Over the past several months I have been looking for the anti-war groups and individuals, displays of displeasure with our ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya.

My interest is driven by an interest in political discourse that is making our government nonfunctional.

It seems interesting that when a Republican is president, there are signs on lawns, protesters at public gatherings, and pundits all over cable television complaining and arguing why the United States should not be involved.

When a Democrat is president, for the most part the signs disappear, the protesters go into hiding and the pundits find something else to complain about.

It seems to me that the bulk of these people are obviously more motivated by politics than by conviction. There are plenty of other examples of issues that are driven by politics when they should be driven by conviction, on both sides of the aisle.

I don’t know how we change our direction as long as we have a two-party system that is as polarized as it appears to be. Perhaps it’s time for a third party that isn’t enslaved to the past.

Kent Willette

Yarmouth 

How can a UPS driver be so good? He’s a Teamster 

I always enjoy reading Ray Routhier’s series, Maine at Work, and especially enjoyed reading about his morning ride along with UPS driver and fellow Teamster Peter Jacques (“Reporter learns the ins and outs of a UPS driver’s job,” July 25).

In his story Mr. Routhier writes that the “UPS driver’s day is all about time management — time management on steroids.” What a fantastic line! Who are these men and women that wear the iconic brown uniform? How do they accomplish the daily task of “synchronizing the world of commerce”?

Who are they? They are Teamsters. They are members of one of the largest labor unions in the nation.

How are they so successful at this daily task? They work under a collective bargaining contract that provides them with a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, dignity on the job, health insurance for themselves as well as their families and a pension.

Knowing that they have these things allows them to excel at their jobs, making UPS the No. 1 package delivery company in the world and proving the old adage: “You get what you pay for.”

Next time you see one of the brown trucks or a brother or sister in that brown uniform, know that they and their families are taken care of because they work for one of Americas most successful companies; the reason for that success: Teamsters.

Joe Piccone

Teamster

Portland 

Not every dog that’s left in a vehicle is in danger 

While I would thank a recent letter writer for pointing out some very good tips on dog safety when it comes to parked vehicles, I feel the need to play devil’s advocate here and provide an alternative view.

As a society, we have become over-reactive on many things, and this, I feel is one of them. I call it the “shoe bomber factor.”

One nut job boards a plane with firecrackers in his sneakers a decade ago, so now 88-year-old grandmothers in wheelchairs are forced to remove their shoes before boarding.

Can locking a dog in a car be a dangerous situation? Absolutely, but seeing a car parked in the shade with windows all the way down, sun-blocking foil on windows and a bowl of water on the floor is not due cause to call 911. It is not against the law to leave a dog in a car. At least, not yet.

When my dog is in my car, it’s usually because we just came from the beach, or somewhere else she enjoys being, and she’s more than happy to wait for me, safely, while I run in the supermarket.

Yet there has been more than one occasion that I’ve had to deal with the authorities upon my return. I now have a thermometer hanging inside the vehicle to prove it’s safe.

I think most animal abuse occurs behind closed doors. It surfaces only occasionally when a “puppy mill” gets caught, we’re all disgusted for a few days, then it’s forgotten. Personally, I think leaving a dog in a cage at home is abuse, but since nobody sees it, “out of sight, out of mind” is the phrase here.

We’ve bred dogs for centuries for pretty much the sole purpose of companionship, now we’re putting up all these roadblocks to do the opposite, leave them home, alone in a cage, away from us.

I have a theory that most people who have dogs in cars is because they love them, and they know that the dog would much rather come along than be left behind.

So please consider whether that dog is in real danger before calling 911.

Bill Thomas

Sanford

Lack of security, concern at ferry terminal atrocious 

Are Casco Bay Lines and the Portland Police Department giving pickpockets and hustlers carte blanche for pilfering and stealing at the ferry terminal and docks?

Last year, while waiting for the Peaks Island ferry and entertaining my granddaughter, someone stole my expensive sunglasses.This year, my daughter’s iPhone was stolen as her 11-year-old son sat beside it on the bench, directly outside the terminal at 4:15 p.m.

In two minutes time, we realized the phone was missing. Within two more minutes the phone had been shut off.

When we got the IT report from her provider the next day, it verified that the information was “cleaned” from the memory in a matter of minutes. This stealing is most certainly planned, with a quick and intentional resource for money!

When we asked at the Casco Bay terminal, no one showed any concern or interest in recovery of the phone or its whereabouts. We later called and asked about security/video to check. We were told the terminal had no video cameras.

A spot by the water where three ferries sit has no security camera?

We also spoke with the Portland police (it took three visits to the station on Peaks to reach an officer). The reply given was, “You can file a report if you want.”

It’s easy to understand that thieves are well aware of an open market for stealing at the ferry terminal. Does the ferry terminal have any security officers or police presence?

Our family has been visiting Portland and vacationing on Peaks Island for over 25 years. We love Maine.

But our recent experiences at the Casco Bay Lines terminal and with the Portland police are a sad and unsettling development.

These experiences do nothing to support your local economy in a state and city that advertise so industriously for tourism!

Stan and Debbie Zamonsky

Walden, N.Y.