Wednesday, April 23, 2014
I am outraged by the actions of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives to cut funding to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps).
A writer bemoans congressional handling of legislation related to food stamps, which Mainers obtain with a state-issued debit card.
Press Herald file photo
After working most of my life, I am now disabled and living under the poverty line. I now find myself dependent on help from several sources, including SNAP. It is frightening to be in this precarious position, and with cuts such as those to SNAP, the fear is much greater and more debilitating.
For years we have been fed the narrative that the food stamp system is “bloated,” in need of drastic reform and serving people who are lazy and unmotivated.
That is not only a lie, but prejudicial and demeaning to the seniors, children, poor families, disabled and veterans who count on services such as SNAP to survive.
If any system is bloated, unethical, morally bankrupt and truly in need of immediate and drastic reform, it is the domain of corporations and multinational conglomerates.
Instead of cuts aimed at our poor, why are we not looking to close corporate tax loopholes, and for legislation to end the unfair tax advantages enjoyed by these corporate behemoths?
I thank Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud for acting compassionately and responsibly in not voting for these massive punitive cuts. They are courageous representatives for the people of Maine, particularly in this instance, the most vulnerable and needy of Maine’s citizens.
We must raise our voices and demand that there be greater tax equity and corporate accountability and transparency.
We must get our priorities straight. Instead of cuts affecting those barely able to survive, let us address the tax breaks and tax loopholes inherent in our system, which are bleeding billions of our dollars into the pockets and coffers of the obscenely wealthy few.
Raising our collective voice, we can make a difference and be positive agents for change with responsibility and compassion.
Lobsters are more than unfeeling automatons
Thanks to Bill Nemitz for thinking more about lobsters after watching People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ undercover footage from Linda Bean’s Maine Lobster, a crustacean slaughterhouse where live lobsters and crabs are ripped apart and killed in egregiously cruel ways (“Lobsters feel pain? Let’s ask expert,” Sept. 20).
These animals are not unfeeling automatons. According to a report prepared by a panel of scientific experts for the European Commission, lobsters and crabs “have a pain system,” and “any procedure involving the separation of the abdomen (tailpiece) from the thorax or removal of tissue, flesh or limbs while the crustacean is still alive and fully conscious,” as is done at Bean’s slaughterhouse, is likely to cause them pain.
The National Aquaculture Council of Australia, in guidelines developed in consultation with that nation’s Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, deemed “unacceptable” both “separating tail from head of live lobsters” and “cutting tissue or flesh from live animals.”
And according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, when killing aquatic invertebrates like lobsters and crabs, “The aim is to accomplish death for these animals rapidly with the minimum amount of pain ... .” The association stipulates that “methods of killing ... that cause trauma prior to loss of consciousness are not considered humane.”
If there were any question, though, it would still be best to err on the side of compassion. It matters little to these animals whether they’re killed in a slaughterhouse or in someone’s kitchen.
When left in peace, lobsters can live to be more than 100 years old. They have elaborate courtship rituals, take seasonal journeys, remember past acquaintances and don’t want to die.
PETA Foundation Norfolk, Va.
National security threats include climate change
Climate change is a huge problem both globally and domestically.
Whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, sea levels are rising, temperatures are climbing, species are disappearing and people are losing their lives.
To ignore climate change is to ignore a major threat to our national security.
Even within the insulated borders of the United States, people are beginning to see very real changes as a result of climate change.
With sea levels rising on each coast and storms such as hurricanes intensifying in the East, and wildfires raging as rainfalls decrease in the West, people lives are very much at risk.
Climate change is killing people right here in the United States. If that’s not a security risk, then I don’t know what is.
The only way to give this issue the proper care and attention it deserves is to treat it with the same urgency and importance as we treat terrorism direct threat to national security.
The time for small changes, and doing things like turning off the water while you brush your teeth, is over.
It’s time for some very real change, on a national level.
Declaring climate change as a national security issue sounds extreme. However, the time has come for extreme. We have ignored too many warning signs, and now we are facing a worldwide crisis the likes of which we have never seen before.
If the United States can treat this issue with the importance and severity that it deserves, it might be possible to slow down this crisis.
We cannot reverse it entirely but we can try. We have to be bold, though, and we have to act now.
Donations suggest LePage losing some supporters
Gov. LePage has made so many mistakes that people – Mainers and out-of-staters – are choosing not to support him in the same way they did in his first gubernatorial campaign.
Our well-known moderate Sen. Susan Collins has chosen not to contribute to his 2014 campaign at all. Former Sen. Olympia Snowe has not made a contribution, either. In fact, she didn’t make a contribution in 2010. Her husband made a $3,000 contribution in his name. Can we read anything into this lack of support?
Businesses are not supporting LePage as they had in 2010. According to the recent campaign finance report submitted by LePage, he had received a measly $22,500 from businesses in 2013. Could it be that business is putting more distance between itself and LePage?
And lastly, those Mainers giving less than $50 total a whopping $5,500 for LePage. That should come as no surprise. LePage is finally being recognized as not being out to help the everyday Mainer. Who does LePage help?