Toy soldier hat hardly threatening

The Tioque School administration (in Coventry, R.I.) strives to keep kids safe and avert potential terrorism. Students cannot bring weapons to school. Violators face swift discipline.

Recently, David Morales’ second-grade class was assigned a project making hats. David glued some of his small, plastic toy soldiers onto a camouflage baseball cap to honor our military.

What in the world was this kid thinking? Toy soldiers with toy rifles? Shameful! Where were his parents?

Fortunately, his teacher, having been trained in child safety, was alert to the possibility that those toy soldiers, led by 8-year old David, may have really been a cell of tiny terrorists with nefarious intentions.

Because of the danger, David was promptly summoned to the principal’s office and questioned about his real motives. He was also told he should replace the armed toy soldiers with unarmed ones.

But David was incorrigible, and the admonition did not take.

Indeed, he even said that replacing the soldiers didn’t make any sense because soldiers are supposed to be armed. Obviously, this kid is showing signs of rational thinking, and it must be stopped before it spreads!

To make matters worse, the retired head of the Rhode Island National Guard even gave David an award, complimented his patriotism and told him he hadn’t done anything wrong.

Shame on that officer for trying to undo all the good work of the school administrators.

The good news is that the district school superintendent is investigating the incident and says he will reconsider the policy.

Perhaps the dictionary definition of “dangerous weapon” needs to be broadened to include the make-believe rifles carried by small plastic soldiers.

He should also find out whether David is involved in any sort of international conspiracy. After all, the toy soldiers were undoubtedly made in China.

Paul S. Bachorik



Whether Cutler wins or not, he has still done us a favor


Staff Writer Ann Kim’s article on independent candidate Eliot Cutler bringing potential income and jobs to the state via Chinese importers (“Cutler bringing Chinese business leaders to Maine,” June 15) was well done, except for the last paragraph.

She committed a “Fox News fair and balanced” replica by including a negative comment by the Democratic campaign coordinator, on the presumption of balancing the article.

Gee, why not include a comment from the other independents and the Republican campaign to be truly fair? But that’s not the essence of this letter. Think about it. If candidate Cutler doesn’t become the governor but the Chinese still decide to import Maine lobsters, then Mr. Cutler has indeed committed an altruistic act.

The next governor will gain the benefit of Cutler’s act.

Please notice that the other candidates are announcing that they will increase jobs, promote business, etc., if they are elected. Candidate Cutler has actually demonstrated how he would try to make these things come about.

Even if the Chinese decide not to import lobsters from Maine, the point is that Cutler is showing by action, not acting, how things would get done.

Mark Schwartz

South Portland

Power district manager wants carbon to be taxed


As the general manage of the consumer-owned Kennebunk Light and Power District, I am writing to thank Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe for their recent vote to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases under the 1990 Clean Air Act.

I agree with the senators that the science of global warming is real and that the United States must act to reduce emissions to mitigate the environmental impacts.

But they, and I, believe that Congress must act to pass an economy-wide program of mandatory emissions reductions designed specifically for greenhouse gases, rather than letting EPA put a “square peg in a round hole” by using the two-decade-old Clean Air Act for this purpose.

Sen. Collins has joined with Democratic Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington state to introduce the “Carbon Limits and Energy for American Renewal (CLEAR) Act” — a thoughtful bill that puts a price on carbon, while ensuring that most of the carbon revenues are returned to consumers.

I concur with our senators that we must act to deal with climate change. And I agree that Congress must do so in a way that is both environmentally and economically responsible. Let’s get on with it!

Sharon A. Staz

General Manager and Treasurer

Kennebunk Light and Power District


In taxes or prices, Obama wants more of our money


We all wish the government had a magic wand to wave and “poof” — the federal budget would be balanced.

But that’s not going to happen, and we need representatives in Washington who will stand firm against efforts to raise taxes.

As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama promised that he wouldn’t propose tax increases on middle-income Americans. In fact, he promised not to raise taxes of any kind on families making less than $250,000.

But apparently President Obama didn’t mean that middle-income Americans will not feel the brunt of higher taxes. The president has proposed higher taxes on energy companies in his new budget, and those higher taxes will mean higher prices for everyone who fills a gas tank or heats a house.

Few people have sympathy for the big oil companies, but these taxes also would hit smaller companies — the ones that employ workers around the country. Such a tax increase would put jobs at risk, increase energy costs for everyone and impede any growth we hope to see in our economy.

Middle-income Americans should stand up and say “enough” — we don’t want new taxes on any company that will result in higher prices for us.

John Ridge

South Portland