Thursday, December 12, 2013
When she was a baby, my daughter occasionally came down with a fever. Like most parents, I derived a guilty pleasure from her symptomatic cuddliness, secretly enjoying the temporary stillness of her typically busy body. Yet, while I treasured holding her close, there was never any question that I wished her to become healthy again.
Snow buried sprouting daffodils at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Saco last week. An article lamenting that Maine hasn't seen an early spring this year shows "an embarrassing indifference to concerning global climate trends," a reader says.
I offer this as a metaphor to illustrate the stunning shortsightedness displayed in the March 20 article "For Maine weather, what a difference a year makes."
Lamenting the loss of last year's unseasonably warm early spring demonstrates an embarrassing indifference to concerning global climate trends that seriously worry many Mainers.
Readers are becoming increasingly aware of the overwhelming abundance of scientific research documenting current changes to our climate.
While we all naturally enjoy warm weather, not everyone was celebrating its early arrival last year. Like a baby's fever, this phenomenon was keenly felt by many as a symptom of a system in distress.
Systemic thinkers connect winter's premature end with associated, worrying phenomena, including the rising tick population responsible for driving moose range north and increasing incidences of Lyme disease.
People whose livelihoods are invested in the multimillion-dollar ski and winter sports industry are likewise unimpressed by these trends. Other examples of undesirable effects of climate change abound, equally unappreciated by your readership.
For many, reading an article that mourns this year's return to more typical climate patterns is like fingernails on a chalkboard. It's grating evidence of how even journalists can fail to place crucial observations in the appropriate context, thus missing the big picture.
On behalf of an increasing majority of Mainers, I ask that the Press Herald improve journalistic integrity. Help readers make these essential connections, by acknowledging superficially pleasant changes for the symptoms of distress that the body of scientific research reveals them to be.
Approval of early opening bill reflects badly on state
Sadly, on March 15, Gov. LePage signed the St. Patrick's Day bill allowing bars to start serving liquor at 6 a.m. on St. Patrick's Day if it falls on a Sunday. To make matters worse, he donned a buffoonish "Irish" hat while doing it.
This all came about after Rep. Barry Hobbins, D-Saco, convinced the governor that it was a "goodwill gesture" to sign this "small-business" bill. Right.
In fact, it perpetuates the myth that the Irish are a bunch of drunken ne'er-do-wells who need their first drink of the morning at 6 a.m., nothing more, nothing less.
It is also an anti-family bill. Can you imagine dear old Dad coming home by 9 a.m. on Sunday, drunk? If it is such a good idea, allow all bars to open at 6 a.m. all year.
Shame on all the senators and representatives who spent precious and expensive legislative time pushing this bill through. As usual, you have made Maine look frivolous and stupid to the rest of the nation. "What a bunch of hicks up there in Maine" is heard across the land. A pox on all your houses.
Note to Gov. LePage: Based on history, the Democrats have detected weakness in you. Prepare to be figuratively stabbed in the back, multiple times.
Sen. Collins fails to keep her word on filibuster limit
Sen. Susan Collins was a member of the Gang of 14, which in 2005 negotiated and signed a bipartisan accord limiting filibusters of judicial nominees to "extraordinary circumstances." This gentlemen's (and ladies') agreement forestalled a Republican plan to use the so-called nuclear option, a parliamentary ruling that judicial appointments could not be filibustered.
At the time, Democrats naively trusted Republicans to keep the bargain and voted to confirm several Republican judicial nominees, including the off-the-wall extremist Janice Rogers Brown, who now sits on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Brown was twice evaluated as unqualified by the California Bar Association, has written in an opinion that the Supreme Court's 1937 decision upholding the New Deal as constitutional "marks the triumph of our own socialist revolution" and regularly peppers her opinions with similar right-wing screeds.
On March 6, 2013, Susan Collins voted for the second time to filibuster the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the D.C. Circuit Court, although Ms. Halligan had received the American Bar Association's highest rating: "well qualified."
The extraordinary circumstance cited to justify the vote was that Ms. Halligan, as New York state solicitor general, had represented the state in a case in which the National Rifle Association supported the other side.
Sen. John McCain, another member of the Gang of 14, said: "I think it meets the extraordinary circumstances, because of her extraordinary egregious record."
Sen. Mitch McConnell said that "her activist view of the judiciary ... would bring that activism to the court." He is referring to a court that recently set aside a much-used precedent dating from 1867 on presidential recess appointments. "Activism," indeed!
We note that with these votes, Sen. Collins has gone back on her word. The next time she gives her word, we must keep that in mind.
Meredith N. Springer
Others don't ordain women, but only Catholics mocked
Reference the anti-Catholic cartoon that appeared in the March 19 Press Herald ("Bill Day's View"):
Do you plan to give equal time, as it were, to your religious bigotry by publishing a hate cartoon mocking Orthodox Judaism for not ordaining women as rabbis?
Do you also plan on running one mocking Eastern Orthodoxy for not ordaining women priests? The Serbian Orthodox Church does not ordain women. There is a Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, and it does not have, and has never had, a female priest.
Do you also plan on running a cartoon mocking Islam for not allowing women as imams?
Gerald T. Griffin