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April 9, 2009 Letters to the Editor

Thanks to Pingree

Thanks is owed to Rep. Chellie Pingree for co-sponsoring House Resolution H.R. 676. The United States National Health Insurance Act would create single-payer national health insurance in the U.S. simply by expanding and improving Medicare, one of the best and most efficient medical management systems in the world.

This new, improved Medicare will cover everyone and cover all medically necessary services, including primary, inpatient, outpatient and emergency care, prescription drugs, hearing services, long-term care, mental health services, dentistry, eye care, chiropractic and substance abuse treatment. Patients have their choice of physicians, providers, hospitals, clinics and practices. There are no co-pays or deductibles under this act.

It’s what we’ve all been waiting for, and the best part is that this new program will cost less than what we have now. With 47 million uninsured Americans, and another 50 million who are underinsured, the time has come to change our inefficient, costly and fragmented nonsystem of health care.

If you believe that affordable health care in the U.S. should be a human right and not a privilege, and that the time for talking is over and the time for action is now, please join me in encouraging Rep. Mike Michaud to co-sponsor H.R. 676.

Kate Harris


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Attack on firearms

This is in response to the letter by Eric Goodale, “War on our border” (BDN, April 3), which is another frivolous attack on the right of the people to keep and to bear arms.

Mr. Goodale states that we should enact yet more gun laws, this time under the guise of the drug wars in Mexico. Saying that the Mexican drug wars are a direct result of the easy availability of assault weapons in the U.S. is like saying fat people are a direct result of the easy availability of food at the local supermarket.

He does, however, make a very good point with regard to the insatiable appetite for drugs in the U.S. Why doesn’t he call for tougher enforcement of drug laws instead of a ban on so-called assault weapons? Wait — why not just ban illegal drugs in this country? Oh, we already did that. Gee, it does not seem to be working.

Bob Johnson

Stockton Springs

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Hybrid education

Hybrid courses are the key to Maine’s role as a leader in education. For those not familiar with the term, a hybrid course is one where a portion of the material is presented in the classroom while another portion is presented via a computer, typically online. Moving toward this style of education is not only advantageous but essential when considering our technologically savvy student population.

Hybrid courses have a record of enhancing student achievement. Instructors who use a hybrid format find that students write better papers, score higher on exams, create higher quality projects and generate more meaningful classroom discussions.

Schools offering hybrid courses can provide a more varied curriculum with a greater number of electives and advanced placement classes. With a portion of the curriculum housed outside the classroom, it’s possible to take schools to a four-day school week, which can cut transportation and food-service costs up to 20 percent, allow scheduling of sporting events on non-school days to minimize learning disruption for student athletes and permit families to schedule doctor or other appointments without losing class time.

We’ve already crushed one of the barriers to this style of learning by expanding the laptop initiative.

Since we’ve proved that we can make forward-thinking decisions, let’s consider a move toward hybrid classes, let’s consider a four-day school week and let’s consider, once again, taking the lead in our country by creating a model for education that others will follow for years to come.

Sean O’Connell


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Eliminate violence

There are those in the state who abhor violence in all its forms and are certainly right to condemn the BDN’s front-page coverage of the efforts to sanction mixed martial arts contests in Maine. But I fear they do not go far enough. All such activities that court broken bones and bloodletting should be condemned not only from the pages of this newspaper but from society as well. Let us band together and ban snowmobiling, hunting, hockey, water skiing, lobster fishing, football, rock climbing, lawn mowing, cheerleading, dishwashing and flower picking.

But seriously, the UFC model of the sport in which local fighter Marcus Davis (ranked in the top 15 in the world) and others participate is a highly regulated, safety conscious contest between two athletes of equal weight if not ability. Rather than cry “shame” against these men and women, let us celebrate the values they promote: discipline, courage, knowledge, equality and intestinal fortitude.

Let us work to educate the ignorant as to what mixed martial arts is truly about and allow some of the greatest athletes in their sport to showcase their skills in their home state.

Travis Baker


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