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Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012: Free rides for farmers, how to create jobs PAC finances

Bipartisan support for tinnitus research needed

It was nice to read the BDN’s recent recent article about tinnitus and the high rate of occurrence among veterans. This health issue is often overlooked, and it’s wonderful that more attention is being paid to it. In fact, despite the VA paying out over $1.1 billion to veterans in 2010 for tinnitus disability compensation, the American Tinnitus Association says that only $10 million is dedicated to research in the public and private sectors.

It’s precisely because tinnitus is the No. 1 service connected disability for veterans that I introduced the bipartisan Tinnitus Research and Treatment Act. This bill will ensure that the VA is dedicating appropriate research time and resources to tinnitus. We must remain on the cutting edge for research and treatment of the health issues facing veterans of all ages, and I will continue working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to bring attention to this issue.

Mike Michaud

U.S. Representative for Maine’s 2nd CD

East Millinocket

Stop handouts to farmers

Instead of citizens having to dissolve their local police force in order to save taxpayer dollars, we should be looking at ways to cut wasteful spending.

Each year, our tax dollars go to federal agricultural subsidies that disproportionately benefit the biggest agribusinesses, giving them handouts for growing commodity crops like corn and soy. What’s worse, those crops are often processed into junk food ingredients like high fructose corn syrup — and Maine taxpayers’ share of these junk food subsidies is $4.5 million.

Times are tough and government budgets tight — just look at the decision Damariscotta faces over whether to shutter its police station.

Those agricultural subsidies can’t just be redirected to our local police forces, but our agricultural subsidy program is definitely askew when 82 percent of Maine farmers don’t see a dime.

With the federal farm bill expiring at the end of next month, we have a real opportunity to end these wasteful subsidies. Mainers should call their legislators and urge them to vote against these handouts under the farm bill.

Nicole Karatzas


Don’t believe oil pipeline myths


The recent OpEd on oil pipelines (“ The folly of tar sands”, 8/26) is representative of the growing myths about pipeline safety and overblown dangers of crude oils derived from the Canadian oil sands.

The author suggests that it would take legislative action to stop the reversal of flow on the Portland-Montreal line, but the fact is that neither Enbridge nor Portland-Montreal Pipeline, which are not affiliated, have such plans at this time. Enbridge has even filed paperwork with the National Energy Board of Canada to explain that it has abandoned its original proposal that would have allowed oil sands crude to flow into the Portland-Montreal line.

Another concerning point is the assertion that oil sands crude is “gooey and gummy”. When extracted from the ground, bitumen has a consistency like peanut butter. But that’s not what travels through pipe. The bitumen is diluted so that it can flow and has very similar chemical properties as other familiar crudes from places like California and Mexico.

Oil sands crudes are no more corrosive than other crude oils, and crude oil in general is not particularly corrosive. The pipelines that carry them are tested and monitored to ensure safe

operation. Since the U.S. Office of Pipeline Safety began keeping detailed statistics, it has not identified a single corrosion-related pipeline release from pipelines carrying diluted bitumen.

Pipelines remain a safe and reliable mode of transportation for vital energy resources, and your readers will be much better prepared if they first separate myths from the facts.

John Quinn

Boston, Mass.

Editorial on PAC finances hits nail on the head

Your editorial, “ How to improve financial reporting of Maine PACs,” hits the nail on the head. Maine can be proud of its history of efforts to help more voters make it to the polls and to make informed decisions at the ballot box. Enabling voters to find out immediately who is seeking to sway their votes in the final days of the election campaign is another important step.

The dramatic increase in the amount of money dedicated to influencing our elections makes such action an urgent priority. Maine people from across the political spectrum can support your suggested changes to current rules governing financial reporting.

Tom Bjorkman

Blue Hill


Middle class drives jobs, not tax breaks

Mitt Romney says he wants to create more jobs by reducing regulations and by decreasing taxes on big business. Which regulations shall we get rid of? Those that provide clean air and drinking water? Food that is safe to eat? Safe air travel? Workplace safety?

His plans will not increase jobs. Big business in the United States right now has more cash on hand, two trillion dollars, than at any time since 1959. They simply are not expanding and hiring because of uncertainty over the global economic situation as well as because the weakened

American middle class cannot afford to buy manufactured products right now.

Tax breaks and reduced costs for the rich and for big business will not solve the problem of jobs. Only rebuilding the middle class will allow expansion of businesses in our country.

Stephen Blythe


Staff writers and slackers

As a faithful BDN reader, I am extremely grateful to have a high-quality local paper that is still privately owned and has such a balanced and adventurous editorial page. Since I devote a good deal of my time to your publication, I would like to make a suggestion and request.

I believe it would be very helpful if articles could be printed with two contrasting typefaces so that the second font might be used to differentiate material that had previously been published, more or less verbatim, in stories dealing with the same subject. I realize that this would probably be impractical for wire service news from a wide variety of sources, but I assume that it could easily be accomplished if applied to your own original content.

Sadly, I fear that you would never actually do this because of the embarrassment resulting from frequently publishing relatively long articles with only two or three sentences of new information and everything else merely rehash, but it would be nice.

I appreciate that it may be important to fill in a reader new to a topic, but for those of us who read the paper daily you would considerably enhance the quality and efficiency of our experience. It

also might be a useful means of applying some salutary pressure on staff writers with slacker tendencies.

Lorenzo Mitchell

Blue Hill

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