Tuesday, May 15, 2012: BPA, same-sex marriage and Tony Blair

Posted May 14, 2012, at 3:59 p.m.

BPA health problems

As a citizen of the United States, accompanied by countless residents of Maine, I wish to thank my state legislators for supporting strong public health laws in Maine which protect against toxic chemicals linked to rises in cancers and other serious health problems.

As a doctor, I thank our legislators for supporting the Kid Safe Products and the phasing out of toxic BPA.

It’s time to rally in favor of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 currently in the U.S. Congress. Our voices call out to Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, asking them to co-sponsor this bill which would reform the Toxic Substance Control Act.

We support this effort which would require manufacturers to produce products free of toxic chemicals which harm our health and the environment.

With the Safe Chemicals Act, our senators can put limits on toxic chemicals using the best available scientific information. With these preventative measures we can help reverse the rising rates of diabetes, asthma and learning disabilities.

Carcinogens and dangerous chemicals are transferred from a pregnant mother to her baby. Residents of Maine are being called upon to speak out in favor of controls which will ensure the health of Americans and those abroad where these products are marketed. Our water, farms and fisheries depend on our voices and action directed to Congress. The chemical industry must enact changes and protect our communities.

I urge Maine residents to contact Sens. Snowe and Collins asking them to support reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act, by co-sponsoring the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.

Betsy Weiss

Orono

Sad day for farmers

What does it take to put more Maine food on Maine plates?

First, it takes farmers. Folks who are dedicated to the land. Folks who work from dawn to dusk, growing the food that nourishes us.

And it takes a community of people who support these farmers. People who go out of their way to buy their products, go to the farmers market, invest in a community-supported agriculture share, drop off empty jars and save egg cartons.

On Monday morning, May 7, one of our farming families, Darthia Farm in Gouldsboro, lost their barn to a fire. This barn contained all their livestock and more than 450 bales of hay and straw. Bill Thayer tried to save his three draft horses and was driven back by the intense heat. His wife Cynthia tried unsuccessfully to let 20 sheep out of the burning barn and burned her eye.

The Thayers have been farming in Maine since 1970s and have mentored many young people. They are of the age when passing the farm on and slowing down was on the horizon, and they need our help. They need the support of this community.

Please make a donation by visiting www.givefoward.com/darthiafarmpheonixfund or mailing Darthia Farm Pheonix Fund, Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, P.O. Box 159, Winter Harbor 04693.

Cheryl Wixson

Stonington

Civil union

In November 2012 we will be asked if we favor a law allowing marriage licenses for same-sex couples that protects religious freedom by ensuring no religion or clergy be required to perform such a marriage in violation of their religious beliefs. There are some who think everything a gay couple needs is available with a civil union and therefore gay couples don’t need marriage. However, there is no such thing in the state of Maine as a “civil union.”

My partner and I want to proclaim our love and commitment before God, the state of Maine and our friends and family in a marriage ceremony, but what we have available to us instead is the Domestic Partnership Registry. That registry has little in common with marriage.

There is an unequal burden of proof of the domestic partners’ relationship and their rights are severely limited. Not only must the two parties have lived together in Maine for 12 months before they are granted this partnership, something not required for legal marriage, but the registry “allows individuals to have rights of inheritance as well as the right to make decisions regarding the disposal of their deceased partners remains.” (Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Instructions and Information for the Domestic Partner Registry in Maine, p.1). That’s all. It only addresses matters in relation to death. That is not marriage.

My partner and I want a life together. We want marriage.

David Cox

Orono

What’s the matter with Colby?

Most colleges pay huge fees to get famous people as commencement speakers. This month, Colby College in Waterville will feature former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Blair has become a multimillionaire on the speaking circuit, but no amount of self-serving rewriting of history will ever erase his true legacy: death and destruction inflicted upon millions. War is the greatest source of violence and human rights abuses in the world. A war of choice is the gravest possible betrayal of our military. If there is a greater evil than choosing to wage an unnecessary war, I don’t know what that could be.

What can Blair offer to the graduates? Tips on how to sex-up evidence so lies can appear as truth? For those who are still paying the price of Blair’s choice, it is like witnessing war crimes all over again.

How shameful it is that after 4 years and over $200,000 tuition, nobody at Colby seems to know the difference between “famous” and “infamous.”

Carole Whelan

Military Families Speak Out

Hope

Electoral fraud

Congress has done nothing significant for the average American in decades. Politicians on both sides stall and mislead, while silently assisting the 1 percent. Romney trumpets his hallowed skills in creating jobs, even though his millions were made firing people. Obama “reforms” health care but you’ll still be paying through the nose. He “leaves Iraq,” yet we have to pay for 100,000 mercenaries left to guard Exxon’s new oil fields. Thanks.

Both parties are deeply corrupt. The elections are a joke and politics immaterial — the house always wins. Underpaid and underemployed Americans, expensive wars, complex tax breaks and loopholes, manipulated fuel prices and bailouts — these are immensely profitable for the few, so don’t hold your breath for change. Any benefit to we the people will be coincidental at best.

But have no fear. Off we’ll go in November, anxious to vote, sure our man is the answer. The Occupiers are right on. Bigger things need to change if this country is to become economically viable again, with a rich and growing middle class. Things well beyond a mottled system of oligarchy disguised as democracy.

Dennis Lopez

Rockport

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