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Monday, Dec. 26, 2011: Christianity and morality, MaineCare cuts

Domestic use only

Recent efforts by Stephen King and WZON listeners have generously produced $240,000 towards the current $32.6 million shortfall in Maine heating oil assistance funding.

However, it is difficult to ignore the elephant in the room here: Our nation has no coherent strategy to promote affordable energy and energy independence — 40 years after the gas shortages of the 1970s.

Furthermore, it is unhelpful for our elected leaders to shrug their shoulders, act like mere spectators in all of this or to tell us that they have a sizable household heating oil bill, too. That doesn’t make any senior citizen — with a thermostat set at 60 degrees — feel any warmer.

Undoubtedly, energy efficiency is part of the solution here. But merely insulating our homes and pumping more air into our tires is not enough. We also need more supply to bring prices down. To this end, Congress can easily pass legislation designating any oil we can receive or extract as for “domestic use only.”

A good start in addressing supply would be for the president to sign off on the Keystone Pipeline. If not, this Canadian oil will be sold to China instead and we will have Chinese tankers off our shores, with all of the attendant risks and none of the benefits from this oil.

Perhaps our elected officials will speak out on behalf of this legislation and for beleaguered consumers, particularly those with little, whose lives are being turned upside down by high energy prices. That would be quite a Christmas gift, indeed.

David D. Wilson


Not for the better

I find I can no longer ignore the ongoing debate concerning MaineCare that is currently occurring in our Legislature.

Having been in nursing for 35-plus years, I have seen the need people have for access to quality health care. It has become very apparent that as a society we have fallen to a lower level of compassion for our fellow man and woman. The main reason given is that we “can’t afford” to continue with MaineCare as it now exists.

Of those who advocate the radical changes now being pushed, I have one request. Please be upfront and say that it will be acceptable for some of the people who will be denied health care to die. This is what will occur when people are moving out of assisted living facilities or cut off from primary care providers.

It would be a shame for us to be denying care to some of the sickest and poorest among us while providing care to our part-time legislators. Besides, most of these people will end up in emergency rooms and the costs will be higher than they presently are and the costs will be absorbed by our already strapped and overwhelmed hospitals.

I urge our representatives and senators to use extreme caution when planning and voting on changes to MaineCare. They will affect us all, and if we are not careful, the changes will not be for the better.

Robert Simpson


Free TV time

I read the Bangor Daily News every morning and always look to the Letters to the Editor section to find out how people feel on a variety of issues.

One particular letter caught my eye earlier this week entitled, “Less TV time.” The writer gave a passionate argument about wasteful government spending, highlighting a television spot that features me advising drivers on the documents they need in order to renew or obtain a Maine driver’s license.

Given the financial situation our state is in, I completely understand this frustration, which is why I want to respond to the letter and clear up any confusion there may be on this matter. The advertisement in question is actually a public service announcement and is running on local television channels for free.

Maine broadcasters air PSAs on behalf of government agencies or nonprofit organizations at no cost in order to provide information to the public. In this case, the PSA is intended to make drivers aware of some relatively new requirements regarding the application for or renewal of their Maine driver’s licenses.

I appreciate the inquiry and the opportunity to let Mainers know that when they see this information on TV, they can be sure it isn’t at taxpayer expense.

Charles E. Summers Jr.

Secretary of State

Burned by Congress

A history lesson and a today lesson to our out-of-touch House and Senate from the New York Post, Saturday, Jan. 19, 1935: “Hitler Abolishes Job Insurance: Public Charity System Fails to Solve Relief Problem for Germany,” (a series on conditions in Nazi Germany by Richard Shafter, Federated Press).

“One of the first steps of the Hitler government toward that well-advertised goal of ‘National Socialism’ was to abolish the last vestiges of the unemployment insurance system, which had been created under the pressure of the German workers. Care of the ever growing army of unemployed has since been left entirely to public charity.”

And how well did that work? The article went on to state over 2 million were unemployed, though Hitler’s government said there were few. It said photos showed Hitler and Goebbels in public squares accepting goods like “benevolent mendicants” for the unemployed. It was called a Winter Aid drive: “Organized beggary thus had taken the place of unemployment insurance,” the story said.

Charity is a wonderful gift from people to people, but I hope we have more than potatoes and canned goods for our returning military when they become unemployed, with the rest, in the future. I do not like how our House and Senate keep holding an ax over the necks of unemployed Americans, using them for political points for re-elections. Both sides! We, the people, are a candle, and our government is burning us from both ends.

Fran Drabick


The book’s ending

BDN columnist Gwynne Dyer’s piece “Religion doesn’t equal morality” is aptly named. He speaks, of course, about Christianity and the Bible mixed with politics and/or self-righteousness.

The past 2,000 years of Christianity has developed its warts, pimples and moral shortcomings as a religious faith with spiritually imperfect and “unholy” believers. It is rightfully blamed for wars, conflicts, injustices and has its share of immoral Christians including Henry VIII, Lucrezia and Cesare Borgia (Banquet of Chestnuts). But if anyone wants to know what will happen when mankind universally attempts to live without Christianity just read the Book of Revelation.

Richard Mackin


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