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Monday, July 23, 2012: LePage’s comments, Davita and gay marriage

Turn the page

Does Gov. Paul LePage, after every newsworthy gaffe, dig himself deeper? At first he refused to apologize (to Jewish people, to IRS employees) for likening the Internal Revenue Service to Hitler’s Gestapo. Now he has, according to the July 13 BDN, apologized privately to the director of the Jewish Community Alliance of Southern Maine and promised a public apology in his radio address.

He has also, in an interview with the Vermont alternative weekly newspaper Seven Days, said the IRS is headed in the same direction as the WWII German secret police. We have been robbed of “an awful lot of freedom because we are now going to be told what we have to do.” He adds, “Never in the history of our country have we been told that we have to do something, particularly buy something from the commercial market.”

Never? During WWI, WWII and the Vietnam War, many men entered the military only because their draft number had come up. Whether it interfered with their family responsibilities or education or goals in life, they had to learn to fight and then do so. Registration for the draft still exists; the government needs only to reinstate conscription.

Health insurance is hardly affordable now. The Affordable Care Act will make insurance more affordable and include assistance to help people buy it. Why would anyone object? On general principles? Why shouldn’t one’s general principles include the value of contributing to a system that benefits everyone?

Ann Fogg


Say no to Davita

EMMC and our community will lose local control and governance of our dialysis clinics if Davita comes to Bangor. Davita’s “one-stop shopping” will also suck needed revenue from regional retail pharmacies, laboratory and other supportive services into distant Davita coffers. Davita’s priority is billable seconds, minutes and hours. Patients and their outcomes are secondary to profits. Time is money.

It takes time to resolve patient safety/quality of care issues. Stories of harm and dismissal of five real patients (of thousands) were presented at the DHHS CON hearing July 10. The stories were characterized as “anecdotal” by EMMC’s vice CMO. I personally spoke with every one of those patients. Offers to connect EMMC with them were refused.

No EMMC patients or family members were present. Three spouses of EMMC dialysis patients told me they didn’t know anything about the hearing. Hearing information wasn’t given to the people who will be most affected by this financial transaction.

Although I no longer work for EMMC, I remain loyal. I have trusted and respected colleagues and friends at EMMC. I use EMMS/EMHS services. When Davita publicly attacked EMMC outcome data, it made me angry. Who validated Davita’s data? There is a stark difference between the Davita “sales pitch” data and their California outcome data and inspection survey results.

Don’t allow the co-opting and corruption of our local dialysis clinics and staff. We can keep our Maine integrity and continue to improve and progress without Davita.

Kathy Day, RN

Patient Safety Activist


Taxing comments

Is our governor aware “taxing” or “penalizing” an individual for something one does not have or chooses not to have is neither novel nor new. For as long as I can remember, the IRS “taxes” or “penalizes” one who is not married and/or chooses not to have children.

Gerald Berlin

Mount Desert

Protect the aging

Anne Head’s spot-on article in your Monday edition regarding senior financial abuse is a timely reminder to those who are obliged to protect aging loved ones.

The vulnerable elderly are society’s low-hanging fruit, easily plucked by scheming, grasping hands.

Dick Tokarz


Outdoor orientation

It was with interest that I read the article on canoe camping cooking by Matthew LaRoche. Has this man never heard of a Dutch oven? With 14 years of camping with my Girl Scouts, another 10 with my husband and his Boy Scouts (he used to say I was the best piece of camping equipment he had) and a number of other trips with College of the Atlantic students on Outdoor Orientation Program trips on the Allagash, I cannot imagine having done them without a Dutch oven that comes in both a cast iron and a cast aluminum form.

No problem with the first on a canoe trip! I have made everything from yeast bread at 4,000 feet in Wyoming to popovers at day camp on MDI. With reliable wood often at a premium, charcoal briquettes make control even more precise.

We started with what we called a “flour barrel” — essentially a homemade biscuit mix which we stored in a covered bucket. (For longer trips we used a joint compound bucket.) With the addition of a little sugar, some spices, a little molasses in a tight plastic container and a little more plain flour, we made pancakes, biscuits, doughnuts, cobblers, gingerbreads, coffee cakes and more.

The flour barrel and the Dutch oven made numerous GSA trips and BSA Matagamon trips as well as family trips. It sure beat dragging around a reflector baker that is way less than satisfactory. And, oh yes, my senior Girl Scouts and I made Silver Palate’s raspberry chicken one night on a Down East lake.

Kathy Suminsby

Northeast Harbor

Civil right

Anti-gay marriage letters are so filled with vitriol and closeted closed-mindedness. First of all, I ask that we use the term “same-gender” instead of “same-sex”; anti-same-gender people seem to love the total sexual connotation. Same-gender people are not merely sexual beings; they are U.S. citizens who are partners, children, parents, brothers, sisters, neighbors, workmates of all persuasions, and participants of all other aspects of American society.

They pay taxes, too, but where’s the total inclusion in American society? All humans, no matter their sexuality, deserve respect and civil rights. But, this issue IS about civil rights, intolerance, bigotry and out-of-state contributions.

Gay marriage is only a religious issue if you make it one (totally made up to cause controversy). Religious dogma (from a book rewritten a few times to fill the needs of the writers) precludes rational discourse. Who in their right mind would want dogmatic religious interference in their marriage, anyway? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” rings true in a truly democratic, diverse, inclusive and forgiving society.

Ah, yes, it is a civil rights issue if you don’t have those civil rights.

Jackie Freitas


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