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Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012: L.L.Bean models, the Bible and benefits

Dating catalog

It definitely put a smile on my face when I read that all those irritatingly handsome and wholesome guys in the L.L.Bean catalogs are actually dating a lady from Philadelphia and some or her friends.

You see, all these years I had assumed that the ladies in the L.L.Bean catalogs, most of whom were doing activities I liked to do and certainly looked like exactly my type, were dating these guys. Some even looked like they were married to them. Now I find out that they aren’t. Oh, happy day. Now we just have to fight over those nice retrievers.

Andrew Thomas


Bursting Bible bubble

David Brown’s letter in the BDN on Dec. 7 suggests the Bible is the same today as it was 100 years ago. Factually, that is not true. The Bible was written in Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic. The Greek is not modern Greek but the Greek used throughout the 1st century Greco-Roman world called “Koine” or common Greek. Aramaic was a Semitic dialect spoken by the people in and around what is modern Israel. In the last 100 years, new discoveries of biblical texts and new understandings of the meanings of the words in the Bible have indeed changed. One example of a discovery that shed new light on biblical translation were the Dead Sea Scrolls, which are approximately 1,000 years older than previously known biblical manuscripts.

Additionally, every version we have of the Bible today is a product of translation, which is imperfect and an interpretation. That means that a translator ultimately decided what the words were and the meaning of what the words conveyed. Translators often disagree in their interpretations. I doubt if there is a serious legitimate Bible scholar alive today from across the entire spectrum of Christian belief that would support Brown’s belief.

Steve Zahm


Deficit, benefit reductions

Neither Social Security nor Medicare should be used in last-minute budget deals that cut benefits for seniors to reduce the deficit. With the fiscal cliff discussions continuing in Washington, I hope Congress will work toward responsible solutions that strengthen both programs for current and future generations.

Right now, Washington is considering a proposal that would change the way the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment is calculated, reducing benefits by $112 billion in the next 10 years alone. That’s money directly out of the pockets of today’s seniors, their children and grandchildren. The president and Congress are also considering raising the Medicare eligibility age. This would dramatically increase costs for younger seniors, drive up premiums for those in Medicare and raise health care costs. Americans have paid into Medicare and Social Security. They deserve an open debate about how to strengthen these programs and how any changes would impact them and their families. This is what we heard during AARP community forums held across Maine over the last few months.

I applaud bipartisan politicians who express the need to work together on important issues, including the deficit. I hope they understand that cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits of seniors with national average incomes of just over $20,000 is unfair and wrong. More than 200,000 Maine seniors receive Social Security for an average annual benefit of $13,100 or just over $1,000 a month. As Congress works toward solving the budget issues, they should remember the lasting effect their decisions will have on real people.

Roberta Downey

AARP Executive Council


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