August 15, 2013

Letters to the editor: LePage brushes off another ghastly gaffe

Picture this: A student at Portland High overhears a classmate telling a friend he'd "like to blow up the school."

click image to enlarge

Someone who said he’d like to blow up a building – as Gov. LePage said he wanted to do to the Press Herald last week – likely would have faced police questioning, a reader says.

2013 File Photo/John Ewing

The student does what he's been told: He tells his teacher. Then the teacher contacts the principal and school guard, who immediately haul the offender to an office and  lock the door.

The parents are called. So are the police. Mom and Dad show up and say that it was "clearly a joke."

End of story? I don't think so. Police never consider this a joke. They search the student's home and car for bombs. They interview his friends, and maybe bring charges.

The student is likely suspended; the parents probably end up hiring an attorney to get the student back in school. And don't forget the black mark he'll have on his college application.

This scenario would play out similarly if it happened in a courthouse or an airport -- or on any public property in this country.

Last week, our governor opened his enlarged mouth and made another of his disgusting comments ("LePage says he'd like to blow up Press Herald," Aug. 9).

He actually said he'd like to "blow up" the Portland Press Herald. His spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, once again came to his defense, saying he was clearly joking. End of story. No discipline for this joker.

Can anyone tell me why the good, smart, sensible and well-mannered people of Maine have not stopped this man in his tracks?

Paul LePage is not worthy of the title he holds. He doesn't govern. He bullies and insults good people and institutions statewide, often with a foul mouth. Dumbing down Maine is what he does best.

By the way, I'd like to suggest a new title for spokeswoman Bennett. It should be "Nanny-in-Chief." After all, she does what all nannies do. They clean up after their charges.

Leslie Weiss

Cumberland Foreside 

Time to speak out against Anthem's barriers to care 

I encourage any Portland Press Herald readers who might ever need a hospital to speak out against the changes Anthem is proposing that will eliminate any competition in Maine's health care system.

If these new plans are allowed, all Mainers, regardless of our insurance providers, will see a decrease in access to quality care and an increase in costs.

Maine Bureau of Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa wants to allow Anthem's individual and small-group policyholders to be locked out of all local hospitals except for Maine Med and its affiliates. It wouldn't cover care at Mercy or York Hospital or Parkview, to name just a few.

Capitalizing on the confusion around Obamacare, Anthem also wants to eliminate out-of-network providers for their policy holders in southern Maine. Anthem's desire to have a health care monopoly, not any requirements in the ACA, is the driver behind these changes.

Thankfully, Anthem is not my insurer, but these changes will affect the entire health care system in our state. Even with the ACA health care exchange, Anthem continues to be one of the biggest insurers and would exclude thousands of Mainers from facilities and providers. This jeopardizes everyone's access to quality care.

Health care is expensive enough without Anthem's artificial barriers to competition and availability. Say "no" to Anthem controlling Maine's hospitals, doctors and health care consumers.

People can contact the state insurance superintendent at insurance.pfr@maine.gov or speak up at:

Thursday, 5 p.m.: Talbot Lecture Hall/Luther Bonney Auditorium, the University of Southern Maine, Portland.

Friday, 5 p.m.: CFB Conference Room, Richard Dyke Center for Family Business, Husson University, Bangor.

Aug. 29, 5 p.m.: Kirk Hall, Central Maine Community College, Auburn.

Aug. 30, 5 p.m.: Campus Center Allagash Room, University of Maine at Presque Isle.

Elizabeth Hope

Yarmouth 

Pingree helps protect state from air pollution's dangers 

Maine families and businesses need healthy air to grow and succeed. When people are healthy, children do better in school, workers are more productive and businesses can add jobs because their health costs are lower.

I would like to thank Rep. Chellie Pingree for continuing to be a champion for healthy air in the U.S. House of Representatives. She plays a critical role on the House Appropriations Committee and is a respected leader among her colleagues.

On July 23, she voted against a 34 percent cut to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's budget. This cut would devastate the agency's ability to monitor and enforce air quality and ensure the air is healthy to breathe.

It would also undermine the Clean Air Act and make it virtually impossible to put stronger standards in place for cars and fuels that would take so much pollution out of the air.

The Clean Air Act is a common-sense law with deep Maine roots. Sens. Muskie, Mitchell and Cohen all had a hand in its design and reauthorization. It's a law that has been working effectively to make our air healthier for over 40 years.

The Clean Air Act protects public health by reducing levels of smog, soot and other air toxins, and it gives the EPA the power to clean up the air. It includes life-saving protections from dangerous air pollution, especially for downwind states in the Northeast.

We need a strong Clean Air Act now more than ever. And we need strong lawmakers, like Chellie Pingree. Together, they are the best tools we have to protect ourselves from dangerous air pollution.

Douglas Couper, M.D.

Falmouth 

Story on bazaar preparations tribute to Italian community 

Not that long ago, the Italian-American population in Portland was a sizable percentage of Portland's total. We are still out here.

What you did in your article is a wonderful acknowledgment of our quiet, yet highly productive and close-knit community ("For Portland's Italians, a cookie bonanza," Aug. 7). 

Many of us come from all over Maine every Sunday to attend Masses and events at or held by St. Peter's. We quietly give thousands and thousands of dollars to charities and put in countless volunteer hours for several causes.

I thank you for our community. I thank you for Portlanders for a "good-news" article. Ciao!

Salvatore Bonetti       

Portland

 

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