March 10, 2013

Letters to the editor: Public-sector retirees scapegoated

(Continued from page 1)

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Lance Libby, 64, of Bowdoin is a retired teacher who’s gone back to work as a regular substitute. A reader says he agrees with the head of the state teachers union that people who collect “both state retirement and a tax-supported paycheck” are simply collecting the benefits that they’ve earned.

2013 File Photo/Gabe Souza

Larry Willis


Research backs legal pot, but government ignores it

In a recent letter to the editor ("Don't rush to make pot legal," March 3), Dr. Robert H. Lenox, a neuroscientist and physician, stated that the state of Maine was premature is consideration about the legalization of marijuana.

Dr. Lenox believes that we need more science regarding marijuana's effects and more experience with prohibition and legalization.

In 1939, Harry Anslinger, the commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, asked Fiorello LaGuardia, the mayor of New York, to head a commission to study marijuana. Over a five-year period, the New York Academy of Science conducted research.

In the 1970s, President Nixon appointed former Pennsylvania Gov. Raymond Shafer to head a commission to study cannabis use. The commission, known as the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, launched 50 research projects. The Shafer commission is considered the largest marijuana study ever done in the U.S.

Both of these commissions, in their final reports, declared that marijuana was not dangerous, not habit-forming and didn't lead to socially unacceptable behaviors. Both reports recommended that marijuana be legalized. Both reports were dismissed by the government, which then enacted more repressive anti-cannabis laws.

We have had decades of marijuana prohibition, ignoring relevant scientific research. Instead, that prohibition has been based on biased ideology, political machinations and ignorance.

How many thousands of nonviolent and productive citizens have gone to prison and had their lives and that of their families destroyed, based on a continuing lie? Isn't it time that we admit the wrong done and correct this terrible injustice done to so many?

Jerry Provencher


Republicans pick up tab for Obama's relief efforts

Why has Obama waited four years to decide it is time to do something for the middle class?

Hoping to get more of the middle-class vote. He's setting up the Democrats for the next election, but I don't know why he bothers.

A proverb: "Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."

2013 version: "Give a man a welfare check, a free cellphone with unlimited free minutes, free Internet, cash for his clunker, food stamps, Section 8 housing, free contraceptives, Medicaid, 99 weeks of unemployment, free medicine and he will vote Democratic the rest of his life even after he is dead."

I just wish the Republican-bashers would realize it is the working Republican footing the bill for all of the above and give them a break.

Times are tough enough for them supporting their own family without taking on another family to boot.

Craig Elliott


Punishing Whistler shows city's misplaced priorities

The article about The Whistler ("Court order: Walk while you whistle in Portland," Feb. 24) brought back memories of the '80s and the Dog Man, Dave Kopel. Dave was driven out of Portland because he had six dogs that he walked all over Portland. It did not matter that the dogs were under voice command and were well behaved.

Then there was my dad. He would walk his dog and play his harmonica. The children of Munjoy Hill loved it and would follow him. My mother was afraid that folks would get the wrong impression, so she made him stop.

Now it is The Whistler.

Apparently, the city of Portland does not tolerate what they consider to be outside the norm. It seems to me that it would be refreshing to hear a young man whistling or an old man playing his harmonica while enjoying the city of Portland, or even a man walking his six well-behaved dogs.

Where did our freedom to be ourselves go?

And why don't we let the Public Safety Department do better things with their time by keeping the thieves, drug dealers and predators off the streets, rather than being told to arrest a free spirit?

Suzanne D. Byrnes

Steep Falls

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