Friday, Sept. 28, 2012: Early education, elections, turnpike tolls

Posted Sept. 27, 2012, at 11:13 a.m.

Early education

I applaud the law enforcement leaders who are promoting quality early education. Just as early education can reduce crime, it can also strengthen national security.

Lack of education poses a major problem for many young people who want to enter the military. Nationwide, one in four young Americans does not graduate from high school on time. In Bangor and Portland, about one in five ninth-graders does not graduate on time.

A diploma helps considerably but doesn’t guarantee entry; almost one in five seeking to enlist cannot join because of low scores on the military’s exam for math, literacy and problem-solving.

High-quality early education can help reverse this trend. Studies show that these programs can raise graduation rates among at-risk children by as much as 44 percent.

Even in tough budget times, retired generals and admirals like myself who belong to Mission: Readiness are urging policymakers to support and expand high-quality early learning.

As a retired general, I know that quantity is no substitute for quality, and a strong military unit needs both. In the same way, more children need quality early education that will make them part of a stronger community and nation.

Roy Martin

Glenburn

“Where’s the beef?”

I recall a brassy old woman with a gravelly voice shouting, “Where’s the beef?” In a totally different context, I wish she would return and yell that slogan at us once again. To date, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his vice presidential pick Paul Ryan have been unwilling or unable to clearly present to us, the electorate, their goals and how to attain them.

We have been dealt a smokescreen of half-truths and untruths regarding their expectancy to rid us of the mountainous deficit and cruel unemployment condition. It is important that we recognize that jobs are disappearing and changing and will never again be as they were a decade ago. We must realize that the deficit cannot be cured overnight.

Our best chances to start mending our condition are by fixing other deficits. They are patently obvious and attainable. These must be priorities we no longer neglect, or we shall continue sliding backward, with Brazil, China and India gliding past us. Education levels must be raised to world-class levels.

Causes of climate change must be greatly reduced. Government must be regulated to the extent of protecting everybody. Taxes must be reapportioned so the wealthiest contribute appropriately for their good fortune. The finance and investment gamesmanship must be made to serve the welfare of our nation rather than looting it. Congress, by our votes, must be made to serve us all.

If you run for public office you are obligated to inspection regarding your character. We cannot

afford the time and expense of amateurs at the helm or unnecessary wars while our poverty level increases.

Peter Cohen

Ellsworth

Better off today than four years ago?

Before Obama, the price of gas at the pump was $1.70 per gallon. Now it is at $4 per gallon.

Divisions between the rich and poor, between religions, abortion and right to life are now being pushed.

Lawmakers were able to compromise and represent their constituents. This president won’t bend on any issue he does not agree with. Just ask John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan how it goes trying to negotiate with President Barack Obama.

There was no war on women. There was no lengthy law that no one read that forces us to buy insurance or pay a tax. Unemployment was low compared with now, fewer people were on welfare, and opportunity existed.

We are much deeper in debt as a country. Our economy and jobs are in shambles. We felt safe. How can anyone feel safe today with Obama cutting the military, lessening our ability to glean information from captured enemies, allowing serious security leaks, allowing Fast and Furious, still not protecting our borders and not guarding our own embassies?

We had a strong foreign policy. Now it’s a weak, apologetic, kiss-you-know-what one. We had presidents who could and did speak and relate to all our citizens, not just his cronies and followers. We hear spouting but no action.

We are much worse off today than four years ago. We need a new president now!

Howard Cutler

Dixmont

Re-elect the president

With fewer than than 50 days left to the Nov. 6 election, I’m urging all to vote for the re-election of President Barack Obama.

This is a pivotal election. In my opinion, it will determine whether we preserve the middle class, the basis of a democracy, or concede it to the plutocrats. We must not let the consequences of the “Citizens United” decision and the lobbyists decide our future.

President Obama, despite the mess he inherited and the obstruction of the right-wing Republicans, succeeded in passing the Affordable Care Act, which supports Medicare and Medicaid, defended women’s rights, including fair pay, advocates for ending the tax breaks for the very wealthy, saved us from economic collapse and continues to make progress in creating jobs, ended the war in Iraq, promises to get us out of Afghanistan, gave the order to have Osama bin Laden killed, and exercises diplomacy and sanctions re. Iran v. getting us into an unnecessary, immoral, costly war.

He needs another term to complete his goals. Let’s listen to the upcoming presidential debates

scheduled for Oct. 3, 16, and 22, and vote to re-elect President Obama.

Margaret Boyajian

St. George

Pickpockets

The Maine Turnpike Authority sent out its toll increase letter to E-ZPass holders. All along, they said commuters would face a 10 percent increase. Our current commuter rate from Eliot to Wells is $42 per quarter. The new rate exceeds $100.

To even get close to our current costs, we have to go through the tolls 70-plus times a month. Who the heck commutes to work 70-plus times a month? We may have to drive to work and back twice every day and on weekends just to try to reduce the new costs.

Can you imagine that an agency whose former leader stole money and then got paid more than $300,000 for unused vacation thinks that the way it covers its bloated bureaucracy and increased costs is on the back of hardworking Maine families?

I hope other hardworking commuting Mainers join me in protesting this outrageous action. Shame on all of you government officials involved in picking the pockets of Maine citizens again.

David Gray

Elliot

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