The population question
We move into this New Year of 2012 laden with intractable problems, the most immediate being the financial meltdown but including climate change, overconsumption, underregulated pollution, income polarization and poverty. Least addressed is world overpopulation, and its sister, reproductive choice.
There is a very real question of where the human carrying capacity of this one earth lies and whether we are not already in population-consumption overshoot. The film “Mother: Caring for the 7 Billion” will be shown at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, at the First Unitarian Church in Rockland, and 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the Belfast Free Library. Please come and share in the discussion.
Reproductive choice for all is a possible and relatively economical precautionary measure. Surely we have the courage to begin to address this issue.
Leadership by example
Forty years ago students at a local high school told their science teacher they had seen a Maine State Trooper discard trash. The trooper made light of it when asked if he was littering: an illegal act and a poor example to set for young people. The students retrieved the litter, which was boxed up and sent with a letter to the head of the Maine State Police, who soon called the teacher to ask what action he wanted taken.
A talk with the offending officer by his superior would be enough. It was also suggested that the incident provided an opportunity to teach future cadets that all their actions would be observed by others, especially our young people.
The Army demands leadership of its military police because there is no second option.
The Maine State Police should feel pride in the example shown by the troopers who arrested Sgt. Parker for OUI, and the letter that Sgt. Parker sent to his colleagues, owning his mistake. All involved should hold their heads high at the level of leadership being displayed. There is no doubt that the state police and our court system will continue to deal with this incident in a highly professional manner and that will provide lessons for future law enforcement candidates. We learn from our mistakes.
Richard N. Bedard
Myths about atheists
In his OpEd “Is it the atheist’s moment?,” Paul Tormey tries to dismiss atheists by falling back on two common myths.
The first is that atheists are really just failed monotheists who have rejected God out of fear, egotism, laziness or for some other reason. It’s not that complicated. Atheists simply see a universe with out a God element. God is not rejected, just unnecessary.
The other is that atheism will lead to a life of self-centered hedonism. Humans will not love each other unless they are instructed to do so by some external entity.
Compassion, respect and gratitude are the natural result of the awareness that all beings and all things are inextricable connected. Jesus did not invent the idea of loving your neighbor, he was just stating the obvious. Love is not a function of following orders. It is a function of seeing clearly. This insight is available to atheist and theist alike. It works with or with out a God.
Collins’ wind work
Backed by Sen. Susan Collins’ unwavering support and federal dollars, researchers and graduate students at the University of Maine’s Advanced Engineered Wood and Composite Center continue to push the technology envelope in the areas of renewable energy, transportation and defense. One hopes, in the near future, some of these cutting-edge research projects will generate commercially viable products for the untapped, deep-ocean renewable energy sectors off the coast of Maine and unfulfilled transportation infrastructure markets.
Sen. Collins is to be acknowledged for her efforts in organizing and securing grants, earmarks and in-kind donations totaling $25 million from the departments of Commerce and Energy, the 2010 Energy and Water Appropriations Conference Report, the 2009 ARRA stimulus package, the University of Maine and 30 other public and private partners.
As a result of the senator’s effort, this past November the University of Maine Engineering School opened a 37,000-square-foot Advanced Structures and Composites Center Lab in Orono. The lab facility was built to test blade design, fabrication methods and tensile strength for wind turbine manufacturers. The $12.5 million lab will compete with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s $30 million Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown, Mass.
Remaining portions of the $25 million were used for the purchase of lab testing and robotic manufacturing equipment, and employing research and development personnel, along with administrative and lab staff and faculty support positions.
The center will hold a benefit for the senator later this month.
I really enjoyed Emily Burnham’s story, “The Many Stars of Maine.” And contrary to what some of my friends might think, I’m not writing to complain that I wasn’t on the list.
However, I was hoping to get an “honorable mention” for a few people I don’t believe were included. The include:
• Steve Zirnkilton: Steve is the voice of the Law & Order TV series. He lives full-time in Maine and his voice has been used on Jay Leno, CNN and King of the Hill.
• Jimmy Howard: NHL goalie for the Detroit Red Wings, he summers in Hancock County with his wife and is a UMO graduate.
• Howie Carr: Best-selling author and syndicated radio talk-show host, a Portland native, he has a summer place in our state.
• Dana White: The Ultimate Fighting Championship president is worth a reported $150 million and owns property in Levant.
• Joey Gamache. The Lewiston native is the only two-time world champion boxer in the state’s history.
And while I’m sure there are others, I wanted to at least give a shout out to those five. Thanks again, Emily and the BDN.
Canadian pellets, not Maine’s?
I was at a house yesterday where the residents were receiving fuel assistance from a community action program in the form of wood pellets. The pellets that were delivered were Canadian-made, even though we have at least two companies in the state that make them.
Way to go, whoever is in charge of this. Let’s send taxpayer money to Canada instead of helping out companies right here in our state. This is another example of the government fleecing the taxpayers. Way to go, Mr. LePage; you deserve a raise.