Jonathan Carter, in his Maine Voices column Aug. 9 (“Mountaintop wind farms not good for the ecology”), seems to think mountaintop wind farms are a bad idea for Maine. I tend to agree with him.

Whether they are more bad than the bad idea of continuing to burn fossil fuels to make electricity is at least arguable. I’d like to challenge Mr. Carter and your newspaper to wonder with me about some good ideas for our energy future. Conservation is good but will probably not assuage the stress we are putting on Mother Nature.

Some other good ideas are shallow- and deep-water wind turbine technology. The official ocean energy policy of Maine government is to pursue deep-water technology to fuel our energy future. Deep-water technology is experimental and may be five to 10 years in the future. And, if our experience in the Gulf of Mexico is any indicator, deep-water technology may hold some unintended consequences we would be wise to avoid.

Shallow-water technology, on the other hand, is operational now. There have been thousands of wind turbines making electricity in the North Sea for the past 10 years.

The Gulf of Maine, like the North Sea, is relatively shallow. Furthermore, the wind, either 3 or 6 miles out from shore, already belongs to the people of Maine so we will never have to pay someone from away for the “fuel” to turn our turbines no matter how much the cost of other types of fuel become.

In other words, prospective businesses would be able to depend on the cost of electricity remaining manageable no matter how much the future cost of fossil fuel escalates.

So, Jonathan and The Press Herald, please help me understand why the good idea of shallow-water wind technology isn’t the best of the good ideas for Maine’s energy future.

Jim Tierney


Why won’t the right defend N.Y. mosque? 

On Jan. 20, 2009, President Obama put his hand on the Bible and swore to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. With his recent endorsement of the right to place a Muslim community center and mosque in Manhattan, the president kept that promise. So where are conservatives to congratulate him?

After all, the conservative movement has never missed a chance to grandstand on the constitutional soapbox and use that hallowed document as a bludgeon against anyone who disagrees with them. Their argument has long been that the Constitution is a rigid document, meant to be interpreted literally and not at the whim of “activist judges” or “agenda-driven opportunists.”

When anti-gun activists tried to use the terrorist bombing in Oklahoma City and the massacre at Columbine High School as rallying cries for gun control, conservative activists jumped to the defense of the Second Amendment. They rightfully argued that using a national tragedy to usurp a constitutional right guaranteed to all Americans was wrong.

Today they seem to have changed their tune. Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and just about every other prominent member of the conservative/tea party community has come out vehemently opposed to the mosque. (For the record, the man behind the mosque is far from a terrorist. He worked abroad for the Bush administration as a Muslim-American goodwill ambassador.)

These hypocritical so-called constitutionalists now seem perfectly willing to throw the First Amendment’s right to freedom of worship under the bus to whip up fear and intolerance. Where are our tireless tea party “defenders of the Constitution” when they are really needed?

Those “Don’t Tread On Me” flags flown so proudly at tea party events might better say “Don’t Tread On Me Unless You’re Different From Me.”

If so, then prepare to have your rights trampled.

Jeremy Smith

Old Orchard Beach

I am finding it interesting to see how the Republican Party leadership (among them Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich), which touts its support for the Constitution, is now wanting to limit freedom of religion because of a proposed Muslim worship center near ground zero and deny citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants born in this country.

The First and 14th Amendments apparently have become inconvenient to them and are no longer sacrosanct! Such hypocrisy!

William J. Leffler II


I am thoroughly embarrassed to be a member of our society today. The lowest common denominator has become the norm in our system and there is no way to sink too low without getting wrongly rewarded. I love my country and have spent my life serving it, but I don’t recognize it now.

The popular stances (the ones most likely to get one elected) are bigotry, ignorance and intolerance. Welcome immigrants to do our lowliest tasks, but when the economy falters, blame them for the corporate greed that has created the crisis. Claim religious tolerance, but make an issue of a religion creating a community center and house of worship a few blocks from a national tragedy having nothing to do with them.

Claim you’re upset about taxes and the cost of government when your most telling common denominator as a tea party movement is racism, because that is the issue that really brought you together. (Just as an example, the reviled current president lowered taxes as one of his first acts in office. But he is African-American.)

Rail against the deficit created by a president and political party that wrongly involved us in two wars and lowered taxes to create that huge deficit. Now, reward that group by electing them to office to stop the group trying to logically extricate us from the mess they left behind.

Here in Maine, make outrageous statements and lead a group in creating an ignorant, intolerant platform and then duck the press, skip debates and complain about coverage.

That will probably get our tea partier gubernatorial candidate, Paul LePage, elected. I’m sorry, I need to get out of here. Call me when this is over.

Richard J. Lawson


Despite his courage and pugnacious style, at times one is forced to sympathize with columnist M.D. Harmon as the defender of the indefensible when he is forced to join such humanists as Rudy Giuliani in denying First Amendment rights to those who would build a place of worship in New York.

Poor guy, next he’ll be asked to defend Sarah Palin’s foreign policy expertise or the wisdom of the Iraq invasion.

Rodney S. Quinn


I am appalled and surprised by the blatant intolerance that has been so widely accepted in regard to the proposed Islamic Center near ground zero.

Since entering kindergarten, the idea of religious freedom has been indoctrinated into my mind. I guess it was naive of me to believe this principle would hold true for all religions, including Islam.

I feel ashamed to live in a country where high-ranking government officials like Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., say “It is insensitive and uncaring for the Muslim community to build a mosque in the shadow of ground zero.”

How is this insensitive? Did the New York Islamic community stage the attacks on the World Trade Centers? On the contrary, they are American citizens, many of whom lived in New York during 9/11 and felt the sorrow and bereavement that all of America felt in the wake of the tragic attacks.

The chief executive of the company that is developing the project, Sharif El-Gamal, puts it nicely: “We (the Islamic community of Manhattan) are Americans — Muslim Americans. We are businessmen, businesswomen, lawyers, doctors, restaurant workers, cabdrivers, and professionals of every walk of life, represented by the demographic and tapestry of Manhattan.”

To equate the New York Muslim community with the “Islamic” terrorists behind 9/11 is like equating the devout Christian communities of Maine with the KKK. There are radical Jews, Christians and Muslims; letting radicals’ actions represent the views of their entire religion is a major ethical and logical fallacy.

The location of the mosque is not irrelevant. Contrary to the outcry of the far right, such a place of religious worship would show that America has integrity.

It would show that America’s commitment to religious freedom is, as the president put it, “unshakable.”

Elias Pitegoff