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Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011: Occupy Augusta, Herman Cain and Safe Chemicals Act

Against the First Amendment

Capitol Police have forbidden nine supporters and one long-time occupant of Occupy Augusta from entering Capitol Park, the Blaine House grounds, the State House or any state property in Augusta. They were given criminal trespass notices with no expiration date. If they attend a public hearing or lobby in the State House, they could spend up to six months in jail.

They were arrested Nov. 27 after refusing police orders to leave the Blaine House grounds, where they were protesting the state’s move to shut down the camp. They chose an act of nonviolent civil disobedience to call attention to the Occupy movement’s complaints about corporate control of government and income inequality.

This ban should concern all of us. It is an offense against the First Amendment to allow the police, without going to court or giving a reason, to order them not to enter public property like the State House.

Natasha Mayers


Congress, find another way

I am writing to thank Sen. Susan Collins for having the courage to even mention a surtax on the richest of Americans. Based on her vote not to extend the payroll tax deduction, Sen. Olympia Snowe appears to have folded her tent in favor of the rich.

I was recently informed by my doctor that the VA has reduced the amount that they will pay her for my medical care, so I can either pay the amount the VA has reduced paying her or I can pay that amount out of my own pocket. Is this how Congress plans to balance the budget? On the backs of the veterans, children or the elderly? While at the same time taking bribes from the rich donors to their campaigns?

I live in the real world and these cuts hurt me and other veterans a lot. Surely, Congress can find another way to balance the budget. Just ask all Americans to do their fair share.

Gregory Boober Sr.


A musical treat

What a fabulous treat was the beautiful “Yuletide Concert” presented at the University of Maine Collins Center recently.

Many thanks to all those wonderful artists who shared their musical talents for us to enjoy!

Anita Leonard

Old Town

Ghostly plan

The Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future better make an appearance pretty soon before Gov. Paul LePage goes through with his plan to decrease the “surplus population!”

Wendy Brown


Supporting Herman Cain

It was with great sadness that I watched Herman Cain’s speech to announce his decision to suspend his candidacy for the Republican nomination. Mark Twain or Sinclair Lewis would be hard-pressed to write a more fitting speech.

America needs Herman Cain. What goes on between a man and his mistresses is not the business of the liberal mainstream media. He is so distraught by this defeat that he is reportedly considering moving to another country, except he doesn’t know where any of them are. He did mention hopefully that he will continue to accept donations for himself and his campaign.

Here’s where you come in. I urge all loyal tea party Republicans to send as much money to Mr. Cain’s campaign as you possibly can. Then send him some more. Under our current administration, interest rates are at an all-time low. You should be able to borrow enough to help keep Mr. Cain and the tea party rolling. It is your duty as patriotic Americans. Ask your friends and neighbors to contribute heavily.

America needs Herman Cain to lead the Republican tea party to victory in November. Contribute heavily. Dig deep. We cannot afford to leave the family values wing of the Republican tea party in the hands of a man of Newt Gingrich’s dubious character. Can we?

Merrill D. Firsching


Still unprepared

Regarding the editorial “Pearl Harbor remembered”: I was alive on the Day of Infamy, although too young to do anything about it, but the lesson of unpreparedness remains today.

As far as the “folly of war,” the real folly is to attack a nation that is stronger than you, as Germany and Japan found out against Russia and the U.S., respectively. The United States did not subjugate whole continents in pursuit of resources. Like the present administration in Washington, it is convenient to blame our country for all of the world’s troubles.

Incidentally, it was diplomacy that got us in trouble with Japan in the first place, as we pressured Japan to get out of China with no military muscle to back up our demands.

Richard F. Dinsmore


Support Safe Chemicals Act

Cold and flu season is upon us. I am not a germaphobe, but I would rather avoid than experience the flu. I purchased products labeled antibacterial or antimicrobial, thinking they would lessen my chances of suffering. Instead, I have learned that some of these products actually increase my chances of suffering.

Do you know what triclosan is? How about triclocarban? Honestly, I don’t know what many of the ingredients on products labels are. Triclosan and triclocarban are ingredients in many products labeled “antibacterial” or “antimicrobial” like liquid hand soap and body wash, dish soap, toothpaste, deodorant and first aid products. It can even be found in some kitchenware. Studies have linked these chemicals to thyroid problems, low sperm count and increased allergic reactions in children. Most of the chemical washes down the drain and is not detected by waste-water treatment facilities. It turns into dioxin in streams when exposed to sunlight — a high cost to pay, especially when the medical profession tells us the best product to use is still old fashioned soap and water.

Recently, Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins admitted the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 needs updating to reflect the scientific knowledge gained in the past 35 years. I urge our senators to help make the lives of my grandchildren healthier by supporting the Safe Chemicals Act.

Diane Scalia


Unaffordable heating oil

If the state of Maine could change the minimum amount of fuel oil delivered to 50 gallons instead of 100, more people could afford to get oil. I watch people fill up five-gallon cans because that’s all they can afford. At today’s prices, it takes more than a paycheck to get 100 gallons.

Paul Gargan


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