In praise of Witmer
I want to thank the BDN for printing the article by Daryl Witmer on the religion and spirituality page Feb. 12-13. I find his articles always thought-provoking and wise. He expresses balanced views that are pertinent for Christians and non-Christians alike.
Please continue printing his articles frequently.
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Nation of strangers
Jay Bregman’s recent op-ed column on the decision to eliminate the classics department at the University of Maine at Orono comes as no surprise.
Decades ago the cry went up on campuses across the nation: “Hey, hey, ho, ho! Western civ has got to go!” Since then, colleges have gone on to offer courses in Marxism, feminism and gay studies while ignoring the wellsprings of our civilization.
It is with good reason that the academic elite oppose the legacy of Greece and Rome. The clear thinking of an Aristotle stands in opposition to the postmodern claim that no absolute truth exists. The beauty of the Parthenon is a reproach to the ugliness of our public art. The stern authority of a Roman father, and the unbending loyalty of a Ulysses, are offensive to a matriarchal society devoted to luxury and consumerism. Above all, the spiritual ideals inherited from Greece and Rome jeopardize a money-mad society which has profit as its highest goal.
A wise man said that he who cannot read Latin remains a stranger in his own country. And this is the real reason why classics departments are being eliminated across the country. Those who control our academic institutions are intent on building a nation of strangers, each plugged into his or her own individual postmodern reality without a common heritage or understanding of the nature of man.
Socrates said “an unexamined life is not worth living.” Yet an unexamined life is of great value to academic connivers who wish to form a nation of sheep.
60 degrees of LIHEAP
I am interested in how many people are cold now in their mobile homes because they can’t afford the heating fuel.
At this time, 7 a.m., in mine the temperature inside is a lovely 60 degrees. Come on up here, Mr. President, and see how you would enjoy it.
I use LIHEAP and if that were taken away I don’t know how I could manage. I have no one to fall back on.
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More on retirement
I would like to add another piece of information to John Krueger’s Feb. 17 letter to the editor about the Maine State Retirement System.
If you are the divorced spouse of a state employee, forget about getting a share of that person’s pension. Unlike Social Security, there is no provision for automatic spousal benefits, no matter how many years of marriage there were. Unless the retiree agrees to share it at the time of his or her retirement, the spouse gets nothing. A specific court order at the time of the divorce is the only way to assure receiving benefits.
I found this out the hard way, and would like to give others a heads up. If you are married to a state employee, don’t make waves. Divorce is not an option unless you are independently wealthy.
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Abortions of the past
Reading about the Pennsylvania doctor who provided illegal late abortions for minorities, immigrants and poor women in a “house of horrors” jogged my old memory of the past.
My memory goes back further than most. Events like this were a common occurrence before Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal.
The “coat hanger” abortions performed and young women’s bodies left lying in back alleys were a familiar occurrence, mostly procedures performed by people totally untrained in medicine. The horrors were equally as gruesome as the Pennsylvania doctor’s story. Again, mostly involving the less fortunate among us.
When the anti-abortion crowd jumps on this story in a big way, keep in mind that this was a key issue for legalizing abortion. Women controlling their reproductive rights while being provided safe, affordable medical procedures and, at the same time, being protected by law against such outrageous acts as the Pennsylvania case are critical. Also, I wonder if Dr. Gosnell would have been prosecuted much earlier if his patients had been more affluent. I fear many among us still don’t care about those folks.
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Not so good old days
“Remembering Maine’s Ice Age,” the Feb. 14 story by Tom Hennessey, brought back a few memories from my childhood.
We used to have an “ice box” and bought large blocks of ice (coated in sawdust) to keep our dairy products fresh.
Other recollections: the water tank on the end of our kitchen stove, the washboard my mother used to scrub our clothes, the iron that was heated on the top of the stove and the clotheslines. (I still enjoy using mine.)
We have so many reasons to be grateful for this age we are living in. It allows us to enjoy many hours of leisure our parents and grandparents never realized.
Alberta Farthing Owens
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For thoughtful reform
The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of a demagogue is “a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.” In his op-ed column of Feb. 13, Jim Parker accuses environmental groups testifying before the Joint Select Committee on Regulatory Reform of making “a concerted effort to demagogue these hearings.” This is an ill-considered accusation.
At the Bangor hearing on Feb. 10 there was a wide variety of testimony, representing many different, thought-provoking and useful points of view.
I agree with Jim that using popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power is a bad thing. However, that moral value applies to those on all sides of the issue. A prejudiced attitude toward environmental regulation will not bring our state the quality of life and prosperity we desire.
It is of vital importance to the integrity of our political process and the state’s economic health that regulatory reform be done carefully, with thoughtful consideration of all aspects of each issue.
Lucy G. Quimby
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