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Monday, Sept. 12, 2011: Regulation, voting and Obama

Off-the-field grace

I enjoyed Dr. Charles Krauthammer’s most recent column, “The best show in town,” about the joys of watching the Washington Nationals baseball team, but I respectfully disagree with his conclusion.

I think right now that grace and elegance are the only things that will fend off the Apocalypse and as a nation we are sorely lacking in both.

Walter Plaut

Let regulators work

Small businesses are right to point to a “lack of regulation in mortgage lending as a principal cause of the financial crisis that brought about the Great Recession of 2007-09 and its grim aftermath” (from the BDN’s Sept. 6 story, “Regulations, taxes aren’t killing small business, owners say”). Thousands of consumers in Maine lost their jobs, homes or retirement savings because of Wall Street’s unregulated practices.

On July 21, the landmark Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took over as the nation’s top consumer financial cop fighting unfair credit card, mortgage and payday loan practices. However, in May, 44 senators including Maine Sens. Collins and Snowe signed a letter opposing any nominee to head the bureau until the bureau’s powers and funding are weakened.

The current nominee, Rich Cordray, is extremely well-qualified, has a well-balanced record and has received praise from all sides. Blocking the nomination process weakens the CFPB and helps the Wall Street banks whose reckless and predatory practices wrecked the economy and harmed ordinary families.

The nomination process needs to continue so that we have a strong agency working to protect Maine’s consumers. Call Sens. Snowe and Collins and tell them to let the nomination process move forward.

Ilya Slavinski
U.S. PIRG, Portland office

Voting law not burdensome

I am a registered Republican voter and my right to have my vote not be diluted by voter fraud or lazy uninformed people being led like sheep to the polls is imperative and absolute. I have been registered to vote since I turned 18 in 1979. No one had to lead me to the clerk to do this.

Each time I moved, everywhere I have ever lived, almost as soon as the utilities were put in my name, I was at the town office or the post office to register. I hold my privilege and duty to vote in this republic as cherished honor.

The “motor voter” law has made registering to vote so easy that no one has reason not to be registered in a timely manner. The post office, town office, schools and many other locations are available to concerned citizens who want to register to vote.

The law requiring a person to register to vote three days before an election is not too burdensome a law in order to make sure that all our legitimate votes count. No voter is disenfranchised by this law.

John G. Grooms, Jr.

Victim families made out well

I can not tell you just how tired I am of hearing about the poor families of the 9/11 attack. Nearly every day someone is whining about how bad they have things. Here are some facts to consider:

A total of $8.7 billion was paid out to civilian victim families of the attack. The average payment to each family was $3.1 million.

How much compensation did the families of other terrorist attacks get? How about the families of the 241 Marines killed in Lebanon? They got nothing and were killed by the same group that destroyed the World Trade Center.

Enough already. It’s time to stand up and move on with your life. The millions you got for the blood of you family members should help in that effort.

Gregory Boober Sr.

Change we hoped for

Since 2008, conservatives and Republicans have criticized President Obama for being a champagne socialist; for his bailouts for the auto union bosses, his Wall Street campaign contributors and his Martha’s Vineyard friends; a failed stimulus package; failed economic, jobs and housing policies; increasing health insurance premiums resulting from Obamacare and the downgrading of our credit rating.

However, for the following reasons, because of the dearth of viable GOP presidential candidates, conservatives and Republicans should consider supporting Obama in 2012. Domestically he re-authorized the extension of the Bush-era Patriot Act with its roving wiretaps and record searches; signed the extension of the Bush-era tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires and as senator voted against raising the debt limit because he believes it is the wise thing to do and because it works; continued the Bush-Cheney-Halliburton policy of invading Middle Eastern Muslim countries for the purpose of regime change and for the protection of big oil; followed the strong leadership of George W. Bush in advocating for democracies in the Middle East and, like Bush, the Nobel Peace Prize winner has no qualms about ordering people to be killed whether by sneak drone attacks or targeted assassinations.

In summary, since 2008 Obama has moved from the Bernie Sanders wing of the Democratic Party to the center-right of the Republican Party. This is the change we hoped for.

Rodney Lynch

Wind not worth it

Wind turbines may have a place in the overall alternative energy picture as a Band-Aid approach to reduce the bleeding dependencies of imported energy and intensified fossil fuel consumption. But it should not be on Maine’s mountaintops because the scope of their permanent and devastating footprint overwhelms the ecological benefit of their procurement.

Their short life span will not allow enough time to lower Maine’s energy consumption costs or provide the general public a return on their original investment. Conservation of energy use through weatherization and advances in energy allocation through smart meters and appliance upgrades would provide everyone in Maine with an instant return on investment.

There are no immediate or long-term benefits worth permanently destroying the natural environment. To argue that local geography has already been somewhat historically altered and therefore invites further exploitation is like admitting that whatever we have done wrong in the past supports our right to continue to do so in the future.

Mountaintop wind turbines will not make Maine a global player. Since their purpose is to satisfy established industrial energy demands elsewhere, they will not guarantee that new factories will be built here. They will not create enough good jobs to keep our children here.

But, for those of us who will live in their shadows, they will forever remind us of the great irreparable injustice we have done to our environment, perpetrated purely for the financial gain of a few under the guise of humanitarian progress.

Christopher J. Short
Lexington Twp.

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