Let legislators know what you think

The Joint Select Regulatory Fairness and Reform Committee will be holding their public hearing on Gov. LePage’s regulatory reform proposals Monday, Feb. 14, at the Cross Building in Augusta, from 9 a.m. to noon.

To all concerned: this is a good chance to speak up. The committee has been traveling the state listening for input and suggestions on regulatory issues for the past few weeks. Many have called for streamlining some regulations, but very few have challenged the need for environmental agencies and laws — which, after reading Gov. LePage’s reform package, are the obvious target in his plan.

It makes one wonder, as few have expressed this drastic need, where his inspirations come from. His comments on “business friendly” led me towards an interesting article posted at portland.thephoenix.com/news/114354-lepages-secret-bankers/

Here we can read about the large businesses, mostly from out of state, that helped bankroll his campaign. If you read the above article you’ll find that they all directly relate to parts of Gov. LePage’s proposals and that they would certainly benefit if they are moved forward. They include:

• the drug industry — $760,000

• the private prison firm (that wants to build in Milo) — $25,000

• for-profit social service companies/consultants — $143,000

• military contractors — $201,000

• the Michigan Chamber of Commerce — $225,000 (its “lobbyists champion member business interests … strongly supporting pro-business regulatory and legislative outcomes.”)

• the bottled drinks association — $104,000 (i.e. Nestle, Poland Spring, groundwater issues, international trade… hmmm?)

• Alliance Marine Services (Louisiana) — $25,000 (offshore oil services)

The list goes on and on. Who do you think is going to benefit here: Maine people, or out-of-state big businesses? Please read the article, alongside Gov. LePage’s proposals, and take some of his offhanded comments seriously. He owes; but his plan is for us to get the bill.

Get informed and carpool to Augusta on the 14th. It’s one day that’s far more important than work.

Will Brown

Lincolnville

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Diamon ‘living in the past’

In what must be a first for him, Al Diamon in his recent column (“Pregnant Pause,” Jan. 26 edition of TRJ) worries that the Republican Party will hurt his re-election chances if they introduce pro-life legislation. Maybe it’s old age setting in, but poor Al seems to be living in the past.

The youth born after Jan. 22, 1973, are all survivors of the American abortion holocaust that has taken the lives of 53 million of them, so far. Even pro-abortion NARAL’s own survey shows that 51 percent of young pro-life voters consider abortion a “very important” issue; only 26 percent of abortion-rights young people consider it “very important.”

The pro-abortion Democratic Party is beginning to see the future as well. In 2008 they elected an extraordinary number of pro-life candidates. After being elected, they changed their stance; but after the 2010 election, most of them were replaced. Hopefully, Maine’s Republicans will end the Democrat Party’s forcing the taxpayers’ financing of Family Planning’s abortion mill to the tune of $1.5 million annually.

Planned Parenthood operates America’s largest chain of abortion mills, killing 305,000 babies in 2009. While showing a profit of $85 million that year, they were given $350 million, (or 34 percent) of their budget by our government. Al doesn’t mention the Republican bill that will save the taxpayers all that money and much more in future years.

He’s all upset because the GOP bill would require parental consent before a minor can have a surgical abortion. Is he just as upset because a minor requires parental consent to have ear and body piercing done, or go on a school outing?

A survey reported in “Aborted Women Silent No More” shows that 47 percent of women who have had abortions have physical complications including hysterectomy, cervical cancer, blocked fallopian tubes, infections, etc. The American Psychiatric Association named abortion as a “psycho-social stressor” under physical injury or illness (Manual of Mental Disorder, revised 1987).

He then complains that two Republicans want to make it tougher for minors to get birth control. Two of the most popular methods are the pill and DepoProvera. In June 2005, 21 scientists of the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer met in France. They thoroughly reviewed the entire world’s medical literature concerning drugs containing estrogen-progestogen, which are in contraceptive steroids and hormone replacement therapy. They concluded that these drugs cause breast, cervical and liver cancers. More information at: bcpinstitute.org

Upjohn’s own information pamphlet on DepoProvera lists more than 60 adverse reactions suffered by various percentages of women using it, a few being: ectopic pregnancy, Thrombophlebitis (inflammation of blood vessels associated with blood clots) pulmonary embolism (obstruction of pulmonary artery by a blood clot, air bubble or other material), cerebra-vascular disorders, rectal bleeding, paralysis, varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis, etc.

One thing is for sure — with “friends” advocating for these horrors, what woman needs enemies?

Agnes H. Stauble

Unity

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‘The truth about Maine’

A recent article by Stephen Betts seems to try and dispel the idea that Maine is not a bad place to locate a business as opposed to a Forbes Magazine ranking of states that placed us last. [Editor’s note: The article in question, “The myth about Maine,” appeared in an earlier edition of our sister publication The Herald-Gazette in Rockland and appears in this week’s edition of the Journal.]

Over the years there have been many good articles written by Mr. Betts but of late he seems to be totally consumed by the idea that Gov. Paul LePage was elected by 38 percent of the voters. The resulting bias in logic and thoughts completely undermines efforts at improving conditions in Maine. Mr. Betts might want to remember that in 2006 former Gov. John Baldacci was elected with 38 percent of the vote and I do not remember reading any columns about “38 Percent Baldacci.”

More importantly we should look at some facts about Maine that are real and greatly need improving. Mr. Betts chose to compare Maine with the state of Utah and it seems that was because Forbes had rated Utah as most business friendly. A more logical comparison would be to look at a state that is closer to us and within our regional economic zone. Unless one chooses to visit Canada you cannot get to Maine without traveling through or over New Hampshire and that state was rated by Forbes at number 19. Mr. Betts would certainly agree that New Hampshire is a good choice because people from New Jersey and Massachusetts also go to New Hampshire for the slower pace of life and natural beauty.

Maine’s unemployment as of December 2009 was 7.3 percent and New Hampshire’s was 5.5 percent. The median wage is a much more accurate measure of employment opportunity than is household income and Maine comes in at $38,550 while New Hampshire is at $43,720.

Maine has a general sales tax of 5 percent while New Hampshire has none. Maine has an income tax that for 2010 is a flat rate of 6.5 percent and New Hampshire has none. Maine has a 31 cents per gallon gas tax while New Hampshire is at 19.6 cents per gallon. When you drive over into New Hampshire you immediately notice a drop in gas prices that range 10 to 20-cent per gallon less than in Maine.

If you purchase a gallon of milk from Sam’s Club in Portland, you will receive milk from Oakhurst Dairy. If you purchase that same gallon of milk from Sam’s Club in Seabrook, N.H., it will be 75 cents to $1 less expensive than Portland and be from the same Maine dairy. A person in Maine must pay almost double the cost for health insurance as what can be purchased in New Hampshire.

Should we all move to New Hampshire? No! However, we should back efforts to make Maine as viable economically as is the state with which we share a border. In baseball you can be an all-star if you can successfully hit the ball three out of 10 times. I expect Gov. LePage to have a much better average than that with a few home runs thrown in for good measure.

Dale E. Landrith Sr.

Camden

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Sierra Club encourages moving forward

Considering the recent article, “Maine Green Energy Alliance is shut down,” (page A1 in the Feb. 2 edition — the piece was written by Naomi Schalit of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting) the Sierra Club/Maine Chapter encourages Efficiency Maine to move forward with programs that support jobs in Maine and provide Mainers with necessary information about energy savings.

In August, Maine Partners for Cool Communities submitted a grant application to Efficiency Maine proposing to expand and deepen our Green Sneakers and weatherization work. While we received no funding from MGEA, we do expect a request for proposal from Efficiency Maine for Maine groups to submit grant requests for community outreach and education.

The Maine Chapter is proud of its work with Maine Partners for Cool Communities, a collaboration between the Sierra Club, Physicians for Social Responsibility and the Maine Council of Churches, who together have been working in Maine communities for six years. MPCC has engaged 26 municipalities in actions that address climate change and air quality, while saving energy and tax dollars.

Fourteen communities participated in the 2010 Green Sneakers campaign in which 125 volunteers had conversations and left information with 1,500 homeowners about Efficiency Maine and its energy efficiency and weatherization initiatives. This year, a new Green Sneakers program in the greater Rockland/Camden/Thomaston area is training volunteers to provide free walk-through home energy visits and will be teaching high school students the basics of weatherization and energy savings to work with their own families. This project produces energy savings, builds community capacity and promotes jobs in the local areas.

We encourage Efficiency Maine to continue to develop transparent and competitive processes for communities going forward.

Becky Bartovics

Sierra Club-Maine Chapter

Executive Committee

Green Sneakers Volunteer

North Haven

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‘Courageous journalism’ vs. ‘cartoon’

The performance of the Maine Green Energy Alliance, and its effectiveness helping Maine people winterize their homes, are topics worthy of scrutiny. The group’s track record is fair game for even the harshest objective analysis. I don’t feel the same way about character assassination by insinuation. I refer to the recent “expose” by Naomi Schalit [of the Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting] (“Maine Green Energy Alliance is shut down,” Feb. 2 edition of the Journal).

I was an eyewitness to how this all started. Several folks in the Biddeford/Saco area pressed vigorously for Tom Federle to be recruited to the “Task Force To Close Maine Energy.” Why? Because of his expertise and impeccable reputation for honesty.

That task force met on an almost weekly basis in the summer of 2009, plowing their way through grueling meetings as they tried to help Casella Waste fulfill a contract pledge to work “in good faith” toward finding a way to find a way to close Maine Energy, a constant source of nuisances and an obstacle to economic redevelopment in downtown Biddeford-Saco.

It was hard work on hot summer evenings by many honest and dedicated public servants. None of that background or context made it into Schalit’s story. None. Instead, she picked up the story half way, taking fragments of an email here or parts of a quote there, putting them together completely out of context. Without making any specific allegation, she insinuated motivations that just didn’t exist.

I’m all for courageous investigative journalism, and Schalit has triumphed in that realm before. This piece fell short of that standard, however. It was a cartoon.

Mark Robinson

Biddeford

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Species matters

Unity is the ultimate “truth” and evolution is first another word for movement toward truth. Observe fully. Communicate truth fully.

Human beings have been trying to solve problems at the “doingness” level for so long a time without much success.

True change is always made at the level of “being,” not doing.

Speciesystem matters and the fact that individual beings do matter is reflected in the fact that effect on the speciesystem is uppermost when considering any decision.

We are moving dangerously close to the time when we will not be able to experience life as we know it, precisely because we have insisted subordinating the needs of most species to the desires of only one.

The human species.

Yes, and not even all members of that species, but only a few. The richest and the most powerful.

Let’s use two living species we call “trees” and “humans.”

Trees do not require so much daily maintenance as humans. Their needs are not equal, yet they are interrelated. One specie depends on the other.

Trees take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere using the carbon portion of this atmospheric gas to make carbohydrates — that is, to grow.

Meanwhile, the oxygen portion (waste matter of this gas) is released by the tree.

Human beings on the other hand, need oxygen to survive. Without trees to convert the carbon dioxide (which is plentiful) in our atmosphere into oxygen (which is not), we as a species cannot survive.

Why not grow hemp and use it to make paper? Do you have any idea how many trees it takes just to supply our world with daily newspapers? To say nothing of paper cups, carryout cartons, paper towels, etc.

The fact is, hemp can be planted almost anywhere and is grown inexpensively, harvested easily, and can be used for making paper, the strongest rope, long-lasting clothes, and even some of the most effective medicine. It does all of these things so well that there is a huge lobby working against it.

Too many would lose too much to allow the world to turn to this simple plant.

This is just one example of how greed replaces common sense in the conduct of human affairs.

Our governments, corporations, worldwide run on a “Secret Code” called lying.

We all are one. Truth will prevail.

Justina DiTaranto

Verona Island

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Love thy pets

This Valentine’s Day — and every day — let’s show some love to the ones who love us for better or for worse: our dogs and cats. Here are some ideas:

• Take long walks on the beach — or just around the neighborhood. The chance to exercise, breathe fresh air, and sniff the hydrants is vital to your dog’s well being. It’ll help you burn off that Valentine candy, too!

• “Date” your cat: Schedule time to play with, brush, and bond with her every day.

• Give Kitty a manicure: Trim the tips of her nails instead of putting her through the lifelong trauma of declawing.

• Spay or neuter, because humans aren’t the only ones feeling frisky. Sterilization protects against many cancers and prevents animals from being born only to end up on the streets or euthanized in shelters.

• Commit, already! Promise to make your animals part of the family — never chain or cage them. Dogs and cats long to live indoors where it’s warm and dry, and where they can be with the one they adore: you.

For more ways to love your canine or feline Valentine, visit peta.org.

Lindsay Pollard-Post

The PETA Foundation

Norfolk, Va.