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Tuesday, April 29, 2014: Michael Pineda’s pine tar incident, Maine jobs, Cutler support

Boring Maine?

I guess it is just boring to live in Maine.

No earthquakes, avalanches, mudslides, tornadoes, deep sinkholes, poisonous snakes or spiders and bugs. No mole crickets and fire ants, no wicked hot days in the summer, no alligators or loud traffic.

The only things we have are snow and ice in the winter, so we can slide, ski, snowmobile, skate and go ice fishing. In spring, we only have some mud and a few potholes. We also have a few black flies, but the grass and trees show off their green beauty. Then comes summer with all of that nice weather for outdoor sports and fun. And of course, autumn with all the color, and wonderful fall with those falling leaves and cool days and nights.

Yes, Maine is a boring place to live, but someone has to do it. Might as well be me.

Eugene Bowden


Defining the future

It’s unfortunate that the unions representing Bath Iron Works workers endorsed Republican Sen. Susan Collins’ campaign for more of the same in Washington, D.C. Columnist Jim Fossel did an excellent job of laying out the Republican position in these pages: more money for war-mongering corporations, at the expense of domestic infrastructure.

At the recent launch of the $4 billion USS Zumwalt in Bath, one could almost hear the sucking sound of the money vortex funneling resources away from a sustainable future. Every dollar spent on the destroyer would have created two to three times as many jobs in the production of solar or wind generators; or in the development of light rail; or in the repair of our roads and bridges.

Electing Democratic Shenna Bellows as a fresh voice to the U.S. Senate will elevate the conversation, just as Democratic Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has questioned the entrenched interests.

Collins is a major proponent of the military option. She took votes against redeployment from Iraq and even against a bill limiting individual deployment to 12 months.

With her major campaign contributors including military contractors such as General Dynamics, Raytheon Co., Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, is it any wonder that Collins sponsored legislation to potentially scuttle a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear policy?

Bath and Saco, which host General Dynamics facilities, are required to give tax incentives to keep these companies — robbing local communities of revenues required for the upkeep of schools, roads and vital services.

It’s time for a change in the U.S. Senate. Maine deserves Bellows’ outside-the-beltway perspective with creative solutions for bringing more and brighter jobs for the future. We have had enough of the roar of moneyed interests that increasingly dominate the political discourse.

Gary Friedmann

Bar Harbor

Lazy lot

My wife tried to better her life by going back to school and getting a bachelor’s degree in business administration at age 38. She made the dean’s list three times and the president’s list once. She has been trying hard to get a job ever since graduating two years ago.

Because she has no experience in her field, she continues to get turned down. She has even offered to work for free as a volunteer, and everyone declines, saying it would cost them money to have someone show her what needs to be done. Which makes sense.

Then I read the article in the BDN where Gov. Paul LePage says the Maine CareerCenter’s Job Bank has more than 7,000 jobs available, and people were just being lazy. So my wife and I went there, and when the woman asked how she could help us, I said we came to see about these 7,000 jobs LePage was talking about. The whole place started laughing. They informed me that if you add up all the temporary, part-time and minimum-wage jobs, you might come close to 7,000.

Obviously these are not jobs you can live on. When it was all said and done, we walked out of there with no leads except some websites to look at and info about job fairs coming up. We appreciate the information. The woman advised my wife to go to work for a nonprofit for free to get some experience.

So it comes down to: Quit your minimum wage job to go to work for free, and maybe in a couple years, you might get a paying job you can use your degree in. Of course, you still have to pay your student loans, and loans don’t care if you’re working for free. It must be because people are just lazy; what other conclusion can you come up with?

Phillip Taheny II


Realistic expectations

Gymnasts, dancers and weightlifters often use rosin or magnesium carbonate powders for better grip or traction. If baseball pitchers need more control over the ball in cold weather, why can’t the best substances and methods of application be identified and sanctioned? The Michael Pineda pine tar incident brings up a much larger issue.

We’re told that Pineda’s real crime was blatantly smearing pine tar on his neck for all to see before applying it to a baseball. That if he’d been more discreet, all would be well. It’s sad that here, in the 21st century, we still want our athletes to be gods. We don’t want to acknowledge the pressure they’re under or the physical sacrifices they make. We want to believe their very human performance is magical — superhuman — and we want to revere them. And when our gods fall or fail, we call them bums.

But reality lies not on the ends of this spectrum but somewhere in the middle. Some athletes suffer real consequences from “playing” sports: life-long joint and muscle issues, concussions and irreversible brain injury in football and soccer; cardiac and liver damage from performance-enhancing drugs, even those currently deemed safe.

I look forward to the day when athletes enjoy more protections, common-sense regulations and more realistic expectations from the public.

Marjory Russakoff

Southwest Harbor

Gov. Cutler

I have supported Democratic Rep. Mike Michaud for many years and feel he has been a good congressman. I think independent Eliot Cutler would be a better governor.

I believe he has the courage of his convictions, and I agree with him about Cate Street’s failures, a national park and encouraging small businesses and tourism and recreation. I believe he could really help the state of Maine.

Jane Sanford



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