Imagine you are standing in Times Square in New York City and notice, right in front of you, smoke coming from a parked car. Naturally you tell a passing policeman – he’s right there, you don’t even have to go look for one.

Next thing you know, you’re a national hero! This is what happened just days ago when a 58-year-old handbag vendor told a passing cop that he saw smoke coming from a parked SUV in Times Square.

Before you could say photo-op, the president of the United States called to “commend him for his action.” This ordinary deed was further enhanced by newspapers around the country, yours included, printing the man’s photo picked up from The Associated Press.

How the heck did that phone call get on Obama’s “to-do” list? And what did he say to the guy? Thanks for not being blind? Thanks for having functioning brain cells? Thanks for selling knock-off handbags manufactured in sweatshops in China and Taiwan and India that help put hardworking American designers out of business?

What did he say? I want that transcript!

Andrea J. Rouda

Freeport

 

Plenty of alternatives to mountaintop windmills

 

The search for alternative energy is a serious issue. There is no question that we should be looking for ways to lessen our reliance on Middle East oil, but is the race to wind power on Maine’s mountains the answer?

Do we really want to do permanent and irreparable harm to the mountains and ridges that make Maine unique by installing unsightly wind machines?

Fortunately, there are other sources we can make, such as the promising work being done on tidal power in Washington County, offshore wind power, atomic energy used extensively in Europe, hydroelectric power, etc.

Let’s not sacrifice that which makes Maine, Maine, by focusing on that which will forever impair our precious landscape.

Charles L. Sawyer

Yarmouth

 

Many seniors will be hurt by health care reform

 

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, in a recent Maine Voices column (“New health law will improve care, be popular with recipients,” April 16), touts the new health care legislation as a gift to seniors caught in the Medicare doughnut hole with a $250 rebate check this year and better things to come in the future.

What she does not tell the reader is that this comes at the expense of those retirees who have coverage with their former employers. The health care law signed by President Obama prohibits companies from writing off those subsidies starting in 2011, meaning they will no longer be able to deduct them from their taxable income.

This affects over 3,500 companies that provide this benefit and over 2 million retirees that receive it, according to a study by the Moran Co., a health care consulting firm.

Did Pingree read the bill? The Medicare prescription drug program approved by Congress in 2003 included incentives for employers to provide drug benefits to retirees so the public system would not be overwhelmed.

Under the 2003 law, employers that provide prescription drug benefits to retirees can receive subsides covering 28 percent of eligible cost. If a company spent $100 on benefits, including a $28 government subsidy, it can write off the full $100 on its taxes.

The new rules allow the same company to write off only $72. Gone is the incentive to provide drug coverage for retirees.

James Gelfand, senior manager of health policy for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which fought the changes, said they encourage companies to ship those former loyal employees off to the Medicare Part D program.

Thanks, Chellie, for your vote! I’m sure many retirees facing the loss of their company prescription benefits programs in the near future will remember you in November. Or maybe they won’t.

Paul W. Greenwood

Cumberland

 

Theologian’s viewpoint ignores key Bible teachings

 

Marvin Ellison’s April 19 Maine Voices column (“Instead of hate, we need expressions of love and tolerance”) is a graphic example of calling evil good and good evil.

He is correct in calling for love toward homosexuals; however, the manner in which he proposes to do so produces the same fruit as hate and, according to the Bible, will place him and his gay friends outside the gates of heaven for all eternity.

Sadly, his column is an example of the great gulf between what he teaches and the Bible preaches! He rightly says that we were made in God’s image; however, he never mentioned the fall of Adam and Eve, where, in spite of being perfect in the beginning, they chose to become sinners.

It’s said, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” Ellison’s motto seems to be, “Love the sinner and assure him his lifestyle is fine and dandy with God.”

Of course we must love homosexuals. Jesus did! He loved everyone so much that when He died a sacrificial death on the cross, He paid our sin debt in full. Thus, all who repent and accept God’s free gift of grace through forgiveness of sins can have everlasting life.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9, St. Paul warns his parishioners that the unrighteous won’t inherit the Kingdom of God and lists several sins, one of which is homosexuality. Then he announces, “Such were some of you. But now you are washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and the spirit of God.”

Because of Paul’s preaching they had repented and asked God, in the name of Jesus, to forgive their sins. Today many repentant sinners, including homosexuals, are also being redeemed. Such is the love of God and Jesus for all us sinners.

Philip E. Kennard

Windham

 

We live in a republic, not a democracy

 

Beside the picture of President Obama accompanying the article “Obama takes aim at overheated rhetoric” (Maine Sunday Telegram, May 2) is this quote from the University of Michigan Commencement: “When our government is spoken of as some menacing, threatening foreign entity, it ignores the fact that in our democracy, government is us.”

How sad the president of the United States of America does not know our country is not a democracy, but a republic. I wonder how many of the graduates know the difference.

Benjamin Franklin stated that he was not in favor of a democracy because “democracy leads to mob rule.”

Kay Havener

Friendship