Friday, March 22, 2013: Michelle Obama, the pope and lobstermen

Posted March 21, 2013, at 4:12 p.m.

Word play

Our president’s wife, Michelle Obama, is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment to the Constitution, the right to “bare” arms. Yes, it is a play on words.

I know the word should be “bear,” but Obama generally bares her arms in public. It is OK to chuckle.

Harriett Real

Eastport

Fresh breeze

The white smoke at the Vatican last week followed by the official announcement “Habemus Papam,” was the first dramatic centuries-old pronouncement.

The revelation that the new leader of the more than a billion Catholics worldwide is Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina drew loud cheers from the estimated 100,000 people in Vatican Square.

Part of the enthusiasm comes from many firsts: first non-European pope in centuries, first from the Americas, first Jesuit and first to choose the name Francis for his pontificate. This name is befitting the new leader, humble, close to the poor, caring of animals and ecumenical.

Personally, the fact that the new pope is a Jesuit excites me, since I received a degree from Jesuit-run university Boston College. The Jesuits are renowned not only for their excellence in teaching but for their courage in affecting change where needed.

High hopes accompany the new pontiff as the church is reeling from sex scandals, internal strife at the Vatican and the feeling among many Catholics that the church has not adequately dealt with certain issues.

Many people already compare him to Pope John XXIII of the 1960s, who made many changes that made the church more relevant without compromising its core tenets.

Pope Francis has already ushered in a fresh breeze. He mixes with crowds; he has a great sense of humor and is totally committed to the poor.

Joy to the world.

Ross Paradis

Frenchville

Respect Sunday morning

The recent passage of LD 216, which allowed the sale of liquor starting at 6 a.m. Sunday morning when it falls on Saint Patrick’s Day, is just another brick added to the growing stack of events which disrespect Sunday morning.

Considering it is a sad state of affairs that our esteemed lawmakers deemed it an emergency to have the bars open at the crack of dawn, it would be laughable under other circumstances. But in truth, it is a sad state of affairs that we walk around with money in our pockets that say, “In God We Trust” and yet disrespect the very day that has been set aside as a day of worship.

I pray that we as a Christian community start doing a better job of paying attention to what is happening in Augusta. I for one will not be supporting anyone who voted in favor of LD 216 or any other law that chips away at the moral fiber of our society.

I pray we can stand united in bringing back respect for Sunday morning.

Stephen Dean

Abbot

Wind policy

This letter is in response to Jackson Parker’s March 18 BDN OpEd, “Let wind turbines stand on Passadumkeag Mountain.”

Parker stated that the “Department of Environmental Protection created significant uncertainty in the wind power industry” by not approving the Passadumkeag project.

He also suggests that because the DEP has denied one wind power application, it has “created significant uncertainty in the wind power industry.”

Any business assumes risks. If Parker and his investment capitalists aren’t happy assuming those risks, even when history gives them between an 80-90 percent chance of receiving a project permit, with the uncertainty greatly reduced by hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, maybe they should think about a different business.

Someone should remind Parker that the mission of our DEP is not to hand out permits indiscriminately. It is “to preserve, improve and prevent diminution of the natural environment of the state.” In addition, “in pursuing this mission, it is the policy of the department to treat its employees and the public with courtesy, respect and consideration and to be fair and honest in its dealings and to be mindful of the special qualities that make Maine a unique place to live and work.”

I think DEP has done a pretty good job carrying out that policy, and there are many in this state who wish Reed and Reed and its friends in the wind power industry followed a similar policy.

Greg Perkins

Holden

Lobster legislation

LD 486 and LD 182, requiring lobstermen to pay part of the Maine Lobster Promotion Council’s budget increase, amounts to extortion. The increase would be paid by forced surcharges to lobstermen’s licenses. Noncompliance means no lobster license — no livelihood, and the license will not be reissued.

No business group would support being forced by the government to purchase commercial advertising and promotional products that are not a public health or safety issue, especially if noncompliance terminated your profession. The government’s position is that if the profession is licensed, then the “right” to work is a deniable privilege.

The surcharge is for restaurateurs’ and seafood dealers’ direct benefit markets. Lobstermen supposedly will benefit from trickle-down higher prices paid by the then newly benevolent, price-fixing dealers. Fat chance.

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association favors the bill. They do not represent the majority of lobstermen. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association is a newspaper that sells advertising space. Follow the money.

The Lobster Promotion Council has gotten almost yearly budget increases. It won’t be the first time the Maine Legislature has done something untoward for a special interest group. Please contact the Marine Resources Committee, headed by Sen. Chris Johnson and Rep. Walter Kumiega, to stop these bills.

Nelson King, lobsterman

East Boothbay

Irresponsible behavior

Rep. Bernard Ayotte may have had his personal reasons to drive 259 miles from Augusta to his home, while having severe chest pains, but I would like to remind readers that every health professional strongly recommends against driving while having chest pain. I won’t go into the reasons behind this recommendation because it has been published countless times and is common knowledge.

I find Ayotte’s behavior quite irresponsible — by not only risking his life but also those of other people on the road, in case, God forbid, he lost control of his car. How he can “run out of his Nitroglycerin pills” and still take this trip is also beyond me.

Ruth Dietze

Hancock

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/03/21/opinion/friday-march-22-2013-michelle-obama-the-pope-and-lobstermen/ printed on July 22, 2014