Friday, December 13, 2013
Having spent the entire spring witnessing indifference, incompetence and dishonesty by our government employees in mighty high places, I am hard-pressed to further shame Paula Deen for time-honored mindless or foolish remarks.
TV personality Paula Deen has been unduly shamed for having made racist slurs, while federal officials who should have been fired for their actions are getting off relatively lightly, a reader says.
2012 File Photo/The Associated Press
She does not work for us, nor does she pretend to do so. She's a great cook, a savvy businesswoman whom we can choose to endorse or not, with or without her use of racial terms.
The federal agencies of the Internal Revenue Service, the National Security Agency, the Department of Justice and their leaders, all of whom we employ, are generously if not richly rewarded for working against the best interests of the American people, their employers.
They're not handling government issues on our behalf, they're filling their pockets while fooling or foiling the public. They should be fired, no severance pay, no lifelong benefits.
Instead, having half-heartedly dealt with some of the truth or none at all, these scoundrels are "punished" by a leave with full pay, retirement with all benefits or business as usual, at our expense, not at our benefit.
What is the upshot of the nasty revelations? Not much. We're inflamed, and members of Congress who probed the problems seem satisfied merely to have said something and called it good.
Paula Deen's unacceptable remarks, made in public or private in whatever decade, have caused her far more harm than seems appropriate.
We could wish government employees who have deceived us had only their improper or unfit language for which to apologize.
Lois P. Cross
Immigrants need extra aid with college applications
This is a response to the June 15 guest editorial "Another View: Guidance counselors already helping with college selection."
Guidance counselors work hard to help students with their post-secondary plans. However, with a caseload of 250 students, the Deering High School guidance counselors simply do not have the capacity to give the Make It Happen students the specialized attention they deserve; these students need the separate program.
The students in the Make It Happen program are all English language learners, meaning that their parents do not speak English. Most of the participants immigrated to the U.S. in late elementary school. Further, almost all of the students get free or reduced-price lunch and are first-generation college students.
All of these disadvantaging factors make it much harder for these students to have the college knowledge needed in the application process. One guidance counselor said, "Make It Happen is what makes it happen" for these students.
The students in the program are stellar students with great potential. They just do not have the support or cultural capital to know how to approach college admissions. Many studies have shown that lack of social and cultural capital disadvantages first-generation college students in the admissions process, but these students must also overcome cultural, language and financial barriers.
In his book "College Knowledge," education researcher David T. Conley says, "College preparation is a know-ledge-intensive activity and ... some students have much greater access to the necessary information than others."
He goes on to say, "knowledge of the entire college admissions process is more prevalent among the more privileged."
Imagine moving to another country where you don't speak the language and trying to navigate the school system. On top of that, you have no money and nobody in your family has ever attended college. Don't you think you would need a little extra support?
2011 Deering High School graduate
Closing local dental clinic no help to elderly, disabled
Gov. Paul LePage and his fellow Republicans in the Legislature made a major point about the 3,100 elderly and disabled people on a waiting list to access Medicaid services. This was apparently done to discourage an expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in the state of Maine.
While I wholeheartedly agree that these disabled and elderly should get the services they need, the governor and his minions seemed hypocritical by submitting a budget that eliminates dental services for this same population.
The MaineCare clinic that served these people on Preble Street in Portland has closed due to the budget uncertainty. And in lieu of this, the disabled folks who were patients there have no place to go to receive dental services reimbursed by MaineCare.
Perhaps we should view the governor as the charlatan he is, who on one hand giveth when it benefits him and taketh away when it benefits those who give him his marching orders.
Study doesn't tell us much about impact of soda limits
On June 13, there was a Los Angeles Times article titled "Study: Cap on supersized sodas works."
Usually with studies in the newspaper, nothing is said about methodology, size or weaknesses (which are some of the things you need to know how "strong" this study is; how likely it is to be accurate). It turns out there really wasn't any true research.
"The researchers presumed that 80 percent of patrons" would buy the 16-ounce drink (if there were restrictions on a larger size) and only 20 percent would purchase two 16-ounce drinks to get around the restriction.
Now, presuming something doesn't make it so; in fact, in a true research study, the hypothesis could easily have been found to be false.
Another word for presume is "assume," and you know what happens when you assume -- it makes an ass out of you and me.
Janice Reynolds, R.N., B.C., O.C.N., C.H.P.N.
Quality of Nemitz's work makes rate hike worth it
Two communications recently arrived at my door for the Maine Sunday Telegram:
1. A letter telling me you are going to "hike" my subscription rate.
2. And the June 16 newspaper -- with Bill Nemitz's "LePage's hot air forms cloud over Maine" on Page B1.
I don't mind paying more when you publish such funny and intelligent and well-written columns.
Joseph W. Mahoney