I attended the Organizing for America State of the Union watch event at RiRa’s. As usual, I was very impressed with our president’s words, but was most impressed with his points made on Americans needing to reinvent themselves in this new world where finding a job or career is not as easy as it used to be.

He encouraged the next generation to consider teaching, stating that our country needs them to help educate our children to compete with the global economy. He also defended our teachers by reminding parents that only they can turn off the TV at home and enforce that homework is done.

I hope all parents realize how important it is to prepare their children for the future as the next generation will be running the world and keeping America competitive.

As our president also said, “Not only the winner of the Super Bowl should be celebrated, but the winner of the Science Fair.”

Cristina Reed


I have just finished watching the State of the Union Love Fest. It may take awhile to compose myself.

The back-slapping, man-hugs, botox/porcelain smiles and sweep-over hairdos all assured me that all is well in Washington.

I felt the love and concern for my plight emanating from the flat-screen.

I was once cynical and jaded about politics and our Congress; now I realize that they really do care and worry about me.

Tomorrow will be a better day. They truly represent the working man.

Michael McDonough


Arizona service not solemn, more like a football rally

Was the service on Jan. 12 in Arizona a memorial service or was it a rally at a football game? I am sure many viewers were as confused as I. I thought even first lady Michelle Obama looked perplexed at times. There was good reason.

The service began with the playing of the Fanfare for the Common Man, a selection which is stirring but solemn, which usually causes listeners to become quiet and thoughtful, in tribute to the life of the common man.

But no, it was received with loud clapping and cheers, as if a quarterback had just thrown a touchdown pass.

President Obama’s message was excellent, even though interrupted numerous times by clapping, whistles and some whoops at very inappropriate times.

I wonder that he could continue with his message of calmness and kindness to others and his call to utter words that heal and not wound amid this rally atmosphere. And how could his message have been taken seriously by those who obviously were more interested in cheering and clapping, rather than really thinking about his words?

As I watched the memorial service, I was reminded of an adviser to Gov. Paul LePage stating that for the inauguation, “We’re trying to make it a little more interesting to the Maine people who are attending so that it’s not completely dry.”

“Dry” meant no poetry or choral singing. Which also meant no time to be quiet and think instead of wildly cheering and clapping.

Although there was a poetry reading and singing at the memorial service, neither was received as intended because no longer are they truly valued as the inspiration they have given to countless generations. We should never let these forms of inspiration be lost to us and thus to future generations.

Not everything in life is a raucous rally, as the Arizona memorial service became.

Alice Leighton


Organic food labels show no genetic modifications

Mike Bendzela may not see the advantages of organic certification for the farmer (“Is organic farming really everything its advocates claim,” Jan. 13), but from a consumer’s perspective it is extremely valuable.

The initial, obvious argument is that it makes it easier for me to choose to buy things that are sustainably grown. Pesticides are either plant-based or petroleum-based, and there are only so many dead dinosaurs to go around. Likewise, chemical fertilizers contribute to the depletion of petroleum resources.

But for me, the most important reason to buy food that is certified organic is that by law it cannot contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Most shoppers are unaware that the vast majority of food in American supermarkets contains GMOs.

The farmers, manufacturers and retailers are not required to label it as such. Virtually all meat, dairy products and eggs in this country that are not organically certified come from animals that are fed genetically modified corn and soybeans.

It has already been proven that genetically modified crops are escaping from farmers’ fields and contaminating the DNA of wild and conventionally bred plants.

Because corn is wind pollinated, it is especially vulnerable. Sellers of organic seeds must now test all the corn they offer to ensure its purity, and many heirloom varieties are in danger of being lost forever to contamination.

Studies have linked consumption of GMOs with a variety of health problems including allergies, infertility, immune system problems and organ damage. Europe banned GMOs in its food supply years ago.

But in this country, the corporations that make billions of dollars from GMOs influence the legislation that keeps us in the dark about what we are eating. That organic certification label shines a little bit of light on the subject.

Zendelle Bouchard


If Obamacare’s so great, why do so many want out?

When she was speaker of the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi indicated that Congress had to pass the health care legislation so we could determine what it covered.

Now it appears that President Obama’s health care law has significant costs that hundreds of its supporters cannot accept, and thus they have asked for and received waivers that excuse their complying with clauses in the law’s requirements.

Accordingly, such waivers clearly validate the demand that the Obamacare health legislation be repealed and replaced with a series of specific laws that address the concerns of both Democrats and Republicans.

John Barritt

Cape Elizabeth


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