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Friday, June 17: America, its flag and elections


The imbalance

The current conditions seen throughout the U.S. and the world today are quite disturbing. Many Americans are without jobs, or are without jobs that provide a living wage or a productive lifestyle. Billions more tax dollars find their way into wars against unseen enemies while heart disease, a much greater threat than terrorism, receives, in comparison, a pittance toward research. Billions more are spent on the prison system than on educating our youth.

The switch to renewable clean energy is making little to no real progress even though the technology is in place. Corporate profits are more valued than human lives. Income distribution is greatly out of balance and has crippled our democracy. The monetary system as we know it is reaching its physical limits of sustainability. Is this not obvious?

Laws enacted by Congress can either perpetuate the imbalance or eliminate it, can either perpetuate dirty energy or eliminate it, can either restructure the monetary system or allow it to continue spiraling downward.

Our government has the power to improve conditions for Americans, all Americans, if so desired. It is necessary that our elected officials begin to work for a more just, sustainable and peaceful America. If they don’t work toward this goal, it is our job to vote them out of office and replace them with someone who is willing to work for our best interests.

Les Simon

Opportunity missed

The BDN missed an opportunity on Tuesday, June 14. The newspaper should have had an American flag flying on the front page. All need to pledge alliance to our flag on Flag Day!

Also lost was the BDN’s opportunity to thank all Army servicemen and women, past and present, on the Army’s 236th birthday. How soon we forget what is so important!

Charles Knowlen

Attitude on pain

I would mostly agree with Dr. Erik Steele’s June 14 column on better opioid prescribing, especially the development of regional pain centers that would help but not solve the problem.

Dr. Steele’s comments, however, on prescribing narcotic medication show honesty (tongue in cheek?) but also demonstrate another part of the problem. Too many medical providers share his “difficult and stressful” attitude and as he writes, look to “punt” these patients.

As a physician in Maine for more than 20 years, I’ve seen a worrisome trend toward this punt approach. Not long ago, those in chronic pain and other challenging patients were generally spread out amongst us all, a shared burden. Burden can be a harsh term but here it referred to just one part of the duty we primary caregivers provide to the communities and people we serve.

Dr. Steele’s attitude has become too commonplace and too acceptable. Too many patients go untreated, leading to more drug abuse.

Chronic pain can be treated in the same basic approach used for other medical problems: history, physical, diagnosis, treatment and followup. Specialists should be consulted for the unusual case. Not all pain patients need (or should have) narcotics or a pain center just as not all diabetic patients need insulin, etc. All patients need a provider who will treat them.

If all medical providers returned to sound treatment of their own patients suffering this common human condition, pain, our problem would be much closer to a solution.

David M. Painter, MD
Bar Harbor

Black cloud, beautiful day

On June 9, the Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition volunteers and Penobscot Bay Stewards helped Drinkwater School in Northport celebrate Earth Day. All 109 students learned outdoors all day. They were divided into small groups, each with a teacher, that rotated through a series of seven learning stations: soil studies, mud flat, tide pools, habitat exploration, art, planting the

garden and building an outdoor classroom.

The only black cloud on this beautiful day was the theft of building materials for the outdoor classroom. The Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition had purchased and placed lumber, a few days in advance, in an ideal site in the campus forest to be made into an open air “classroom.” On Earth Day the lumber was missing.

The children were terribly disappointed, confused and dismayed that someone would steal from them. But with supportive leadership they worked through the feelings of betrayal and began to see the bright side. Except for this glitch, the day was a happy one.

Teachers, parents, and volunteers put a huge effort into making the day a success. It is too bad that someone felt like stealing building materials from the school. Instead, they could have volunteered to help make it a great day for the kids.

Cloe Chunn
Belfast Bay Watershed Coalition

Stop election thieves

As reported in the June 14 BDN, LD 1376 eliminates same-day voter registration and absentee voting two business days before Election Day.

Maine Republican Party Chairman Charles Webster stated that same-day voter registration has allowed Democrats to “steal elections from Maine people,” for years. Please tell us more, Mr. Webster, about these folks who show up to steal our elections. Are they felons, or perhaps aliens of some sort?

We can thank Maine legislators for stopping them in their tracks, yet shouldn’t we remain vigilant and continue to keep an eye out for these ne’er-do-wells, lest they attempt to infiltrate our ranks when we good Maine people go to the polls to vote?

Bruce Hautala

Tragedy avoidable

Another sad day for Maine and the town of Dexter, and what a waste of innocent lives (“Man kills his family in Dexter,” Tuesday, June 14, BDN). Mr. Lake had already proven several times that he was a threat to society and was still free to roam among the populace. What has happened to our judicial system when this is allowed to happen over and over? Why is there such a long time between arraignments and trials?

If Officer Wintle heard gunshots when he arrived at the home, why did the tactical team try for over three hours to make contact with Mr. Lake, when the victims might still have been alive?

How many more deaths will it take before the offended are truly protected and judges stop returning criminals to the street?

Donna and Craig Archer

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