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Tuesday, March 27, 2012: Spring cleaning, war with Iran and mining

Cleaning up Bangor

I have a double challenge for the residents of Bangor.

It is spring again and now that the snow is gone all the trash from the last six months is visible. Take gloves and a trash bag, walk around the immediate area surrounding your house and pick up all that unsightly garbage. If everybody would do this Bangor would look so much better.

The second challenge: Let’s pledge to be more careful with our trash this year. Even a cigarette butt is unsightly. Do you drive a pick-up? Make sure nothing can fly out of the truck bed. No more trash on the streets.

We have such a beautiful city; let’s keep it that way.

Nori Kazdoy


Lincoln and Obama

In recent letters to the editor there have been complaints lodged against the Obama administration’s treatment of the judicial process in regards to American citizens overseas operating as terrorists. I would like to offer some food for thought: During the Civil War, 258,000 American citizens were killed by the military on Lincoln’s order. None of them received due process of law and all of them were actually on American soil — and in response to the argument that the South was a separate country, the Lincoln administration operated the war under the premise that the Confederacy was a rebellion within the country.

In most polls today, Lincoln is considered one of the Top 3 presidents of all time. The Obama administration’s actions are not unprecedented. Anwar al-Awlaki was an American citizen who became an enemy combatant, thereby giving the administration the right to act. It’s as simple as that.

Ryan Asalone


Course correction required

I can’t believe the U.S. would consider launching a third war, this one against Iran, or that we would back Israel in such a colossal blunder. This country does not need another war. Let’s end the ones we already started a decade ago. Let us save lives, theirs and ours. Let us save a trillion dollars.

We are a rogue nation, bullying others, telling them they can’t have what we have. We could fix our schools, our health care system and deal with our energy crisis if we simply said no more war, anywhere. The rest of the world would take note of this and admire us. We could be proud Americans, helping other nations instead of desecrating them.

Is it really that simple? Of course not. But we need to honestly evaluate what we are doing to other nations, to our worsening climate and to ourselves. We need a major course correction.

Steve Cartwright


Room for all

As a person who was raised from a very young age by a single, widowed mother, I find Michael Heath’s claim (“Referendum would institute the opposite of marriage,” BDN OpEd, March 21) that “marriage between man and woman is needed for the proper education of children” to be both absurd and deeply offensive.

The statement is probably meant to cast aspersions on people who procreate without ever having been married, but by this logic a widowed parent is also unfit to raise children. Would Mr. Heath have had my mother remarry the first man who came along just so we would have had someone in our household on hand for all of the necessary and supposedly masculine jobs involved in parenting? This may surprise him, but despite our man-free (read: woman-led) household, we managed quite well, and I am grateful my mother didn’t legally bind herself to the first willing guy who came along just so we’d “have a father.” Instead, her parenting was based on quality, not quantity.

Families come in all shapes and sizes: some have one parent, some two. Some have no children, and yes, some families have two men or two women who love one another. The institution of the family could be, and sometimes is, based on much less. It is high time we recognized this fact and ensure that all Mainers have the chance to form the type of family that they choose.

Guess what? There’s room in the vineyard for us all.

Regina Rooney

Old Town

Blue Star grandstanding

As an honorably discharged veteran of military service with indelible memories of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, I find the BDN’s front-page story of the reservist nailing up a Blue Star flag prior to his own Afghanistan deployment as a self-described “armor-wearing, weaponry-bearing, individual augmentation” to be nothing more than nauseatingly disgusting grandstanding.

He needs to be informed that when those flags really meant something, the proud families of service members quietly hung them inside a window instead of creating a spectacle by climbing up on the roof and making a commotion to attract public attention.

Carroll B. Knox


Slow down mining changes

Jeff Reardon (BDN OpEd, March 20) makes the case that a hard-rock surface mine at Bald Mountain, and the majority of other possible mine sites in Maine, would inevitably lead to acid mine drainage with substantial risk to water quality and fisheries.

Lest we assume that the mining bill currently being rushed through the Legislature would affect only “a remote mountain in the woods of far northern Maine” (BDN news story, March 21), it is important to know that at least one other site, Big Hill in Pembroke, has been the scene of repeated mineral explorations and mining speculation in recent decades, most notably by Scintilore Explorations, Inc. in the 1980s and again as recently as 2007 by Golden Hope Mines Ltd. of Quebec.

This project, touted in the 1980s as potentially the deepest open pit mine in the world, would exploit a polymetallic sulphide deposit to recover silver, zinc, lead, copper and gold. It also would create acid runoff in close proximity to feeder streams for Cobscook Bay and within five miles of Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge, the state-protected Dennys River Corridor (salmon habitat) and other important conservation properties.

Given the permanent, severe and irreversible environmental impacts of large-scale, low-grade mining of the sort proposed for Bald Mountain and Big Hill, the Legislature should stop, take a deep breath and defer to the next regular session any bill that would hastily sweep away regulations that emerged from years of thoughtful, bipartisan work to protect Maine’s environment.

Alan Brooks


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