On March 1, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, led the pellet heating industry to an important milestone.

In a hearing with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shawn Donovan, Collins pointed up the extraordinary technological advances in pellet central heating and bulk pellet transportation, and the importance of the fuel source to the oil-dependent Northeast. She implored Donovan to consider listing pellet boiler systems as “conventional primary heat sources” for Federal Housing Authority purposes.

Donovan publicly appreciated Collins’ alert on the rapidly growing technology and its importance to the Northeast and announced that HUD regulations had been modified to include pellet boiler systems as “conventional primary heat sources” when they meet the same requirements as other central heating systems.

Collins’ efforts on behalf of the people of Maine and an emerging New England industry exemplify what can be good about government. That the senator was quickly able to convince a substantial Washington bureaucracy that it needed to modify its regulations in light of technological change speaks well for both the senator’s abilities to persuade and the secretary’s willingness to hear.

I very much appreciate this work.

Harry “Dutch” Dresser

president, Maine Pellet Fuels Association

Bethel

How much money someone has is nobody’s business

The Feb. 26 commentary by Kevin Horrigan asks the question, “How much (money) is enough?”

The question is irrelevant. In a free society, it isn’t anybody else’s business how much someone has. It is not the business of Horrigan or President Obama.

This type of question perpetuates the class warfare that liberals in the media and government need in order to keep their power.

Paul Anderson

Saco

Keep government at arm’s length, and speak your mind

Once again our government is treating the citizens like children who do not know better. This is not what our Founding Fathers had in mind.

The Constitution presents our God-granted rights written out by man. If separation of church and state were really the way the godless people wanted, then it would not have been mentioned in our founding documents.

This Christian is an American citizen, and I am appalled by the behavior of fellow citizens in the lack of respect they have shown for my beliefs, yet I must respect theirs. The Pilgrims were, in fact, religious refugees, as were the Puritans.

Above that, I am concerned over the government’s attempt to consolidate power within the White House. Let just one measure go through which allows the government to mandate everything from school lunches to being in your house during a Super Bowl party. The power does extend to our basic right of expression through the Internet, the use of political correctness and hate-speech laws.

As long as I do not threaten anybody, I have the right to say what I want and how I want. I will use my right every chance I get. I will challenge feelings of the left with facts from the Constitution, the Bible and history. I fear the people who use the police as their own mercenary force.

These are my rights. I believe in God, country, Constitution, family, respect, honor, self-reliance and the right to pursue happiness without impediment from government or from any citizen. Hoist the colors and hold the line.

Leroy Little

Dresden

Simplicity should dictate reform of income tax base

While I completely agree with Charles Lawton that we must increase the tax base (“Changing tax rates amounts to mere tinkering,” Feb. 26), he falls far short of his self-defined goal: a solution. How would he define the income tax base?

I suggest that any reduction in all the loopholes, exemptions and deductions that infest the current tax code will earn the support of a substantial group: all of us who believe that simplicity for simplicity’s sake is a wonderful thing. Scientists call this “the ‘elegant’ solution”; to philosophers it is “Occam’s razor.” I call it “common sense.”

Even better, I suggest, would be adoption of the proposal by the so-called “fair taxers.” They are people who believe (as I do) that we must do away entirely with the income tax. Such a “fair tax” would move to a national sales tax rate of 23 percent, with “prebates” to those “in the shadows of life,” as Lawton so aptly put it.

Why isn’t this the better way to go, rather than entering an endless battle against everyone who wants to keep their special tax clause? As Lawton notes, these will range from “the holiest nonprofit to the most obscenely profitable oil speculator.”

Chalmers Hardenbergh

Yarmouth

E-world escapes scrutiny as it reconfigures our lives

It comes as no surprise that the digital world has overtaken the 10-store chain of Mr. Paperback. As The Associated Press reported, “Co-owner Penny Robichaud told the Bangor Daily News that consumers aren’t buying printed materials as much as they used to with the Internet and the growth of e-books.”

Not only has a 50-year-old business been undermined by the digital world (like too many others), but our entire way of living is being dramatically altered too, and no one is critically appraising it.

As a lover of books — those printed and bound — I am dismayed that too few people have stopped and weighed the merits and demerits of digital technology’s luring “virtual worlds” that continue to overtake one’s private space and thoughts (one’s world); substitute cyberfriends for real ones; close down traditional retailers and distributors; and alter the very modes of interactions between humans that regulate society at large. To some, this is progress toward a utopian cyberculture. To others, critical questions remain.

As libraries embrace the e-book at the behest of publishers seeking to eliminate manufacturing costs, they embrace their own demise.

As readers choose to save 20 percent by shopping Amazon, they undermine the solvency of the local bookstore and the community it seeks to inspire.

As music CDs are reduced to postage-stamp-size MP3s, and museum art is viewed as thumbnails, human interaction through social networking is replacing one-to-one, face-to-face contact.

The full human being, possessing boundless imagination, creativity and potential, is reduced to a tweet.

I think it is time to critically appraise the role of technology in our lives and coldly weigh the gains against the losses. To judge your own dependence on the digital world and how it has changed your life (for better or worse), disconnect all your devices for one week and determine for yourself.

But I maintain too many people are too dependent, too controlled and too “wired.” Prove me wrong.

Michael T. Bucci

Damariscotta

Dilbert cartoonist could have had Telegram in mind

The Dilbert cartoon Feb. 19 reflects the thinking that must have gone into the decision to have a “new” television magazine.

“We’ve decided to charge customers for features they currently get for free.”

“Have you considered how our customers might react?”

“Customers love us and they will put up with anything we dish out.”

“So, it’s sort of an abusive relationship?”

“Not yet but we’re trying to move in that direction.”

This is NOT a new product — this is a reduction of the old for more money!

I, for one, will use my remote.

Patricia K. Powers

Cumberland