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Tuesday, May 22, 2012: The war on poverty, nurses’ disturbing TV ad

Portland panhandling

I am struck by the impact the story of Don Deitz, the homeless man in ” Panhandling in Portland” has had on me.

As I completed the story of his struggle and the concern of property owners and merchants in Portland on what impact the increase in panhandling may have on their businesses my eyes turned to Jennifer Lopez, in the article right next to it. It was reported that she is earning $20 million in a one-year contract to judge “American Idol.”

I admit, I am an “American Idol” fan and I even voted for the first time this week. What struck me is the thought that homelessness is a real-life reality show in our communities and there are no tryouts, no celebrity judges. No one tunes in each week to see who wins or gets sent home.

Maybe American Idol and other “vote for your winner” shows could track zip codes and send $1 for every vote from that community to the homeless shelter or food kitchen in that community and really make votes count.

Cheryl Russell


War on poverty

Republicans love wars and the big money they produce. Their latest war is on the poor in Maine, and they find poor children particularly hateful. This is somewhat surprising since Gov. LePage has built his political career on claims of having been an abused, homeless, poor child himself; but clearly, aside from using poor children for political gain, he hates being identified with them. How else to explain this Maine Heritage Policy Center’s controlled Republican Legislature’s evisceration of Head Start and the Child Care Subsidy Program and the elimination of MaineCare coverage for 28,500 low-income working families?

Broadening its war on the poor beyond children and their parents, LePage’s Legislature takes prescription drugs away from the disabled and elderly poor and eliminates MaineCare coverage for 7,000 low-income young adults. Meanwhile, House Speaker Robert Nutting would have us believe that the “truly needy” are protected. If the above are not truly needy, Mr. Nutting, have you the ability and integrity to go beyond your political slogan and define whom you see worthy of saving, and how many there are? The “needy” poor and disabled are eager to know if they make your list. Meanwhile, the spoils of the war on the poor increase the wealth of the rich (the Republican base) with reductions in their income taxes and a hyped inheritance-tax deduction from $1 million to $2 million. Ah, if only those poor kids would get off the couch and get a job.

Paul Newlin

Deer Isle

Evolving man

I am so encouraged that our president, vice president, and now NAACP have finally come out in support of marriage between two people who love each other and are deeply committed, no matter. It takes great courage to stand up and publicize one’s beliefs, especially in their line of work.

President Obama believes that all committed couples should share the same rights and privileges of marriage, and I agree. He says he was influenced by his children’s lack of prejudice which is a wonderful thing. Yes, children are not born with prejudice, but are taught. Now, if all could follow suit, we could create a much nicer world for our children, grandchildren and all future generations.

Down the road when my own grandchildren or great grandchildren come out, or ask who I voted for in the presidential election of 2012, I can proudly say I voted for the man who I believed had the biggest heart, the man who was not afraid to listen and learn from his children, an evolving man, Barack Obama.

Tonya L. Troiani



TV horror

I was horrified by a TV ad sponsored by National Nurses United on this Sunday’s “Meet the Press.” The ad showed various aggrieved workers who had lost their jobs and attributed the loss to “Wall Street bankers.” Then the workers chased down an elderly man identified as a “Wall Street banker,” knocked him down on the street and beat him with a stick. The ad depicted and promoted an America which had become like Germany in the 1930s, seeking scapegoats and resorting to violence instead of seeking real solutions to problems. This is not the way nurses or any American should behave.

I am shocked that a nurses organization would sponsor such an ad. Nurses’ efforts to organize and negotiate a new contract in the Bangor area is a hot issue right now. Bangor nurses are seeking public support. If NNU is involved in this local fight, the local nurses organization should publicly disassociate itself from this national organization.

Where is America headed? Is violence and scapegoating the next step in our political deadlock? Ads like this prepare us for that awful future. I hope it does not come to pass.

Don Lewis


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