Shame on Sen. Susan Collins!

On Thursday morning, I watched in horror as she stood before the U.S. Senate and spoke in favor of an obscene attempt to strip employee health care benefits of any value. Did she even read the Blunt amendment? It never mentions the word “contraception.”

The language was so absurdly broad that virtually any claim might be denied on the slightest pretext.

Well beyond the question of women’s birth control that an all-male panel of clergy chose to oppose, it would risk basic medical needs of men, women and children of any social strata.

Instead of protecting religious freedoms, this amendment would have allowed “health care stakeholders” (employers, insurers, medical practitioners, etc.) to impose their beliefs on individuals from any faith employed in such completely secular activities as hospital laundry, social work, education, accounting or driving a truck.

If the CEO of a business happens to be Muslim or Jewish, would they be exempt from covering porcine replacement valves, which have saved so many heart-disease patients? Are an insurance executive’s “moral convictions” pertaining to the financial interests of his company allowed to take precedence over the health of its clients?

It’s a very slippery slope!

What’s next? If I don’t believe in war, does that mean I can exempt myself from paying taxes that support the military? Do we next allow honor killings and human sacrifice on the grounds of protecting religious freedom?

Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed this time.

Sincerely hoping we’ll all pay closer attention in the future,

L.L. Prescott

Falmouth

 

I am terribly disappointed that Sen. Susan Collins did not have the courage to break away from the iron grip of Sen. Mitch McConnell Jr. and others in the Republican senatorial leadership when she voted for legislation that would have allowed employers to determine what type of medical care is available for their employees.

Although she may claim that this was not a political decision, it should not go unnoticed that virtually every other Republican senator also supported the so-called Blunt amendment.

The decision by Sen. Olympia Snowe, who voted to support Maine and all American women, should have served as a model for Maine’s other senator.

Sadly, it did not, and Maine women and all voters should take notice.

Shame on Sen. Collins.

Kenneth Spirer

Portland

 

What do Rush Limbaugh and Susan Collins have in common?

They both act in a manner that is clearly against women’s health care rights and would rather pander to the far right.

While we in Maine never voted for Mr. Limbaugh, Sen. Susan Collins was elected with the help of many fine Maine men and women.

Oh, how I wish she was running this year!

Steven Freedman

Cape Elizabeth

 

Idea to use empty spaces in parks could bear fruit

 

When I visit wild, ungroomed places in our parks. I think about our community, about food insecurity.

Let’s bring those thoughts together.

Let’s plant fruit trees to provide fresh fruit for people of our community, for our schools, for our food pantries. Let’s teach the community (parents, teens, children) how and when to nourish, prune, harvest and preserve.

In some areas, the city only mows occasionally during the summer.

Here I envision apple and peach trees. The peaches will ripen before school starts and the apples after. There are areas where the city is trying to eradicate invasive plants. High-bush blueberries or blackberry canes might fill in these areas.

I remember, as a child, walking home from school near the end of the year and seeing blossoms on blueberry bushes. They reminded me to come back later, when the berries would be ripe.

There are open spaces near public housing. These would be handy locations for apple, cherry or plum trees instead of ornamental crab apples and cherries.

There’s an apricot tree on Congress Street. Wouldn’t more of those just make your mouth water? Wouldn’t fresh apricots make a delectable addition to the school lunch menu?

Along our city streets, near schools, we could replace some ornamentals with fruit trees. We have several community gardens. The north sides of some of them might be appropriate for fruit trees.

Several years ago, our family gathered wild apples from trees around our city and made fresh applesauce. Many of these trees could stand to be pruned and encouraged.

Thoughts of fresh apples, applesauce, dried apples, apple pies, cobblers for school lunches, make me want to go back to school.

What will it take for this idea to bear fruit?

Mimi Dunn

Portland

 

Questions about store’s food practices still asked

 

I, for one, can’t accept that Hannaford still sells hamburger that is processed in the store.

Although no recent outbreaks have happened, are we really safe? They are going back to incorporating burger with unknown strips of cut-off meat into the process of burger production.

Who monitors that they actually are improving their records or that their in-store training issues are addressed properly, particularly whether they are cleaning their machines as they promised?

I don’t think it is an oversight that they haven’t advertised ground beef for sale in their ads for weeks.

It seems they walk away. Pay off the many they sicken, and it’s back to business as usual.

Where there is smoke, there is fire. What other departments could or will be next that have subpar training issues? I have, for one, been told to shop elsewhere by Hannaford.

Do they still have skeletons in their closets? My belief is yes. Buyer beware at these stores. They got a slap on the wrist on an issue that could have killed people. Do they care? I don’t think so! Just like old stories that are forgotten and replaced by new ones.

Follow-up on compliance should be demanded by the department that oversees Hannaford and other companies.

Kenny L. Beckwith

Standish