Thursday, June 12, 2014: UMaine president search, Bangor developments, GMO labeling

Posted June 11, 2014, at 11:06 a.m.

America’s greatness

Where is the Barack Obama who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 and inspired hope that perpetual war would no longer be at the top of America’s foreign policy agenda? His response to President Vladimir Putin’s recent call for a negotiated peace in Ukraine has been to call for $1 billion in additional arms for Eastern Europe and to pile more economic sanctions on Russia — a return to the scary days of Cold War brinkmanship, in which a miscalculation can lead to a hazardous nuclear confrontation.

The military option is not the road to security. America’s costly interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan have left their peoples divided and suffering in shattered economies while inspiring a new generation of terrorists.

​All those billions could have been better invested in America — rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, paying workers a living wage, extending unemployment insurance to the long-term unemployed, making our health care the best in the world and developing clean energy, to name a few needs.

This is the path to restoring America’s greatness.​

Gene Clifford

Mount Desert

Make it local

Instead of another costly “national search” to find the next academic who will use the University of Maine presidency as a placeholder while he or she plots his or her next move, perhaps the trustees would be wise to look locally for candidates.

The next leader of the university will face many challenges and needs to be committed for the long haul. The perfect candidate would possess leadership skills, understand budgets, be adept at fundraising and be a vocal champion of the institution.

Two alumnus immediately come to mind that perfectly fit that description — former Sen. Olympia Snowe and former Gov. John Baldacci. Either would be perfect to lead the university into its next chapter.

Edmond Boucher

Old Town

Bangor on the move

Bangor is on the move. Finally, it seems as though Bangor is becoming a destination place. Thank you to all, past and present, who are involved in bringing entertainment to this city. Beginning with the Folk Festival to Hollywood Slots to Darling’s Waterfront (Alex Gray) to the new Cross Insurance Center, people are making an investment in this area. Year-round entertainment, new hotels, new restaurants and stores (both chain and privately owned) are springing up, and with them come jobs.

At a time when we are trying to lure young people to stay in Maine or convince new people to move to Maine, downtown Bangor is trying to do just that. Thank you to Roy Hubbard and Telford Allen III for their investment in refurbishing two historic buildings in downtown Bangor. Thank you to all for making Bangor (and surrounding areas) an exciting place to live. I can’t wait to see the new, revitalized West Market Square area.

Keep up the great work, and bring us more.

Renee Curtis

Milford

Gun clarity

I take exception to Erin Donovan’s comments from the June 2 BDN column “Fledgling protest takes an ugly turn” about so called “common sense” gun laws. Donovan acts as if she is surprised that anyone might oppose additional gun regulations. After the failure of virtually every gun control bill in the last legislative session, both at the national and state levels, those who support gun control should realize that they are in the minority.

Here in Maine, our Constitution guarantees the right to keep and bear arms and ensures that right shall never be questioned. For those feeling the need to “stretch out [their] limbs to battle for something,” perhaps their energy could be put to better use fixing America’s broken mental health policies, rather than restricting gun ownership for all American citizens and thus the mentally ill only by extension.

My answer to Donovan and all others who are determined to “stand their ground” on increasing gun control is — thanks to the clarity and foresight of our founding fathers — they have no ground to stand on.

Weston Ranalli

Big Lake Township

GMO ban

The silly assertion from the Washington Post editorial (reprinted June 4 in the BDN) that those who oppose genetically modified organisms are “self indulgent first-world activists” is simply wrong. There are at least 26 countries that ban or partially ban GMOs, including Switzerland, Australia, Austria, China, India, France, Germany, Hungary, Luxembourg, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, Mexico and Russia. And significant regulation on GMOs exists in 60 other countries.

U.S. citizens would be healthier, and so would the rest of the world population that buys our food, if GMOs were banned here as well.

Nancy Allen

Brooksville

 

People, wildlife first

Earth’s natural resources are being used up as if, magically, more will appear.

Precious metals are being used up for frivolous nonsense; the fertile soil we need to grow healthy food is being poisoned; and drinking water supplies worldwide are increasingly full of industrial and agricultural toxic chemicals.

Yet the cry for “more growth” among the money-mongers continues.

Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, et al., look for one thing: Have profits increased this quarter? If not, they downgrade a corporation, and its value slips in the big gambling den, aka the New York Stock Exchange.

“Growth” cannot go on indefinitely. We need an agrarian economy, one based on producing what people really need: food and fiber grown without destroying the land, water or food.

We can work together cooperatively. You grow tomatoes and herbs; I’ll grow potatoes, peas and carrots. Then we share our harvests among ourselves, so no one person has to do it all.

Oops, is cooperation a “communist” concept? Some who yell “every man for himself” seem to think so. They don’t trust others to do their part. Well, I do.

No more giveaways to corporations. Help regular Maine people build raised-bed gardens in their own yards. Encourage them to become small, no-spray farmers growing diverse crops for local consumption. Encourage collection of food and yard wastes for composting to build the soil back up.

Always think first of people and wildlife’s needs.

Nancy Oden

Jonesboro

 

 

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