Poor, or poor choices?

Regarding the recent story on life expectancy for Washington County women: Economics may play a role, but personal choice plays the top role in health.

I went to a local business and as I drove in four female employees were outside smoking. All were overweight three appeared to be bordering on morbid obesity. All appeared out of shape and obviously not taking care of themselves. Is this because they are poor? Or because of their poor choices?

They obviously have enough money for $5 packs of cigarettes. Their choice. Another choice: A bag of chips for $3 or a bag of organic apples for the same $3? Don’ t blame it on poverty. We need to stop making excuses for our poor choices. And who is paying for their choices? You are.

Matthew Guthrie

Leadership is key

Gas prices have been gradually going up since 2000 don’ t we all remember when gas was $1.50 a gallon? In the past eight years it has almost tripled in price. Yet half the time our refineries were running at full. About 30 percent of oil in the U.S. is drilled here. The rest we buy from OPEC.

During these times reminiscent of the 1970s our nation’ s crisis is at a point where everybody is hurting and yet our decisions between gas or food can make us or break us. Yet some politicians on Capitol Hill would rather see dollar signs than care for the elderly.

All Americans should take a good, long look at political candidates. Do they really measure up? Can they help the middle and lower class move up?

Don’ t vote for GOP or for Dems. Vote for those who show great amounts of integrity, respect for others and the kind of truthfulness that is hard to find. Vote for environmental balance, economic and national stability.

Not everybody offers “change we can believe in” or the amount of sacrifice that a POW gives, but leadership is key.

Stephen Roberts Jr.

” ” ”

Gray matter, not hair

While Sen. Barack Obama was mending fences and bringing encouragement to our foreign leaders, Sen. John McCain was being sarcastic and critical of him in his usual angry tone. It sounded like more of the same to me.

I could just picture McCain criticizing those same foreign leaders whom Obama was encouraging to join with us to defeat terrorism and end wars. Obama is the positive voice we need to restore respect for America all over the world.

We need some gray matter, not gray hair in the White House.

Claire Walker

” ” ”

Bar Harbor’ s soul

History is loaded with fanatics and fanaticism, running from lethal down to self-important crackpots. In all cases, the attempt is to plant seeds of doubt, misery and distrust because it is their view and therefore more important than any other view. Of course, there must be victims or whipping boys.

In Bar Harbor there is such a group that has stooped as low as one can go to select its victims. The hatred of this group toward the Iraq war and the Bush administration has infuriated them to the point of committing the cowardly act of publicly displaying the names of fallen military service members on banners, using them as part of Bar Harbor’ s Independence Day Parade. This is akin to those who disrupt military honors and funerals of the fallen.

In and of themselves they are irrelevant, seeking attention using a rationalization that they are somehow saving the lives of other military people.

My problem with this is two-fold: First, that they would publicly commit such a cowardly act against the fallen comrades of all three of my MDI sons who have together served 43 months in Iraq — and of which one is scheduled to return in September.

Second, that town fathers, parade organizers and most of all, the local editorial media, by a very large silence that speaks volumes, is allowing Bar Harbor’ s soul to become diminished and tarnished.

David E. Reed
Presque Isle

” ” ”

Wider view of abuse

I appreciated reading the July 26 article by Diana Bowley regarding Jennifer Erb’ s experience living in an abusive marriage. I applaud Erb for her bravery in speaking out about her experience so openly and publicly. She is a true soldier in the war against domestic violence.

The eyes of the Maine public cannot remain closed to domestic abuse, as it affects a huge cross-section of our state intimately. But I think awareness of what constitutes domestic abuse needs to be expanded. In the article, the public is only made aware of the violent end to Erb’ s relationship with an abuser. The two years of abuse prior to the incident that nearly took Erb’ s life were ignored.

To reduce the incidents of violence we need to incorporate more education on tactics used by abusers. While violent behaviors are most associated with domestic abuse, the phenomena also include equally devastating verbal and emotional abuse — i.e. name calling, crazy-making, demeaning and disrespectful behaviors. Other facets of domestic abuse include spiritual abuse (controlling the family religion and values), isolation of the victim from family and friends, financial abuse (controlling the family finances and not allowing the victim access to financial knowledge), sexual abuse as well as turning children against the victim.

Abuse is not only about a punch. There are no bruises when someone is emotionally abused. But the process of healing from emotional abuse, many women say, is just as bad, if not worse, than dealing with the aftereffects of physical abuse.

Jessica Lee-Small

” ” ”

McCain’ s Iraq trip

According to some commentators, last week was not Sen. John McCain’ s best. He was seen as being “testy” and “petulant.” He had badgered Sen. Barack Obama for not visiting Iraq enough that Obama went and also visited Europe where he was warmly greeted. He drew a crowd of 200,000 in Berlin. The best McCain could do was visit a German restaurant in Ohio. His most quoted remark of the week was that Obama would be willing to lose the war to become president. Altogether not a very presidential week.

McCain brags about his many trips to Iraq. His last trip was nothing to brag about. He was seen, clad in a bulletproof vest, walking with Gen. Petraus through a market in Baghdad. Smiling at the camera, McCain declared how wonderful it was to be able to walk through the market safely now, a sign of progress. I didn’ t see any Iraqis or any merchandise, just the two men.

Later I read that a Black Hawk helicopter hovered overhead, the market was surrounded by armored vehicles, and armed soldiers just off camera guarded the two men. This wasn’ t a “fact-finding” trip. This was propaganda. No trips at all are better than such as these.

June Stiller