July 26, 2013

Letters to the editor: Step up effort toward nuclear reduction

8:15 a.m., Aug. 6, 1945, Hiroshima, Japan: Children are on their way to school. Women are making beds, clearing away the morning dishes. An all-clear sounds after the 7 a.m. air raid warning. And then, the U.S. plane dropped the world's first atomic weapon.

click image to enlarge

A woman prays Aug. 9, 2008, in front of the Statue of Peace, hours ahead of a ceremony to mark the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Japan. Maine voters must contact congressional delegation members about heeding President Obama’s recent call for further nuclear stockpile cuts, a reader says.

2008 File Photo/The Associated Press

There followed a blinding flash in the sky and a great rush of air, as a loud rumble of noise extended for many miles around the city. Buildings fell, fires raged and a great cloud of dust and smoke cast a pall of darkness over the city.

Estimates tell us that 140,000 people were incinerated on that day. Many more died later from radiation sickness.

7:50 a.m., Aug. 9, 1945, Nagasaki, Japan: An all-clear signal sounds at 8:30 a.m.

At 11:02 a.m., the U.S. plane dropped the world's second atomic weapon. Fires raged through the industrial city of Nagasaki.

Estimates tell us that 70,000 people were incinerated on that day. As in Hiroshima, many more died in later years from radiation sickness.

June 3, 2013, Brandenburg Gate. Berlin: U.S. President Obama pledges to:

Pursue further reductions of deployed strategic nuclear warheads by up to one-third below the New START Treaty levels.

Build support for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, which would ban all nuclear testing.

Call for a treaty to end production of fissile materials used to build nuclear weapons

August 2013: It is now our obligation to work with Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud and Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King to ensure these goals are met.

Sally Breen

Windham

City should save, not spend, extra state education funds

So, here we go again. The state is giving Portland almost $2 million ("Portland seeks quick vote on spending extra state funds," July 23), and what's the first thing on councilors' and school board members' minds? "How do we spend the money?"!

The most ludicrous idea yet is from school board members -- "Oh, let's hire back some people we laid off or add new positions to the education system."

Are you school board members for real? Seriously, so you hire them back and then what happens next year? Duh! You either lay them off again or -- oh wait, you can just ask the taxpayers to give you more! Why not? You do every year, and the best part is you don't ask, we just take it.

Hint: Why doesn't the city put it aside for emergency use, or to lower or better yet, for once in your term, keep the tax rate the same instead of bleeding taxpayers dry?

We all know that the money to be spent has to be voted on, but why bother? The same "yuppies, nontaxpayers, apartment dwellers" well outnumber the people who actually pay taxes in this city. So find a way around wasting another $15,000 for a special election.

This city is going downhill every year, with tax rates rising, new laws and regulations adopted by our mayor and councilors. The new slogan should have been "Welcome to Portland, we rubber-stamp everything, and make you pay till you can't afford to live here anymore."

The only thing to look forward to every spring is the city elections. What a circus. We listen to each candidate tell us the same story over and over again about lowering taxes, then we vote for the one who doesn't mention it because that person is telling the truth.

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