March 22, 2018
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Saturday/Sunday, Nov. 19-20, 2011: Education, consumer spending and world population growth

Educational, journalistic priorities

The BDN’s article “Shortened school day end run around providing proper supports for children” is a one-sided commentary that appears driven solely by disability rights advocates without input from the school. The headline imputes wrong motives to the school without any evidence within the article that there were indeed people at school seeking to deny a child his rights.

I have great sympathy for “David” and his mother — mental illness is very difficult to deal with, and getting timely, quality medical care for it is a challenge. But for disability rights advocates to suggest that David’s needs would have been met if school had provided special education supports such as instruction in social skills and coping skills, given his mental health diagnoses, is ridiculous. David, who has mental illness, needs medical care, not social skills instruction.

The BDN needs to get its journalistic priorities straight regarding balanced reporting. Disability rights advocates need to get their educational priorities straight and understand that schools don’t treat or cure mental illness.

Everyone needs to get their priorities straight regarding shortened school days, which can be a positive intervention for children too ill to cope with six hours of structured educational activities and children too disruptive and violent to be in school.

Lucy Mallar


Missing in action

I’d like to thank the military entries and local Boy and Girl Scout organizations that marched in the Veterans Day parade in Bangor. It’s especially appreciated that leaders of the Scouts instill patriotism in these young people.

Missing, and conspicuously so, was our own Bangor High School marching band. Its music department should be embarrassed in light of Brewer High School’s appearance. It somehow seems empty — and disrespectful — that Bangor High School did not have its students marching down Main Street in tribute.

I’m hoping the reasoning for the absence wasn’t the inclement weather. Marching in chilly weather isn’t consequence enough for the sacrifices of our military men and women.

Jack Gifford


Of dog, mouse and woman

We live and die by our mistakes. So did a tiny gray field mouse who snuck into our house. He tormented our 12-year-old tortie, Marie, who yowled when she couldn’t reach the interloper hiding under our dog crate. I pushed it aside and the chase began.

I rooted for the mouse a little more than the cat. My husband wanted to stomp the little guy. He raised his foot but I held him back. I can kill mosquitoes. June bugs terrify me so I let Robert have his way with them. Bees and other flying things blocked by my screen door get waved outside. I don’t kill in haste and repent later, though I do eat meat. I haven’t worked all the bugs out of my philosophy yet.

I decided to help the mouse. After a short chase, the lovely Marie cornered her prey under a heating vent end cap. I pried the piece loose, thinking I’d somehow get the little guy outside. Instead I dropped the metal cap on his head.

That mouse went from skittering to still in a millisecond. Guilty, I tossed him outside, making a contribution to the food chain. He bounced and I sighed. My dogs watched me through their chain link fence. An hour or so later, I found a half-eaten, tiny gray field mouse on the deck, my dogs prancing around it.

The darn thing tried to get back into the house through the dog yard. Big mistake. Huge.

Cindy Papken


Sales, not regulations

In response to David Clough’s Oct. 30 OpEd “Regulatory time out is common sense,” I offer two comments. First, Mr. Clough represents the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the so-called “Voice of Small Business,” but he fails to listen to the voices of the small businesses in his own network.

In its 2011 report, NFIB Small Business Economic Trends, respondents were asked what their “single most important problem” was in doing business. Their answer? “Poor sales” made the top of the list for this year as well as 2010. In the survey, only one in five respondents said “government regulations” was the top problem.

Second, former economic adviser under Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, Bruce Bartlett agrees, saying “rather than regulation, the main problem that turns up again

and again is a lack of business, a lack of sales, a lack of customers.” Regulations aren’t the problem, having customers with money to spend is.

Suzanne and Bob Kelly


Population time bomb

The news is out: World population hit seven billion on Oct. 31. Meanwhile, Maine’s population reached a record high of 1,328,361 in 2010. It was great to see that after years of pretty much ignoring the issue the national, state and even some local media gave the issue its due attention.

If we do not stabilize soon and then gradually reduce world population, famine is a certainty. The “green revolution” greatly increased yields of rice, wheat and corn during the last concern about famine in the 1970s. However, it required a vast increase in the use of fertilizers along with a huge expansion of the world’s irrigated area from deep underground aquifers. Most of these will go dry in the next 30 years.

Here in the U.S. our population problem is driven chiefly by immigration, both documented and undocumented. U.S. population will more than double from 203 million in 1970 to 439 million in 2050 and immigration will cause 82 percent of all U.S. population growth between 2005 and 2050.

We must come to grips and focus on the fact that our world and U.S. population are at unsustainable levels. Internationally we must support women’s rights and education, family planning services and economic development. In the U.S. we must establish immigration policies where in-migration does not exceed out-migration.

The U.S. can be a beacon for the world by instituting fair, wise and practical policies that foster population stabilization and true sustainability.

Ken Roy


The big chill

Although not a huge fan of unbridled socialism, I do believe all Americans are entitled to acquisition of the basic necessities of food, shelter and clothing. The severe curtailments of LIHEAP program funding are placing a significant number of our residents in jeopardy regarding their health and safety.

To better get attention to the consequences of LIHEAP cutbacks, I suggest setting all thermostats in the halls of Congress and other government buildings in Washington, D.C., to 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and if that doesn’t have the desired effect, turning off the heat altogether.

G. Lansing Blackshaw


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