Friday, December 6, 2013
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The Maine Attorney General’s Office is “conspicuously absent” from a list of people and groups supporting a retrial for Dennis Dechaine, above, in a 12-year-old girl’s 1988 slaying, a reader says.
2012 File Photo/John Ewing
Having lost my mother to dementia, I know the toll it can take on a family. That is why I went to Washington, D.C., in April to attend the 25th Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum.
I want to be a voice for people like my mother and for their caregivers so that Congress understands the challenges of watching Alzheimer's and related dementias slowly steal a cherished member of your family away -- before your very eyes.
While in Washington I had the privilege of meeting Sen. Angus King and Sen. Susan Collins. I have been appointed as an advocacy ambassador for Sen. King to keep him informed about current issues on this topic. Sen. Collins is already a strong advocate for Alzheimer's and has been involved continually in legislation.
The present issues are to seek support for funding the fiscal year 2014 budget request that includes $100 million for Alzheimer's research, education, outreach and caregiver support activities, as well as for the HOPE for Alzheimer's Act, which will improve care and outcomes for Americans living with Alzheimer's disease and their caregivers.
Alzheimer's is not going away unless research is done to figure it out. In the meantime, families need the support to get through it. If you would like to become an Alzheimer's advocate, go to www.actionalz.org.
President pleads ignorance of administration's scandals
Benghazi, the IRS scandal and the Justice Department's invasion of The Associated Press' phone records all have two common threads.
One is that these actions benefited our president's re-election. The second is that our president knew nothing about them! He learned about them in the same manner that we, the uninformed and unconnected, learned about these things -- from the press. Somehow he managed to say this with a straight face.
Isn't the office of the presidency reputed to be the most powerful position in the world, with nearly unlimited resources, both overt and covert, to gather information? Where were these resources before these stories made the press?
Speaker of the House Tip O'Neill would start his staff briefings every day with the following: "What do you know that I don't know?" It would seem that President Obama is asking, "What do you know that I need to maintain plausible deniability about?"
Lately when I see our president on TV, I seem to hear the theme song to "Hogan's Heroes" play in my mind. I keep waiting for him to channel Sgt. Schultz as he says, "I know nothing"! I am beginning to believe him.
New technology will make tar sands obsolete option
I can't decide whether my state senator, Ron Collins, R-Wells, deserves a medal for bravery or foolishness for putting his name to the April 7 op-ed in favor of reversing the aging Portland Pipe Line ("Maine Voices: Oil sands should be part of energy mix").
Instead of carrying conventional crude, the pipeline would bring tar sands -- the dirtiest, most corrosive substance on the planet -- from Canada through Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, to be loaded onto tankers in Casco Bay and eventually sold on the world market. Big favor to Big Oil, big risk of oil spills and no benefit to Maine.
We've lived through years of amazing innovations. But while your car may have an up-to-the-minute GPS system, you still have to gas up its internal combustion engine! You can work from home on a laptop computer, after you adjust the thermostat on the oil-burning furnace!
Why do we still have energy technology that hasn't changed since the days when one computer took up a whole building and keypunch cards were cutting-edge?
It's not like fossil fuel is easy to come by. Right now, Big Oil is harvesting tar sand by destroying Alberta's boreal forest, bird and animal habitats, displacing First Nations citizens and creating toxic tailings ponds so huge they can be seen from space. Big Oil just needs pipelines to get their filthy tar sand oil out of Canada.
Back in the day, even science fiction authors didn't predict the Internet -- couldn't imagine it. There must be comparable solutions to our energy needs that we can't even imagine now.
We still have a choice. If we can have smartphones and affordable laptops, why can't we have tiny, cheap, powerful solar panels heating our homes and supplying our electricity and leave the pipelines behind?