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Monday, Oct. 28, 2013: Fox news, medical records, conservative columnist

Lights, camera, inaction

I tuned in to watch the Fox news story about the lit tree controversy in Bar Harbor and was shocked by what I witnessed. The tongue-tied group on the town council had no reasonable argument, and they still won out over reason. The tree has no religious significance, and, even if it did, who cares? Maybe the two people who complained? Again, the minority wins, our vets and citizens lose, and the council (along with Bar Harbor and the state of Maine) has egg on its face on national TV.

Patricia Maynard



Medical records

I read with interest the Oct. 21 BDN article “Woolwich man mailed another patient’s medical records.” I had a similar experience just a couple of weeks ago at a hospital outside my local area.

As the medical assistant read through my electronic record, within minutes it was clear that someone else’s medical record was embedded in my own. More than half the information was not mine, including diagnoses, surgeries and family medical history. The medical assistant, doctor and those in charge of medical records at my local health care facility all took the matter very seriously.

However, the medical records manager at the hospital where I was referred assured me the fault lay not with the electronic medical records system but the individuals entering the data. Those individuals and the training they receive are a critical part of a secure electronic medical records system. Apart from jeopardizing individuals’ privacy and insurance eligibility, such lapses are potentially very dangerous in an emergency situation if the medical record includes inaccurate diagnoses, medications and allergy information.

Charlotte Crowder Shaughnessy


Medicaid vs. Medicare

Among many other things, the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, provides for a major expansion of Medicaid and a $700 billion reduction to Medicare. The AARP was a major supporter for passage of the ACA, so I am not surprised that members keep writing letters in these pages pushing for more growth in the Medicaid program. I am surprised that they continue to say they are advocates for seniors when they obviously support Medicaid at the expense of Medicare.

Dana Peterson


All the news

At the beginning of the month there was a Brewer City Council meeting where two city workers, Danny Taylor and Sandy Barber, were recognized for more than 25 years of service each. It was also mentioned that there would be a “meet the candidates night” on Oct. 24 at the Brewer Community School.

The next day in the BDN, the only thing mentioned from that meeting was a condemned house not fit to live in. Let’s not forget to mention everything next time. Or at least print it the next day.

Kim Khoury Kelley



Sick of approach

In her Oct. 24 OpEd, Susan Dench reveals herself as one of the “extremists” she deplores — just from the opposite end of the spectrum. After a slanted synopsis of a recent event (cast in a manner to inflame and serve red-meat to her audience), Dench then provides a long list of self-righteous platitudes, presented as black-and-white issues, and implies there is only one way to view these issues and still be patriotic.

There are justifiable differences between conservative and liberal views, primarily centered on the extent of government regulation and economic freedom. Thoughtful proponents of each can tolerate these differences. In any real, complex issue, both are often correct to some degree. Since both government and business are by definition “human” and, by extension, “fallible,” both require systems of checks and balances (read “regulation”) to counteract the very real dangers of greed, power and intolerance. Rational progress towards solutions requires the recognition of well-meaning advocates on the “other side” as well as acknowledging the shortcomings of “your side.”

Despite her smug, self-proclamation, Dench is not a conservative. She is a simple-minded, ideological extremist. I would like to see the BDN editors fill their OpEd section with more intellectually grounded writers that focus on solutions, approaches or even simply an explanation of the complexity for the many challenges that face our communities, our state and our country. Maybe then we could move forward together. Most of us are sick of the current approach.

Steve Lammert


Party time

When those groups of like-minded U.S. citizens rallied under the banner “Taxed Enough Already,” little did they imagine they would be immediately lampooned or otherwise maligned by the mainstream media, in the halls of Congress and by obnoxious cartoonists as a rebellious, disaffected band of anarchists, arsonists, Nazis, racists and other malicious, unfit-to-print pejoratives.

Those vocal groups, lacking cohesive organizational leadership were unequipped to be packaged into the fictitious tea party, created and mischaracterized by a Democratic Party and its media mouthpieces. Articulating the genesis of the TEA acronym has been unsuccessful. The “tea party” label is held up to ridicule and contempt by tax, spend and regulate politicians and their media echo chambers. They ignore the TEA ingredients by reviling the label which they themselves have affixed to the container. The contents of the TEA potion are obscured, and those who partake of it must be rendered impotent.

Solution: Re-label the container with a more appealing nomenclature. The GOP views TEA adherents as pariahs; the Democrats and the compliant media categorize them as right wing fanatics. It’s time to establish a new political organization in which “Taxed Enough Already” advocates can take refuge. Call it the conservative party, the Constitution party, the other-than GOP or Democratic Party, or the none-of-the above party.

Just erase all documented reference to the phantom tea party, and refute its existence whenever it arises in our political discourse.

Ron Goldstone



Zero replacement

Referring to the Oct. 19 BDN editorial, “Overreach in Augusta”: If you were to replace Gov. Paul LePage’s name with President Barack Obama, and “Maine government” with “U.S. government,” you would only have to change the participants’ in the article to have a mirror image of our federal programs with fewer zeros.

Jim Davis

Cyr Plantation

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