A veteran’s view
I’ve decided that “support the troops,” is a cop-out, especially in an unpopular war. During Vietnam, I enlisted in the regular Army, because it was the patriotic thing to do, and I wanted an education. Nothing much has changed.
Recruiters still offer high school students a siren song of patriotism, higher education and a career. Stephen King had it about right in 2008 when he urged students to learn how to read well, or they would end up in the Army in Iraq.
In poverty-stricken Washington County, it is estimated that approximately 48 percent of the people can’t read past the fourth-grade level. Our main export is not wood pulp and seafood, but our children. The facts are that we cannot afford to adequately support our local schools.
Well-educated and wealthy families and our congressmen send their “best and brightest” to elite colleges and universities, not into the military.
This is not to say that many well-qualified and capable students also opt for military service and fight for all of us. Indeed, we should honor all of our veterans by hiring them when they return, provide health and social services, and of course, training and education.
The challenge is not to fight, mine, consume or drill our way out of energy, economic and environmental crises, but to bring our troops home alive, and put them to work at decent jobs which pay enough to support their families, and which contribute to our society.
In the Great Depression, the Republicans also wanted to reduce the national debt right away. Their cuts only made the Depression deeper and last longer. It took the massive deficit spending for WWII to pull us out of the weak economy.
When government workers’ jobs, pensions and health care are cut, government workers reduce their spending. When infrastructure maintenance is cut, transportation of goods and auto maintenance suffers. As these now three war fronts continue, oil prices go up as speculation increases because of the shaky situations. As energy prices go up, people spend more on gas and try to use less; state gas tax revenues go down.
We will not go broke if the federal government uses all of its means to spend on our needs now and for the future.
So far we have seen cutting only government jobs and services considered. Republicans don’t want any tax raises. So the people who have had the greatest tax cuts will continue to have them, while jobs and services for the citizens of this country are cut and more poor people are made poorer.
This only creates more needs, more problems and inequality.
If we must spend our way out of this economic crisis, can’t we at least spend like crazy on ourselves and slack off on the war business?
Hoorah for Paul LePage
It is about time we have a governor who is not a wimp. He is trying to straighten out the state before it goes totally broke.
In a situation like this, you unfortunately can’t keep everybody happy. There will always be collateral damage.
As for his blunt ways, telling our president to go to hell and telling wimpy critics to “kiss his butt,” I say hoorah for Gov. Paul LePage.
If people want something to complain about, they should get away from their childish issues and complain about our so-called president, who is destroying our country and U.S. sovereignty before it is too late.
Betrayed by Baldacci
I feel betrayed by the Baldacci administration and former Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman.
I am a small-business owner. We have been paying into the state unemployment fund for more than40 years. All those years I felt that my funds were going to help unfortunate persons to put food on their table or clothes on their backs. Little did I know that I would be aiding in financing a mural for Ms. Fortman’s office, especially one that I would not approve of to be placed in a location owned by all the taxpayers of Maine.
In fact in many situations, paintings or artworks of any kind are either donated for display by the artist or lent to the business. So much for betrayal.
A commercial nuclear reactor contains 1,000 times as much radioactivity as was released by the Hiroshima bomb. The National Academy of Sciences has found that any exposure to radiation increases a person’s risk of cancer. We still do not know the full extent of the crisis in Japan and how much radiation will be released into the air, water and ground. Millions of people may be affected by cancer and birth defects.
Radioactive iodine caused thousands of cases of thyroid cancer in children after the Chernobyl accident. Cesium and strontium remain dangerous for hundreds of years, and plutonium is deadly for hundreds of thousands of years.
The reactors in Japan and all over the world store their spent fuel rods on site, since there is no solution to the problem of long-term storage. Until we have a solution to long-term storage, and safety systems to prevent radiation leaks in earthquakes, floods and terrorist attacks, the public health risks of nuclear reactors will be unacceptable.
We must halt all plans for new reactors and build a safe and renewable energy system.
Two guys, two bucks
The two people who make your Weekend Edition worth two bucks are Kent Ward and Emmet Meara. Kent Ward goes back a long time, as does Emmet Meara.
I delivered your paper when Len Harlow was in Rockland. I remember him very well, and he knew to put the fire under the guys who got up before daylight every morning rain, snow, whatever and delivered it into the mail slot or at least inside the door.
I fondly remember the times the extra bundles were left to us to hand out as samples after the route was done. I also remember the time Len caught us boys stuffing the extra ones down the sewer by Glover’s lumber on Main Street. I think we might have told him that was the quick way to the islands. Mr. Harlow was not pleased, to say the least. He made us all go and dig them out.
I just want to let the editors know that lots of people in this great state of Maine buy the Weekend Edition to read what these deans of writing have to say. I sent an email to Emmet today telling him about my bucket list and crossing one item off my list. I went to Lake Placid, N.Y., riding down the world’s fastest bobsled track. It was a thrill of a lifetime.
Keep the great words of Kent Ward and Emmet Meara.