Anthony Ligouri makes some persuasive arguments for the Portland school system’s decision to eliminate soda from vending machines (Another View, “Portland on right track with its anti-obesity soft drink ban,” Aug. 27).

It all sounds so good except for one thing.

What happened to my freedom to choose for myself and make decisions for myself about what I want to eat or drink?

The problem with government making these forced decisions is that our freedoms are slowly being eroded.

Little by little, slowly over time, so that we hardly even notice, our liberties are being taken away from us.

The fact is liberty also requires personal responsibility.

When we deny freedom to individuals, which, after all, is what America was founded on, we contribute to the erosion of responsible behavior.

Is this the path we want to continue down?

I don’t believe it is.

Granted, childhood obesity is a bit of a problem, but it is one that should be addressed by the parents of the children.

That’s where the responsibility lies.

To deny access to legal products in the name of “do-goodism” is not the American way.

It is up to parents to teach their children well.

Let’s not deny them that right.

Chris Cloutier

West Bath

Area schools are taking action against the childhood obesity epidemic in this country, and taxpayers should do the same (Our View, “Portland school soda ban a good lesson for kids,” Aug. 20).

In Maine alone, 28.2 percent of children are overweight or obese, according to a 2007 national survey, and yet we taxpayers are actually paying major corporations to produce junk food ingredients, like high-fructose corn syrup, through agricultural subsidies.

One of the main causes of the rise in childhood obesity is the increased availability and cheapness of junk food products — a trend supported by $4.5 million of Mainers’ tax dollars over the last 17 years!

Right now we can end taxpayer support of the foods we’re no longer willing to feed our children in schools by urging our legislators to vote no on the federal farm bill in September.

Parents should contact their elected officials and tell them to stop wasting tax dollars on handouts to big agribusinesses for products that are making our kids unhealthy.

Nicole Karatzas


Morality is the keyword, and the truth is the truth

I love homosexuals as much as I love heterosexuals.

I grieve for each when they act immorally.

Morality is the keyword that is being overlooked by many in the current marriage discussion.

Ask yourself honestly and answer honestly why there is a push to legalize marriage between same-sex couples.

Is it a matter of fairness, as has been suggested, that same-sex couples should have the same financial benefits as one-man/one-woman unions?

I think not.

And I think most will agree that the whole purpose is to make homosexuality acceptable to the masses and natural.

Sorry! There is nothing that can change the truth!

The truth is the truth, is the truth, is the truth!

Bob Hoey


Equitable contribution from wealthiest best route

While we know extending the Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier families past the end of this year will definitely make our federal deficit crisis worse, there’s no reason to believe the foregone tax revenue will find its way into our local economy, spur business growth or bring down unemployment.

It’s simple economics.

Middle-class families tend to spend the money they get back in tax cuts because they have immediate needs that must be addressed.

Richer families have the luxury to save and invest their funds — including in overseas accounts and foreign financial markets.

That disposition of funds does nothing to help Main Street America fully recover from the Great Recession.

So what makes sense is to continue the tax cuts for the 98 percent of American households who make less than $250,000 a year, while ending them for those making over that amount.

These quarter-millionaires still get the lower rates on their first $250,000, by the way.

It’s just the amount over that amount that will get taxed at slightly higher rates.

Our better-off neighbors will return to tax rates resembling those of the 1990s — a period of record prosperity and tremendous growth in the ranks of the wealthy.

Meanwhile, we as a people can pay down our national debt while making sure we keep up the kind of public investments we need for a healthy economy and strong society.

I hope Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins live up to their well-deserved reputation for independence and moderation by being leaders in the big congressional tax-and-spending debate coming up after the fall elections.

They should pursue a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes a more equitable contribution from our wealthiest citizens.

Debbie Shaw


In Augusta, listening is better than strong-arming

Democrats have targeted several Republican Maine Senate and House members this year because, they say, those legislators support Gov. LePage and, by inference, do not listen to their constituents.

Apparently that is a crime for which a legislator should be voted out of office, while a history of supporting all issues presented by Gov. Baldacci and voting in lockstep with the wishes of the Democratic leadership is a reason to elect someone to office.

One of those targeted by Democrats is Sen. Chris Rector of Thomaston, a free-thinking, hardworking legislator who is well known for listening to one and all in his district and on several issues has disagreed with Gov. LePage.

I want someone in Augusta who listens to the people, not someone who answers to the strong-arm tactics of the Democratic caucus.

That is why I will be voting for Chris Rector in November.

Helen A. Shaw