Not what we want to hear

Howard Cutler’s Dec. 22 BDN letter is notable. He argues that the release of the CIA’s torture report is treasonous, that it is filled with “untruths” concocted by Democrats and that the release of the information was criminal and weak. His sentiment matters because it ought to alert all of us, regardless of political views, how easy it is to sway all information we receive to fit our preconceived narrative.

People across the political spectrum can fall victim to disbelieving good information based on their ideologies. In this instance, we have a report published by the CIA, which answers to neither Republicans or Democrats when it comes to the information it collects on its own agency. Thanks to the release of the report, we have been better educated to the fact that the specific interrogation methods used were not effective and were arguably more disturbing than we originally thought. The report does not tell us what we want to hear, but it tells us enough that we can make more informed decisions in the future.

This is not the first or the last time we will be presented with information that does not fit what we want to hear, but we do ourselves and our country a disservice by disregarding good information in favor of conspiracy theories and inflammatory rhetoric that would better confirm our prejudices.

Ryan Asalone


McHenry show trial

I am writing in agreement with the Dec. 18 letter from Margaret Clancey regarding the recent action of the Bangor School Committee, which fired James McHenry. The basic American Justice system of “innocent until proven guilty” was totally violated.

I have known McHenry for 14 years, as we have worked in multiple activities involving high school-age students. He has always demonstrated effective and positive role modeling in work with young people. I have also heard there have been no prior negative school evaluations.

I was asked, along with four others who know McHenry well, to present at the school board meeting. We were kept in a separate room for more than two hours and then brought in one at a time. I was told that during the time we waited the original complainant testified via Skype. I was asked a series of ridiculous “what if” type questions having nothing to do with my relationship with McHenry or about his character.

The whole situation in which the school administration and school board arrived at the decision had nothing to do with the law as I understand it. I certainly hope the decision they made will be reversed, although I have little faith that justice will be done.

Charles O. Grant


Kudos Sheriff Ross

As the state director of Fight Crime: Invest In Kids, I would like to publicly congratulate Penobscot County Sheriff Glenn Ross on his retirement, and thank him for his 36 years of dedicated public service to all of Maine — but especially for his attention to and nurturing of our youngest citizens.

As evidenced in his Dec. 20 letter “Invest in our children,” Sheriff Ross knows and understands that wise public investments in high-quality programs for Maine children, agesnewborn to five years old, pay the greatest dividends to those children, their families and our communities. Sheriff Ross has been a strong supporter of in-home parent coaching home visitation programs for young parents because he knows parents who participate are much less likely to abuse or neglect children.

Sheriff Ross is a champion of high-quality early education in Maine — because he knows that when young children participate in early head start, head start, or pre-kindergarten, they are more likely to be successful academically and socially throughout their lives. He also knows that high-quality child care is needed not only for a children’s cognitive, social and emotional development, but also so their parents can be productive in their work places and not distracted with child care uncertainties.

Sheriff Ross has been an amazing community leader on many issues.

Kim Gore


FairPoint is a failure

I’m writing this from a place of pure frustration. Ever since the storm that hit Nov. 1 and 2, I have not had a working phone. My line came down due to the high winds and has been laying on the ground ever since.

I and others have called FairPoint continuously since, and it’s been one lie after another. They’ve told me that they’d be there on a particular day and never show up. Once I was told they had been there but didn’t have enough line so would be back. I called again yesterday to find out that they had closed the “ticket” even though the line was still not up.

FairPoint needs to settle the strike and give their employees what they deserve or lose federal funding.

Marni Maynard

Deer Isle