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Wednesday, March 28, 2012: Gay marriage, the labor mural and cremation

Looking to Ottawa

We have always known about the two Maines. Now it will finally be confirmed by our own Legislature if it approves the money for a study for building Route 2 across the middle of the state. And, adding insult to injury, we have to pay for it.

What more confirmation do we need? It’s like putting up our own Great Wall of China. Now we in northern Maine need to send an invitation to the powers that be in Ottawa, Canada that we are ripe (finally) for the taking. They lost in 1842; now is the time for reclamation.

We don’t have to wait for the extension of I-95 anymore — 60 years is a long enough wait. We have a great highway right across from us here in Madawaska. It is called Trans-Canada. It will take us all the way from Nova Scotia to British Columbia, no problem.

How about it northern Mainers, shall we extend that invitation to Ottawa?

Rella L. Bezanilla


No special rights

Michael Heath’s OpEd (BDN, March 22) condemning those who would support gay marriage is both paranoid and delusional. He starts with some sort of parable about foxes eating grapes and advances to bearing false witness, something the Bible urges us to avoid. He claims first that “marriage is needed for procreation” and that advocating for equal rights for our gay friends and neighbors somehow will destroy our own marriages.

He feels that gays are asking for “special rights.” I look around and for better or worse I see lots of procreation going on outside of marriage. I also don’t see any lack of procreation that must be overcome. And I don’t see gay couples asking for “special rights” — they are asking for the same legal rights that my wife and I have enjoyed for the past 21 years of our marriage.

And no, I don’t think our rock-solid marriage will be threatened by gay marriage unless we get into a big argument over what wedding gift to get for our gay friends.

Stephen Blythe


Mural and Maine

Whatever happened to “government of the people, by the people and for the people”?

To whom is Judge Woodcock referring when he writes (of the Department of Labor mural): “The record establishes that the idea for the commissioning of the mural began with the state of Maine, that Maine established its theme, that Maine commissioned its creation, that Maine chose the artist, that Maine paid for the mural, that Maine owns the mural, that Maine displays [or not] the mural on its own property, and that Maine even has the right to destroy it.”

All the references cite “Maine,” and what is the state of Maine but its people? Why not put the fate of the mural into a referendum and let the people speak?

Dorothea Mead

Southwest Harbor

No difference

What is the difference? Whether you are killed or injured by a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs or a driver sending or receiving text while driving, it seems there is no difference.

A $500 fine and loss of license for 90 days is the penalty for an OUI. The fine for texting while driving is only $100 and no loss of license. You have to pay a bigger fine for not wearing your seat belt. Not wearing your seat belt will not kill or injure anyone but yourself.

C. Boyd Tibbetts


Democratic hypocrisy

What an upside-down world we live in where politicians can ignore problems they’ve created but attack the people who come along and try to fix them. Here is a little history lesson: In 2005, the Baldacci administration wasted tens of millions of dollars on a DHHS billing system that failed immediately upon installation. Then in late 2010 they replaced it with another flawed system, just as Gov. Baldacci would be leaving office.

These problems cost taxpayers tens of millions immediately, and hundreds of millions in lost reimbursements from the federal government. At the time, the Democrats in Augusta were silent. Now that Mary Mayhew and Gov. LePage are working to expose the problems and get them fixed, the Democrats want investigations and some are calling for resignations.

Is this what Augusta has become? Shift the blame and ignore reality? Play politics and attack the people who inherited the problem?

Why do the Democrats think they can get away with being silent about this debacle for years, and then turn around and blame Mary Mayhew for not fixing their mess — perfectly — in less than a year? It is way past time for a reality check here. Let’s give the Republicans a fair chance to turn Maine right side up.

Dena Worster


Listen up, Wal-Mart

It’s great that Maine schools will not be accepting “pink slime” beef next year and many groceries stores are listening to customer concerns and dumping pink slime, but the ammonia-treated byproduct is just the tip of an iceberg of untested, unlabeled and potentially unhealthy foods that big food corporations are feeding us just to keep profit margins high.

For example, the BDN reports that Wal-Mart is going to “begin selling meat that doesn’t contain LFTB,” but on other questionable foods such as a new variety of genetically engineered sweet corn, it disregards consumer demands to keep it off shelves.

Across the country, half a million consumers have signed a petition asking Wal-Mart not to stock this corn — Monsanto’s first GE vegetable to be sold for direct human consumption (versus being an ingredient in a processed food) with this specific combination of genetically engineered traits.

When concerned customers ask, Wal-Mart tells them it will not “specifically source” GE corn, but this is meaningless. Unless Wal-Mart outright rejects this product, it will likely end up in the Wal-Mart produce section unlabeled and impossible to tell apart from non-GE corn. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods have already agreed not to sell it. Hopefully Wal-Mart will follow suit, as it has with pink slime.

Wal-Mart may ignore the health and environmental risks posed by GE foods, but it won’t ignore the lost profits that will result from not listening to consumers’ demands for long.

Nisha Swinton

Food & Water Watch, Maine


Degrading death ritual

The March 23 front page photo and article on ecofriendly cremation sickened me.

One need only watch Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Elie Weisel at the Auschwitz death camp to recognize the evil associated with this practice. Historically, it is not the Judeo-Christian way. Even amid intense persecution, Christians took great pains and risks to properly bury their dead in the catacombs.

Be it economical or green, cremation degrades the sacredness of our humanity.

Jonathan Rice


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