Feb. 9 Letters to the Editor

Posted Feb. 08, 2011, at 8:18 p.m.

Chinese advantage

In my sixth-grade class, we have a Chinese student for a quarter. It seems to me that this student already has gone over the things we’re covering in math.

It was explained to me that in China, students learn concepts at a much younger age than we do in America. One would assume that educators notice this and work to meet the Chinese standards.

If we keep going the way we are, the Chinese children will take over our jobs. Chinese students will be much more qualified. If we want to secure the American job rate, we need to step up and get educated!

Elizabeth Fortier

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Tips law clarified

A recent BDN article addressing LD 207, “An Act to Amend the Laws Regarding Tips Used in Payment of Service Employees,” reflects the confusion that surrounds the conflict between state law and federal law when it comes to the definition and the handling of tips.

The federal Fair Labor Standards Act that all employers must follow, which was not mentioned in the article, is explicit regarding how tips are handled. Tips are the property of the employee. LD 207 would not change the way tips are handled for anyone working in the industry. Rather, it seeks to conform Maine law with federal law and strikes duplicative language. Current practices would remain unchanged for Maine workers and businesses.

A 2007 change to Maine law regarding tips and service charges did not clearly define tips and service charges. This ambiguity has led to lawsuits against Maine businesses that were operating legally under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

LD 207 seeks to clarify Maine law so businesses will not be exposed to lawsuits simply because they operate in compliance with federal law. I believe the Legislature has an obligation to be responsive to this request, so I introduced this bill, which will be considered by the Legislature’s Labor, Commerce, Research and Economic Development Committee.

I hope when future legislation seeking to clarify conflicting laws that small businesses have to endure, both sides of the issue will be thoroughly researched and presented.

Sen. Brian Langley


Another abortion view

I had to laugh at the letters taking the BDN to task for insufficient coverage of the Right to Life March on Jan. 22.

I don’t see coverage of 365 days of these people stomping on individual and group rights, shooting doctors in front of their families and at their places of worship, interrupting lawful commerce, threatening and taking lives while nothing is done to stop them.

This is a tiny minority of well-funded zealots who have shown their contempt for the law and the Constitution they babble on about upholding, using suspect medical misinformation and lying to the public at large while denying women and their partners their hard-won rights. After all, as they are proving in Uganda and elsewhere, their greatest threat is an educated populace. But it isn’t a problem for them to abuse thousands of children entrusted to their care all over the world.

George Carlin said it best: “They talk about government staying out of your lives, but they sure don’t mind being in a woman’s uterus.”

Also, “Republicans love fetuses but hate children.” Sadly, too true. And it is no surprise that the countries with the most liberal abortion laws have a higher quality of life and a better economy than the U.S.

Jim Burns


Better off for Reagan

The Bangor Daily News is to be commended for its restraint of the usual volcanic outbursts at the mere mention of former President Ronald Reagan, but fumaroles were much in evidence in its Feb. 5 editorial, “Ronald Reagan Revisited.”

The BDN is out of sync with Reagan’s credo that big government is an enemy of democracy and every able-bodied citizen should at least try to earn a living.

Reagan began his administration by declaring the Soviet Union to be an “evil empire” (much to the chagrin of America’s icon, Walter Cronkite, and his ilk), and the end of his tenure saw it in shambles. Unfortunately, four succeeding Presidents have done nothing to discourage its reconstruction. If his regime saw an increase in our nation’s deficit, it was a small price to pay for the end of the Cold War.

It should be remembered that he suffered from a Democratic Congress that passed every bill he signed. Margaret Thatcher said that he “won the Cold War without firing a shot.”

The editorial staff of the BDN can sleep more peacefully because he was once president. He still exists in the hopes and aspirations of most Americans.

Doug Hundley


Big trouble

In Maine, and nationwide, we have elected Republicans to offices of all rank. They have pledged allegiance to “state’s rights,” but what we are now seeing is that they hold corporate rights in higher regard than states’ rights.

We are seeing efforts in Maine to roll back protections for low-paid restaurant staff and efforts to roll back laws to protect our infants from toxins in plastic — with the excuse that these changes are “to make Maine more consistent with federal standards.”

So states’ rights are fine unless they conflict with the interests of big business, in which case, big business trumps all others. Pretty soon, we will be back to polluted skies and waters and bottles and cans with no deposit cluttering our roadsides.

In our efforts to elect fiscally responsible politicians, we have elected many who have no common sense and who will happily turn our government over to big business. We are in big trouble, I fear.

Stephen Blythe


Shame on America

For weeks, I have been watching the news; a tragic shooting in Tucson; protest, revolution and violence in Cairo; coverage of a massive weather system that produced an incredible amount of snow in some states; the terrible floods and a cyclone that hit Australia; a young child found dead; another reunited with her real parents after she was kidnapped 23 years ago.

However, the media has completely ignored our own tragedy, our own crisis, which we created. It’s in a country called Afghanistan. It is called a war.

Our men and women are fighting an enemy that is everywhere and very elusive. People are dying every day. Why doesn’t this make the news? Why doesn’t it warrant our attention 24 hours a day? We have forgotten our own.

No one protests this war, no one ever mentions how many were injured during the week or how many died or how many mothers lost a beloved child.

Shame on you, America. How could you forget?

Christine Esancy


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