‘Best gig I ever played’

I am prompted to write this letter after receiving a phone call from Chino Nunez who performed at the American Folk Festival with his salsa orchestra. He called to express his heartfelt appreciation for the warm reception he received: “You guys are the best-kept national secret up there in Maine. After returning home, I was ready to pack my bags and move there. Not only did the festival run like clockwork, the people were incredible! Their appreciation for all types of music was astounding. It was the best gig I ever played.”

Thanks to you, we hear this kind of response from many of our performers. So on behalf of the staff, board and over 900 volunteers, we want to thank each and every one who attended, kicked in, shopped, sang and danced throughout the weekend. You make this magical event happen year after year.

Keep up the good work and lets do it again. 362 days left to go!

Maria Baeza

Chairwoman American Folk Festival

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Move over, Alice

Game shows, cops and robbers, humiliation derbies, TV has it all, and now even a war to report. Sanitized statistics from Iraq have been supplanted by the “down and dirty” from Georgia. What a contrast from the sanctimonious chatter and “hard facts” about WMD from the Oval Office.

We view interviews with Georgians whose homes have been destroyed, whose family members have been killed, but TV screens remain silent about the similar experiences of Iraqis. Curiously, Georgians don’t seem to be shooting at their occupiers as the Iraqis have. McCain claims to see the light at the end of the tunnel and swears to bask in it, even it if takes 95 more years.

A stalwart infantry person in her party’s war policies, Sen. Susan Collins is now off to sea. Promises of a resurrected Navy project at BIW is now the vote-magnet dangled before the Maine electorate, but will the promise outlast the election? Three years after Katrina, New Orleans remains unrebuilt. Collins’ mentor – Sen. Joe Lieberman – claims preemptive war is as American as apple pie.

Without the draft, the young men marched off to war are usually those with the fewest alternatives. Veterans organizations focus on displaying the flag, but seem little concerned that, when the remains of their fallen comrades are hustled back to America, their coffins – without flags – cannot be shown on TV by order of the Bush government. Move over Alice, Condoleezza’s our guide to Wonderland.

Stanley Harrison


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Union, business balance

Sen. Betty Lou Mitchell’s Aug. 12 OpEd, detailing the truth about the Card Check Act, was a breath of fresh air. With advertisements flying back and forth on television debating this piece of legislation, I was glad to see Sen. Mitchell bring real facts to the table and even quote union workers to demonstrate the abuse that will occur if this act is passed.

It is absurd that any members of Congress – theoretically America’s public servants – support this deceitful piece of legislation. How could any member of Congress support legislation that seeks to take away a workers right to vote in secret? Sen. Mitchell points out that unions are losing power in America, but this alone does not justify the legislation, especially because American workers – the ones unions are supposed to serve – are the ones taking away their power by voting to unionize less often.

I hope more members of Congress show courage and stand against the union’s push for power. Our own senators and representative need to keep fighting for the continued rights of Maine workers. The union-business balance is a healthy one at present. The Card Check act would damage this relationship, and take away worker freedom. It would also force businesses to bend to the whims of unions. This is not an economically efficient relationship.

Andre Cushing, Jr.


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Wind turbines

Interestingly, the wind turbines proposed by Dutch firm Blue H for the Maine Coast (“Wind Power Firm Eyes Maine, “August 9-10) have their roots right here in New England, where their design was developed by my father, Glidden S. Doman.

In the 1980s, my father led efforts at United Technologies in Hartford to develop large, two-bladed turbines, initially tested in Medicine Bow, Wyo. and later produced for the Italian government. He moved to Rome to head the latter project team and eventually purchased his own design back from the Italian government firm. Returning to the U.S., he founded Gamma Ventures with offices in Granby, Conn. and Italy.

The engineering innovations underlying all these turbines evolved from his pioneering work in helicopter rotor dynamics during World War II at Sikorsky and later at his own firm, Doman Helicopters, both in Connecticut. Several of his helicopter inventions are now on permanent display at the New England Air Museum in Hartford.

Last year the Netherlands firm Blue H launched plans to adapt the Gamma turbines for use on platforms in deep water. The far-offshore locations will mitigate impacts on bird-life, coastal fishing and aesthetics, while my father’s design will produce electricity far more efficiently than do typical three-bladed turbines. This is partly thanks to a teeter hinge system, common in helicopters, that my father adapted for wind turbines. The hinge enables the blades to turn easily to face shifting wind, rather than having to “fight” it.

Jo Ann Van Buskirk


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Facts on votes

A recent letter to the editor about John McCain’s energy plan wrongly stated that in voting for the 2005 energy bill, Sen. Barack Obama was lining Big Oil’s pockets.

After the vote, Sen. Obama issued a press release that said: “This bill, while far from a solution, is a first step toward decreasing America’s dependence on foreign oil.” The release cited the legislation’s investments in biofuels, plug-in hybrids, flexible-fuel vehicles “that could travel up to 500 miles per gallon of gasoline,” and clean-coal technology as reasons he voted for it. “I vote for this bill reluctantly today, disappointed that we have missed our opportunity to do something bolder that would have put us on the path to energy independence. This bill should be the first step, not the last, in our journey toward energy independence.”

Contrary to McCain’s claim that the bill was “full of goodies and breaks for the oil companies,” a 2007 Congressional Research Service report found that although the bill “included several oil and gas tax incentives, providing about $2.6 billion of tax cuts for the oil and gas industry,” it also “provided for $2.9 billion of tax increases on the oil and gas industry, for a net tax increase … of nearly $300 million over 11 years.”

Sen. McCain voted to cut funding for the Rural Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program from $23 million to $3 million. That would have led to us purchasing billions of fewer barrels of oil from the Middle East.

Is this putting country first?

Donna Longo