January 20, 2013

Letters to the editor: Teens' films show real initiative

I would like to thank Bill Nemitz and his Sunday column ("Horror all around over teen filmmakers' bloodbaths set in Brunswick," Jan. 13) for introducing me to USN Films.

click image to enlarge

A young actor aims a weapon in this screen image from “The Extraction,” one of more than two dozen videos produced by USN Films of Brunswick. That a group of teens can accomplish all the tasks needed to create a movie “is truly impressive,” a reader says.

Screen grab from Web

As a performer, it is truly inspiring to see a group of high school students putting their energy into creative endeavors.

These young folks could be spending their free time drinking in the woods (as I'm sure many of their peers do), but instead they use that time to create movies and learn about and share their knowledge of filmmaking.

Writing, acting, shooting, directing and editing a movie is no small task; that they can do all of that while still in high school is truly impressive. Do you think their parents and teachers realize how talented they are?

Zachary M. Rohman


In 10 years, the town of Brunswick will be falling over itself to lure USN Films with tax breaks to make equally violent films within the confines of the town.

Why don't we guide these creative young people and assist them in their efforts instead of arresting them? They have been making films for more than two years. The Connecticut tragedy should not spur us to curtail the First Amendment. What type of example does this set?

Some of the films posted on the USN Films YouTube site show young actors wearing American flags rescuing hostages and killing bad guys. Isn't this a case of art imitating life?

Why not show them how to go through channels to gain access to the former Brunswick Naval Air Station? Are they breaking the law by making or posting the film? No! They were arrested for trespassing because of the content of the film, period.

These arrests are nothing more than Internet censorship! It would not be surprising to find this issue to be a catalyst in the larger debate about Internet content. It may bring these artists, the town of Brunswick and all the individuals connected to this story into the national spotlight. Are you ready for your close-up?

Douglas Gimbel


New Senate rules could help avert debt ceiling showdown

The U.S. is required to pay its debts by the 14th Amendment, while the artificial debt ceiling is a legislative tool that has been abused for political ends by a divided Congress.

The reality is that we will always be able to honor our debts and our creditworthiness is harmed, not helped, by attempts to blackmail the president and Senate to yield to the extreme views of the current House majority.

Perhaps the main lesson for this is that our 200-year-old Constitution, with its built-in divided government, is inconsistent with rational policymaking (either liberal or conservative) in the 21st century. Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein in "It's Even Worse Than It Looks" and Sanford Levinson in "Our Undemocratic Constitution (And How We Can Fix It)" have it about right.

Maine can contribute to resolving these ends if its elected officials and voters work to adopt some of the more reasonable proposals outlined in these books, such as aligning congressional elections every four years with presidential races, and putting the burden on the Senate minority to actually conduct a filibuster and come up with more than 39 votes to prevent approval of a presidential nomination.

At minimum, the Senate must adopt a rule that requires only one filibuster on any nomination or bill, and that all nominations are given an up-or-down vote within 30 days.

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