I was interested to read Publisher Richard L. Connor’s June 5 column regarding Gov. Rick Perry of Texas (“Texas’ Perry might surprise Obama in 2012”).

In Mr. Connor’s anecdotal and innocent reminiscences throughout his light character sketch of Gov. Perry, he left out 229 important facts. During Perry’s administration, 229 people have been executed under the Texas death penalty law, and not one 30-day stay of execution has been granted.

In the longest-running term as governor, he has overseen the execution of more people than any other governor on record. There are moments when I find myself saying of any given crime, “that would deserve the death penalty,” but I know there are far fewer than 229 times to say that, and I know that there are infinitely more times than “zero” to grant clemency or stays of execution.

I do not find these facts to be light, or show a man who is charming.

Shaye Robbins

Kittery Point

Mideast peace pact facing an uphill slog 

Your May 29 editorial quoting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that “the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it” misses the point.

You state that the United States and Israel are best friends and allies, but you fail to address the significant real problems that confront that region.

That part of the world is now in a dangerous time — negotiations have stalled or failed, Israel announces expansion of its settlements, activists are mounting a campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions, more ships will be trying to break the blockade of Gaza, and Palestinian leaders are considering an application for U.N. membership.

American-born Israeli activist and 2006 Nobel Prize nominee Jeff Halper is looking beyond the blame game that so many are engaged in (“Mobilizing for September” at www.ICAHD.org).

He writes that the three political bodies — Israeli government, U.S. government and the Palestinian Authority — are not showing real leadership, as they delay talks, create diversions and sidestep the actual problems.

In the absence of political leadership, he says civil society — activist organizations and individuals in Israel, Palestine, and around the world — must continue to bring pressure for change. Halper says that if the parties cannot agree on a particular solution, everyone should at least be able to agree on a set of principles that must underlie a solution:

A lasting peace 1) for all peoples living in Palestine/Israel, 2) based on human rights, international law and U.N. resolutions, 3) that provides economic viability, 4) addresses all parties’ security concerns, 5) addresses the issue of Palestinian refugees, and that 6) looks at other obstacles to equality, justice, peace and development.

Leo Barrington


Karen Laub’s column in the May 22 Maine Sunday Telegram mentions that “at times Netanyahu seemed to lecture Obama and suggested that the president’s ideas are unrealistic.”

This is the second time that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insulted the administration in recent months: Vice President Biden was embarrassed when Netanyahu announced the rebuilding of settlements while Biden was on an official state visit in Israel.

When is someone going to put together the obvious; namely that Netanyahu is arrogant and responsible for much of the ill will toward the United States. When Israel bombed 40,000 Lebanese citizens in retaliation for the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers, the world shuddered while the Bush administration stood mute.

It’s time someone stood up to the Israel government and said: “Enough is enough!”

John Vinagro


Murals in a historic house most valued where they are

While I’m happy to see some murals in a private home “saved” (“Historic Maine house murals bound for new home,” Telegram, June 12), I’m appalled that they are being ripped out of the house where they belong. This is not preservation but vandalism!

These walls belong in the house where they were painted and they did not need to be removed, contrary to what Glenn Haines and his wife claim. These people have gone way overboard here and should be ashamed of themselves for removing this valuable piece of history from its original and proper location.

As a cultural historian and a preservationist I do not support this type of work; the murals were not threatened until these people came along! If they are worried about the future fate of these murals they could have arranged for a covenant that would have protected them and that could have been established through Maine Historic Preservation for a fee, probably less then what will be spent to remove and remount them.

This would have left the house intact and the murals protected. These people chose to gut the historic home not to protect the murals, but instead so that they could fill their museum.

To me, that is disgusting; I will never become a member of their organization because of this!

Steven Burr


Wind turbines won’t cut use of fossil fuels for power

Angus King’s recent column about wind power (“Energy choices and the No Free Lunch principle,” June 5) included what he referred to as a “key point,” which is, “saying no to wind means saying yes to something else” — implying that in Maine, wind could reduce the state’s use of fossil fuel.

But he’s completely wrong. Completely! Because even if wind turbines were allowed to blanket Maine’s beautiful and wild mountains, it would have little if any impact on the amount of fossil fuel that’s used to create electricity there.

Mr. King knows that regardless of how much juice the machines put out at any given moment, the plants will have to be kept hot and running at full throttle in case the wind stops blowing. It’s not surprising that he is a partner in a wind company, because his remarks sound an awful lot like wind jargon to me. Maine should remain famous for its B&Bs: bed-and-breakfasts — not blight and boondoggles, which is exactly what wind projects around the world are.

Sue Sliwinski

founder of National Wind Watch

Sardinia, N.Y.

Sen. Collins often votes against keeping air clean

Lisa Pohlman of the Natural Resources Council of Maine should do her homework before she praises Sen. Susan Collins for standing up for the Clean Air Act. Ms. Pohlman’s letter in the May 8 Telegram applauded Sen. Collins’ vote against an amendment offered by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to block enforcement of the Clean Air Act for global warming pollution.

However, on the very same day that Sen. Collins voted against the amendment referenced in Ms. Pohlman’s letter, Sen. Collins voted for another amendment, offered by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., which would have also blocked enforcement of the Clean Air Act in much the same way. The environmental group EarthJustice called the amendment Sen. Collins voted for “a free pass to pollute our air without restraint.”

In other words, Sen. Collins voted against enforcing the Clean Air Act after she voted for it.

Furthermore, this isn’t the first time Sen. Collins voted to block enforcement of the Clean Air Act. Just one month earlier, she voted for a ban on Clean Air Act enforcement as part of the GOP’s budget — this was one of the contentious issues that nearly led to the government shutdown.

And in June 2010, Sen. Collins voted for the Murkowski amendment to block Clean Air Act enforcement and deny the basic science of global warming. The Washington Post reported that the Collins-supported Murkowski amendment was literally written by a coal industry lobbyist.

When it comes to enforcing the Clean Air Act for global warming pollution, Sen. Collins has stood with the polluters, not with the environment.

Steven Biel


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