Your brain on SpongeBob
I am writing to hopefully provide some clarification to the whole SpongeBob SquarePants issue. There have been several articles written recently, by doctors, brain development specialists and even one in the Bangor Daily News by Sarah Smiley.
The brain is the fastest growing thing in the body for the first eight years of life. The brain is plastic, waiting to be molded. The human brain is forming about 700 new connections per minute between its cells during the early years of life. There is growing evidence suggesting that during this most crucial time, television type activities could provide some short circuits. This is especially important because you have to live with that brain for the rest of your life.
Sarah Smiley wrote a lengthy article about how wonderful SpongeBob was for her three children. In fact, her third son’s first word was SpongeBob. She goes on to say, “I’m OK with that. It could be worse.” Time will tell.
Don’t support bullies
It seems sadly appropriate that the only recent issue to receive much bipartisan support in our scurrilous Congress is its condemnation of the Palestinian plan to seek formal statehood from the U.N.
Democrats and Republicans can agree on this, it seems, if nothing else: The pro-Israel lobby gets what it wants — no matter how much it goes against American values, how much it threatens America’s safety, how little it benefits the American people (but greatly benefits Israel — a foreign country), and how contrary it is to all the feel-good, liberty-loving platitudes that flowed from our government during the Arab Spring.
Why do our elected representatives keep supporting the bullies on the block? Follow the money.
I have two questions for Sen. Richard Rosen regarding his BDN Op-Ed, “Representing the people fully and fairly.”
During the last legislative session, I sent him four emails regarding the proposed changes to the retirement system that were extremely important to me. I sent three emails to his email address that I found on the website of the Maine Legislature and one I sent to the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs which Sen. Rosen chaired.
I asked for a reply to each message. I included my address, telephone number and email address with each message. One included the following plea: “Any response, however brief, will be appreciated.”
Seven months have passed and he has not replied. Sen. Rosen asserts that he is “representing the people fully and fairly.” How can he be representing me fully if he does not respond to my questions and concerns? May I infer from my experience that, in “fairness” to all his constituents, his policy is to respond to none?
Regarding Roxanne Quimby’s Sept. 16 appearance on the Maine Public Broadcasting Network TV show “Maine Watch,” I was surprised to hear her say that establishing a national park north of Millinocket would diversify the region’s economy. Surely, I am not the first to point out that Baxter State Park already attracts some 20,000 visitors to the region each year.
Ms. Quimby opined that a national park would have a greater economic impact than Baxter State Park because Baxter, she said, is loved only by Mainers and does not attract wider attention. I feel this is untrue: besides Katahdin’s obvious significance as the terminus of the Appalachian Trail, Baxter State Park is nationally recognized for its native trout fisheries and is regularly featured in national magazines like Backpacker.
Percival Baxter had a vision that his 210,000-acre park would remain forever wild for the people of Maine. I welcome the idea of Quimby’s 70,000 acres being conserved from excessive, unplanned development but I balk at the thought of gift shops and an asphalt road looping just a few miles from Baxter’s haven and in full view from one of our state’s wilderness icons, the summit of Katahdin.
Before the snow starts to settle on Baxter Peak, I hope Roxanne can find the time to fly home to Maine, drive up to Baxter and climb Katahdin. From the top, she can look east at the site of her proposed national park, and reflect on the impact that it could have on the character of northern Maine.
College student challenge
The BDN’s Sept. 22 lead story reports that a two-month investigation by Secretary of State Charles Summers found no evidence of voter fraud by college students.
More shameful than the waste of taxpayer funds is Secretary Summers’ sending letters to student voters, intimating that they will be breaking the law if they don’t register their cars in Maine. The clear aim of the entire exercise is to disenfranchise students by intimidating them.
As the story indicates, the courts have affirmed the right of students to vote where they attend school. I hope Maine’s students note this fact, and Mr. Summers’ attempted bullying, and respond with unprecedented participation in Maine elections.
Apple tree history
Writers may have their own opinions, but they can not have their own facts.
An article in the BDN’s Sept. 20 issue about apples states: “The Pilgrim’s are believed to have planted the first apple trees in the Massachusetts Bay Colony.” If it was the Pilgrims who planted the trees, it would have been at the Plymouth Colony, not the Massachusetts Bay Colony. If the trees are in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, they would have been planted by the Puritans.
Charles L. Boothby
A state budget exported
We are all worried about jobs. When corporations are moving our jobs overseas by the millions in order to maximize profits from cheap labor, who will create jobs here at home?
According to research done by the National Priorities Project, the taxpayers of Maine have paid $3.4 billion for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Libya since 2001. That amount is equal to one year’s budget in Augusta. Stop and consider how our tax dollars could have been used in our state instead of being wasted on endless war.
Studies show that military spending creates far fewer jobs than if our tax dollars were invested in education, health care, home weatherization or building rail systems.
Let’s demand that our money be used to do good things here in Maine.