September 21, 2013

Letters to the editor: USM could help make Maine younger

In 2011, I wrote (and the Portland Press Herald published) a letter about news of declining enrollment in the University of Maine System and notably, the University of Southern Maine ("USM's offerings unfairly overlooked," Dec. 22, 2011).

click image to enlarge

Students walk to class at the University of Southern Maine in Portland. Emphasizing USM’s ties to Portland could both bolster USM’s enrollment and attract students who’d wind up staying on and boosting the number of young people in the state, a reader says.

2010 File Photo/John Ewing

I offered a solution that would help grow the perception of USM as an integral campus of the university system by changing its name to the University of Maine, Portland.

This, I offered, would elevate the school to equality with other competing (nationwide) university systems at the state level, and further identify it as the campus in what is now known nationally and internationally as a world-class destination: Portland, Maine. Coupling the name change with this great city is a no-brainer.

Last week, the Press Herald ran an article on how the University of Maine System is down in population by more than 3 percent ("In Maine, state university enrollment falls," Sept. 12).

The same day, the paper ran a story about paying more than $300,000 to a newly created assistant position for a former school official ("Price of keeping ex-USM chief employed? $363,028").

M.D. Harmon's Sept. 13 column points out in its title, "To better serve seniors, Maine must attract more young people."

These points are interconnected. Get more young, eager-to-learn students to the Portland campus and they will fall in love with the town and maybe stay on. This must be part of a larger solution, but it is an important step.  

Balancing the student population between campuses is as simple as manipulating which campus offers greater grants.

Let's do this right, one time. It's a win-win-win solution. Let's not waste another year and another $300,000 and write another article about a failing management team who is afraid of change.

George Barber

Yarmouth

Abusers barely punished, so abuse of dogs continues

The man accused of dragging his dog and causing her to die of heat exhaustion should be punished severely if he is convicted ("Fairfield man pleads not guilty in dog's death," Sept. 12). 

If he did what he is accused of doing, he would be a low and rotten excuse for a human being, and what he allegedly did should be treated seriously.

One of the main reasons why the abuse, neglect, torture and murder of innocent dogs continues all over this country is that those who commit these horrible acts are ignored or accepted in some parts of the country, and in the rest of our country, they are let off with a fine or a slap on the wrist.

Lawyers and others who see fit to allow this to continue are every bit as guilty as those lowlifes who commit these heinous acts. People who actually get paid to perpetrate the abuse and murder of dogs are in some ways sicker than those whom we usually would call "guilty."

Dogs have no voice except their cries of pain.

I have no doubts that a day will come when the laws and lawmakers of our time will be looked back on as barbaric. At some point, someone will have the guts to take a step toward putting an end to it. 

Until then, the most innocent and trusting creatures among us, those that ask only for our companionship, care and love, will continue to suffer and die.

Karen Tanguay

Scarborough

'Made in America' credit would help fuel recovery

Our economy is running like a rowboat without a paddle -- down the rapids and headed for the cliff. We have little or no manufacturing backbone left, which has historically been the engine that powers recoveries that last.

A simple cure would be to give Americans a tax credit every time they purchase an American-made or American-assembled product (food excluded), up to a reasonable limit. The result will be that American consumers will ask and demand American-made products -- or at least will ask to see them first.

All of a sudden, merchants of goods will demand American-made products from their suppliers. The suppliers still in the U.S. will start expanding production and hiring. The foreign suppliers will rush to place factories in the U.S. so they do not lose market share, and these new factories will hire as well.

Those newly employed will start paying taxes instead of getting unemployment checks, food stamps, etc., and will cease being a drain on our coffers. 

The government will win because more people will be working and paying taxes. And this added tax revenue (plus savings on not having to give out unemployment checks and food stamps) will more than make up for the consumer tax credits that will be allowed. 

It's a win-win for everyone, and our country will be economically reinvigorated. 

Some might say that the above might be unfair to our foreign trading partners. Well, we have an economic emergency, and it's high time we "take the gloves off" before we're carried out of the (economic) ring!

Skip Lieblein

Center Lovell

President's incompetence had positive result on Syria

The latest Syrian debacle has been, at the very least, bizarre. President Obama has shown an amazing degree of indecision and incompetence.

But before the Obama haters shake their heads, raise their fists and say "Right on," they should take a closer look at what has happened here.

If Mitt Romney had won the election, does anyone doubt that we would have already bombed Syria?

Romney would have bombed, the Republicans (the same ones telling Obama not to bomb) would have been 100 percent behind it, the spineless Democrats would have gotten in line for fear of being called "unpatriotic" and we'd once again be in a quagmire of our own doing. Sound familiar?

But -- thanks to Obama's incompetence, the Republicans' hatred, Secretary of State John Kerry's flippancy and Russian President Vladimir Putin's greed, we might actually be doing the right thing for a change. Amazing. Three cheers for incompetence.

Peyton Higgison

Brunswick

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