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Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014: Donnie Smith support, bear baiting, Maine Day celebration

Right to bomb?

Robert Shetterly’s use of the word “genocide” to describe the Israeli attacks on the Palestinians in his July 28 OpEd was unfortunate, but Professor Emeritus Arnold Berleant’s belabored response in the Aug. 11 OpEd just comes across as another biased, pro-Israeli rant to me.

Hamas has been the provocateur, but, in fact, most of the areas within reach of its pathetic little rockets are settlements illegally built on stolen land by the worst kind of religious zealots — these people took their chances and endure the consequences.

Berleant describes the allied bombing of German cities to justify Israel’s brutally disproportionate response to the Hamas rocket attacks. London, Birmingham, Coventry and Bristol were carpet bombed by the Luftwaffe, which makes the bombing of Hamburg, Dresden and Cologne payback, nothing more.

The question is: Does Israel, or any nation, have the right to bomb and kill civilians to achieve the goal of neutralizing the enemy? The answer is obvious to any civilized human being.

Michael P. Warr


Governor against bear baiting

Here’s what former Gov. Percival Baxter said in his farewell speech to the people of Maine on Jan. 7, 1925: “Bear baiting, live pigeon shooting and dog and cock fighting and similar exhibitions until comparatively recently were recognized as ‘gentlemanly sports.’ Today, they have passed into well merited disgrace.”

As an early advocate for the humane treatment of animals, Baxter also said in that speech: “It is especially important to train our children to be considerate of every creature however humble. Kindness is universal; it knows no distinction of man or beast.”

I will be voting yes on this November’s referendum to finally ban the baiting, trapping and hounding of bears in Maine. I only wish our candidates for governor would be as brave and compassionate as Baxter.

Ray Andresen


Happy 79th

Aug. 14 marked the 79th anniversary of Social Security. When it was first signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935, nearly half of all older Americans were living in poverty. The program keeps 109,000 Mainers from falling into poverty, and more than one-third of those receiving Social Security benefits rely on it for their sole source of income.

AARP recently released a survey in which registered voters in Maine age 50 and older identified the issues most important to them. More than half said they worry about having no Social Security available to them in the future. Many of these people have paid into Social Security for years and deserve the security of those benefits.

Hopefully, elected officials and those running for office this November will honor Social Security’s anniversary by ensuring the program will be around for all Mainers as we age. What better way to celebrate the creation of a program that has helped millions throughout the past 79 years than to make sure it continues to help people for many more years to come?

Jackie Katz

AARP Maine Executive Council Volunteer


Maine Day

If you’ve heard about Maine Day, you might be wondering, where’s the big Maine Day event? The trouble is, if there were one big event, where would it be held? Herein lies the age-old problem Maine has had with “festival” creep. Festivals are fun; they bring in business; and every town in Maine thinks they ought to have one.

Maine Day can’t be celebrated in one place — this is a big state. This is a day that will find its place organically, popping up across the state more like a wild flower than like a concession stand. Some people will grow them in their backyard, and some will cultivate a whole field.

So how does something so ambiguous get into the fabric of Maine’s annual celebrations? That’s a question for the “crowd.” If Mainers find a reason to keep this holiday, it will become permanent. But if Mainers don’t want it, it will disappear.

Remember there isn’t a big corporation spending tens of thousands of dollars promoting it, getting sponsors, and jaw-boning politicians and business leaders to show up and be counted. No, this is our day to make what we want from it. This project is crowd first, not business-sponsorship first.

I personally threw a party for my family on Saturday and suspect it will be around forever on our summer schedule.

Gren Blackall

Maine Day organizer


Vote no

Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting has recently started events billed as “educational story-time all about bears!” at various public libraries across the state. These “Kids for Cubs” activities claim to provide opportunities for children to learn more about Maine’s bears through reading, writing and coloring. This is excellent, in principle, but Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting was formed solely for political reasons.

Will “Kids for Cubs” events include any of the scientific facts established by Maine’s biologists and game wardens through years of research that are the basis of Maine’s bear management practices?

To me, it looks like Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting is using unsuspecting, curious children in a thinly-veiled grab for their parents’ votes. I think that involving children in politics in this manner is immoral and unethical. Using children as pawns is not the way we do politics in Maine and deepens my conviction that Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting and its backers in Washington, D.C., the Humane Society of the United States, have an agenda I cannot support in November.

Please join me in voting no on Question 1.

Vincent Marzilli


Smith kudos

Sheriff Donny Smith is a friend, colleague and combat veteran who is honorable, straight talking and has little patience for nonsense. He cares deeply about the folks who work for him and the community he was sworn to protect. He is a dedicated, hard-working decent man focused on making a difference in the lives of the people who live and work in Washington County.

The sheriff sets and maintains a high state of operational and material readiness, despite a limited budget. I have seen him encourage his subordinates to set the highest personal goals for themselves and then counsel them on the means available to realize those goals. Smith is a good man.

Benjamin Newman

Winter Harbor


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