Boehner’s shared sacrifice

In a July 8 article titled “Inflation change could cut benefits,” the BDN quotes Republican Rep. John Boehner as coming up with something big for deficit reduction. He hopes to change the way inflation adjustments are calculated for seniors on Social Security. His plan would reduce the annual income of a future 85-year-old by $984.

Does Mr. Boehner think that anyone will find annual medical or fuel expenses to be $984 cheaper than today’s rapidly inflating prices?

Reading to the end of the article I was fascinated to learn that the above adjustments will come at a time when income taxes paid by the poor would be increased by 14.5 percent. Fortunately this sacrifice would be shared by high income folks. Their taxes would increase by 00.1 percent. So the percent hit to the poor is 145 times that taken by the rich.

Thank you Mr. Boehner for showing us how sacrifices will now be shared.

Stephen Moody
Lincoln

Welcome, Al Jazeera

I commend the Knox Mansion for having Abderrahim Foukara, Al Jazeera’s Washington, D.C., bureau chief, come speak at the Strand Theater. To get someone of such stature and importance in a rural area such as ours is very impressive and speaks highly of the value of the Knox Mansion and the organization’s work to better our community.

There are some who are outraged and want to picket this event because they feel that Al Jazeera is a terrorist organization or speaks on behalf of such organizations. It is my observation by watching various news providers, including Al Jazeera, that its news in the United States is far above the celebrity, sensationalist and opinion-driven news that so many U.S. news companies have adopted and has provided viewpoints from a much wider range and perspective than any one side.

I also have heard other nations accusing our news agencies of being agents of American aggression and terrorism. When are we going to stop the name-calling and listen to each other?

The people who operate the Knox Mansion have set up a wonderful stage for such an event. This is in keeping with the heritage of General Knox himself, who lived in a world where many accused Native Americans of being “merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.” And yet Knox spoke and worked with the native tribes to protect them from our own merciless savagery.

Peter Jenks
Thomaston

You can’t call me Al

The ugly anti Al Jazeera tempest in a teapot in Rockland is un-American and un-Christian. It is promoted by people who don’t know what they’re talking about.

In America we allow free expression of ideas without threats or picketing. Christians who follow the Ten Commandments know not to “bear false witness against thy neighbor,” but these folks accuse a news service of a pro-jihadist bias without bothering to see what Al Jazeera actually says.

I started monitoring Al Jazeera (http://english.aljazeera.net/) a few years ago expecting to find them supporting terrorism and to be outrageously biased against Israel. I was wrong on both counts. Unlike a certain American news outlet that issues propaganda about how “fair and balanced” they are, Al Jazeera really is balanced and I’d rank it up with BBC or the best-quality journalism America offers.

Shame on those simple-minded Mainers who judge by emotion instead of facts and confuse al-Qaida with Al Jazeera. It makes me glad my name isn’t Al.

Jerry Metz
Addison

Bird estimate wrong

I would like to comment on some of Angus King’s recent remarks about the danger to birds from wind turbines. First of all, it is ridiculous to compare a 400-foot-tall industrial wind turbine to plate glass windows or cats. How many bald or golden eagles are caught by cats or run into plate glass windows? I would venture a guess at virtually none.

There is evidence that many eagles, other species of birds and also bats are killed by the huge spinning blades of industrial wind turbines. Mr. King’s estimate of one bird or bat being killed per year per turbine in the Highland mountains is way off the mark. With the plentiful habitat for wildlife in Maine’s western mountains, the number is likely to be much higher.

I have read reports that the areas beneath turbines are routinely checked for any killed bird or bat and the carcasses are promptly removed because of the reality of adverse reactions from those who may see them.

There are golden eagles and bald eagles in the areas where Mr. King wants to erect his wind turbines. Have you ever watched a video of an eagle falling to the ground after being hit by the blades of a spinning wind turbine? It is not a pleasant sight, and it should not be allowed to happen in Maine’s mountains.

Linda Miller
Lexington Township

Patient partnership proposed

Dr. Erik Steele’s patient safety columns in the BDN were both excellent. I agree with everything that he promotes for patient safety and I can think of a million things to add. Unfortunately, not everyone has a formal medical education.

He and I know what to expect and do to make our health care experience safer, but not all patients do. Will it require formal patient training to make patients safer? The fact that up to one in three patients is harmed by hospital care tells us we have a long way to go on patient safety.

Dr. Steele explained to us how to be a “co-pilot” in our own care. Now we need to figure out a way to get that information out to every potential patient in our region and remove the fear of asserting one’s rights to receive safe, infection-free care.

I hope to do this by forming a community collaborative, perhaps calling it the Partnership with Patients. I invite patients and families to be a part of this. We can promote the goals of the Federal Partnership for Patients which are to reduce hospital-acquired conditions, medical errors and infections by 40 percent in three years and reduce hospital re-admissions by 20 percent.

Please contact me at kathydayrn@aol.com if you or your organization is interested in being part of this Bangor local and regional partnership.

Kathy Day, RN
Bangor

Support folk festival

With the American Folk Festival soon to come to Bangor again, I would like to give a word of encouragement for financial support of this great venue of talent to our area, especially to those larger businesses that benefit every year from the influx of visitors during this weekend.

Some of those businesses have made a lot of money during the festival, especially when rain shuts down events.

I’ve attended the festival every year since it started coming to town and enjoy it tremendously and hope to see it continue year after year. Please help support it.

Claudette Michaud
Bangor