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Friday, Dec. 9, 2011: Taxing the rich, Safe Chemicals Act and raw milk

Collins on the bandwagon

I see in the Dec. 2 paper that Susan Collins was the only Republican to vote for hiking taxes on the upper wage earners to pay for tax relief for low wage earners.

Collins is always trying to hop on some bandwagon as a show of good intent. She obviously does not remember the giant failure of the Maine luxury tax when it was passed to gather more tax money, by punishing the well-to-do who bought high-ticket items like boats, second homes and super nice cars. Boat builders and other luxury sales suffered badly. People went out of business.

It’s the same thing when you segregate and punish one segment of the population for their earning power: They stop spending money, and nothing trickles down. This we don’t need. Money needs to trickle.

How shortsighted can she be? She wants more tax money? Why doesn’t Congress and the Senate pay for 50 percent or 80 percent of their health insurance? Or buy their own? They can afford it, and it’s a big luxury.

And why didn’t she fix the insider trading loophole by U.S. politicians ages ago? Jumping on that bandwagon now is way too little, way too late. But what else is new?

Jim Dickinson


Inappropriate action

Regarding Sheriff John Goggin’s confrontation: The emotional response of Sheriff Goggin

toward Trooper Jon Brown is understandable, but nonetheless inexcusable in response

to the actions of another law enforcement officer.

Though the sheriff has many years of law enforcement experience, his reaction was most likely that he could have intervened as a friend or employer.

However, given Michael Curtis’ mental state, level of combativeness and failure to respond to lawful commands, a split-second decision allowed Trooper Brown to end a situation and go home to his family.

In my opinion as a retired law enforcement officer, the sheriff acted inappropriately to the situation.

David Melochick


Officially unemployed

Re: BDN, Dec. 3-4, 2011: “Jobless rate drops to 8.6 percent, lowest since 2009.”

The drop in the U.S. jobless rate to 8.6 percent, we are told, came through a combination of the private sector adding 140,000 jobs in November — and over 300,000 people dropping out of the work force because they had given up looking for jobs. Some people landed jobs, while over twice as many simply gave up trying. I have a solution for the unemployment problem: the government simply declares that all jobless people have quit looking for work — and there will be no more officially “unemployed.”

Richard Mullen


Support Safe Chemicals Act

I am one of the thousands of retired health professionals who are tired of our laws lagging so far behind mainstream science. We know that many diseases are caused by environmental toxicity. Action is needed now.

I’d like to thank Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins for admitting that there is a problem in the way we regulate toxic chemicals. I ask them to go a step further and support the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, which will provide more rigorous rules to protect our families from dangerous chemicals.

This law would phase out chemicals used in everyday products like lead, mercury, formaldehyde and toxic flame retardants. It would allow scientists to inform policy rather than chemical industry lobbyists.

This change needs to happen now. Please publicly support the Safe Chemicals Act today.

Lee Giles


Pass real reforms

I was at the Toxic Substances Control Act rally in Bangor and helped deliver the 5,500 letters. I am extremely frustrated and angry that there are no rules against manufacturers putting chemicals known to be toxic into products. Especially children’s products and food containers.

I am very happy that my senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, publicly stated that

our chemical safety laws are broken. Now is the time to pass real reforms.

Timothy McGuire


Milk, pasteurization facts

After reading the recent BDN OpEd column “Maine Agriculture Department wields a heavy hand” by Ryan Parker, I would like to offer a few facts regarding raw milk and its consumption.

All milk intended for consumption should be pasteurized — it’s a matter of food safety. According to U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines, people should avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk. Dairy farmers are committed to producing high-quality milk, maintaining proper animal care and environmental practices on their farms to ensure safe, wholesome, high-quality dairy products.

Because of health concerns, it is a violation of federal law to sell raw milk across state lines, packaged for retail use. Raw milk regulations vary, but Maine allows the sale of raw milk.

Raw milk has not undergone pasteurization. Pasteurization effectively kills harmful pathogens and bacteria that potentially could be found in raw milk. Since pasteurization was introduced over a century ago, it has been recognized around the world as an essential tool for ensuring milk and dairy products are safe.

Pasteurization is a method of heating milk to at least 161 degrees F for more than 15 seconds, and then rapidly cooling it; resulting in the destruction of harmful bacteria such as E. coli, salmonella, Camplyobacter and listeria.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that there is any meaningful difference in the nutritional value of unpasteurized and pasteurized milk. In addition, vitamin D, a critical vitamin not found in any significant amount in raw milk, is added to processed milk, making it an even more nutritious product.

Cheryl Beyeler

Executive Director

Maine Dairy & Nutrition Council

Who will pay?

Of the 839 responders to the BDN’s recent web survey, 71 percent supported raising taxes on the “rich” to pay for an extension of the payroll tax cut. This result is an indication that President Barack Obama’s class warfare rhetoric is playing well in Maine.

Perhaps the BDN can run a companion survey question: Do you support imposing taxes on the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income tax to pay for the extension of the payroll tax cut?

Ron Goldstone


Pasteurize for mass production

I am a retired, trained microbiologist and I highly recommend pasteurizing food products of any kind for mass production and sale (although glitches do occur). However, the column by Joan Gibson (“Quality Control and Raw Milk”) is very well-written and clearly indicates steps taken to assure safety so that I would not hesitate drinking that milk.

Furthermore, milk from such farms is in tune with people who wish to live and enjoy the “Maine Way of Life” that in addition has multisided beneficial consequences. I hope that farmers in Maine have other products that can be brought to the quality-control level of the Levant’s farm and thus further strengthen Maine agriculture. Farming is a very dedicated work indeed and I admire that calling.

Bohdan Slabyj



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