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Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011: Occupy Wall Street, cellphones and Quimby’s park

Catholic Charities clarification

A longtime critic of the Catholic Church is publicly questioning Bishop Richard Malone’s ethical right to speak against proposed budget cuts to the Department of Health and Human Services. We have learned to discount his constant criticisms, which have been ongoing nearly every day for the past 10 years, but readers deserve answers to his assertions.

The bishop testified at the legislative hearing about Christian fundamental beliefs regarding care for the poor in our society. He spoke specifically about cuts to Medicaid and not about preserving funding to any Catholic Charities Maine programs. As the leader of the Catholic Church in Maine, which is the largest nongovernment charitable organization in the state, the bishop has every right to lend his opinion and offer prayers for those who make decisions affecting the poor and disadvantaged.

Regarding the red herring issue of the bishop’s residence, the funding to purchase the new house will come from the sale of the house that has served as the diocesan bishop’s residence for 80 years. The new home will save tens of thousands of dollars annually in taxes, heating costs and maintenance and is substantially smaller than the old residence. This was a cost-saving measure. The bishop will reside in this home and it will be used for meetings and other church functions.

The issues surrounding the DHHS budget is too important to be used by one man to further his crusade against the bishop of Portland.

Every prayer and caring testimony needs to be considered.

Sue Bernard

Communications Director

Diocese of Portland

Unite, America

I was on the side of Occupy Wall Street when it was actually on Wall Street and when its message was opposing corporate greed. Now I have no idea what all these “campers” are doing or what their message is.

If Americans could unite we have buying power. Look what happened to Bank of America when it tried to charge $5 a month for an ATM card. If we could get enough people on board we could affect the greedy. Why does heating oil go up every single fall? Why do gas prices go up every Memorial Day weekend? It’s in anticipation of huge profits.

They make up some flimsy excuse about speculation on Wall Street or a dust storm in Saudi Arabia and we just sit back, complain and pay it. If we could organize and boycott we could have an effect in these matters but big companies are betting on us being lazy and not wanting to make any changes in our lifestyles. Middle Eastern countries have had their governments overthrown by organizing; maybe we could learn from them. Let’s unite, America, and say we are not going to take it anymore.

Jeff Brawn


The gift of food

Last week I stopped scratching my head for presents to give to the many I know who have everything they need and I was hard pressed to answer the question, “What does one give to someone who has everything?” My answer came soon enough, “Nothing!”

This year I will tax my brain no longer and send a check to one of the many food pantries throughout Maine and let my would-be gift recipients know they were the inspiration to do just that, and “Merry Christmas!”

Iane Winiecki


Cellphone withdrawal

What is it that is so important that causes people to use a cellphone while driving? The article in the Dec. 15 BDN offers several callous comments from cellphone drivers.

They just can’t give it up. They will lose business. Pure nonsense. How do these people think we did business before everyone glued a cellphone to the side of their head?

Driving while using a cellphone is only part of the problem. How about the fools walking down the sidewalk and then decide to cross the street and step in front of a moving vehicle because they are not paying attention to where they are going and then flip the bird at the hapless motorist they almost walked into?

Here is a partial solution. Mandate that a device be placed in the vehicle to scramble all cellphone calls the second the shift lever is slipped into drive. This device will automatically be de-activated when the air bags deploy and give them a real reason to use the phone.

Russ Irwin


Who needs a park?

Anyone who wants to boat, snowmobile, ice fish, canoe, camp, hike or otherwise enjoy the outdoors in Maine has had access to hundreds of thousands of acres of privately owned land open to them for many years in Maine. It is generously shared with everyone by the people who own it.

Baxter State Park also provides many opportunities for people to come and enjoy nature. There are places you can drive to, places you can only hike, places for outboard motors or snowmobiles and places they are not allowed, areas you can hunt and places you can’t. There is something for everyone to share.

It makes you wonder why we would need a national park, since an area many times larger than that proposed for the park already is open to everyone. The idea that it would exclude so many traditional activities for the benefit people who don’t want to share isn’t very appealing to fair-minded people.

It seems to me that if Ms. Quimby wants support for the idea of a park, she would put in writing a plan to share it with everyone, something like Baxter or the North Maine Woods.

It’s her land. She could stipulate anything she wants.

Tim Caldwell

Old Town

Dunlap wrong on Snowe

In the BDN’s recent article on Mr. Dunlap challenging Sen. Olympia Snowe, he claims that Sen. Snowe “was the only member of Maine’s congressional delegation who voted against extending the payroll tax for working families.” Well, that may influence some uninformed people, but it’s also false.

Sen. Snowe is in favor of extending the reduced payroll tax rates for another year as a relief to families who are struggling right now. She voted for the bill to extend this tax relief and actually prefers the version that does not increase taxes on small businesses either.

That’s a fact — no matter how this Old Town lawyer tries to spin it.

Brad Libby


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