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Thursday, July 26, 2012: Paul LePage, lobstermen and gun control

Time for a change

I had the unique opportunity to visit a Nazi concentration camp. Our group guide was a Holocaust survivor. The visit had a dramatic emotional effect on me, which has stayed with me to this day.

I was tuned into Gov. Paul LePage’s Saturday morning address to the Maine people and was angered by his remark that tied the Internal Revenue Service to the Gestapo.

The last one-and-a-half years, many responsible Mainers have written Letters to the Editor, Op-Eds, and Editorials commenting on the governor’s lack of civility and statesmanship in his approach to governing. Yet the governor continues to be insensitive to the put-downs he uses to promote his personal agenda.

Discussion and debate are key components to maintaining a healthy, well-functioning democracy. When inflammatory remarks are interjected into that discussion, especially by the governor, the process takes on a strong negative tone and less is accomplished for the good of the people of Maine.

The governor’s latest remarks on his Saturday radio address were embarrassing, demeaning and insulting to the citizens of the great state of Maine.

At this time the governor needs to do what is best for the people of Maine: tender his resignation.

Bob Chaplin

Bar Harbor

Life of a lobsterman

This is in response to an article by Dudley Gray and his criticism of Maine lobstermen.

My niece’s husband is an extremely hard-working man who is trying to raise two children in tough economic times by lobster fishing. Most days he leaves his home at 3 a.m. and does not return until 7 p.m. He does this year-round even on the coldest winter days.

During his “off time” he must repair buoys and traps, get bait, deliver lobsters and do whatever else needs to be done to keep his business running, leaving precious little time to spend with his family. My niece does all the book work for the business in her “spare time,” of which

I can attest there is not much of with two children to raise.

Gray mentioned the high cost of bait, fuel and increasing costs for insurance, and let’s not leave out the boat payment. He forgot to mention repairs to said boat, which can be up to $30,000 when an engine is lost, the added cost of hiring a sternman because it’s too dangerous to be out on Maine waters alone and the fact that fishermen recently had to replace all their rope due to new regulations.

I have one question for Gray. Would you work these hours, risk your life daily and lose money just to give our visitors from away a treat? If your answer is yes, I encourage you to get into the lobster fishing industry. Something tells me your opinion would change once you experienced the life of a lobsterman.

Barbara Veilleux


King of the Hill

This November I will vote Angus King to serve in the U.S. Senate for three reasons.

First, of all the candidates, King’s views on contemporary issues most nearly resemble my own.

Second, I regard him as a man of integrity and careful thought and thus trust him to work toward principled, intelligent decisions.

My last reason is King’s independent status. On its own this would be unconvincing, but added to the above reasons it excites and electrifies my commitment. For me, as a young adult, the importance of that independence is not its potential effect on the Congressional arithmetic but its profound moral weight. My political thinking is influenced by ideas presently and historically at home in both major American parties, but I find little to admire in either as institutions. I know one election cannot meaningfully alter the nation’s polarization and sterility, yet to work for a better, more whole country we must believe such a future is possible, even inevitable.

Maine’s motto is Dirigo, I lead. This November it is my hope Maine will exemplify those words by becoming the first state to legislate equal marriage and in electing a moderate and truly independent senator. It is not only my hope but my belief that both decisions are on history’s just and rising tide.

Asher Reisman


A bit confused

I’m a bit confused, and I’m hoping writing this letter will give me some clarity. My question is pretty basic and, to me, obvious, but I still don’t have an answer.

Here we go: How many people in the U.S. are saved from death or critical injury by someone with a gun, and how many people are killed in the U.S. by a gun? See, it’s pretty basic.

I’m wondering because I hear time and time again that we need to have access to guns and the right to carry them so that we can protect ourselves. Well? So tell me how we have protected ourselves? Truly, I want to know. (And of course I’m not referring to hunting rifles; I like good venison as much as the next person.) Unfortunately, I’m still confused.

Linda Freimuth


Affordable questions

In the BDN’s July 19 Editorial “Health Care Questions” you interpret the Affordable Health Care Act by writing, “Though the law says the federal government will cover the entire cost of expanding Medicaid for the first three years and then 90 percent of the cost after that. …”

That one sentence explanation is precisely what bothers many of us because the federal government doesn’t cover any costs. We, the taxpayers, will be covering the costs of the anticipated Medicaid expansion, and many of us who are already holding two and three jobs

wonder if we can afford it. My question is: When are we going to grow up and realize that neither the federal nor the state governments pay for anything; taxpayers pay. Similarly, we should learn that nothing is for free. When MaineCare advertises itself as being “… your low cost or free health care program …” that simply isn’t true.

Somebody is paying for it and it is us, the taxpayers. If we are going to have a discussion about health care and work toward honest solutions, we need our elected representatives to be honest in the discussion. Nothing is free, and the federal and state governments don’t pay for anything.

The sooner we realize that it is our money that is being spent, the sooner we will find a solution.

Walter Plaut


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