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April 4 Letters to the Editor

Nuclear for green world

Nuclear electric power does not diminish the “green” world, or deprive any living thing of food, or the soil of compost, or produce either methane or carbon dioxide or diminish the stock of fossil materials for the production of “plastics.”

Nuclear power leaves a very small “footprint.” The fuel is about three million times as concentrated as carbon fuels, so mining it disturbs the earth and topography only slightly and hauling is a trivial effort. The area required for nuclear electric generation is small.

There are about 60 nuclear sites in the U.S. now; only a few more would be needed for a fully developed nuclear industry. The amount of high-level waste can be small as well. In France, where nuclear generation has ramped up to 80 percent of French electric use and fuel is reprocessed and recycled (using American technology), the amount of waste so far accumulated is about 1/3 of an ounce per French citizen. The radiation from the waste degrades continuously to less than that from the original fuel in about 1,000 years. Nuclear power can be relatively economical. The French sell electric power to their neighbors. It is the cheapest electricity in Europe.

Nuclear power can provide security from easily conceived scenarios in which deliveries of fuel oil and gasoline are suddenly and severely reduced. The success of the first generation of nuclear plants has been extraordinary; we ought to be confident that the second generation will be better still — more efficient and more dependable.

Rodney J. Davis




Regarding the editorial “Police and Deadly Force” (BDN, March 30): Do we really want a government panel to decide whether force was justified or if “something else could be done”? Second-guessing is just part of human nature. Of course “something else could have been done.” If you don’t want law enforcement personnel to have firearms, just say so.

Myron Baldwin



Family feud?

LD 1297, An Act to Abolish the State Board of Education, co-sponsored by Rep. Josh Tardy, R-Newport, is being considered by the Legislature. As a member of the State Board of Education since 2007, I am opposed to this bill.

When you come from a family with mixed political views it is difficult but manageable. As a lifelong Democrat, I brought my sons and daughter up to be politically aware and encouraged them to make their own decisions on the issues. I stood by quietly while one son, Rep. Tardy, joined the Republican ranks.

The intent of this legislation is to transfer all of the duties of the State Board of Education to the Department of Education. Board members are appointed for five-year terms and serve no more than two terms. This enables the board to cross the political aisle and be nonpartisan. As an autonomous body its duties include advising the commissioner, formulating policy, enforcing regulatory requirements and other duties that have been delegated to them by statute.

What is the intent of the sponsors? Is it frustration within their own ranks at not having an issue that is thoughtful and beneficial for the people of Maine? I am proud of the high standard of public education in Maine. Credit is due to the Legislature for its continued focus on improving Maine schools. We need to move forward and keep excellence in education and deny this attempt to change the way we shape public education in the state of Maine.

Marilyn Temple Tardy



Mystery of marriage

As Renee Ordway says in her March 28-29 column, there is a lot of clutter in the debate about same-sex marriage. Unfortunately, I would add her column to the list.

Marriage is an institution that in large part mediates and defines the delicate and mysterious relationship between the two great halves of humanity — female and male. Marriage has not been practiced perfectly in our age, or any other. But for 2,000 years in our culture it has brought out the better angels in the natures of both women and men and given security and love to their children.

If marriage is a foundation of male-female relations then defining same-sex relationships as marriage makes no sense. The debate in Augusta and elsewhere should be about why anyone would even think of fundamentally changing something so basic to society.

Christopher Ritter



Sanctioned violence?

It is front-page news that legislators seek to sanction mixed martial arts in Maine. Is Maine going to sink so low as to legislatively sanction violence in the name of economic development?

Don’t we have enough violence through everyday human activity without legally sanctioning it? How are legislators going to explain their position to all the volunteers across the state who work tirelessly to stem the tide of violence? What will they say to all those who run homes for battered women? What are the state legislators thinking?

Shame! Shame! Shame!

John C. Ferriday



Bush’s successes

Since we have some distance from the 2008 election, now is an opportune time to make some observations on the election. First, the campaigns demonstrated the success of the Bush-Cheney Homeland Security measures including such things as international surveillance and the Patriot Act because security was hardly an issue in the campaign. If these measures had been a failure, they would have been a hot campaign issue, and they were not. Instead, people recognized that these measures were instrumental in preventing another Sept. 11 attack.

The election campaign also verified the success of the Bush-Petraeus surge in Iraq, as Iraq was not a major campaign issue and has faded from the front page. Had the surge been a failure it would have been a major campaign issue, and it was not.

The election showed that because of the billions of dollars in campaign financing that Barack Obama and the Democrats raised they now are the party of the wealthy. We also saw the emergence of a new privileged elite in America that is well educated, articulate, wealthy and predominantly minority and female.

Of course, the best examples are Barack and Michelle Obama, who are fashionable millionaires, attended the best universities in the country and whose children attend an elite private school. Before the middle of the century this new aristocracy will be ruling and reigning over the country.

This is change that we can believe in.

Rodney Lynch


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