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Friday, April 12, 2013: Climate change and Department of Offense

Sen. Inhofe out of touch

Thanks and congratulations to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Angus King, I-Maine. During consideration of the budget resolution, the U.S. Senate voted 52-47 against an amendment by Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, that would have prohibited the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

That resolution would have overruled a decision of the U.S. Supreme Court holding that the Clean Air Act was written — by its principal author Maine Sen. Ed Muskie — to be flexible enough to regulate carbon dioxide when science demonstrated that it was endangering human health and welfare.

Maine was a plaintiff in that court case, arguing for regulating greenhouse gas emissions. Standing with Muskie and Maine’s strong environmental traditions, both our senators voted against this bad proposal by the Oklahoma senator infamous for saying global warming was a “hoax.”

Remarkably, Collins was the only Republican to vote against the resolution. Yet, a nationwide poll released last week by George Mason and Yale universities revealed that 62 percent of self-identified Republicans and GOP-leaning independents said that the United States probably should take action to address climate change. Sixty-nine percent said more renewables should be used immediately, and, by a 2-1 margin, those polled said the nation should reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

The Senate Republicans, with the exception of our own Collins, are decidedly out of touch with the will of the nation and with their Republican constituents.

Sharon Tisher


Maine representation, not NRA

I did not elect the National Rifle Association to represent me, nor did the majority of my fellow Americans. What gives the NRA the power to tell us that we cannot regulate assault weapons that should only be used by trained law enforcement or military?

The Constitution says nothing about assault weapons that can gun down 20 people in less than a minute. No one, absolutely no one, is threatening the Second Amendment rights of our citizens.

We use guns for hunting, for target practice, for personal protection. We do not hunt with assault weapons.

Individual states like Colorado and Connecticut, where mass killings have already occurred, have enacted their own legislation to regulate gun ownership. Do we have to wait until there is a mass shooting in all 50 states to overcome the power of the NRA?

I and the majority of Americans want a ban on assault weapons. We want guns registered and the records available to law enforcement across the country, and we want background checks that ensure that folks with a criminal history or a dangerous mental illness cannot buy a gun to kill our people.

Please call and ask Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to take the lead and represent us, not the NRA.

Dianne Kopec


Sunday choice

Almost 36 years ago, I was asked to be a fill-in teacher for the third and fourth grade students at the Holden Congregational Church. I am now the chair of the Christian education committee.

Over the past few years, our church school attendance has been declining, in some cases from children simply growing up and leaving the community. This is where we need help from other concerned parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Recreation departments in the Holden area are planning and scheduling sports activities on Sunday mornings at a time when we, Christian educators, are trying to provide Christian education.

I have been in conversation with the superintendent of schools in Holden, and he informed me that no activities occur on Sundays on school property. However, I do know that there are practices and games scheduled on Sundays by the recreation departments.

I have attempted to contact a person or persons in charge of these scheduling, to no avail. I also know that the students are told that if they do not attend all practices and games, they will be removed from the program.

It is indeed sad that our young people are given ultimatums at such an early age. Attend church school on Sunday mornings or participate in sports.

Donna C. Hall


Department of Offense

The U.S. Department of Defense should really be called the Department of Offense — because our military is intimidating and killing millions in other countries. These nations are not a threat to us. We are threatening them. We are feared, not respected, around the world.

We have destabilized democratically elected governments just because they don’t want to play ball exactly by our rules and propped up dictators who cooperate. We have also caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.

So that I’m not accused of being an accomplice to these murders, I have refused to pay any federal income taxes to the federal government for more than 30 years.

I will continue to do that again this April because the killing still continues. I don’t keep that money, but rather, I send it to programs that are short changed because so much goes to the Pentagon.

I encourage others who don’t want to be accomplices, or who think U.S. policy toward other countries is criminal, not to pay income taxes this year or in future years as well.

Larry Dansinger


Climate Monday

Climate change. It’s been discussed on the campaign trail, in Congress, in the media and everywhere in between. While world leaders hold many of the cards in shaping future climate change policy, we can all slow down global warming.

One simple, yet effective step we can take to reduce our carbon footprint is to eat less meat, say by participating in “Meatless Monday.” And we can start on Earth Day, April 22, which coincidentally happens to fall on a Monday this year.

According to the United Nations, meat production is responsible for nearly 20 percent of human-induced greenhouse gas emissions – that’s more than the entire transportation sector combined. It’s because animal farms use up vast amounts of land, water and fossil fuels. In addition, farm animals emit high amounts of carbon dioxide and methane.

While solving climate change is a tall order, we owe it to future generations to take action. Let’s take it one Meatless Monday at a time.

Cameron Pierce


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