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Saturday, Jan. 18, 2014: Welfare queen myth, airport business, the coach’s wife


Caring percentage

How long can the very wealthy get away without some sort of rebellion? They have taken nearly everything away from us, the rest of America. I’ve watched a steady erosion of American decency ever since the most corrupt presidency ever took the helm. When former President Ronald Reagan “sold” the country the fiction of the welfare queen and trickle-down economy, he proved he was a corporate toady, just as Gov. Paul LePage is.

The words morality, decency, honesty and fairness have been replaced by “let’s take care of the rich.” Every political policy both here and in Washington has had that one thing in common. If we have to spend money, let’s buy guns. Better yet, make the poor buy them.

What is most notable is the unrestrained arrogance of these tea party Republicans. From Sen. Mitch McConnell to Sen. Ted Cruz, they, to a man, take orders from the Koch brothers and other billionaires.

As a nation, we should be ashamed of ourselves. I was born in Iowa nearly 80 years ago. It was the heart of the Bible Belt and racial bigotry. Still is. President Barack Obama has faced ever-increasing insults and blatant racism. Every attempt he has made has been obstructed by these people. I don’t care if Walmart ever makes another dime! I would love to see the Koch brothers unemployed and poor. They have caused us all more hardship than we deserve. Thus, I care as much about them as they do about me.

Maybe the 99 percent of us have to care about each other.

James I. Scroggy

Blue Hill

Airport business

Jeff Figgins’ Jan. 14 BDN letter to the editor shows an amazing lack of understanding of the airport and aviation business. The Bangor International Airport is a very important asset to our region and a key to economic development. The improvements constantly being made to the airport, many with federal money, are a real credit to Tony Caruso, his staff and the many airport directors who came before him.

What Figgins doesn’t understand is that commercial airline traffic is a function of the economy and volume. The airport staff can seek out carriers and provide some incentives, but it is the airlines that need to see a certain volume of passengers to make a decision to invest in flights from Bangor. How much does BIA lose per flight? It is the airlines that take that risk. Caruso’s job is to support that traffic, and he does an excellent job. Sometimes, unfortunately, cutbacks have to be made to stay in the black. We recently saw that in the layoffs.

“How is it that just two hours south of Portland you can go just about anywhere?” Figgins wrote. The population in the metro Boston area is probably about 5 million people, as opposed to 100,000 in metro Bangor. Let’s look at economic issues with real facts before speaking. Let’s give credit where due. Caruso’s team does a great job.

Ken Huhn


Gold ball

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the front page BDN article “Married to the Game” in the Jan. 16 edition. My husband coached for many years and finished his career as an athletic administrator. I so often joked that when his career was over I was going to write a book, “Memoirs of a High School Coach’s Wife.” Oh, the stories I could tell.

The women in the article and coaches’ wives everywhere are to be commended for the many sacrifices they give to support their husbands. The three in the article have found unique ways to be a part of and a support to their spouses.

We are both retired now and attend many basketball games in our hometown and the surrounding communities, and we still choose to support the current coach and sit away from the few fans who find that criticism is a form of support for the team, officials and coach.

Best wishes to teams everywhere as they finish up their basketball season for 2014. The “gold ball” is an elusive dream for many, and it takes hard work, great attitudes and teamwork among everyone to obtain it.

Connie Heald


Rock stars

As we quickly enter pothole season, let’s take a moment to pause and thank our public works departments for their tireless efforts while Mother Nature has doled out a heavy dose of the elements so far this season. With heavy snow, wind, ice and the “pleasures” they bring us, I would like to personally thank the “rock stars” of Brewer (and Bangor, too) for all they have done.

Every day they provide the best they can to get us to work and play, so we can be a part of the economy.

Kelly Cotiaux


Collateral damage

I listened to an interview with a veteran of World War II a couple of weeks ago talking about the capture of a small village in Germany. “We took it,” he said. “Had to kill a bunch of women and kids. But we took it.”

Our governor now makes war on Maine’s poor. He’s hired a consultant on a no-bid contract for just short of $1 million to investigate the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to make sure our welfare recipients are not defrauding the state.

Last week, according to the Quoddy Tides, in East Machias a woman in her 60s was found dead in her home. She had died of hypothermia. I don’t know her story. Did she have to choose between her medications and heat? Phone and heat? Or did she set her thermostat in the low 50s, thinking she’d be warm, not knowing that the human body, especially if it’s lacking nutrition, cannot produce enough heat by itself and can go into hypothermia quickly in that temperature range? Living alone, she had no other body with whom to get under the covers and warm herself up.

Collateral damage. That’s what the generals call it. And it is war, no doubt about it.

How about firing that consultant and putting that million dollars into a heating fund for Maine’s poor? If it were my neighbor, I wouldn’t begrudge her the money. I’d rather have her alive.

I know we can do better than this.

Dick Hoyt


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