Magic melting mix
I have an idea that would help in cutting government spending and possibly save in several other areas.
What if we could gather our finest chemists and ask them if they could work in putting together a chemical compound that would react in such a way that it would create heat, say at 38 degrees F? Then mix this compound in, or on, the tar in our roads, sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots, airport runways, etc. This would keep snow from accumulating or ice from forming.
Imagine the impact that something like this would have. No need for plows, dump trucks or any other snow removal equipment, saving on fuel, pollution, maintenance and labor. No need for salt, sand or sheds that house them. Less heated garages for trucks and their maintenance shops helps eliminate deterioration in vehicles and pollution caused by salt. Fewer accidents, less time missed at work and schools, less airplane delays. Minimize the spring floods; eliminate the problem of where to put the snow.
With today’s technology, I wouldn’t think this idea that far-fetched. With all the committees our government has, don’t you think that this idea would be a project worth putting some time into, instead of whoopie pies?
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The arts are vital
I taught in Maine schools for 31 years. Although I have been retired for 13 years, I keep informed of what’s happening in the classroom by friends who are teaching and by public information sources. This letter is in response to a letter by Emma Howard of Bangor, “School caste system” (BDN, Feb 24).
I want to applaud her and shout “hooray” for her much-needed comments in regard to athletes receiving the “All American” awards, while other students who are of equal merit are not honored. In particular, I am referring to programs of art, music, drama and dance.
When there are school budget concerns, many times the art programs are cut first. We know the arts are a mandate for a cultured society. Therefore, why does it seem more recognition and emphasis are on athletics than on the arts?
Thank you, Emma, for your inspiring letter. Hopefully, from the effect of your letter, there will be a change in recognition for the arts. There should be more public coverage and awards for these fine musicians, artists, dancers, actors and teachers.
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Assault on women’s health
Planned Parenthood has been there for me through some trying moments in my life. And I am not alone. Planned Parenthood provides health care and education to nearly 5 million people worldwide each year.
The new leaders in the House of Representatives want to eliminate the national family program, Title X, which has provided millions of Americans with preventive care since 1970. In addition, they want to stop all federal funds from supporting care through Planned Parenthood’s more than 800 health centers across the country, which provide lifesaving preventive care every day of the week. Their legislative attack will cut off health care access to millions of women who need it the most.
At a time when more women and families cannot afford health care, the House leadership wants to gut the programs that provide preventive care, including birth control, family planning, lifesaving cancer screenings and HIV testing to millions of women. That means more women will go untreated, and there will be more undetected cancers discovered too late to save women’s lives.
For those who want to save money, family planning programs like Title X are fiscally sound. For every public dollar invested in family planning, taxpayers save nearly $4. Yet, in their ideological zeal to attack women’s health, the House leadership doesn’t seem to care.
We need to send a message to the House leadership and tell them to stop the assault on women’s health and to get back to what they promised to do — fix the American economy.
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School cuts bust unions
A recent BDN article stating that Maine Department of Education funding was taking a “double whammy” seriously stresses MEA members such as myself.
The newly approved RSU 89 merged SAD 25 (Stacyville) and CSD 9 (Dyer Brook) with the intent of finding savings while preserving a high standard of education. Before the ink on the ballot could dry, we find ourselves looking at a $473,000 funding reduction from 2011 to 2012.
I see our right to collective bargaining being restricted to who will turn out the lights when we close. The LePage administration and Republican legislators want to right-size the budget on the backs of state employees. A reduction of this size can only mean a loss of jobs, increased cost for benefits, very large pension program changes, staff reductions and who knows what else.
I hope my comrades in the MEA throughout Maine recognize these reductions as a chance for our union to be blown back to the stone age.
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Panic mode on debt
Republicans are in panic mode about the national debt, and panics lead to stupid decisions. Driven by tea party hysteria that this long-term problem must be fixed right now, the House has proposed $61 billion of draconian cuts. These would cripple many vital services from disease control to police protection. The pain would be felt almost entirely by the poor and middle class.
Republicans used to be cool with increasing the debt. Dick Cheney famously told his secretary of the Treasury, “Reagan proved deficits don’t matter,” and the Republican-controlled Congress boosted the debt with massive tax cuts for the rich.
The national debt was modest when Jimmy Carter took office and decreased under him. Reagan talked fiscal responsibility but increased the debt over 110 percent. George H.W. Bush added 33 percent. Clinton added 13 percent and Bush the younger contributed 46 percent. Obama’s only budget year has added 3 percent.
Since 1976, GOP presidents have accounted for 87 percent of the increase. The debt decreased in only four of those 33 years — all under Democratic presidents.
Republicans now say “President Obama’s out-of-control spending” caused this Republican-generated debt and are trying to panic the country into destroying programs and services that benefit the middle class, the poor and children.
What gave birth to the tea party and changed the Republicans from “deficits don’t matter” to their present ugly panic mode? Could it be because Barack Obama became president?
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