Friday, Jan. 13, 2012: Lobster’s luxury, early education, LURC problems

Posted Jan. 12, 2012, at 3:07 p.m.

What luxury looks like

Wanda Labrecque’s Jan. 6 Letter to the Editor argued that purchasing lobster with an EBT card was a prudent use of the government resource. While I can’t verify the nutritional value of a lobster drowned in dairy butter, I know luxury when I see it. It’s sort of like pornography in that respect; hard to define, but I know it when I see it.

Back in 1880, when lobster sold for a penny apiece, I suppose a lot of people on the immediate coast considered lobster a staple of their diet. But only if they had the money to pay for it, not through food stamps or a voucher from the town or any other form of assistance from their brethren.

So, the next time you see someone use food stamps (EBT card) to buy necessary staples such as lobster, congratulate them on their shopping savvy and ask them just how many nutritious meals they can expect to get out of that lobster.

Is there a nutritional, plentiful, nonseasonal, multipurpose, native, affordable and readily available food staple? I think I’ll go make myself a tuna fish sandwich.

Stan Brown

Corinna

Early education and security

I was heartened to read the recent OpEd column from two prominent Bangor business leaders, Bill Miller and Dan Tremble, about why high-quality early education is so important to improving our future work force and our economy. As a retired Air Force major general, I would like to add that high-quality early education is also important to our national security.

Shockingly, and sadly, 75 percent of young Americans today cannot join our armed services for three key reasons: they have dropped out of high school, they are physically unfit or they have a criminal record. This not only threatens our economic security, it also poses a real threat to our military preparedness.

One of the best ways to reverse this downward trend is high-quality early education like pre-kindergarten and Head Start. Early education is a proven way to improve later academic performance and increase graduation rates. It also helps youngsters develop curiosity, character and social skills, which are important to the development of self-discipline, motivation and the ability to be a team member. All of these skills are needed for military service, as well as success in many other careers.

Given these alarming figures, now is not the time to make further cuts in early education programs. It is my hope that our legislators will support early learning programs like Head Start and reject the proposed cuts in the supplemental budget so that our education crisis does not become a national security crisis.

Nelson Durgin

Bangor

Abortion numbers challenged

Guttmacher’s Cory Richards attempts to put to rest his own statistic, saying in his Dec. 30 Letter to the Editor, “there is a wealth of evidence demonstrating that effective contraceptive use dramatically reduces unplanned pregnancy and — thereby — recourse to abortion.” He uses the same circular argument that Guttmacher always uses — more contraception equals less abortion — which is not borne out in reality.

In addition to his senior post at Guttmacher, Cory Richards has held volunteer

positions with NARAL Pro-Choice America and the National Abortion Federation — hardly credentials that show the impartiality that should be demanded of an organization that purports to have the solution to reducing abortion rates.

Guttmacher Institute was founded by Planned Parenthood in 1968 as its research arm. Its namesake, Alan F. Guttmacher, served as vice president of the American Eugenics Society, headed Planned Parenthood Federation of America for more than a decade and was an integral part of the eugenicist birth control movement in the 1920s. He was the driving force in initiating federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Guttmacher research has been relied on for decades to increase funding for Planned Parenthood. And Planned Parenthood’s abortion numbers have continued to increase almost lockstep with increases in government funding.

It’s time to stop the millions of taxpayer dollars that flow to Guttmacher, Planned Parenthood and Family Planning Association of Maine. These “nonprofits” work together to maintain a healthy profit margin while contributing to the grisly deaths of millions of innocent pre-born children.

Rita Diller

National Director

American Life League’s Stop Planned Parenthood International

LURC reform not balanced

The Legislature is now back in session and the Agriculture Committee will be considering the proposed legislation to “overhaul” the Land Use Regulation Commission.

There are aspects of these proposals which should be carefully considered and rejected.

I am referring specifically to increasing the number of members of LURC without review by the Legislature. The provision to allow counties to opt out opens the door to inefficiency and the creation of a patchwork system of regulations which are not in the best interest of Maine people.

I hope that Mainers who want to balance sane development of our great forests with the preservation of our environment and our heritage will talk with their legislators and make their concerns known.

David Wiggin

Rockport

Farms’ disappearing act

People interested in farming and food from across Maine gathered in Augusta this week for the agricultural trade show. Many trade groups and chemical companies could be found amidst the bustle.

What you won’t find are the thousands of disappeared farmers who gave up farming when they just couldn’t add one more hot water line into the barn, or the concrete floor under the bulk tank, or separate facilities dedicated to one enterprise. You won’t find the farmers who just didn’t have the land base, and couldn’t afford to buy the acreage to increase their production to pay for increasing equipment and building requirements.

You won’t find the crab pickers who stopped picking crabs and selling the meat from their homes to sell their husband’s bycatch when their work was made illegal by rule-making.

You won’t find the farmers who are trying to stay “under the radar” afraid to publicly sell food to their neighbors in the communities where they live, until they get caught farming without a license.

We need the Department of Agriculture to stand up for small farmers. Take time to understand small farms and what we are contributing to our communities. We shouldn’t have to “sneak around farming” afraid of succeeding and becoming visible because new rules have made our work illegitimate.

Don’t make farming criminal with the rules from the FDA and the USDA. Stop disappearing small farms with big rules.

Heather Retberg

Quill’s End Farm

Penobscot

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