benefit of our country could take this first step toward placing our country on a sound financial footing. After this comes a total reform and simplification of our tax system without all the deductions. It is time to pay as we go.
Reject TSA’s rules
I agree 100 percent with Lisa Davis’ Dec. 6 BDN column. I think with all the electronic information available to government agencies that U.S. citizens could be checked out easily through use of any number of IDs, such as Social Security numbers. Until this new regulation is abolished, I shall be taking a different travel mode.