Poor judgement

I was immediately outraged by the poor judgement made by News Director Daniel Dunkle and The Courier-Gazette for locating “Man accused of stealing sign, cutting down sunflower” top front page of Thursday’s Courier Gazette. Considering the severity of the “crime” would not a back page police blog have be the appropriate place to report the cutting down of a sunflower and theft of a Dunkin' Donuts sign rather than at a prime location in the paper usually reserved for the reportage of high profile major public events, crimes, deaths of significant public figures and other new worthy of that space. And then to print the mugshot of this young man who, yes…. committed a youthful indiscretion and needs admonishment at some level but did not deserve to be pilloried on the front page of his local newspaper! Please work a little harder at researching front page news worthy of print.

Warren Seelig


Deserve better

When James Laurita opened Hope Elephants, he assured supporters that funds would be used to help Rosie and Opal, and vowed to provide sanctuary and veterinary care to elephants who had been retired from the circus. Sending Rosie and Opal back to the Carson & Barnes Circus compound would turn Dr. Laurita’s promise upside down. It seems like the ultimate betrayal.

Carson & Barnes has one of the ugliest histories of mistreating animals and their abuse of elephants in particular has been captured on video. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has repeatedly cited Carson & Barnes for inadequate veterinary care, which is especially concerning given Rosie’s and Opal’s special medical needs.

Rosie and Opal deserve to be sent to an accredited sanctuary where these beautiful girls would have room to roam, swim and play, and socialize with other elephants. They don’t deserve to be sent back to the same miserable existence that Dr. Laurita removed them from.

Delcianna Winders, Esq.

PETA Foundation

Washington, DC

Why I march

I teach a high school class on global climate change. It’s a tough topic to teach. I have to resist my protective maternal instinct to sugarcoat things. I base what I teach on the science which makes it plain that the world will be a profoundly different place by the time the students are my age. But I also try to instill a sense of hope and show that we already have the know-how to shift to a non-carbon world. My goal is to teach students to work for change, not just protest against things, and to show them that a growing number of people are ready to walk beside them in what will be the biggest challenge of their generation.

Over the decades, I have written a steady stream of emails and letters and made countless phone calls to legislators (state and national) and governors to urge them to support this or that piece of legislation. These rarely get a response. Congress in Washington is doing absolutely nothing. Gov. Paul LePage has blocked bill after bill. President Barack Obama has done what he can (higher fuel efficiency standards, the most recent groundbreaking decision to regulate carbon emissions from existing coal plants), but it’s not nearly enough. Something needs to happen to get the attention of the world leaders who will be negotiating a climate change treaty this fall and of the US and Maine legislators who have put this issue on the back burner.

Do the math. Scientists hesitantly say that a 2-degree Celsius warming (which is more than twice what we’ve already had since the Industrial Revolution began) will create climate instability and perhaps a run-away greenhouse effect. We’re on track to reach this threshold by the time my kids are grandparents. Scientists are hesitant because they suspect that we will reach this threshold even before that. If we burn all of our fossil fuel reserves, we are looking at a 6-degree Celsius warming (that’s 11 degrees Fahrenheit), which means Maine will have the same average annual temperature as Virginia. Think about the extreme weather events we’ve had in just the last decade — Katrina, Sandy, the typhoon in the Philippines, the drought in Texas that resulted in millions of beef cows being shipped north because there was no food, the drought under way in California, tornadoes in Massachusetts, and on and on. How loudly do the scientists have to shout? How many “extreme” events need to happen? The fact that so many people are doing nothing is what is scaring the bejeezus out of my students.

It’s not fair to say, "here, kids, you’re the ones who will have to fix this." At least I can’t look my own daughters in the eye and say that. I hope to be alive and kicking for at least another 20 years, so I’m going to do what I can to help turn this big ship around. I know it will be a different world, but it can also be a better one — one where we leave the carbon era behind and truly start to live on this beautiful planet in a sustainable way. And so I march. To those who say the hundreds of students and adults heading from Maine to New York are hypocrites by riding in buses that burn fossil fuel, yes, I feel guilty every time I drive, but my emails and phone calls don’t seem to be doing the trick. And so I will join hundreds of thousands of others, including my students and my own children, in hopes that our collective voice will rise above the silence.

Janet McMahon


Support Clean Elections

The effort to challenge the Supreme Court decisions that brought an avalanche of secret money into our elections was defeated in the Senate Sept. 11, and one of our senators, Susan Collins, was among the Republicans who prevented passage of this constitutional amendment proposal that all Democrats supported. (Never mind Senator Collins's empty gesture earlier in the week to bring the Amendment proposal to the floor for debate.)

Voters who have participated in the movement to reverse the damage done to election campaigns by recent Supreme Court decisions should not despair. A constitutional amendment may not be possible, but it is possible to make good decisions about the people we elect to represent us on this issue in Washington and Augusta. It is necessary to read Sen. Angus King's statement on "clean elections" and to let his ideas guide us in electing our senators and representatives on Nov. 4. It is important to remember that Senator Collins earlier in her career supported clean elections. Now she is following a different kind of drummer, a different kind of Republican Party.

On Nov. 4, we can also come out strongly in support of our clean elections system in Maine by signing the "Initiative to Strengthen the Maine Clean Election Act." Go to mainecleanelections.org for information and to volunteer.

Carmen Lavertu


Support for Dave Miramant

I am writing in support of Dave Miramant for Senate District 12. A graduate of U Maine Farmington, Dave has already served in several capacities: Selectman in Camden and member of Maine House of Representatives. He has demonstrated his commitment to our communities. He now seeks to replace the highly respected Ed Mazurek, a true lion in the Democratic fight for the environment, education, middle-class protection, the safety net for our most vulnerable fellow citizens. Dave is the kind of person we need to carry the fight, to battle against those who would turn back the clock on the progress made over the last 40 years. He has been endorsed by the Maine Conservation Voters, the Maine Education Association, The Maine People's Alliance and the Sierra Club. These speak to Dave's record and character. Please join me in supporting this strong candidate on Nov. 4 who will advocate for those values and principles we need to protect."

Michael Donnelly


Heartfelt thanks

So many memories, so many people to thanks.

I received so many cards and letters of sympathy following Bobbi's death, these cold, arthritic hands just couldn't write to all of you individually.

I should have done this long ago, but somehow each time I tried, the tears and the blues came and I simply couldn't do it. She was so full of life and the joy of living.

I still have not, cannot accept the idea that she is gone. She lives on in my very heart and soul and will continue to do so as long as I live.

So please all of you accept my heartfelt thanks and forgive me for not doing this sometime ago.

Jim Whitney


Vote for honesty, integrity

Dave Miramant is my neighbor and friend. One cold wintery day when my snowblower broke, I called Dave for help. In very few minutes he arrived with his cheerful countenance and the necessary tools to make things right. That’s the kind of Senator we need in Augusta…… get things done right.

When Dave served our area in the Maine House of Representatives, he proved to be an honest and hard fighter for the welfare of all Mainers. I believe our state needs Dave more than ever. He will deliver clear-headed thinking on the tough issues facing Maine.

Vote for Dave Miramant. Vote for honesty and integrity in government.

Hank Lunn


I must have missed the facts

I would like to know why Mr. Ludwig even wrote his letter published Sept. 11. If it was only to say that he disagrees with “Another View” it could have been accomplished without his misinformation and baseless assertions. In the interest of full disclosure, I am acquainted with most of the contributors of “Another View” and most particularly with Mr. Frederic.

First, Mr. Ludwig seems to be most concerned by Conservative groups such as The Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works and Americans for Prosperity, of which he appears to be suspicious, if not actually contemptuous. While he asserts that these organizations represent the wealthy and greedy, he seems unconcerned by organizations such as MoveOn.org or The Open Society Institute, both strongly Left Wing groups, active nationally and here in Maine, which are heavily funded by presumably also greedy multi-billionaires. The group Mr. Frederic referenced is made up by local citizens. They are retirees, working singles and couples, parents and grandparents. The organization, if it can even be called that, is loosely organized, with no officers, no dues, and no membership roles. They meet at regular (although not weekly) meetings, and discuss their concerns in a respectful atmosphere. While it is true the Conservative organizations Mr. Ludwig sites are in favor of smaller government and less taxes, the rest of his statement is incorrect. It is not “freedom from regulatory restraint and individual responsibility” as he states, but freedom from regulatory overreach and the usurpation of individual rights. I challenge Mr. Ludwig to cite one instance where the Heritage Foundation, Freedom Works, or Americans for Prosperity have ever advocated for a “ruling class made up of the wealthy and privileged." That is simply nonsense. If he actually believes that, it is just sad.

He also is disdainful of the writer’s group of contributors for “Another View” that discusses ideas and not people. He calls this “ideology." I would refer Mr. Ludwig to a well-known 20th Century progressive, Eleanor Roosevelt, who said:

“Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss events, Small minds discuss people."

Mr. Ludwig correctly points out that none of the articles published thus far have mentioned democracy. Fair enough, but then why should they? Mr. Ludwig might feel “proud of believing in the democracy” where he lives, but I must point out that if he lives in Maine, he does not live in a democracy. The United States of America is Representative Republic, and while I know some uniformed people will wave their hands with a dismissive “whatever," there is a difference.

While Mr. Ludwig states that Mr. Frederic “and his ilk” show disdain of liberals and paint them as haters, he does not provide any evidence to support this, and in my contacts with them, I have seen none. I would also like to question Mr. Ludwig’s assertion that “Liberals know the truth." I am not aware that one opinion only is the “truth” while any dissenting view must therefore be “untrue." If there is disdain here, it is not on Mr. Frederic’s side.

I can attest most emphatically that Mr. Frederic writes all his own columns. When he does quote another source, that source is referenced. Mr. Ludwig’s “suspicion” that the articles are coming from “organizers and benefactors” is laughable. There are no organizers or benefactors. The contributors to the column meet once a week and discuss topics (but not content) and accept assignments based on their own interests and depth of knowledge.

Mr. Ludwig’s use of words and phrases such as “propaganda," and “political paranoia” smacks of projection, and makes me wonder if Mr. Ludwig actually reads “Another View” or as he erroneously accuses Mr. Frederic, merely signs his name to a piece written by someone else.

Submitted (and actually written by)

Betty Ann Frederic


Democracy and rant

In the Sept. 4 editions of The Camden Herald and The Courier-Gazette, Ken Frederic wrote an article entitled “Biscuits," which described an organization called the Tea Party. In the Sept. 11 editions of The Camden Herald and The Courier-Gazette, Raymond Ludwig responded to Mr. Frederic’s article. I would encourage all to read both articles via past newspapers or VillageSoup.

As I read Mr. Frederic’s article it is a calm and temperate explanation of what the Tea Party is all about. There is no attempt or mention of other groups whose views would be different than that of Mr. Frederic or the Tea Party.

Mr. Ludwig in his letter to the editor accuses Mr. Frederic of not being the actual author of the article. Not only is this completely false it also expresses that evidently Mr. Ludwig does not feel that an ordinary Midcoast citizen, who happens to be a conservative, has the intelligence or capability to write thoughtful and expressive articles. Mr. Ludwig displays his lack of knowledge about our government in repeatedly asking why Mr. Frederic does not use the word democracy to describe our system of government. Mr. Ludwig, the United States of America is not a democracy, it is a republic. Practice the Pledge of Allegiance, which is recited at a Tea Party meeting, a few times and maybe you would come to understand.

Mr. Ludwig also makes completely false and inflammatory comments in his letter. Mr. Ludwig states that the Tea Party promotes “deliberately devious conservative influence on state and local governments," “intent on greatly diminishing or even possibly destroying our great Democracy," and “the democracy of all the people would be replaced by a ruling class made up of the wealthy and privileged." These are all complete fabrications of an overactive imagination.

Mr. Ludwig describes Mr. Frederic’s article as a rant. I would strongly suggest again that all who would be interested read both articles and decide who has written a rant.

Dale E. Landrith Sr.