November 20, 2012

Letters to the editor: LePage's words discourage educators

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click image to enlarge

Responding to critical remarks by Gov. Paul LePage about public education in Maine, a teacher invites him “to visit my classroom anytime to see the challenges we face and the success we foster.”

2010 File Photo/Gregory Rec

Frankenstorm Sandy is one more dramatic demonstration that climate change and its extreme weather patterns are now part of our future.

Although we're unlikely to reverse climate change, we can still mitigate its effects by reducing our driving, our energy use and our meat consumption.

Yes, meat consumption. A 2006 U.N. report estimated that meat cosumption accounts for 18 percent of manmade greenhouse gases. A 2009 article in the respected World Watch magazine suggested that it may be closer to 50 percent.

Carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to confine, feed, transport and slaughter animals and to refrigerate their carcasses. The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are discharged from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools, respectively.

We have the power of reducing the devastating effects of climate change every time we eat. Our local supermarket offers a rich variety of soy-based lunch "meats," hot dogs, veggie burgers, soy and nut-based dairy products (including cheese and ice cream), and an ample selection of traditional vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts. Product lists, easy recipes and transition tips are available at www.livevegan.org.

Paul Mahn

Portland

Backer of end to tax cuts draws on outdated credo

Patricia Pora, a Sister of Mercy, makes the argument that the credo of the most basic public programs should be to provide care for all who need it, regardless of ability to pay (Voice of the People, "Draw on nation's resources to address nation's needs," Nov. 10). To this end, she says that tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 a year should expire at the end of the year.

Sister Pora's position is, at bottom, a restatement of Karl Marx's 1875 slogan: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!" The dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 is a testament to the lack of viability of that approach.

William Vaughan Jr.

Chebeague Island

Activists may have had right idea about Petraeus

Back in September 2007, the antiwar group MoveOn.org ran an ad in The New York Times that referred to Gen. David Petraeus as "General Betray Us."

Both the House and the Senate were quick to condemn the ad. They were indignant and demanded an apology.

In the light of recent events, maybe MoveOn.org was on to something, and it's Congress that should do the apologizing.

John P. Wirtz

Scarborough

 

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