Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012: Celebrity deaths, GOP caucuses and propane tanks

Posted Feb. 14, 2012, at 4:29 p.m.
Last modified Feb. 14, 2012, at 5:48 p.m.

Death is no whitewash

Why does the public forget about all the horribly bad things a person — especially a famous person — has done in their life when they die?

We wonder what has happened to our society as a whole, grumble that our youth are drug addicts with no respect. Yet, we continue to immortalize those who show you can do bad things such as molestation, drugs and turning a blind eye. How are our children supposed to know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, if we as a society continuously blur those lines?

Yes, Whitney Houston was a great singer at one time. She also was a drug addict with erratic and irresponsible behavior that jeopardized her children time and again. Yes, Joe Paterno was a great football coach; he also knew that little boys were being raped by a colleague and didn’t report it to the police. Yes, Michael Jackson was a fabulous entertainer; he was also grossly inappropriate with many, many children and hung a baby off a balcony.

So, I will not say RIP to Whitney, Joe or Michael. I want my children to know that I don’t support someone who uses drugs and jeopardizes the health and mental welfare of children. I want my children to know that turning a blind eye to something is just as bad as committing the act yourself. I want my children to recognize the line between right and wrong.

Sarah Bailey

Bangor

Community service valued

Last Thursday, Bob Kelly stepped down as the advisory consultant to Bangor’s Historic Preservation Commission, or BHPC. For well over a decade, Bob has volunteered his time to help guide commission members as they make decisions about changes that property owners in the city’s historic districts want to make to their buildings.

As the owner of House Revivers, Bob has nearly 30 years of experience rehabilitating historic buildings, so was uniquely qualified to give advice, not only to members of the BHPC, but also the applicants who came before it. Bob was always ready to offer good, solid ideas for approaching a rehabilitation project and would often volunteer to take a look at the building for the property owner if they needed to additional guidance. If he did not feel that an applicant’s request for altering their building met with Bangor’s Historic Preservation Code, he would quietly state his objections and offer ideas that might help satisfy their goals, yet keep them in line with the city’s code.

At times, Bob served as a buffer when discussions became heated, calmly giving his thoughts about the application and always treating the applicants who came before the commission with respect. As members of the commission were thanking him for service last Thursday, Bob characteristically offered to continue to be of help if he was needed in the future. Bangor has been very lucky to have Mr. Kelly serve in this position for so long.

Sara K. Martin

Bangor

Maine Republicans lost

You would be hard-pressed to find any competent statistician who could conclude Gov. Mitt Romney beat Congressman Ron Paul in the recent Maine straw poll.

First of all, only a minority of Republicans voted. Secondly, over 175 towns in a relatively unpopulated state did not participate, as reported on the Maine GOP website.

If the polls taken in Maine’s three largest cities — Bangor, Portland and Lewiston — were the measure, then Ron Paul won the vote by a significant margin. The Maine GOP headquarters and the state capital is located in Kennebec County where Mr. Paul beat Mr. Romney.

The following week, the Maine GOP decided to cancel the caucus in Washington County, a Mr. Paul stronghold, due to an “inclement” weather forecast of 2-4 inches of snow the morning of the scheduled caucus. Charlie Webster, the Maine GOP chairman, informed the caucus that their vote would not be counted in the straw poll vote.

If one were to guess what the outcome would have been in Washington County by the results in Aroostook County, also a rural, northerly county, Mr. Paul would win by a margin of nearly 4 to 1.

Real investigative reporting is a commodity few newspapers in Maine can afford. However, it is inexcusable for wealthier, major news organization to lead the American public on such a misinformed path.

Mitt Romney did not win in Maine and neither did Maine Republicans who lost confidence in the media and in the integrity of leadership of the Maine GOP.

Patrick Eisenhart

Augusta

It’s not a religious issue

Religious conservatives claim that providing contraceptive insurance violates their religious liberty. Nonsense. Churches are free to make their own rules.

They have the power to require their members to follow them. They may ex-communicate members that don’t. They may operate religious institutions, hiring and serving members only. They can refuse insurance inconsistent with their religious beliefs. And Americans support them in the form of tax exemptions as long as they remain religious and nonpolitical.

Those groups currently alleging violation of their religious rights are not running religious institutions. They are running hospitals, universities, day care centers, soup kitchens and more. They hire nonchurch members. They accept local, state and federal funding and generous tax exemptions. They serve the nonreligious needs of the general public and the law prohibits religious testing for services or proselytizing the people they serve.

Logically, this law extends to the people they hire. Ethically, they should provide full health care coverage. The requirement to pay for contraceptive insurance in no way forces church members to use contraceptives — although 95 percent of them do. Most of us pay taxes for expenditures inconsistent with our beliefs and the claim of religious persecution doesn’t pass the straight-face test.

This is a health care issue, not a religious issue. Unfortunately, churches seem very eager to make it into a political power play. This needs to stop or they need to give up their tax-free status.

Janet Alexander

Old Town

What view?

I have been listening to and reading the arguments opposing the Searsport propane project and they seem entirely superficial. I keep reading about how it will impact the view and I wonder if we are looking at the same piece of property, as there are already tanks there.

There are many benefits from a diversified tax base to jobs. I plan on attending the March 10 town meeting and voting no on the moratorium.

Melissa Lockhart

Searsport

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