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Saturday, June 8, 2013: Global warming, school lunches and the east-west highway

Heat and profits

Alan Boone’s June 6 BDN OpEd “Time To Turn Down The Heat” trots out all the same old half-truths used by global warming denialists everywhere. The standard modus operandi is to claim that there’s still uncertainty and doubt by large numbers of scientists and that the “alarmists” are just in it for the “billions in grant support and political influence.”

Let’s be clear: The vast majority of the world’s scientists, particularly those who actively study climate issues, agree that our planet is warming at an alarming and precipitous rate. They also agree that burning fossil fuels is the primary reason. The science is clear, and the data supports the science.

In pragmatic terms, we are releasing carbon that was sequestered during millions of years in about 20 decades. No impact?

Boone writes that if we examine a temperature graph starting in 1960 that the temperature rise disappears into statistical insignificance. I believe the exact opposite is true. Interested readers can easily explore this and related issues at any number of unbiased sites, for example: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cmb-faq/globalwarming.html.

Exxon-Mobil’s 2012 profit alone was almost $45 billion, which works out to $5 million per hour, according to an article on CNN Money. The real issue with “billions” and “political influence” isn’t groups of scientists working 80-hour weeks holed up in basement labs across the world.

Frank John


Free lunch?

Recently, there has been a fair amount of news coverage about a student at Old Town Middle School who was denied a lunch because the child’s parent already owed $53 to the school. I was reminded of the very same thing happening at Brewer High School.

In this case the parent owed nothing; their electronic payment simply did not appear in the system before the student got to lunch the day after posting. We now know that it takes 24 hours for credits to appear in the system.

So, if people are going to hang Superintendent David Walker’s photo in a rogues gallery of insensitive superintendents, mine should be prominently placed there as well. While I could list problems with the way the federal, state and local levels manage the school nutrition program, the fact remains hot lunch is an enterprise fund. Hence, it must be operated just like a business, and, like any business, customers who have been certified with sufficient earnings must pay for their child’s meal.

I know Walker is a kind person, and I am sure that he has paid for students’ lunches out of his own pocket many times. We all have. No child in this great country should go hungry.

If we reduced the massive bureaucracy that ensures children are categorized as free-, reduced- and paid-lunch status, perhaps we could fold these savings back into the program and feed every child in this great nation a nutritious hot lunch without charge. In the meantime we’ll try to make ends meet.

Daniel Lee, Superintendent of Schools


No destructive project

The Maine woods won a great victory this week when Gov. Paul LePage allowed the bill to become law that rescinds the public money for the feasibility study of the east-west highway. I was rejoiced to hear this news because I have had a lifelong love affair with the Maine woods since I was a toddler.

I have spent my life exploring the Maine woods. To take in a sunrise or a sunset and see the trees all around and hear the sounds of the natural inhabitants of the forest — it’s breathtaking at the very least. There are no words to explain the peace and serenity one gets from truly being in the wilderness.

It is soul healing and grounding. I was heartbroken when I heard about the proposed 220-mile path of destruction. How could the Maine woods ever be the same if this is allowed? Let’s keep up the fight and let Cianbro Corp. know Mainers do not want this destructive project.

Lisa Strainer


Big Brother

I am so happy to have a “Big Brother” to watch over me, watching me from video cameras on lamp posts and from drones in the sky. Big Brother can make sure I only get good books from the library, and he can check my medical records to make sure I have not been doing anything bad. Big Brother listens to my phone calls and watches my email just to make sure I am being good.

And Big Brother is protecting me from the enemy with constant wars someplace or another — so many that I lose track. This makes me so thankful to Big Brother. It is so nice to have such a protective Big Brother. I will do anything for wonderful Big Brother. I will give up my rights for Big Brother.

Stephen Blythe


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