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Friday, Dec. 2, 2011: LURC, Occupy protesters and giving thanks for troop greeters

Fast-buck policies

Ron Joseph’s forthright, illuminating comments about our governor’s murky, short-sighted politics are a breath of fresh air (“LURC under assault by governor, GOP,” BDN OpEd, Nov. 23).

Joseph’s observations are informed, relevant, revealing, well-written and, significantly, based on years of work in the unorganized territories, where he also also enjoys a close relationship with many of their residents.

It is especially gratifying to hear the opinions of a native Mainer who has devoted his life, both professionally and personally, to the restoration of critical habitat and the wise exploitation of our natural resources. His is a balanced view that takes justified umbrage at the fast-buck policies of our present governor.

Tony Oppersdorff


Rights not used

As we celebrated Thanksgiving, we reflected on our blessings. I am thankful for the health and well-being of my small circle of family and friends. And for this very pretty and little town on our beautiful island and the community here.

While I know that it is a far from perfect world, I am heartened and thankful when I see that so many of us are working for the good of the world, each in our own way. We all do what we can to make ourselves, our communities and the planet better, more equitable, more whole.

There is so much to be thankful for in this great nation, founded on such lofty and noble principles that we are constantly struggling to achieve and preserve. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights are more than just revered documents; they are a challenge from our founders to every generation to understand and uphold them.

It seems to me that rights not utilized are lost. Therefore, I am very thankful for the many people all over this land (and across the world) who are taking up this challenge in support of our rights, our freedom and a decent life for all. It takes courage to face the old feudal attitude that “might makes right” with “We hold these truths to be self-evident” and all that follows it.

Sharon Riley

Bar Harbor

GOP field lacking

How sad it has been to watch the parade of presidential pretenders vying for the Republican nomination. If that is the best and brightest of the party, we are lost. When did it become acceptable — no, required — to be unintelligent to run for office?

I know it’s seductive to accept easy answers to complex questions. Foreign policy and national and world economics are a lot more complex than cutting taxes for the wealthy and regulations on big banks. The consensus of the candidates is that the poor and middle class (that’s us) aren’t paying our share of taxes. Don’t touch the rich.

This is disturbing enough, but the more horrifying issue is the attitude of the Republican audience. They cheer the indiscriminate death penalty. I feel that deep down there is a pervasive racism and bigotry.

Of course, the privilege of wealth must not be disrupted. Since Reagan, this mantra has been observed. None of us regular folks are going to get a fair shake with any Republican.

From making moving a manufacturing plant to China tax deductible to making sure that big bankers get their bonuses, you can thank your Republican friends. LePage, Snowe, Collins and McConnell are all guilty of obstruction. They all want President Obama to fail. They want us to fail! They only care if they can get back into power. Then they can serve their masters, and that’s not us, the voters.

James I. Scroggy

Blue Hill

Thankful for greeting

On Thanksgiving, as I counted the things and people for which I am thankful, Bangor was among them.

That afternoon, I received a phone call from my son who was en route to Fort Hood, Texas, from the Middle East. We had not had much contact during the past few months. His company was moving frequently, dismantling our bases in Iraq to prepare to come home.

There was always that fear in the back of my mind — that nagging little voice of doubt, wondering if he was safe, until the moment he returned to American soil. Hearing his voice reassuring me that he and his fellow soldiers were safely back in the U.S. was the greatest blessing of the day.

He told me how the citizens of Bangor had turned out to welcome the troops home when their transport stopped to refuel. I recalled reading that you have done this faithfully over the years as troops returned to the U.S.A. The fact that you took time out from your own Thanksgiving dinner celebrations to welcome my son and his colleagues back home was so very touching.

Thank you for your show of caring and support for our troops. You citizens of Bangor, and the many fine young men and women who have passed through your city on their way home from the Middle East, all make me proud to be an American. May God bless you all in abundance.

Mary Kay Robbins

Joliet, Illinois

Smiley was right

Sarah Smiley’s column of Nov. 28 was right on target. The “Occupy” protesters are an undisciplined mob of whiners and complainers who have no idea what they are protesting except that they don’t like the situation they find themselves in.

They cost our taxpayers money to protect them and clean up after them; they beg for sustenance so they can remain on public property at public expense. Most of them are victims of their own making, with unmarketable college degrees, failed mortgages which they themselves overextended and other self-inflicted injuries.

My own son partially fell into this trap; he graduated from college with a degree that would not get him a job. However, like Smiley’s husband, he chose to serve his fellow citizens. As a law officer, he puts himself in harm’s way for an income that is below Maine’s median; he can’t afford to buy a house, and occasionally has to supply his three children with thrift shop clothing. Nevertheless, he does his job protecting others, and does not waste his time and energy protesting his fate.

I’m retired, having worked my last six months at half time and half salary, and having taken a considerable loss on my house when it was sold. I’m not sitting in a park protesting, either.

Under the circumstances, it’s pretty tough to sympathize with these rootless ne’er-do-wells.

Don Lodge

Southwest Harbor

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