On Aug. 10, 1812, the USS Constitution defeated HMS Guerriere off Nova Scotia. This was the first time the U.S. Navy went one on one against another professional navy warship and came away the uncontested winner.

In Europe, people just laughed and said the Americans were just a bunch of old fishermen and pirates, they couldn’t be disciplined enough to be considered a professional military service. They must have gotten in a lucky shot.

It took another U.S. Navy warship’s going one on one and coming away the uncontested winner to establish the U.S. Navy’s reputation as a professional military service. That happened on Sept. 5, 1813, when the USS Enterprise defeated HMS Boxer and towed the Boxer into Union Wharf, stripped it and sold it as a prize of war.

For more than 100 years, the city of Portland was lucky enough to own a priceless artifact from this very important battle. The only other one that I know of is in Hollis. So what did City Hall do with this priceless artifact? They gave it to the museum in Bath!

Lt. William Burroughs, captain of the Enterprise, and Midshipman Kervin Waters from the Enterprise are buried side by side in Eastern Cemetery, at Congress and Mountfort streets, and they must be rolling over in their graves at the incredible stupidity in City Hall. The captain of the HMS Boxer is buried there with them, and he also must be laughing himself silly.

Was someone suffering from a gun phobia, or was it just some anti-military nut who also does not care about the city of Portland’s history who gave away this priceless artifact? It is time to vote them all out of office, both parties!

Thomas O’Connor

Falmouth

‘Insanity’ in Afghanistan repeat of Vietnam scenario

Our church in Topsham has just learned that a young man, known to us and serving in Afghanistan, has lost all four limbs to a land mine.

At virtually the same time, we opened our morning papers to learn “U.S. pledges to defend Afghanistan for decade after drawdown” (April 23). In the name of God, what possible purpose will be served?

We are following the same script written in Vietnam 40 years ago, which ended in shame and humiliation with the fall of Saigon, the evacuation of the U.S. embassy, and nothing to show for thousands dead or maimed.

Please. Lives and limbs will be lost during the “decade after drawdown.”

Sens. Snowe and Collins: Please bring all of your considerable influence to bear to stop this insanity. Now.

Francis M. Hugo

Brunswick

Senators should join effort to improve hens’ welfare

How big is a sheet of paper? Eight and a half by 11 inches. Imagine egg-laying hens spending their entire lives being crammed into cages this size, unable to spread their wings, perch, nest or dust bathe, which are natural behaviors of all birds.

American egg factory farms cram more than 90 percent of the country’s 280 million egg-laying hens into these barren cages.

The Humane Society of the United States, alongside the United Egg Producers (the egg industry’s trade association), jointly drafted a federal bill that would require every U.S. egg producer confining birds in cages to double the space per hen and add “environmental enrichments” like perches, scratching areas and nesting areas to improve the birds’ welfare.

Fortunately, Maine has two U.S. representatives who care about fighting animal cruelty. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud have co-sponsored the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012 (H.R. 3798), but our U.S. senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, have yet to jump on board.

I urge anyone who cares about 280 million animals to please contact our U.S. senators as soon as possible and urge them to co-sponsor this important piece of legislation.

Also, please say “thank you” to Burger King, which recently joined McDonald’s, Subway, Wendy’s, Quiznos, Kraft Foods, Sara Lee, General Mills, ConAgra Foods, Unilever (the producer of Hellmann’s mayonnaise), Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise lines and other companies that have jumped on board to cage-free eggs.

HUMANE-ity starts here.

Carole G. Jean

Portland

Augusta Republicans show they won’t take on LePage

If Maine voters ever needed a better reason to send Republican legislators packing, they got it April 14. After the Legislature passed a budget by a large majority in the House and unanimously in the Senate, Gov. LePage vetoed the parts he didn’t like.

The governor’s unexpected tantrums are nothing new, but it is surprising that the legislators in his own party never knew the vetoes were coming. That makes you wonder if Republicans think they are running a government or playing musical chairs.

Dysfunctional government aside, Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Rosen, R-Bucksport, made clear how utterly useless the majority party has become.

He explained why Republicans would not override the governor’s line-item vetoes: “The governor made it clear, if we did override, he would veto the entire budget” (“Committee’s budget success faces new test,” April 19).

So, let me see if I understand this. They could override the line-item vetoes, but they won’t because the governor would veto the whole budget and … goodness gracious, there is nothing they could do about that!

This Legislature is good for nothing but finding new and irrational places to permit concealed weapons. To survive the next two years of LePage, we need a Democratic majority.

Tim Copeland

Biddeford