May a pox fall upon the whole state of Maine!

Your two “Republican” senators, Olympia Snow and Susan Collins, again have sided with the liberals in Congress to vote in the financial “overhaul” bill. This 2,300-page bill will continue to concentrate power in Washington and grow the government, at a huge cost to the private sector.

Maine, why don’t you secede from the union and form your own communist state? In the meantime I hope your forests are infested with beetles and your towns are overrun with rats.

John Dill
Huntley, Ill.

 

I have just one simple question for the residents of Maine. It is, do you have any Republicans left up there? Your two senators surely are not. I can sympathize with you, however, since I’m represented by “Smilin’” Lindsey Graham.

Mike Fedorchak
Summerville, S.C.

The stalemate in the Senate’s climate and energy discussions is disheartening. We at Maine Interfaith Power & Light have worked for months with people of various faith traditions around Maine who believe that it is each person’s moral obligation to take steps to address climate change.

Maine’s faith communities have been calling on our senators to act with urgency to pass a strong, comprehensive climate and energy bill this year. Most traditions we’ve encountered can find common scriptural justification for the need to responsibly steward our Earth by acting with prudence and temperance to reduce carbon pollution.

We have an opportunity to carry out this call to action in the U.S. Senate right now. Maine’s senators have shown initiative on this front recently. Sen. Susan Collins co-sponsored one of the climate and energy bills under consideration, the CLEAR Act, while Sen. Olympia Snowe has been part of key negotiations involving an approach that regulates pollution from the utility sector.

These efforts represent well-intentioned first steps, however, they are not enough.

Just as citizens and communities of faith feel compelled to do everything possible to address global climate change, our senators should feel compelled to act in the grandest, most effective way they can.

We need Sens. Snowe and Collins to do everything in their power to lead their colleagues down a road of compromise toward a better future for us all. It is not enough for them to put their names on a bill. They must actively garner support from undecided senators.

They must take a leap of faith and give their colleagues the necessary encouragement so they can act with confidence in knowing that taking action on climate change is the right thing to do.

Katie Kokkinos
Portland

 

Safety of school lunches need our attention

 

It may be no surprise that this country has an obsession with food. It seems every month a new diet springs up promising to shed pounds fast: the low carb diet, the cookie diet, the liquid diet, for example. Where are the diets that focus on well-rounded nutrition?

Visionaries like Jamie Oliver and Michael Pollan, author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” have a good understanding of this concept and the lack of healthy nutrition in systems where people do not always have a free choice of what they eat — the public school system, for example.

Because children have less developed immune systems, they’re more vulnerable to illnesses. The fact that chicken found in cafeterias is four times as likely to have salmonella as supermarket chicken is very unsettling. More than 23,000 kids in school got sick due to food-borne illnesses from 1998 to 2007.

The Obama administration has already worked to increase beef standards, but other standards are still very low and remain unsafe for children. We must all support the increase of USDA school lunch standards so kids in our public schools can eat a safe and healthy meal. That would truly be food for thought.

Kristi L. Kennedy
Portland

 

Building bridges is a two-way street

 

Let me start by saying I agree that Maine should help pay for repairs to the current Memorial Bridge (linking Kittery to Portsmouth, N.H.) or the construction of a new bridge. Making it easier for people to get from point A to point B and helping the local economies of both states is a worthwhile investment.

What I don’t understand is the indignation shown by some New Hampshire citizens and politicians as they point to Augusta and scold Maine Gov. John Baldacci for not taking on a portion of the cost associated with the much needed bridge upgrade.

Numerous Maine citizens and elected representatives have also taken the same tone with their governor.

Let me explain why I’m confused.

The Downeaster train service that runs from Portland to Boston with eight stops along the way began operating in December 2001. Since that time, the state of New Hampshire has not allocated one dime to help fund the service that makes it easier for people to get from point A to point B and helps the local economies of both states.

While Maine spends more than $1 million a year to help fund the Downeaster service, New Hampshire spends nothing.

Both states should help with the Memorial Bridge project and both states should help with the funding for the Downeaster because both states benefit from these worthwhile infrastructure projects.

Anyone who argues that Maine needs to pay its fair share when it comes to the bridge should also be arguing for the state of New Hampshire to pay its fair share when it comes to the rails.

Carl Pepin
Kennebunk

 

Nothing like taking a walk to see how people drive

 

Walking allows one to notice many more incidences than while driving.

“Do people driving in Portland stop for red lights?”

Wherever I walk I note that drivers, especially in the Woodford’s Corner area of the city, run red lights, never mind yellow lights.

Where are the police?

Herschel Lerman
Portland