The congressional bipartisan super committee appointees have now been announced by both Democratic and Republican leadership in both the House and the Senate. I was amazed at the glaring lack of diversity in the appointees on the Republican side: six white men.

How appropriate were those decisions made by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker John Boehner?

Is there not one female representative or senator capable or qualified of being on this important committee that will be making decisions that affect all Americans — particularly the majority of Americans who happen to be women?

As a male registered nurse for the past 30 years, I do believe that women from both Democratic and Republican parties should have a seat at the table.

Diversity is only represented by the Democratic appointees who include a Hispanic, an African American and a woman contrasted with six white Republican men.

Over the past week I have contacted the offices of Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins. My question was, “Did they have a public statement on the lack of diversity among the Republican appointees?”


At the time of this writing neither has commented on the Republican leadership’s decision to exclude women.

As Maine’s long-serving senators they continue to be deficient in moral courage and leadership as well as be short of ethical integrity and responsibility at time when their leadership is most needed.

Where are their voices for women?

Edward Harwood


What a shame our country is led by and under the control of members of Congress who seem to have forgotten many of the people they are supposed to represent.


Those who do support them speak with such strident voices and an apparent lack of civility that compromise is lost.

Our country is in a morass of contradiction and bitterness. Special-interest zealots are trying to cram their ideology down our throats.

Our leaders initially got our country running again and then appointed a “super committee” to make it work. Now we learn all 12 members are beholden to special interest groups — mostly because of money. And the Republican who were appointed have already signed a written pledge with the Americans for Tax Reform not to raise taxes.

Thus, a bitter, stalemated battle is preordained. Each should have appointed moderate members of Congress if they could have been be found. What happened to civil discourse and compromise? We are a sick country!

There appears to be little hope from those representing us in Washington, D.C. Should we throw out everyone we can next year — the good, the bad and the ugly — and start over? What they promise and actually do seems illegal.

It is so sad and scary. Therefore, we must continue to contact our congressional representatives to ask them — no, beseech them — to work for the common good and not succumb to egos, politics, lobbyists or radical interests.


Amory M. Houghton III


There is good news and bad in the deal to raise the debt ceiling.

The good news is that a $2.4 trillion increase in the ceiling is adequate to permit the country to pay all its bills well into next year and possibly beyond the 2012 elections.

The influence of the tea party in the debate was mixed. The movement can take credit for encouraging GOP leaders to resist the inclusion of tax increases as part of the deal, but it made a strategic mistake by insisting on the passage of a constitutional amendment to balance the budget.

An enforceable mechanism to control spending is needed to do what Congress has proven it can’t or won’t do voluntarily, but a constitutional amendment is not the only possible mechanism and may not be the best one. In any case, the middle of a debt crisis is not the place to have a thorough debate on the subject.


The tea party clearly can have a positive effect on a complacent and spendthrift GOP, but the contribution won’t be positive if it substitutes naivety and political utopianism for clear goals and a tough but realistic strategy for achieving them.

Finally, even with $2.1 trillion of spending cuts, the country will continue to accumulate substantial deficits over the next 10 years. Most importantly, there is no significant savings in the deal from entitlement programs which will increasingly drive spending in coming years.

Unless these programs are substantially reformed, it will be impossible to balance the budget without large tax increases, and there will have to be further increases in the debt ceiling accompanied by the potential for new crisis.

Martin Jones


It sure would be nice if one could get rid of the far left and right factions of our political system.


It is quite evident that all these folks are interested in is their self -gratifying ego.

Bipartisanship by what few adults we have left in Washington would go a long way towards solving our current problems. It would not be easy, but it certainly would be refreshing.

R. J. Bergeron


U.S. auto mileage falls far short of Europe’s cars

The July 28 Press Herald carried the story “President Obama and automakers reach deal on fuel standards.” Having recently moved to Maine from England. I was appalled how far behind America has fallen in production of truly fuel-efficient cars.


My car there was a 2007 production Saab from which I could easily achieve over 54 mpg. With fuel at more than $10 a gallon there, this sort of mileage is a must. Volkswagen and many other companies are producing cars that can get over 80 mpg.

So what’s the problem in the U.S.? Obama and the car industry fatcats have colluded to obtain fleet mileage in another 14 years that has been available in Europe for several years.

On the other hand, I often see many people wasting fuel here in Maine by leaving engines running while they perform errands or sitting in parking lots running air conditioners while reading a paper.

Are people nuts? Yet they complain about fuel costs! Sounds like a lot of people have more money than brains as they continually pollute, while the politicians, who have no idea about the difference between right and wrong, proceed down the road of so-called compromise — or is it oblivion?

Phillip Anderson



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