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Saturday/Sunday, Dec. 10-11, 2011: Green construction, Israel and health care

Borrow at 0.01 percent?

Now that Wall Street, the auto industry and the savings and loan people are solvent why can’t we (government) borrow a couple of trillion from them, at the same interest rate, 0.01 percent, so that we can pay off some of our debt and lower the amount we pay in the interest?

Michael Tammany


Green payback

It is ironic that the LePage administration is promoting the reduction in Mainers’ dependence on home heating oil while simultaneously criticizing Maine State Housing Authority’s efforts to promote green construction.

Promoting energy efficient residential dwelling design is an effective way to reduce oil dependence. While green construction is more costly there is a payback in energy saved. At a time when federal heating fuel assistance is being reduced, energy efficient housing should be encouraged.

Thomas E. Martin


How did the system fail?

Steven Lake, who murdered his family on June 13, 2011 in Dexter, was being held in November 2010, pending a hearing on bail revocation for violating his conditions of release. The Bangor Daily News’ Nov. 29 article, “How did the system fail?” goes right to the point: Lake’s release from custody that November. It cites a just-released “psychological autopsy” by four psychological therapists who happen to be former police officers. I’m assuming they are

all experts in their field, but one doesn’t have to rise to that level to realize the egregious error when Lake was released by the Piscataquis County court thereby endangering a family and a community. Maine law allowed, and perhaps even cried out for, bail revocation. His family would have been protected and Lake might have received some professional attention he so desperately needed.

Responding to public comment, Piscataquis County District Attorney, R. Christopher Almy said, “There are hundreds of cases out there where defendants are on bail … there are a lot of people just like him out there. It’s just not possible to put all of them in jail.”

Lake violated, even defied, his conditions of release. He repeatedly threatened his family with a dangerous weapon — two situations that should have led to revocation of bail that November. Whatever argument came out of the DA’s office was insufficient. A judge didn’t revoke Lake’s bail and thus relinquished any control of a person spiraling out of control.

And now we must live with the aftermath.

Robert Fritsch


The issue of Israel

Against the wishes of President Barack Obama, even Senate Democrats approved a bill that would punish international banks that do business with Iran, despite the fact that Iran doesn’t have “the bomb” (but Israel does) and the likelihood that such a move would spike world oil prices. I can’t think of a better way for American senators, many of whom (such as Susan Collins) raise campaign funds in Israel, to let the pro-Israel lobby know that it’s getting what it paid for.

But what about Americans who care more about America than they do about Israel? What about Americans who believe that Israel, a nation founded on terror and perpetual occupation, is a far bigger international scofflaw than Iran? And what about Americans who have seen their democracy eroded by a quiet coup of pro-Israeli “analysts,” financiers and politicians who have seized the levers of American power but for the benefit of Israel? As the next election gets underway, it will behoove Americans who actually care about their country to find out where every would-be legislator stands on the issue of Israel. (You can bet the pro-Israel lobby will know.)

And you have to give Obama credit on this one; for standing up to the Israel lobby and choosing not to start another conflict (with some demonized country such as Iran) to get the country behind him and raise his approval ratings — just in time for the election.

Melodie Greene


Just plain wrong

Question: What do a businesswoman from Massachusetts, a state senator from Cape Elizabeth and gay marriage have in common? Answer: The state of Maine can do

without all three. Roxanne Quimby and Sen. Cynthia Dill — in my humble opinion — know nothing about the northern Maine woods. They need to stick to doing what they do best and not involve themselves in unfamiliar surroundings where they are unwanted and really don’t belong.

Contrary to what Renee Ordway suggests in her BDN column on December 3-4, the minds of people here in Aroostook County, as well as in the rest of the state, are not going to change in regard to gay marriage just because Kim Kardashian needed more press or even that a Fort Fairfield couple has a gay daughter. Gay marriage is wrong. It’s just wrong. It always has been and it always will be. All the excuses that proponents of gay marriage pass off as reasons for it just amplify how wrong it is. I could get biblical, but there is no need beyond the obvious: God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.

A national park and gay marriage. Both are wrong for Maine people and the Maine way of life.

John Henderson


Unaffordable health care

My employer has chosen AETNA as its new health care company. I reviewed the literature to help me chose a specific plan that meets my needs. It included information about American family Life Assurance Company of Columbus. It offers extra insurance plans to offset out-of-pocket expenses not covered by my basic health care plan. The bottom line is it offers more insurance to cover what my basic insurance doesn’t cover, but should. What is wrong with this picture? The leading cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. is medical expenses. Insurance companies prey on this realistic fear. Is more insurance really the answer?

Mark Bertolini, the CEO of AETNA, made $8,808,852 in total compensation in 2010. AETNA increased profits in 2010 by raising premiums and copays. As a result, thousands of people were forced to drop their coverage, yet in the third quarter of 2010, AETNA’s profits rose from $326.2 million to $497.6 million. Meanwhile in 2004, Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, brought home $37 billion in profits but paid only a 5 percent tax because of a “tax holiday”. It then laid off thousands of employees in 2005. Our Congress is talking about another tax holiday.

Health care has been about making profits for health care corporations, not about providing health care for the people who are the taxpayers in our communities. We need a health care “assurance” plan that provides basic health care (covers most things) for all people and is not about profits or beholden to Wall Street, but rather to people.

Katrina Bisheimer


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