Friday, March 23, 2012: Angus King, Obamacare and mining mountains

Posted March 22, 2012, at 3:08 p.m.

King’s wind ties

I recently read in the BDN that former Gov. Angus King will place his assets in a blind trust if elected to the U.S. Senate. He has also transferred his stake in his wind energy company, Highland Wind, to his business partner, Rob Gardner.

It is not at all unusual for a businessman of Mr. King’s wealth to make such a move; in fact, it is quite common and imperative for judges and political figures to create blind trusts in order to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Creating the trust doesn’t mean there won’t be conflict of interest if Mr. King is elected senator — it just means an effort has been made to avoid the appearance of one.

Don’t feel badly for businessman Mr. King, his business partner or his newfound friends in the wind industry, foreign multinational corporations. They have also set their sights on Maine’s wind resources and free wind power subsidies. A Sen. King won’t let them down.

Neither Mr. King nor his friends will lose; however, the citizens of Maine may lose. A Sen. Angus King will continue to support and vote for legislation that will carry on the useless permanent devastation of our Maine mountains for the benefit of the industrial wind industry.

The result — very few new jobs, higher electric rates and continued destruction of Maine’s brand as a “vacationland.”

Greg Perkins

Holden

In defense of Obamacare

I am exhausted and angered by anti-Obama commentators telling us “the people” don’t want Obamacare. I not only want Obamacare but feel it is the best ray of hope in our dysfunctional health care system.

I want Obamacare because my family and thousands of households across this country need protection from fear. Fear of a health care system based mainly on corporate profit. Fear of a system so expensive it is impossible for all but the super-rich to self-pay for care. Fear of insurance denial due to pre-existing conditions, of being dropped from coverage when sick, of lifetime and annual limits on benefits, of inadequate or no benefits for the condition you have (especially mental illness), of unaffordability. Fear of choosing between care for your loved one or financial ruin for the rest of the family.

Obamacare promises to end these fears. Like other laws that protect our national and individual security, the Affordable Care Act protects the common good in a situation where individuals can no longer survive without legislative intervention. I believe health care is a basic human right and deserves priority in our national and state budgets. As for those who say the ACA impinges upon their liberty, I say you have no liberty, happiness and possibly no life if you or a loved one becomes sick without health insurance.

Catherine Raymaker

Ellsworth

Don’t weaken mine laws

Before any legislators vote to weaken the rules for the proposed mountaintop removal mining by J.D. Irving, they ought to take one of the airline flights from Chicago to Seattle that go over the Rocky Mountains. On a cloudless day, the height that most flights take of 35,000 feet expands the horizon out to about 100 miles.

They should then check out all the mountaintop removal sites along the way. The view will go on hour after hour. You can tell what they are mining by the color of the local rivers that go downstream for mile after mile — yellow for sulfur, reddish for iron, bluish for copper.

For any person who loves this country, it will make you sick to your stomach of how badly we have treated it. Could legislators still vote for reducing regulations to allow this?

Larry Ferrell

Newport

Don’t tolerate it

In 2011, I was glad to see the implementation of a law against texting and driving in Maine. The distractions caused by cellphone use while operating a vehicle are inexcusably and undeniably dangerous.

However, many people who acknowledge that texting while driving is dangerous for “other people” believe that they are somehow “good enough at it” that it doesn’t affect them. Some simply don’t care whether it is dangerous or not. Teenagers are especially susceptible to the dangers of texting and driving; per a study done by Pew Research Center, 34 percent of teens aged 16-17 said that they have texted while driving, 48 percent of teens aged 12-17 said they have been in a car while someone was texting and 40 percent say they have been in a car where the driver’s use of a cellphone put them or others in danger.

The fine in Maine for being caught texting in driving is a mere $100; hardly enough to effectively discourage texting and driving. The punishments for texting while driving should be on par with those for driving under the influence. In England, a 22-year-old woman was sentenced to 21 months in prison because she failed to notice a parked car that was visible 300 yards away due to her texting while driving, hitting the parked car and killing the woman inside. We must also adopt this attitude.

If you are texting while driving, you’re willfully endangering the lives of others, and that cannot be tolerated.

Gareth Warr

Stonington

Have mercy on soldier

I’ve been thinking about the Afghanistan and the killing of innocent women and children by one of our American warriors.

It’s very sad that our government is ready and willing to fry this soldier. War is hell, that’s never going to change. He is collateral damage of war and repeated deployments. Heck, maybe this was his way of trying to stop the war.

The U.S. should pay monetary damages to these families as we do in this country — money can heal some wounds.

These things happen in all wars. Doesn’t anyone remember the My Lai massacre in Vietnam in 1968 by Lt. William Calley? About 300 people were killed. Lt. Calley served just a few years in prison.

We should get help for this American soldier and help him find his way back to his life. To me, he is a hero who just flipped. After three tours in combat I can’t imagine what goes on in a person’s mind. I ask the commander-in-chief to show mercy for this soldier and let us all pray for those poor Afghan people who were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

John Friedman

Eddington

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