I write in response to an article in the Press Herald describing the tactics of U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson, R-S.C., and his criticism of former Gov. John Baldacci for accepting a Defense Department position that was created to upgrade the health care quality of our service personnel.

My principal disagreement with your editorial, which appeared in the same edition, is The Press Herald’s view that Joe Wilson is an “idiot.” He is not an idiot. An idiot is an unfortunate retarded person whose mental acuity is in the lowest segment of measurable intelligence.

Congressman Wilson is at least one tier up from that level, and thus should qualify as a “moron.” That he is also philistine, a lout and a loudmouthed redneck is mere frosting on an unpalatable cake.

I have known former Gov. Baldacci since 2006, and while he was in office came to admire him very much, both as a political leader and as an individual. That one with credentials as fouled as those of Joe Wilson should have the temerity to attack the value of Gov. Baldacci’s services in his new Defense Department post – for which he is eminently well-qualified – ranks no higher on the scale of decency than his infamous shout of “liar” while the president of the United States was delivering a scheduled address.

Wilson is simply a thug who craves the attention that his lack of importance in this world has denied him. John Baldacci is smart, experienced, has good judgment, and above all else is a consummate gentleman.

His attention to a time-worn and shameful situation – our poor treatment of former service people ever since the Korean War – is a noble and needed undertaking. His agreement to serve for $165,300 per year is a bargain compared to what he could command in the private sector.

Wilson, on the other hand, is collecting $174,000 annually, and is an embarrassment to the United States. The taxpayers ought to oust him and demand a refund. His colleagues should have censured him severely for his affront to this nation, an outburst one might expect of a spoiled brat, not a member of Congress. There is only one appropriate message for Joe Wilson: Shame! Shame! Shame!

F. Lee Bailey


Elizabeth Tayor wonderful on relief of HIV/AIDS


At Frannie Peabody Center, we take the loss of Dame Elizabeth Taylor particularly hard. Not only was she a champion for people with HIV/AIDS long before any celebrity would publicly offer their support, but she also recognized the value of bringing her very public persona to bear on efforts during the early, frightening years of the epidemic.

She reached out when others were too afraid to extend even a handshake. And she did it on the world stage in front of countless cameras and doubtful contemporaries – all while bringing humanity, compassion and care to those to whom it had been denied.

She played critical roles in founding what are now some of the world’s most important HIV/AIDS organizations, including her own Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation. In many ways, her passing serves to remind us of Portland’s own grande dame Frannie Peabody, who similarly spent the early years of the epidemic breaking bread and sharing a human touch with those living with AIDS.

Both women shared common bonds – to speak out when others would not, to offer a human touch when others turned their backs, and to keep fighting HIV even when the odds seem stacked against them.

It is a legacy well worth remembering. Frannie Peabody Center, along with countless other HIV/AIDs organizations around the world, would not be here today were it not for Elizabeth Taylor’s willingness to speak up.

Yet, we are still here for a reason. So perhaps if anything good can come from Taylor’s unfortunate passing, it will be to wake us all from our complacency and remind the world that HIV is still among us.

Ed Corley

Director of Development

Frannie Peabody Center



Portraying Jesus as violent was totally out of context


Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts may himself be just slightly guilty of “cherry-picking” quotes that support his position (“Ready for a religion pop quiz,” March 30).

He notes that “people (are) cherry-picking warlike quotes from the Quran to ‘prove’ the evil of Islam.” He then provides three quotes from the Bible – one New Testament and two Old Testament – that make reference to violence. His conclusion is that Christians get a pass on violent quotes from the Bible, but Muslims do not get such a pass on violent quotes from the Quran.

The only problem with Mr. Pitts’ conclusion is that the tenets of Christianity are contained in the New Testament, not the Old Testament. The New Testament clearly depicts Jesus as a peacemaker who commands his followers to love their neighbor and to turn the other cheek when their face is slapped.

The quote from Matthew 10 is taken out of context. Jesus warns the Apostles that they will be persecuted, arrested and flogged. The rhetorical sword that Jesus “brings” is not a sword to be used by the Apostles to kill others; it is the sword that will be used by non-believers to strike down those who follow Him, just as Jesus was struck down and killed.

I am not aware of a single line in the New Testament where Jesus teaches us to kill or harm non-believers, stone adulterers to death or murder people who insult any of His prophets.

He did teach us in the Beatitudes that peacemakers shall be called the children of God, and those who suffer persecution for justice’s sake will see the Kingdom of God.

Why am I not surprised that neither of those quotes were “cherry picked” for inclusion in Mr. Pitts’ column?

Thomas Connolly



Animal-abuse court deal a total travesty of justice


The decision to reduce the heinous animal abuse case against John and Heidi Frasca to a plea deal for five counts, from the 25 originally filed, is a travesty.

York County District Attorney Kathryn Slattery and the Superior Court judge who condoned this deal should be ashamed of themselves. The financial cost to the public is considerable. The fact that they lost their property is a small price to pay.

Their 60 hours of community service between them translates to less than 8 minutes per animal they mistreated. How can that be justice? What message does that send to the public about our treatment of serious animal abuse cases?

How will Slattery explain that to children? We only hope her term as district attorney is a short one. As for the judge, examine your conscience.

Anna and Bill Gallant



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