My husband and I spent a week in Portland recently, trying to get out of the Florida summer heat, and we picked the perfect place. The weather was ideal and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and everything Portland had to offer.

We took the city trolley tour and the boat tour of Casco Bay, went on a windjammer sail, visited the Museum of Art (where we had “dinner” sandwiches in the cafe, took in the Winslow Homer exhibit and lecture and walked through all the galleries), went to your beautiful public library, walked around Monument Square and the Old Port, went over to the art and crafts show on Peaks Island, walked some more, shopped and ate to our heart’s content.

I am writing in regard to the column that appeared in your paper on Aug 16 entitled ” ‘Tracing the Fore’ not up to expectations, but city won’t give up.”

Our hotel shuttle van driver took us past this work of art and pointed it out to us. It made no impression whatsoever until I read the column. The paintings and statues in the museum were so outstanding (especially the statue of Gen. Grant), I was frankly surprised when I saw “Tracing the Fore.” According to the article, so much went into the national competition and eventually choosing the artist and commissioning this new piece of art for the city. It is really too bad that this did not meet expectations.

I understand that “legally you cannot alter the artist’s work without her consent.” However, if you do get her consent, may I please put in my two cents worth? I would take out the blue sheep fescue grass and plant instead begonias with brown leaves and white flowers.

This annual is frequently seen here in Florida when one wants to give the appearance of waves in the ocean when the wind blows. Another choice might be the blue shrub plumbago (a perennial) that also gives the appearance of water when the wind blows. Many boat sales firms have this around the perimeter of the yachts for sale.

It can probably be sheared low enough to still see the metal “waves.” This shrub blooms all year around down here, but I am sure it would never survive a Maine winter. I did see some ageratum growing around town, and this might also be an option.

I am sure between the Public Art Committee and various local garden clubs, if you are legally able, you will come up with something spectacular.

We are looking forward to visiting your lovely and vibrant city again soon some day and hope by that time we will enjoy a much improved art work at that location.

Adele Kauffman
Palm City, Fla.

Obama supporters and a critic offer their views

I watched President Obama’s speech on Iraq and couldn’t help but think of what a failure he is as a conventional politician. He was talking about how he had just fulfilled yet another campaign promise and I thought, “Who does that anymore?”

Our combat role in Iraq has stopped just when he pledged it would 18 months ago.

After all, he has now lowered taxes on the lower and middle classes. How awful! He has actually tried to provide money to state and local governments to prevent the loss of teachers and police and firefighters. The fiend! He has provided health care to millions of our citizens, and, despite a great deal of interference, will provide it to many more in the years to come. People with pre-existing conditions will also have to be insured. The villain!

The financial services sector will now be regulated so that they can’t charge usurious rates and levy fees with impunity. How rotten! They won’t be able to gamble our money away as easily anymore either. We have to stop him! Profits are also higher than they have ever been. I’m sure that’s not important.

I mean, think about it. He must be stopped from fulfilling all of these things he promised. The Republicans have certainly tried to stop him as their patriotic duty, but they are only in the minority. We should elect many more so that they can be an effective deterrent to this awful president and his kept promises.

I miss George W. Bush and his unpaid-for tax cuts for the richest people during wars fought stupidly and with no concern for where hundreds of billions of dollars went.

We need to put those people back in power so these promises will stop being kept and they can finish destroying our economy completely. Let’s restore that honor!

I’m absolutely positive that the conservative hatred of our president has nothing to do with the color of his skin. Aren’t you? It must be all those kept promises.

Richard J. Lawson


The plummeting of President Obama’s popularity is testimony of America’s irrational demand for instant gratification and quick fixes. It took eight years for the Bush administration to louse up the economy to a fare-thee-well. It is going to take a lot more than 19 months to fix the problem.

Bush pressured Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to keep interest rates too low for too long. He blamed Greenspan for his father’s defeat in 1992. “Borrow-and-spend” has become the mantra of the Republican Party despite their pretensions of being economic conservatives

The Bush tax cuts, 90 percent of which went to the wealthy, contributed to a doubling of the national debt and led to an overheated economy with people using their home equity to purchase stocks, real estate, vacations, and to pay for education.

In the short term, excessive borrowing due to profligate lending practices (thanks to deregulation) put more money into circulation than was healthy for the economy. Now housing prices have fallen 30 percent.

Some $14 trillion in investment value and home equity has been lost along with 8 million jobs thanks to Republican policies (although Clinton shares part of the blame for supporting the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which deregulated much of the banking industry).

The fundamental tenets of the Republican Party — tax cuts and “government is not the solution — government is the problem” (in a word, Reaganism) — have proven disastrous (except for the wealthy).

But given the fundamental aim of the Republican Party — to make the rich richer and hence more politically powerful, I suppose they would call it a success.

Why ordinary Americans would support Republicans whose policies have led us to the brink of a Great Depression II is beyond me.

Robert Cronin
Cape Elizabeth


In regards to President Obama being a Muslim: Personally I was seeing the writing on the wall way back in the fall of 2008. You don’t sit in a church 20 years and listen to a minister preach nothing but hate for America, Americans and white people if you truly are an American yourself. You don’t stand with your hands folded in front of you when the American flag is being honored, either.

You don’t cancel the White House observance of the National Day of Prayer that has been held since 1988, as he did in 2010. But the Muslims had their day of prayer with him in September 2009. There is a picture of Obama taking his shoes off at a Muslim worship service. His wife doesn’t go with him to Muslim countries as woman are not allowed. I am connecting the dots, how about you?

You also don’t have a wife who runs down her country like Michelle Obama has done, either. I watched her on the “View” in 2008. She had some pretty startling comments.

Then this speech Obama made defending the right to build a mosque at ground zero has really sealed the deal. I am 99.9 percent sure I know where he is coming from.

You don’t need Fox News, conservative talk shows or anyone else for that matter to see him get torn apart. My opinion is that he has been his own worst enemy — indeed, he has been his own “master of disaster.”

Jeanie Woodward


I am bewildered by the outrageous allegations circulating about President Obama.

He is vilified as secretly being a Muslim (not a Christian, so therefore he must be a terrorist sympathizer), not having been born in this country (he is not an American citizen, he’s a Marxist/ socialist/Fascist/Nazi, take your pick) and as having a problem with white people. These charges have consistently been proven untrue, but not only do they persist, they gain in support.

Do these folks not understand the meaning of honor and honesty?

I cannot decide which is more abhorrent: the malicious falsehoods themselves, the twisted minds that concocted them or the deluded souls who give them credence by accepting them as fact.

I suspect these fabrications stem not only from ideological differences with Obama but personal bias against the man himself.

These citizens would make far better use of their time, energy and the few brain cells they seem to possess by encouraging our duly elected government to find solutions to the critical problems facing all of us instead of engaging in nefarious means to discredit it.

A Republican friend admonishing me when I dared to be critical of former President George W. Bush’s policies and decisions, declared, “He is the president, accept it.”

I did reserve my right to disagree with the Bush/Cheney administration, but I resigned myself to the fact they would be our leaders until the next election.

Barack Obama is president of the United States. The elections of 2012 will determine whether or not he will be re-elected.

But now when anyone casts false aspersions on the man, they just insult and demean the office.

Sam Kamin


Maine motto, place names still confusing to the media


I concur with the Aug. 12 letter from James Skillings of North Yarmouth about the pronunciation of Dirigo.

Be it on radio or TV, for 81 years I have heard it pronounced “Der-I-go,” not “DARE-i-go.”

The emphasis is on the middle syllable instead of the first, as it properly should be. Why don’t the newscasters get it right?

Radio and TV people mangle a lot of Maine’s phrases and place names. One that makes me grit my teeth is Mount Desert. They call it Mount DESSERT.

There is a world of difference between a desert and a dessert. For example, try eating a desert.

Perhaps these news people should take an approved course on accurate pronunciation or learn to read before they speak into their mikes. Let’s hope some of them are listening.

Gennie Poulos