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Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014: Roe v. Wade, Medicaid expansion, the humanities

Remember 1973

Jan. 22 commemorates the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that has placed a heavy blot on America, with 56 million unborn babies having been taken from us by horrendous measures that are more than inhumane.

Remember them.

Sharon I. Rideout


Middle ground

Our Maine legislators can find middle ground. They’ve done it before on passing an education bill last year for our children, which had bipartisan support and gave families with high-school-age children an added boost, as well as a bill for our younger children from kindergarten to 8th grade.

Now our senators and representatives have an opportunity to put Mainers first, again. It is very timely to give our legislators a respectful push toward overriding the governor’s inevitable veto concerning state receipt of federal funds for Medicaid expansion. The use-it-or-lose-it money is just sitting there waiting and available, the inaccuracies by those who provided a report on this topic notwithstanding.

Instead of emphasizing how the receipt of these federal monies would ripple throughout our state’s economy and thus create higher state revenues, the study overestimated the cost of Medicaid expansion and the speed with which poverty would increase by 2020. The benefits hugely outweigh the costs.

Not only would the economy of our state be stimulated, but hospitals and doctors would also be the beneficiaries, as would those who seek work, with the creation of many new jobs. Yet, the governor consistently has made clear that he will do anything to cause delay to thousands of our fellow Mainers from receiving the needed health care assistance, even if that includes the denial of job creation on a large scale, for which our state desperately needs and can ill-afford to ignore.

David Guarente

Blue Hill

Gubernatorial support

I received a fundraising letter this week from Gov. Paul LePage. I have been a staunch supporter of his small-government, low-tax policy and was first in line to vote for him in the last election.

Unfortunately, I am unable to contribute to his campaign this year. While I know he was not elected during the 2008 economic collapse, he must agree that it was his fellow libertarian politicians who led the charge on bank deregulation. As a result, I was laid off and lost my home to foreclosure.

Fortunately, we were able to rent a new place, and I collected unemployment to make ends meet. By allowing those benefits to expire, his colleagues at the federal level have given me just the kick in the pants I needed to stop being so lazy and start pounding the pavement for a job. I hear the local McDonald’s is hiring.

It’s too bad that the (absolutely necessary) tax breaks LePage gave Maine’s wealthiest citizens meant no more revenue sharing with Maine towns and cities. Since we can’t afford to repave the roads, when I swerved to miss a pothole, I ran into a tree and broke my leg.

I am now one of the 70,000 uninsured Mainers because LePage bravely stood his ground on Medicaid expansion, but I’m afraid I can’t give him the last $10 in my bank account. That has to go toward my medical bills.

Rachel Booker


Another war?

U.S. Senate bill S.1881 would terminate the current diplomatic overtures between Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council. U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is a co-sponsor, as are a number of other New England senators, both Democrats and Republicans.

The Obama administration is strongly opposed to this bill, but it has 58 co-sponsors. Out of 100 U.S. senators, 58 are co-sponsors. Just a couple more, and the bill is veto-proof. So, are we ready for another war?

What can we do? Immediately contact Collins and Sen. Angus King to tell them to vote against S.1881. We cannot afford any more wars — financially, morally or in human lives.

What are the underlying pressures for another war? Follow the money. Oil companies set up monopolies and arms manufacturers make billions — and out of U.S. taxpayers’ pockets. War depletes the U.S. Treasury, and when the federal budget is cut (not the military budget though), state funding and aid to communities is slashed.

We don’t have enough money for public education, roads, fire and police protection, human services, environmental protection, climate change actions, etc. Who wins then? These public responsibilities will either be privatized or completely eliminated with no governmental cost or other regulations.

Corporations have nearly taken over. This is just one more step in that well-planned operation. Is this how we want to live?

Mariah Williams


Classroom spirit

In her beautifully rendered Jan. 18 BDN essay on the relevance of the humanities in the classroom, Professor Kristen Case points out that “moments of classroom grace … do not reflect a linear progress from ignorance to knowledge; instead they describe a step away from a complacent knowing into a new world in which, at least at first, everything is cloudy, nothing is quite clear.” And from which wider circles of understanding must then be imagined. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the case more cogently or evocatively stated.

And what a stunning “moment of classroom grace” Case describes, when her student, struggling to apply a thought of Heidegger’s, says, “I mean, when we say what something is, we kill its other chances. I think we do that to people, too.” Might we not all profit by reciting that thought every morning before setting out into the world?

Case’s students are indeed fortunate to have such an inspired and inspiring spirit in their classrooms. And thanks to the BDN for making that classroom available to its readers.

Jim Bishop



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