O.O.P.S! As in Obama Owes Portland Supporters (an explanation)!

My family was among the hundreds of supporters shut out of the assembly with President Obama April 1, after seven hours of waiting in line (Wednesday in the rain to get tickets, and Thursday in the sun, tickets in hand).

Why were we treated so inconsiderately? Was it poor work by the White House advance team? Did they distribute too many tickets? Did the president arrive too early? Nobody should be treated like we were – no explanation, apology, or owning up to the situation. Not even a loudspeaker or television was set up outside.

Mainers are proud of our character and manners. Thursday, we had protesters for and against reform. They were orderly and civil. No slurs were heard or visible.

This is a very independent-minded state. We are also polite. I believe in the president’s policy of continuing to reach out for bipartisan input on issues. As a local registered nurse, I spent a year working for health care reform, donating time and money to elect the president. We wrote letters, made phone calls and speeches and showed up at local rallies.

There’s no excuse for the advance team now having such poor manners or organizational skills. Let’s teach them something about civility here in Maine. Obama promised to do business differently in Washington. This is an example of “business as usual,” arrogantly brushing off the grass-roots community that supported the administration’s efforts on reform all the way.

If there is a problem in the local organization of a presidential visit, there should be an explanation, and a sincere effort to analyze what went wrong. The president’s team owes us voters an apology, and a return visit (or were we just April fools?)

Timmi Sellers


I realize that health care reform is a complex matter, and that people have very strong views about many of the issues involved.

The one thing that I find most appalling is the attitude of some people and some states regarding the supposed constitutional right to not be required to purchase health insurance.

My suggestion is this: For those people who can afford to buy insurance but do not wish to do so, there should be a change in the law to allow a waiver to be signed allowing them to be exempt.

In return, the government and the health care industry should not be required to provide these people with health care, even if all of their assets are exhausted. Perhaps they could turn to the states that are suing the federal government for help.

As a small-business person who has been paying high premiums for insurance with very high deductibles for more than 30 years, I look forward to the day when I am eligible for Medicare. That will be the first time in my life that I have really had any real health care coverage.

George Koutalakis


The amount that Obamacare will reduce health care costs: zero.

The nondeductible tax a business will have to pay for each employee qualifying for Obamacare’s inflated tax credit: $3,000.

The charge against earnings for Obamacare already announced by just six major corporations: $1.6 billion.

Obama coming to Portland on April Fool’s Day to tell us his health care Ponzi scheme will be good for business: Priceless!

Jim Ward


Shame on the young man who sat directly behind President Obama during his televised speech – the man with the Eagles T-shirt on.

Disrespectful by talking, occupied by texting, bored by yawning, immature by fidgeting – hardly the behavior that Portland wanted to exhibit during such a wonderfully fine moment in our city’s history.

Julie Hale


Clerical abuse cases still disturbing here and abroad

As Catholics entered another Holy Week prior to Easter, the headlines from around the globe spoke to the nasty underbelly of pedophilia.

So many beautiful young children, robbed of their innocence by the very people they were taught to respect.

Can you imagine deaf children being ravaged by these “men of God?” It sickens me to my very being. How many lives have been scarred by a dysfunctional patriarchal archaic order of authoritarian control?

The deeper sin is the conspiracy of the church to hide these criminals, to move them to another parish where they may prey upon other unsuspecting believers.

In no other part of society would these crimes be tolerated. The church can no longer be allowed to “police itself.” The results have been quite revealing. The silence is deafening.

It is quite obvious that these priests should be defrocked, excommunicated and put on trial for these heinous crimes against such vulnerable human beings.

They should be punished to the full extent of the law.

But what of those who kept silent? Who allowed these crimes to continue unabated? Those who did not speak for the children. Are they culpable also?

We as a society can tolerate this abuse no longer. Where are the brave prosecutors who will rid us of this scourge? 

When will the faithful who remain, who continue to sit in the pews, rise up and seek justice?

Who speaks for the children?

Marc Hebert


In light of the latest revelations of sex abuse by priests and church employees in Ireland, the Netherlands and Germany, I think it appropriate to address, once again, the ongoing crisis here in Maine.

Unfortunately, little has changed since the abuse crisis came to light in 2002. In 2003, Bishop Richard Malone came to Maine, promising to “reach out to survivors” and to “make protecting children” his No. 1 priority.

Sadly, this is not what happened.   Almost exactly one year ago, Sue Bernard, spokesperson for the Diocese of Portland, stated that

Bishop Malone was “considering” providing, as part of the diocesan Web site, a list of all those credibly accused of sexual abuse of children.

Based upon advocates requests, this was to include “full disclosure” and not just the names. It was to include all accused, both living and dead.

Unfortunately, this past St. Patrick’s Day, when advocates stood outside the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, she issued the same statement: That Bishop Malone is still “considering it.”

I ask this: Why do we allow the organization that ruined so many lives to decide how, when and where they will do what is right?

I say to Bishop Malone: Stop playing games with survivors. Stop putting children at risk today. Do all you can do to prevent even one more child from being abused.

Where are all the abusers? How many are still priests? Are they all in one place being monitored? Are any of them a risk? Are you sure?

Harvey Paul

Director, Maine chapter, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests


Work on Veterans Bridge shouldn’t stop for anything

When the state puts out bids to replace the Veterans Memorial Bridge, I think it should stipulate work be performed seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

That way construction will be done in a much more timely fashion. This is a project that will take years to finish working at a set five days a week, eight hours a day.

Bill Preston


Beware of products hiding sugar under other names

Much has been written lately regarding the need for accuracy and clarity in the labeling of food products.

A wonderful example occurred to me over breakfast this morning.

I was reading the ingredients list on a box of cereal from a major brand, whose products are advertised as “go lean.”

Among the items listed was “evaporated cane juice crystals.” Now, it does not take a rocket scientist to recognize that this is sugar!

While the listing is perfectly correct, it is also deceptive, and this kind of deception cannot be allowed.

Larry Ryan


Supporter and critic discuss columnist’s work

To those who had a “problem” with M.D. Harmon’s recent columns on “climate change:”

We all need to look at all of the data, not the politicized stories and reports. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s data and reports, their “models,” etc., include a multitude of serious flaws.

If you do online searches you will see as many articles disproving man-made global warming as the IPCC says support it.

The “climate change” movement gained traction after publication of the “hockey stick” graph showing, according to models, a flat global temperature with a dramatic and consistent rise in temperature that coincided with man’s increase in carbon-based fuel consumptions and rise in CO2 levels.

But if you look at the data available you will see that over history the global temperature has not been static and it has been both significantly warmer and colder than at present.

The IPCC models make some assumptions, like virtually ignoring water vapor (Do clouds vary temperature? Of course they do.) The models also assume that as the atmosphere gets hotter, heat losses to space, which is very cold, don’t increase via radiation.

These assumptions make no sense.

For a very good summary, please check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 minority report written by Dr. Alan Carlin, an employee of our own government, and buried for purely political reasons.

Dan Morency


Press Herald columnist M.D. Harmon has given us another classic column (“Long-rejected VAT may be waiting for long-suffering taxpayers,” March 26).

After stating that “anyone who makes confident predictions” about the 2010 elections “is simply not in contact with the real world” because “many things will occur between now and then,” he proceeds to extrapolate on the effects of the newly enacted health care law between now and the year 2025. What extraordinary vision.

Is he anywhere near retirement?

John Bell


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