Jan. 15 Letters to the Editor

Posted Jan. 14, 2011, at 6:51 p.m.

Secondhand smoke cost

The debate over the University of Maine’s actions to curb outside smoking prompts me to speak up on my own behalf and for those who are similarly affected.

I have asthma. Early last July I had the misfortune to be exposed briefly to outdoor smokers on three occasions over a period of two weeks.

The first time, I was waiting outside a building. A smoker came along and lit up. Within a couple of minutes my throat was sore, my lungs filled and tightened. I walked away.

Days later, I was enjoying my lunch and a book on a park bench. Soon, smoke was wafting my way. By the time I packed up my lunch and book and moved, the symptoms returned. If the exposure is brief, I can subdue them with albuterol. Unfortunately there was a third incident at a bus terminal.

My lungs had been recently exposed; the symptoms jumped to the next level.

My lungs became enflamed to their depths. Once this happens, it can take months to go away.

Once these painful symptoms set in, I cannot do anything that requires any more than shallow breathing. I choose to be an active person with a healthy lifestyle. I love to hike and bike. After three brief exposures to outdoor smoke in early July, my physical activities were curtailed for the entire summer.

The three smokers, I’m sure, finished their cigarettes and walked away unaware that their actions cost me a summer of discomfort, medication and curtailed activities.

Elisabeth Molloy

Orono

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Talk shows to blame

The conservative backers that buy talk shows expect a return on their investment: greater support for the conservative agenda. So, day after day the incessant drumbeat of: “they” want to take away the Constitution, “they” want us to shut up, “they” will destroy America, “they” are taking away our freedom, money, guns, rights, country, “they” are coming to get us, “they” hate us creates an atmosphere of political hostility toward others, but it also generates votes.

This is the conscious purpose of these shows. They buy votes by creating distrust and fear. To pretend otherwise is to ignore political reality.

Unfortunately, unstable people don’t understand this is just manufactured political ranting. They believe the propaganda. They believe the hate. They believe the hunting, the targeting, the shooting symbolism.

To them this isn’t symbolic. In their minds this represents a call to action.

When you broadcast to the public you don’t get to pick and choose your listeners. Too many people of integrity warned them that their programming was inappropriate and dangerous. They cannot now pretend they aren’t part of what happened in Arizona.

Janet Alexander

Old Town

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It’s greed

Why is there so much anger and hostility over the new health care law? I believe it comes right down to greed, pure and simple.

The new law requires that the rich, like Rush Limbaugh, who makes around $36 million a year, pay around $270 more every six months for their new health care policy. This increase helps subsidize insurance for the poor who can’t afford it.

Republicans couldn’t care less about the plight of the uninsured, thus the abusive language against the Democrats who have always cared about the poor.

One example of this: Rush Limbaugh called the Democratic senators who passed the new health care reform bastards on his radio show when all they did was fulfill their promise to voters.

The deaths of innocent people will never change the egocentricity of people like Rush, Glenn Beck and Hannity, so from now on I just choose to not tune in to them.

Harold Waltz

Millinocket

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Invest early

I was pleased to read the BDN’s coverage of the recent Maine Child’s Alliance School Readiness report released to the public and lawmakers as part of the recent “Infant and Toddler” day at the State Capitol.

I believe that early childhood education is, in fact, central to our long-term prosperity. Children who participate in quality early learning programs have higher rates of graduation, earn more as adults, and enter the work force with the 21st century skills businesses need, especially in our technology- and knowledge-driven world.

If we are to successfully compete in an economy that is regional, national and global, we must create a pipeline, beginning with high-quality early learning, that will ensure Maine’s businesses have the skilled workers we need. The Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the business community understand that quality early childhood learning is the foundation upon which long-term economic stability can be built.

Put simply: Investing in early care and education is good for business.

Peter M. Gore

vice president, Maine State Chamber of Commerce

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Violence begets violence

My heart is heavy for the victims of the tragedy in Arizona. We must put a stop to the escalating hate rhetoric of the right and its very specific calls to armed violent action. Lines of decency have been crossed.

Sarah Palin has a special responsibility and opportunity in the wake of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. For it was Sarah Palin who in March 2010 put the crosshairs of a gun on Rep. Giffords’ district. It is Sarah Palin who has used phrases like “don’t retreat, instead reload.” (It was while Jared Loughner was reloading his Glock 9mm semi-automatic pistol that he was tackled to the ground in Tucson, his second ammunition magazine grabbed by a 61-year-old woman.) So far, Palin’s response has been Facebook prayers for the victims and an official denial that her widely distributed map involved gun sights at all. Such a claim is indeed disingenuous.

Last year, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords herself criticized Palin for putting her and 19 other Democrats on a hit-list of districts, each shown as being in crosshairs. “When people do that, they have got to realize there are consequences to that action,” Giffords said. “In the 20 or 30 years my colleagues have never seen it [the rhetoric] like this.”

Watch Gabrielle Giffords being interviewed by MSNBC after the “crosshairs” appeared over her congressional district and her campaign office door was subsequently smashed. From a smashed door, violent actions against Rep. Giffords metastasized to a smashed brain -— Giffords’ brain.

Coincidence?

Anita Brosius-Scott

Camden

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