Apples and oranges

An Aug. 4 letter to the editor from the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine dealt with the possibility of a referendum on methods of bear hunting. I was expecting to read a justification for these methods.

Rather, the letter primarily took the Humane Society of the United States to task for not doing more for local animal shelters. It seems this criticism is unwarranted because these organizations have different missions.

Local animal shelters are geared toward helping animals in their locality. They are not set up for investigating puppy mills, factory farms or animal abuse on a wider scale. HSUS, on the other hand, can deal with these issues. It seems to be a matter of comparing apples and oranges.

I am expecting we will hear more from the Sportsman’s Alliance on the possible referendum. I am hoping any future discussions will be geared more towards the issues than the referendum’s proponents.

For the record, my wife and I have volunteered at our local animal shelter and contribute financially to this organization as well as HSUS and shelters and rescue organizations around Maine. We recognize the different missions of each entity and support them all.

John C. Field


Change Maine Stein tune

It’s time for the Maine Stein Song to slip away into oblivion, as it has outlived its usefulness. I am a band nerd, so this comes with some semblance of experience and authority. It’s a lame tune. It sounds like almost every other old and tired marching fight song from the early 1900s.

We have come a long way in music theory since the revamped version was created and could create a more modern arrangement.

As for the lyrics, well, for starters, it caters toward the more base instincts of animals. It extols the “virtues” of a hedonistic lifestyle, which is the easiest path in life. Not what would be expected to be heard in the hallowed halls of higher learning, nor in the minds of the future leaders of the most advanced organism in our solar system, because even the most illiterate bum can drink, cheer and pick up a woman.

Secondly, it is rabidly sexist. It assumes only males would sing the tune, be cheered for in sports or drink alcohol. I’m surprised that an educated, enlightened and progressive society like ours would find this early 20th century product “great.”

Take love of the alma mater out of the equation for a moment, and step back. Yes, it’s ironic that it is a drinking hymn for a school where half of the student body cannot legally drink.

However, if this song was sung at a Republican political rally, the mainstream media would call the organizers evil, old fashioned, out of touch and say they were desiring to “turn back the clock” on equal rights for women.

It’s time for a change.

Tom Myers


Celebrate Social Security

On Aug. 14, Americans everywhere can celebrate 78 years of Social Security. When the Social Security Act was signed into law in 1935, almost half of all older Americans lived in poverty. At first, Social Security was just a retirement program. Today, it offers survivors’ benefits, benefits to a retiree’s spouse and disability benefits.

Social Security is a foundation of economic security for millions of Americans and their families. In Maine, one third of those 65 and older who are on Social Security rely on their benefit for 100 percent of their income. Without Social Security, more than 80,000 older Mainers would fall into poverty.

As we look at ways to strengthen Social Security now and for the future, let’s remember that Social Security hasn’t contributed one dime to the nation’s budget deficit. It is a self-financed program, not a piggy bank for deficit reduction.

Washington should leave Social Security out of the deficit debate, so we can find responsible, sustainable solutions now and for the future. The so-called “Chained CPI” proposal we are hearing about will cut benefits. It will hurt seniors, women, people with disabilities and veterans who’ve sacrificed so much for this country.

As we celebrate 78 years of Social Security, let’s make sure Washington does not make decisions about its future without hearing from everyone of us first. Go to today.

Meredith Tipton, AARP Maine, executive council member

South Portland

Economic sounds

I would like to speak to the 10 or 15 Bangor residents making complaints about Waterfront Concerts. Do they realize that if they were successful in their complaints, they would be affecting the economy improvements that have occurred because of these events? Consider the businesses in the area that would no longer benefit, financially, if the music suddenly stopped.

Ernest Wallace Jr


Bear facts

I would like to respond to the Aug. 4 letter by Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine Executive Director David Trahan that misrepresented The Humane Society of the United States as part of SAM’s effort to defend inhumane and unsporting methods of killing bears. Maine is the only state that allows all three unnecessary and cruel practices of trapping, hounding and baiting, which have no place in fair-chase bear hunting or responsible bear management.

The HSUS has top ratings from charity evaluators and cared for more than 100,000 animals in desperate need last year. Our successful anti-cruelty campaigns, which help millions more animals, were developed under the leadership of two Maine residents who chaired our board of directors for a combined 12 years.

We also run the nation’s largest sanctuary system and help local shelters in myriad ways. In Maine, our experts visited and provided assistance to shelters in Aroostook, Washington, Kennebec, Somerset and Oxford counties. The HSUS is also sponsoring a conference with the Maine Federation of Humane Societies to help improve the care of cats in our state. I’m pleased to serve on the board of that organization.

Animal shelters like The Coastal Humane Society, Animal Refuge League and Animal Welfare Society support the campaign to provide long overdue protections for Maine’s bears and prevent the inhumane treatment of dogs used in hounding. Ending bear hounding will help shelters, as they are the ones burdened with caring for the stray and abandoned hounds treated more like hunting equipment than family pets.

To learn more and get involved in the campaign, please visit

Katie Hansberry, Maine state director,

The Humane Society of the United States