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Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011: Ducks, occupiers and takers

Duck, duck, warblers

Bob Duchesne’s column, “Birding, politics to collide,” (Nov. 26 BDN) requires comment. It is good that Bob, as a state legislator, speaks for wetlands protection. Hopefully, many other legislators will act for wetlands protection also. Maine has a large natural resource-based economy, including hunting, fishing and tourism. Many businesses and the state depend on these programs.

Bob needs to brush up on his waterfowl biology. Ring-necked ducks do not nest in trees. They nest in the open marsh. As written, it sounds like tree-cavity-nesting ducks nest back in the woods. They don’t. They nest in tree cavities along lake shores and marsh edges or in dead trees in marshes. Wood ducks, particularly, and mergansers and goldeneyes like man-made nest boxes.

Do state and federal wildlife agencies and sportsmen’s groups operate nest box programs? Nest boxes work. Black ducks, mallards and both teal species nest in and use wetlands extensively in Maine. Other bird life in Maine requiring wetlands for nesting and successful completion of their life cycles include Virginia rails, sora, pied-billed grebes, marsh wrens and loons.

Bob, talk to us duck people, but stay with the warblers, which use marsh edges. Thanks for bringing the importance of marshes to the forefront.

Fred Hartman


Awaiting apology

Politicians owe all Americans an apology for our economic mess. The federal government is $15 trillion in debt. The interest on this debt alone is close to $400 billion each year and growing.

A balanced budget might work where expenses equal income. Many politicians are well-intentioned, but have done a tremendous disservice to America. In their haste to secure votes, too many compromises have been made and we have given away the store.

They continue to confiscate money from the 55 percent of Americans who pay income taxes at a level the politicians feel is fair and yet we are still a long way from a balanced budget. At today’s spending levels, we spend over $10,000 per U.S. citizen. How much should we spend and how much can we afford?

We now see where providing free everything for everybody has gotten us — unsustainable government growth. Nothing is free.

When government gives to someone they must take away from someone else. We taxpayers are ignored because we are busy balancing our own finances. We do not vote to change those in office who commit these financial atrocities against us. We can only hope that the light at the end of the tunnel is less spending and less government.

I am reminded of the words of John F. Kennedy, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” A simple “sorry” from our public servants would be welcomed, but the silence is deafening.

Gary Cole


Smiley misses point

Not only is columnist Sarah Smiley “Too occupied to occupy” (BDN, Nov. 28), she is too preoccupied with self-commiseration to actually pay attention to the degradation of American life taking place all around her.

Congress votes to fund wars for dwindling resources, give subsidies to the wealthiest corporations (oil, gas, agri-business), repeal safeguards such as Glass-Steagall that could have prevented our economic implosion and theft of our taxes by bankers and CEOs, and now want to declare our country a “battlefield,” part of the war arena, so the suppression of peaceful protest and public anger can be more easily put down and justified.

Add to this foreclosures, families bankrupted by medical expenses, depleted soils, dead oceans, toxic waste, nuclear contamination and jobs shipped overseas.

The fact that Smiley cannot pin down a single issue to reflect the Occupy movement is because these altruistic campers and supporters stand for the reversal of all these travesties created and perpetrated by the 1 percent.

This has nothing to do with thanking firemen, servicemen or any public servants, and Smiley does not own gratitude. The movement enfolded and fed the homeless as long as there was food to share and those individuals were supportive. The gap between the poor and the very rich is a prime focus.

The Bangor encampment has been peaceful and respectful and has taken very little time of the city council or police department. To shut down this legal, constitutionally imperative demonstration of freedom of speech would indeed nullify the principles her husband thinks he is fighting for.

Martha Goodale


Yes, I’m a taker

I always considered myself a giver where taxes and government were concerned. I dutifully paid my share and figured it went to those freeloading, welfare-consuming takers. But, since moving to Maine, I too have become a taker.

I still work a steady job and pay my taxes, but what I’m receiving is far more than the amount I pay in. I go to Acadia every chance I get and ride the carriage roads, paddle the ponds and hike the trails. I don’t recall what I paid in federal tax last year, but I can assure you I got it all back and then some at Acadia National Park and Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge. I would never be able to build a carriage road system myself, so thank you Uncle Sam for making this available to me.

Any state tax I’m paying can’t possibly cover the recreational opportunities and time I spent at Baxter State Park, Scraggly Lake, Big Moose Mountain and other public lands.

Locally, I’m also a taker. Nothing better after a day of work than to unwind at the Rolland F. Perry City Forest. Before the seasonally shorter days, I would take advantage of this local gem regularly to bike or hike the trails.

You can occupy Wall Street, I’ll occupy Acadia, Moosehorn, Baxter, the Bangor city forest and the myriad other public areas made available to me by my government. I just hope they don’t find out I’ve turned into a taker.

Mike Himmelreich


Carlson and suspicion

The late Rev. Carlson is suspected of having committed a horrific crime: sexual abuse against a child. The victim of the alleged abuse should be praised for his courage in speaking up.

Speaking up is difficult because it is usually met with disbelief, ostracism and sometimes punishment. Speaking up is never a confession. The shame of the crime should always be entirely the sexual predator’s burden.

To commit their crimes, pedophiles, especially the smart ones, seek positions of power in

the community where they gain the trust of parents and easy access to children. They gain the respect of the authorities and become above suspicion of child abuse.

“Police had not conducted a search of Carlson’s home and had not requested a search warrant” said the BDN front page article of Nov. 17. Aren’t Carlson’s alleged crimes horrific enough for the police to promptly move on and search for more evidence? Or is Carlson still being protected?

Robert Gossart

Salisbury Cove

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