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Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2012: Religion in politics, paying for the east-west highway

By aboyle

Tank supports Maine’s future

DCP Midstream proposes to expand the industrial port at Mack Point, Searsport. The port already has an active tank farm. Ships and barges bring heating and jet fuel, salt and asphalt, raw materials for the paper and cement industries, gasoline and other essential products. For over a century, Mack Point has been a central resource for Maine.

These activities support Maine’s economic future. The port means jobs for truckers, sea pilots, stevedores, chandlers, airports, tug companies, insurance agencies, heavy equipment companies and more. The companies attracted to Mack Point offer employee health insurance and retirement plans. The port has a solid safety record.

Companies looking to grow in Maine require a good transportation system and a mix of energy resources. Mack Point has a good transportation system. A mix of energy resources is possible.

LPG, liquid propane, is used to heat schools and hospitals. It is the fuel in gas grills in our backyards. LPG is transported and used safely worldwide.

It is difficult to understand DCP opponents’ real motivations. It’s a good thing the opponents were not around when Bath Iron Works, Bangor International Airport and Eastern Maine Medical Center were constructed and expanded. Everything now said in opposition to DCP’s plan for Mack Point could easily have been used to oppose them.

It is discouraging to realize how many people believe Mainers would be better off with a job at a gift shop selling T-shirts, or at a gas station, renting out 30-pound tanks of LPG for summer cookouts.

John Worth


Work for all Maine people

What can you say about a governor who boasts about the largest tax cut in Maine history, which mainly benefits the wealthy, and then turns around and tries to make up for some of the resulting shortfall in the state budget by proposing to cut 65,000 of Maine’s most vulnerable citizens from medical coverage under MaineCare? In the first instance, I say he is out of touch with the true financial needs of the state and in the second instance, I say he demonstrates an appalling disregard for the health of some of Maine’s neediest citizens.

Without a doubt Gov. Paul LePage’s first year in office has been an administrative disaster. Hopefully, a good businessman like himself will learn from his mistakes and start to do better.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much hope that this will happen. He seems to make all his major decisions on the basis of his ideologies, rather than a goal to make the state government work better for all the people.

George Elliott


Religion and politics

Have you noticed a steady increase in broad expressions of evangelical Christian faith in our nation? Formal national and state “days of prayer” are augmented by more religious television stations and programs, and full-page newspaper ads calling for salvation.

And now we have Tim Tebow, the Denver Broncos’ quarterback, sinking to one knee to pray, a position known as “Tebowing.” The fundamental flaw in such public prayer at any sports event is that it represents an unrealistic, self-oriented behavior pattern that assumes God will hold the opposing team in disfavor.

At a recent New Year’s television broadcast over 22 million people heard a lead vocalist change the words of John Lennon’s “Imagine” from “… and no religion too” to “… and all religion is true.”

And, lastly, when we are sworn in to count votes in a local election, the formal oath ends in “so help me God,” which violates the Constitution’s right not to state a religious belief to serve in public office or function in a public service.

Another development that is truly disturbing is the declaration by four recent or current Republican presidential candidates that they were recruited by God (Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Michelle Bachman and Herman Cain). Each of them have detailed stories of where they were and what they were doing when God gave them the nod.

What kind of game is “God” playing here? Some time ago, distinguished psychiatrists and psychologists concluded that it’s perfectly normal for people to pray and talk to God, but when you hear God talking to you, you need professional help and possible institutionalization.

Richard E. Faust


Christmas is over

“When is too long, long enough”?

Here we are into the second week of February, and as I drive through Brewer, Bangor, Orono and Old Town, I am amazed to see that people still have their Christmas wreaths hanging up on doors, windows and on the side of buildings.

When are you people going to take them down as they are turning orange or with no needles on them at all? I saw last year several wreaths still hanging up in May and June. Please don’t let this happen again this year. Throw them away!

Mary Henderson


No handout for Vigue

In a time of government austerity, why are taxpayers being asked to pay for private projects? This should have been the question that legislators on the Transportation Committee asked before they approved a resolution that would fund a new feasibility study for the fabled east-west highway with $300,000 from the state’s highway fund.

According to Rep. Richard Cebra, Maine taxpayer dollars need to be spent because investors in the proposed road “deserve a study they can have confidence in.” Really? The proposed toll road will be privately owned. The revenue generated by the toll road will also be private. The prospective investors in the road are private. So why are taxpayers being asked to pay to make these investors more confident their money is safe?

There is no evidence that the road will result in sustainable economic growth for our state, so why are we already being asked to pay into it? In a period of economic recession, when budgets are being cut and the governor insists that we spend even less, it is hypocritical to start sponsoring private ambitions with public funds. If Peter Vigue, the mastermind behind the newest east-west highway plan, wants to make his investors feel more comfortable, he should pay for the study himself, not ask for a government handout.

Peter McGuire


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