Tuesday, April 30, 2013: Marijuana, public school funding and GMO labels

Posted April 29, 2013, at 12:44 p.m.

Promoting ‘miracle’ drug

Well, I see the self delusional, drug dependent, no, the addicted, are at it again. Legalize marijuana — a proven “gateway drug,” put it at the top of taxpayers’ concerns and add it to the top of a voting ballot. Could there be anything worse to prioritize or to debate?

So this is how we fight the war on drugs and drug dependency? Promoting a so-called miracle drug and saying that by legalizing it, we would rid the world of heroin and its power of addiction, crack addictions, addictions to prescription pills, so-on and so-forth, that it would miraculously rid the world of drug dealers and their hypocrisy and violent ways.

Self-denial and delusion is a wonder to behold; it is almost outweighed by selfishness and ignorance. This is promoting a drug that has addictive qualities and has led more people to experiment with worse and become addicted to worse. It has ruined more than its fair share of lives and ultimately ended some.

Constant encouragement of a drug-dependent society is heart warming and yet scary at the same time. Don’t we, the taxpayers, have more serious and important issues to worry about?

David T. Brown

Baileyville

Insurance rate dangers

There is a group of people in Maine in danger of paying much more money for their individual or small business employee health insurance than they did two years ago. I am concerned that the insurance companies keep raising the premiums in their plans without any public hearing.

LD 1333 passed in 2011, abolished the rate-review process, which included having public hearings to allow public comments whenever an insurance company wanted to raise its rates by more than 10 percent.

In this 126th Maine Legislature, a bill, LD 225, “An Act To Restore Consumer Rate Review for Health Insurance Plans in Individual and Small Group Markets,” proposes to protect interests of these people.

One of the reasons for the need for this bill is that without consumer rate reviews, according to testimony by Rep. Nathan Libby, D-Lewiston, Anthem requested large rate increases in 1998 and in 2001 that were 100 percent approved by the superintendent. For about 10 years, with consumer rate reviews, the average increase approved was about 10.8 percent, Libby said at a hearing for the bill.

If we look at the Maine government’s 2011 financial results for health insurance companies, we can find that Anthem has 48.2 percent and 51.2 percent, respectively, of enrollees in the individual and small group markets, which consist of 16,233 policies in the individual market and 47,614 policies in the small group market.

If LD 225 becomes a law, thousands of people people will save money. With the money, their life will be easier than it would be without it. This is why I support LD 225.

Zhe Fan

Chris Tibbetts

Old Town

Constitutional education

Funding Maine schools seems formidable, according to the education commissioner, superintendents, Maine Education Association, Maine Municipal Association and town councilors. Realizing that, from whatever source they attempt, funding comes from taxpayers.

The solution to school funding and regaining local control of curriculum and teacher contracts is in the Maine Constitution that our elected and appointed officials swear to support.

Thomas Jefferson once wrote to former Maine Gov. William King, suggesting that support for public education be added to our state’s Constitution.

Article VIII, of the Maine Constitution reads, in part:

“The Legislature [is] authorized, and it shall be their duty to require, the several towns to make suitable provision, at their own expense, for the support and maintenance of the public schools.” This law is ignored.

Following Maine’s Constitution could restore local control to the people and nullify laws, forcing all taxpayers to pay for new school buildings, Olympic pools and special equipment. It could cancel the goal of a 55-percent education subsidy and simplify state and local budgets.

Amendments nine and 10 of the U.S. Constitution reserve education to the states and people. Refusing federal money frees Maine teachers from having to speak scripted words and test and teach by “common core” standards that reduce academic freedom for teachers and pupils.

Maine’s Constitution guarantees Maine people’s liberty. If we, and especially legislators and education officials, don’t use this rule book, liberty is frequently circumvented.

We must follow Maine’s Constitution to resurrect this important objective.

Wayne Leach

Winslow

Toxic food

An encouraging awareness is spreading throughout America. A few mammoth corporations have been flexing their muscles, intent on owning patents for scientifically altered seeds for the exclusive benefit of the corporations’ executives and shareholders. Smaller growers are being forced out of business.

These same corporations have also been producing chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers to douse our food crops, among many other toxic substances. In addition, the public is being fed chemical additives through highly processed foods, and commercial growers are being pressured into buying and planting genetically modified organisms or genetically engineered seeds on the premise that it will improve yields.

The use of these numerous harmful chemicals have the support and backing of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. If we want to regain control of our food supply, thus protecting our health and the health of our children, research is important. Multiple sources of information are available.

Take the time to do this research, form your own conclusions, and act on them. Write letters, call representatives, complain, sign petitions, or do nothing and let these practices continue. Now more than ever, our children are depending on us.

Les Simon

Jonesboro

Rights and wrongs

There is no doubt that the Boston bombing was a despicable and cowardly act, and its perpetrators should face justice. However, we cannot defend part of our Bill of Rights and blatantly ignore others.

Despite our personal repugnance of this suspect and the crime of which he is accused, he is an American citizen and has the right to remain silent, be provided counsel and be given a trial in a civilian court.

Our quest for vengeance cannot replace the very principles upon which this country was founded. Thomas Paine said, “He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression, for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”

Jo-Anne McCarty

Bangor

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