Thursday, July 14, 2011: Kayaking, sex scandals and same-day voting

Posted July 13, 2011, at 6:04 p.m.

Senseless, no, inevitable, yes

When I first started sea kayaking as a guide and instructor some 15 years ago, the only kayaks that my company sold were bulkheaded sea kayaks. A full-day lesson went with each one.

Now it is hard to sell the full sea kayaks and margins are tight, too tight for free instruction. Manufacturers produce inexpensive, nonfloating recreational touring kayaks and the dealers say use them on calm water.

Watersports safety people say wear a life jacket and don’t go out when it is rough and maybe take a lesson. With a day’s instruction costing a significant fraction of the kayak’s cost and these boats sold for stability and comfort, it is no wonder that we have scores of inexperienced paddlers out there.

I am surprised there are as few accidents as there are. There will be hand-wringing and calls for wearing life jackets and checking forecasts after the most recent kayaking death, but with the commonly held attitude that anyone can do it, these accidents are not senseless, they are inevitable.

Ben Fuller

Cushing

Too easily distracted

Whenever a political sex scandal unfolds I get annoyed, not as much with the alleged misbehavior as with what the response to it says about we people. There is always a claim that the culprit must resign because the issue du jour is too much of a distraction. Earth to D.C.: They would not be distractions if we weren’t so darn distractable.

Come on, people, are we really affected by politicians’ hanky-panky? Nope. All of us below a certain age will be seriously impacted by an issue we let ourselves get distracted from — the dismantling of Medicare. If we want health care in our golden years as opposed to vouchers that may not be worth the paper they’re printed on, this is where we should be directing our energy and righteous indignation.

If that’s not your cup of tea, how about climate change, education or the erosion of our rights by the Patriot Act? How about the economy? We all claim that’s Numero Uno.

What’s up with Americans? Why are we stuck in the “that’s what he-she said” stage while our peers around the world tackle consequential topics? Let’s grow up and focus on the substantial issues of the day. Leave the fate of those politicians in the hands of their constituents and, more importantly, spouses.

Move on, people, move on. Please.

Julia Emily Hathaway

Veazie

Restore same-day vote

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

This old adage applies to government as well as to plumbing, yet fixing what’s not broken is exactly what the Legislature and Gov. LePage did during the last session.

Despite 38 years of Mainers registering to vote on Election Day, the governor and his supporters repealed that right. If the law stands, people who are otherwise eligible will be turned away at the polls, including elders, students, parents with young children and those who have difficulty getting time off. This is wrong. Voting is a fundamental right. Do we really want to go back to the days when voting for some groups was discouraged or even prohibited?

Of course, discouraging certain groups is precisely the purpose of this new law. It is not to prevent voter fraud, which simply does not exist in Maine. And it is not to relieve town clerks, who are not overwhelmed on Election Day. It is to erect a barrier between groups who tend to vote for Democrats at the ballot box.

Can this discourage many? It doesn’t have to. Many contests turn on roughly 3 percent of the electorate. One side needs to deter just a small percentage.

Maine ranks third among the states in voting percentage. The two states that rank higher also have same-day registration. In fact, the top five states do.

The system is not broken. Help preserve Maine’s registration law. Sign the People’s Veto petition today.

Kent Price

Orland

Lobstermen over whales

With regard to the story, “Marine official seeks fair shake for Maine lobstermen” (BDN, July 12): I am not a lobsterman, but I sympathize with them. In my opinion, there is too much concern for the alleged risk posed by lobster gear to the Atlantic large whales — right, humpback and fin whales.

Lobstermen have to earn a living; whales do not.

Richard W. Sykes

Rockland

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/07/13/opinion/thursday-july-14-2011-kayaking-sex-scandals-and-same-day-voting/ printed on September 20, 2014