Letters to the editor — The Courier-Gazette

Sep 04, 2014

Takes the challenge

Over the last couple of weeks you’ve made reference to folks who write to disagree with you but don’t care to be on the record. I’ll take that challenge, but first must acknowledge the writer who offered that conservatives recognize the to risk their businesses and their property of the thug mentality that is not uncommon on the left. I’m talking about the busloads of “demonstrators” showing up on lawns of people deemed to be "too wealthy," the glee of the Portland Press Herald in anticipating publication of the names of those who gave funds to preserve the traditional definition of marriage, and the publication of the names and addresses of registered gun owners in New York and (I believe) Connecticut. Let me also cite the Portland Press Herald publication of the address of the Gov. LePage’s recently purchased property in Boothbay, which is in stark contrast to stories in multiple other newspapers that gave only the general location. If you have any doubt that was done other than in the hope there would be vandalism then I’d challenge you to state what public interest it might serve.

I believe we’ve agreed there is bigotry, racism, and hate and that you’ve acknowledged it isn’t to any greater degree on either side. I do know I’ve said I’m guilty of remembering it when it’s coming from the left and surely it annoys you more when it’s from the right. For my part, I’ve been infuriated by the instances above and by

— The Maine Democrat leadership trying to scuttle the human trafficking bill simply because it was sponsored by a Republican only to see it unanimously approved when media attention forced them to bring it forward.

— The Democrat committee chairwoman and her deputy donning clown noses to mock citizens testifying against bills they favored.

— The Democrats refusal to address welfare fraud and their insistence on expanding Maine Care to single, able bodied adults ages 18-49.

— Speaker Eaves now proposing to borrow money to deal with the nursing home crisis he ignored in the legislative session (when the governor called for a funded solution)

You’ve said that numbers don’t lie but they also don’t always tell the truth. I’m among those who disapprove of Congress and am frankly aghast that anyone approves. But I’d say the hundreds of bills stacked up on Harry Reid’s desk are every bit as disappointing as the actions by the House to stop legislation. It’s the job of the opposition to oppose and I have to ask whether you’d denounce a Democrat Senate in the next session that refused to vote on a House bill to make Maine a Right-to-Work state or one that made belonging to a union optional for teachers and state workers and prohibited paycheck deductions for union dues?

We can agree Congress doesn’t work very hard, not nearly as hard as our own state legislature. We can agree that partisan ideology has replaced statesmanship. Let me suggest, however, that our legislators may only be reflecting what they perceive we want. I believe we’ve become a society that makes decisions, votes, and supports issues based on interests, not values and principles. If we want better performance from our legislators, we need to become better constituents. I hope we will continue searching for what we can agree on and denounce the bickering. (Even if I do annoy the daylights out of you.)

Ken Frederic

Bristol

Not clear

In his Another View column [Aug. 28 edition] Paul Ackerman, tries to present to readers what a "straw man" argument is and how it is used in today's politics. He claims, "the goal of this form of argument is to denigrate the opponent’s image, while improving your own, by forcing them to refute a false argument, thereby having to repeat the lies in rebuttal — which oddly lends more credibility to the substance of the lie by repetition in the media." In simpler terms you set your opponent up to be something they are not.

Mr. Ackerman, provides one example that President Obama, who he refers to as 'the master of straw men," falsely accused Republicans for wanting to roll back tax breaks for the middle class. Obama, in his warning that Mr. Ackerman sites, was accurate. Perhaps Mr. Ackerman may be surprised to know that in the deal to avoid the "Fiscal Cliff" the Republican leadership insisted that the Payroll Tax be hiked back up to 6.2 percent from 4.2 percent. To be fair, despite Obama's rhetoric, the Democrats did not lift a finger to hold the 2 percent tax break for working people. However if Republicans did not want a tax hike on the middle class, as Mr. Ackerman asserts, than why did they insist that increase be part of the "Fiscal Cliff" compromise? I don't see how Mr. Ackerman is example of the straw man argument is very clear or accurate — when in the example that he used — Obama's warning actually came to fruition. In 2013 a family making $50,000 was required to pay about $1,000 more in taxes largely do to the fact that Republicans in the House were only willing to adjust former President Bush's tax breaks for the the rich if workers were required to pay more.

Speaking of President Bush, I think Mr. Ackerman could have provided a more prudent example of the Straw Man if he had looked at the foreign policy record of President George W Bush. Lie after lie was repeated by President Bush, repeated by Secretary of State Colin Powell, and repeated by Vice President Dick Cheney and reported in nearly every media outlet, over and over again that Iraq with their "weapons of mass destruction posed a threat to us." Iraq's supposed threat to us was repeated by the likes of Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and political elites of the two major parties. Lies to justify an invasion and occupation that has ultimately turned much of Iraq into chaotic killing fields filled with sectarian strife. The Gulf of Tomkin Resolution not with standing- there is perhaps no better representation of the 'Staw Man' argument than the drive to War in Iraq.

I will say that, today, when many are calling for another war or at least more involvement in the Middle East Mr. Ackerman's comments on the political straw are quite timely.

James A. York

Rockland

Chance to blossom

Blueberry Cove Camp in Tenants Harbor thanks all the generous local people who donated all sorts of delicious food to a pre-race dinner and a brunch served as part of our benefit half marathon, which took place Aug. 23-24. The fourth annual Blueberry Cove 13.1 was in just about every way wonderful thanks to donations, volunteers, camp staff and all the runners and walkers who participated. They came from all over.

In particular, thanks to Atlantic Baking Company, Good Tern Co-op, Hole in the Wall Bagel and Rock City Coffee in Rockland. Also, The Slipway restaurant, Thomaston Cafe and the Highlands Coffee House in Thomaston; the Happy Clam, and pie-baker Beckie Delaney in Tenants Harbor; Village Ice Cream in Port Clyde, Schoolhouse Farm in Warren, Rising Tide Co-op in Damariscotta.

We raised money for campers who otherwise couldn't afford to come to this happy place. But maybe better than that, we made many new friends, people who realize that giving children a chance to blossom into themselves in a loving environment is about the best we can do for the next generation. Blueberry Cove is lucky to be a 4H Camp, an important branch of the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. Please come visit us any time in Tenants Harbor, and at Tanglewood in Lincolnville.

Steve Cartwright, Race Director, Vice President

Tanglewood/Blueberry Cove Board

Waldoboro

Support for Sutton

I have been a Democrat all my life, and so were my parents.

I am writing today to encourage Knox County residents to vote for Paula Sutton, candidate for State Senate.

Paula, who lives in Warren, has been a Maine resident all her life, and loves this state. She is my friend and she and her husband, Kerin, do everything they can for me, sometimes give me supper, sometimes helping with my business, and always there with a supporting word. They are good people and true friends.

Please join me in supporting Paula Sutton for the Maine State Senate. I'm sure — without a question — that she will put her heart and soul into this, as with everything she does.

Jeannie Harkins

Rockland

Smart choice

This November voters in Knox County will have very clear choices between the candidates running for various state and local offices, from reelecting Gov. Paul LePage to a number of state Legislature seats held by long-time incumbents, and for the open seat for the newly created Senate District 12.

Paula Sutton is the smart choice for voters to represent Knox County in our State Senate, not because she is a third-generation Mainer or even because she has been a successful entrepreneur-businesswoman who knows from first hand experience how to make a dollar on her own and how to stretch a dollar to balance a budget.

The most compelling reason to vote for Paula Sutton is that she is her own woman and cares as much about making sure a social safety net is there for people who truly need it as she is passionate about creating an economic environment in our state that will grow the overall tax base to afford necessary state programs.

Paula is both savvy and compassionate. She firmly believes that a thriving private sector is essential to providing a sustainable future for younger generations to remain in Maine, and that state government has to be more prudent in allocating state revenues in order to prevent generational theft and out-migration. At the same time, she is passionate about providing Mainers the educational resources and opportunities for future generations so that they can stay in their home state.

And while she understands the need for careful stewardship of state resources, and improving our state’s educational performance at all levels is essential for providing a vibrant and sustainable economic base that can benefits all of Maine’s citizens, she strongly believes that over-regulating private industry inhibits growth of our state economy.

Paula is a go-getter who is not afraid to ask hard questions. She is fiercely independent and will put the needs of here constituents above the interests of partisan politics.

Knox County needs independent, balanced, energetic, thoughtful and focused representation in Augusta, and Paula Sutton will bring all of that, and more, to the State Senate. She will be a tenacious, rock solid advocate for the needs and interests of her district, both for individual residents and the county as a whole.

Nick Lapham

Tenants Harbor

A breath of fresh air

Paula Sutton recently came to my door to introduce herself and ask for my vote for the Maine State Senate. Wow, is she ever a breath of fresh air!

I invited her in, sat down and listened very carefully to her campaign ambitions and attitudes. I personally witnessed the enormous amount of passion she has for the campaign. She is absolutely loaded with enthusiasm and energy for this big job! Since then, I have reviewed her website/information containing her campaign. It is very clear to me that not only is there no war on women as the Democrats have alleged, but quite the opposite. She brings to the table her experience of administering a micro-lending program in Central America, which benefited many women and their families. I feel that women would be well-represented by Paula Sutton in the Maine State State and should support her wholeheartedly.

Also, last, but not least, it is very important that Maine continue to make a more business friendly environment. This is where Paula's skills of having a very diverse, strong, small business background will also come come in to play. These are just great examples of how she would make Maine residents proud!

Deborah B. Armstrong
Camden

Cultural cuisine

During this past summer, Penobscot School in Rockland paired English immersion students with area chefs in order to offer the community a taste of foods from Colombia, Italy, Spain, Japan and Germany. This was very successful and only because of some very generous people. Our sincere thanks go to the area restaurants and chefs who participated in our Cultural Cuisine evenings. Much appreciated donations of time and product were received from Tom Sigler of Comida Latin Kitchen, Louise MacLellan-Ruf, Melissa Kelly of PRIMO, Chartrand Imports, FIORE Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars, Suzuki’s, Beth’s Farm Market, Carl Brickett of Morse’s Sauerkraut, The Wine Seller, Jess’ Seafood Market, RAYR: The Wine Shop, Rock City Roasters and Hannaford. These community members made for several delightful evenings.

We would also like to thank all area families involved in our English Immersion program including student hosts and those who prepared meals. Last, but hardly least, we extend our gratitude to those who provided excursions that help our students to solidify their classroom learning. These include Bay Chamber Concerts, Muriel Curtis of Station Maine, The Schooner Olad, The Farnsworth Art Museum, The Owls Head Transportation Museum, The ApprenticeShop and Hope Elephants. Several of our international students commented upon the generosity of the people in the area. One was so struck by this community’s sense of giving that she chose to do her final presentation on this very topic.

Thank you for helping us to provide cultural opportunities for MidCoast residents. It was such a pleasure to work with all of you!

Joan LeMole, Executive Director

Penobscot School

Tech Talks

On behalf of Trekkers, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to everyone who participated in our most recent fundraising event, Trekkers’ Tech Talks, with Scott Carpenter of Google Ideas, on Wednesday, Aug. 27 at the Strand Theatre.

A very special thank you to my brother, Scott, for traveling to Maine to share his insights with us, including Google's mission and projects, data permanence issues, online censorship, and the interconnectedness of the internet, foreign policy and national security. His travels around the world, coupled with real-life stories from the “think/do” tank work he has been doing with his peers at Google Ideas, were eye-opening and thought-provoking. He discussed strategies on expanding freedom of expression in closed societies, the societal impacts of the Internet’s explosive growth projections, and technology advancements that can help to protect and facilitate access to information for the entire world, and in every language.

Special thanks to the Strand Theatre and their outstanding staff for the wonderful venue and technical assistance. My sincere thanks to the following individuals who helped make the event and its planning go so smoothly: John Bragg, Bethany Yovino, Jack Carpenter, Stu Rich, Joyce Burnham, Lily Vachon, Jean Faustini, Shari Closter, Meredith Lynt and Alaina Ennamorati. And, of course, many thanks to everyone who attended this educational evening and supported Trekkers through this event.

As Trekkers comes to the close of its 20th year of programming for youth growing up in the Midcoast area, we are grateful for all the support we receive from the community. The local community and our supportive volunteers make it possible for us to achieve the Trekkers’ mission of connecting young people with caring adults through expeditionary learning, community service and adventure-based education. Thank you all so very much.

Don Carpenter, Executive Director

Trekkers

Thomaston

Duck Dash

Erica Harriman, CPA and Deb Anderson, manager of the Damariscotta Bank & Trust of Union organized a very successful Duck Dash event at the Union Fair to benefit the Come Spring Food Pantry in Union. With the help of many others, plastic ducks were offered for sale and then released at the bridge at the entrance to the fairgrounds where they then floated together down the stream to the race track. There was a winner.

Thank you to everyone who bought tickets and worked to make this event a success.

The Come Spring Food Pantry serves Union, Appleton, and South Hope. It can be found in the yellow school attached to the Thompson Community Center in Union and is open the second and fourth Wednesday, from 9:30- 11:30 a.m.

Carol Watier, Manager

Come Spring Food Pantry

Union

Birthday bash

I would like to give special thanks to Wal-Mart, Shaws, and Hannaford for their donations to Sal's Birthday Bash Fundraiser for the St. George Ambulance. Thank you to the St. George firemen for the use of their tents and their help. Thank you to Donna Dennison for designing the poster. Thank you to Rick Freeman, Mike, Tracy, Randy Elwell and Bobby Joe Polky for the pig and chicken roast. Paramedic Sally Taylor for providing blood pressure checks. Thank you Dewayne Wight for the sound system. Thank you to the musicians from the Monday night jam sessions at the St. George Grange for their wonderful music. Thank you to the many friends and family members who provided salads and desserts. Thank you to the kitchen help. A special big thanks go to all the people who donated. Without everyone's help we wouldn't have raised more than $3,000 for the St. George Ambulance! I hope to see everyone next year for birthday number 92!

Sally Long

St. George

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