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Tuesday, July 17, 2012: Health care needs, same-sex partnerships

DHHS help

I was sad to read the account of Katie Spencer in the weekend paper (July 7-8). We cannot help such deserving people yet we can give fuel assistance, food stamps, medical help, etc. to those people who are young, able-bodied, yet too lazy to work and “claim” that they are homeless so they can continue on the dole.

It is time Maine checks those who are seeking help such as I just mentioned before giving help when they are more than able to help themselves. Please DHHS help this family.

Nancy Kealiher

Old Town

Shame, shame

I was very disappointed with the University of Maine System chancellor’s decision to find a job in his domain for Selma Botman. How is she able to hold the chancellor hostage to her demands? Apparently she caused much rancor at USM so she had to resign but with the caveat that she be given another job with the same salary and still called president.

I thought the new chancellor would be a strong administrator who would be innovative in streamlining the University of Maine System. It is obvious that like municipalities across the state, UMS must reduce costs and it also must provide good postsecondary education for our youth. Instead our chancellor has decided to continue the path of his predecessors by increasing administration costs. I had hoped for more from our new chancellor but I guess not.

There are really many ways to reduce costs within UMS without hurting our young people but you would have to have vision and strength to do it. UMS needs that strength and vision from its chancellor and trustees. A shame.

Richard Leonard


Affordable care

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the majority of the Affordable Care Act is constitutional. I know many people struggled with this issue; I myself did for a while. Should we be required by law to have insurance?

Then I stepped back and thought about it. Should insurance companies be able to charge people with health conditions far more than they can afford and drop coverage because of pre-existing conditions? I thought about my friends and family members that are struggling with cancer. I have seen the impact of the cost of cancer treatment and wondered if my family and friends would lose coverage if this law did not get implemented.

Would we all be subject to higher health care costs? Most definitely! For those of us fortunate to have insurance, we will hardly notice a difference. The patient protections portion of the law will help you get the most from your current insurance plan, offer clear choices for consumers, strengthen Medicare for seniors and provide them with more affordable access to preventive services and prescription drugs. It also will provide ways to keep insurance companies accountable.

I know this law might not be perfect, but I am certain it is in the best interest of cancer patients and others facing chronic illness.

I’m so grateful to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network for its hard work advocating for the patient protections in this important law and its support of provisions in the Affordable Care Act that benefit cancer patients and their families.

Diane Mitchell


Same-sex partners

Much has been written and said lately about the upcoming referendum on gay marriage. Here’s my two cents worth: This issue should not be about civil rights, intolerance, bigotry or out-of-state contributions as the BDN and others would have you believe.

The real issue is about same-sex “marriage” being thrust inappropriately and blatantly into the same category as normal, natural, institutional marriage between a man and woman. To each his own, but let’s just find another name for it. Same-sex partners sounds good to me.

Joe Bertolaccini


Choosing term ‘Gestapo’

It is unfortunate that Gov. Paul LePage chose to use the term “Gestapo” during his weekly radio address on July 7 to describe the work of the Internal Revenue Service.

While terminology from the Nazi era has increasingly made its way into the American popular lexicon in recent years (“Soup Nazi” from “Seinfeld,” for example), such use is simply a misappropriation of historical facts.

The Gestapo, an acronym for the Geheime Staatspolizei, was the secret state police of Nazi Germany. An instrument of Adolf Hitler’s authority, the Gestapo fell under the auspices of Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler throughout most of the Third Reich. The Gestapo had authority over the following areas in Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe during the Second World War: combating political crime; controlling the border police and their intelligence service; conducting counter-sabotage police work and related intelligence within the borders of the Reich and in support of the Abwehr (military intelligence); and handling cases of industrial sabotage and espionage. Hardly similar to the IRS.

The Gestapo acted ruthlessly in these pursuits and assisted the SS in the roundup of German and European Jews. For the governor, in a prepared statement, to equate the work of the IRS to a criminal organization like the Gestapo in order to enhance his criticism of the Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act reflects ignorance of history at best. Even had he spoken off the cuff, we would encourage extreme caution when applying Nazi terms to modern American democratic institutions and political decisions.

Robert Bernheim

Executive Director

Holocaust & Human Rights Center of Maine

Tribal options

Let’s say the Passamaquoddy tribe had a few dollars as a result of one of its previous investments. There would obviously be a number of options of what to do with that money. One obvious option would be to reinvest the money in some prospective enterprise.

Well, the tribe’s track record in this area is hardly anything to brag about. Yes, we’ve had a few shining successes. Dragon Cement, Creative Apparel and Northeast Blueberry Inc. were among the few successful endeavors. Among the tribe’s failures were Passamaquoddy Housing Inc, a sawmill at Indian Township, the High Stakes Bingo, a supermarket at Pleasant Point, a supermarket at Indian Township, an appliance center at Pleasant Point, radio stations in Rockland, a cranberry farm at Indian Township, a cranberry operation near Columbia Falls and a campground facility at Indian Township.

So the confidence of the tribal membership in the administration’s “investment” proposals is very dubious to say the least. Perhaps the tribal membership should demand some other option.

Roger Ritter

Indian Township

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