Saturday, April 20, 2013: Immigration, raising taxes and handwriting in schools

Posted April 19, 2013, at 12:54 p.m.

Earth Day, population, immigration

As April 22 is Earth Day, we ought to take stock as to how we are treating Mother Earth. The U.S. Census Bureau projected a population of 315 million on New Year’s Day 2013, up 115 million from 200 million on Nov. 20, 1967. This is anything but an accomplishment.

A series of presidential commissions were assembled during the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s to study and make recommendations about population. The commissions did good work, but, sadly, it all came to naught. It seems that a lot of time and money was wasted and that the will of the politicians was not in sync with that of the commissioners.

After years of no meaningful immigration policy that would help stabilize population, we come to the “Gang of Eight,” four Republican senators and four Democratic senators. This is a rather motley collection of politicians who really don’t care about population stabilization.

The assembling of this group shows the government is more pro-immigrant than it is pro-American. Without sincere commitment in stabilizing our population, we are going nowhere but down.

President Barack Obama put together the “Gang of Eight.” I believe he knows their plan will not work; they know it won’t work, and that is why it is being railroaded through without careful examination as to its merits or demerits.

This is not a help to future generations. Let’s be honest with our children, for they shall be saddled with the huge debt incurred by this unfair and irresponsible immigration plan.

Kenneth Roy

Center Lovell

99 percent held hostage

Once again, the Republican legislators and governor are blaming the poor for the state’s fiscal bind. This time, Republican senators — in our district, Sen. Mike Thibodeau — are sending letters to municipal officials.

The letter counteracts the more than 50 Maine cities that have sent letters to the Legislature objecting to Gov. Paul LePage’s proposal to eliminate municipal revenue sharing for the next two years. Do the Republicans realize that most of the people receiving financial help from health and human services are children and people with mental and physical disabilities?

The GOP letters to the towns calling for budget cuts seems to be an attempt to calm the radical right campaign donors such as the Koch brothers and the rest of the American Legislative Exchange Council contingent.

The current fiscal problems are a result of the tax cuts the Republicans passed for the wealthiest Mainers when they took office after the elections in 2010.

Now they need to blame everyone from President Barack Obama’s meager stimulus package to Medicaid spending. Why not tax the wealthiest Mainers earning $100,000 or more? That could raise millions of dollars annually.

What about raising state corporate taxes for Maine corporations that employ more that 200 people? This tax is not even mentioned by the legislators because the corporate bullying and threat mantra — “raise our taxes and we’ll leave the state” — creates fear jobs will be lost. How long are the corporations and the rest of the 1 percent going to hold us hostage?

Phyllis Coelho

Belfast

Food consumers’ rights

Currently, although almost all processed foods made with corn or soy contain genetically modified ingredients, none are labeled as such.

According to the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, 91 percent of Mainers want to know if the food they are buying contains genetically modified ingredients.

LD 718, “An Act to Protect Maine Food Consumers’ Right to Know,” is a bill that will let them do just that. To help get it passed, residents can attend a public hearing at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, in Room 214 at the Cross state office building in Augusta.

They could also join MOFGA from noon to 1 p.m. for a rally and press conference at the Capitol Welcome Center and Breezeway between the Capitol and the Cross state office building.

MOFGA suggests people bring positive signs and banners to let the public and the Legislature know that they are among the majority of Maine residents who want genetically modified foods labeled. For more information, visit righttoknowgmo@mofga.org or call 949-7371.

Bob Lodato

Charleston

Handwriting illiterates?

I was saddened to read an article in the BDN on April 7 about how teaching cursive writing is no longer a priority in public schools.

When reading the article, one gets the impression that technology has taken over and cursive writing is no longer needed. It was implied that the only purpose for being able to read or write cursive script is to be able to decipher the Constitution.

Not so. There is documented evidence that cursive writing engages the brain in a way that laptops, tablets and cellphones do not. Anyone who has read “The Artist’s Way” knows the value of a daily journal.

A friend of mine recently asked her young niece to make a list of what she wanted for her birthday. After laboring with pencil and paper, she produced a list that was barely readable.

Do we really want to raise a generation of handwriting illiterates? I hope that public schools rethink their priorities on this issue.

Carol Rosinski

Ellsworth

Thank God it’s Sunday

I would like to give a hearty “amen” to the April 12 letter from Donna Hall of Holden about recreation departments scheduling sports activities on Sunday.

It is not fair that families have to make a choice between sports and something as important as their faith. To my amazement, many families in this situation are choosing to let their children participate in sports and give up church attendance, which has been a vital part of their lives for many years.

To the recreation departments, I would say there are six other days in the week. Figure out a schedule for those days, and leave Sundays for family activities.

Gloria Harriman

Canaan

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