Thursday, December 12, 2013
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A crowd watches Rafael Alvarez, a Maine College of Art student, dance outside the Portland school during this month’s First Friday Art Walk. People who focus on how many artworks are sold during the art walk miss the point of the event, a reader says.
2012 File photo/Gabe Souza
Constitutional officers on the cheap cheapen the constitution they are supposed to defend. If they accomplished nothing else, the outgoing class proved that beyond a reasonable doubt.
To resolve fiscal cliff crisis, both sides must face facts
It's time to break the gridlock in Washington. Both parties must let go of partisan beliefs, look at the facts and take action. Here are the facts we think are relevant:
1. According to the Congressional Budget Office, recent data show that higher-income households have increased their income faster than lower-income households.
2. In the past, the percentage of income tax for the rich was far higher than it is today.
3. According to filmmaker Alex Gibney in "Park Avenue: Money, Power & the American Dream," which aired on television Nov. 12, the gap between the rich and poor has accelerated over the past 40 years to the point that it is unhealthy for all groups.
4. According to The Economist online, U.S. defense spending, at nearly $700 billion, is bigger than that of the next 17 countries combined.
5. According to Peace Action Maine, the Pentagon has 1.2 million contractors and 745,000 civil service employees, but has never been audited. It has lost $60 billion in waste and fraud related to Afghanistan and Iraq.
Taking these facts into account, on the revenue side, the proposal for a modest increase in the income tax percentage for the richest Americans makes sense. Closing some loopholes may be advisable, but removing the mortgage deduction will hurt homeowners, and removing charitable deductions will hurt charities.
As to cuts, we agree that Medicare costs are too high and some cuts must occur here. Although we are retired and on Medicare, we recognize that this program is not sustainable as it stands.
Finally, the military budget must be cut.
Al and Vicki Adams
In troubled world, radio listeners need more music
The Dec. 3 Portland Press Herald carried three letters critical of MPBN's new program format ("Readers take MPBN to task").
All forms of media are drowning us with talk show drivel 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. With its new expanded talk, news and public affairs programing, MPBN has become just another Tower of Babel.
Our country and world are in a very disturbed state, and we need the comforting therapy of music rather than more talk, talk, talk, which doesn't resolve our problems or soothe our anxieties.
MPBN and especially its music programs are an oasis for many in this desert of our disturbed life. "Music has charms to soothe a savage breast."
May MPBN bring back more wonderful music for our ears. Music is special – let MPBN be special again.