Try winter vacation

I wonder how much energy the state of Maine could save if we closed our schools during January, February and March instead of June, July and August.

Bill Belanger


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McCain snubs AARP

I just received the September-October AARP Magazine. This upstanding magazine has been very beneficial to seniors regarding every issue that affects our daily lives.

AARP asked important questions of both Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama about policies relating to Medicare, the stability of Social Security, affordable health insurance and other important service issues that concern retired seniors.

Sen. Obama answered every question AARP asked. Sen. John McCain chose not to answer any of the same questions.

John McCain is very wealthy, and he has excellent federal health care benefits for life paid for by taxpayers. When he chose not to answer any of AARP’s questions, it sent a message to me that he doesn’t care about seniors.

If seniors think that John McCain is looking out for them, they should read this issue with the 2008 voters guide. One of the best policies seniors can look forward to if Obama becomes president is that seniors who earn less than $50,000 a year will not have to file income taxes; plus, he will stop Social Security from being taxed. In addition, he will stop the government from borrowing from our Social Security funds.

Joan Gilbert-Croteau


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Oil by ship, not pipeline

It has been more than 40 years since Bernt Balchen (the first to pilot a plane over both poles) suggested that the oil from Alaska be taken out by ship, with a troika of icebreakers. As the Arctic ice melted, he suggested, the shipping of oil by ship would be easier.

Balchen’s suggestion would have made the building of the pipeline across Alaska unnecessary, a pipeline which is a blight on the landscape and vulnerable to attack.

Inger Urbahn


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Who’s too old?

The BDN’s Aug. 26 editorial, “Dissecting Biden,” says that Sen. Biden at 65 likely would be too old to consider a run for president in 2016. He will be 73. If elected, Sen. McCain will be 72 when he takes office. Too old, right?

David Maxwell

Deer Isle

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Energy and Obama

I am proud to live in the great state of Maine. I have worked, studied, explored and made a home here. But each year it gets harder, and I think it’s time to use our votes to make a change.

Maine is blessed with many natural resources we can harvest to meet our own energy needs. How many people do you know who are switching to pellets or other fuel sources for their heat this year? Why did we wait until fuel oil is breaking our backs to make a change? Let’s explore biofuels, wind and other alternative energies now. Barack Obama’s energy plan will help expand our sustainable energy resources by funding research and development in alternatives to petroleum-based fuels.

The current administration has funded the large oil companies and is proposing to help them even more. Ending the moratorium on offshore drilling will not have a meaningful effect on America’s oil markets until 2030 according to the administration’s own scientists, and yet McCain is insisting that offshore drilling is the only major solution to our current oil woes.

The oil companies already have drilling rights on fields they have yet to tap, because in years of record profits, who would want to tip the supply-demand balance?

Let’s stop this charade of helping Big Oil in the name of national security. Meaningful change requires new ideas, and possibly new ideals. Let’s make that a reality in Washington by voting for Barack Obama in November.

Melinda Diehl


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New tunes needed

I am fortunate to own a home on one of Bangor’s prettiest parks, directly across from the children’s playground. It is a summer tradition to hear the happy sounds of children playing and the occasional late night raucous teenage silliness. Another seasonal auditory phenomenon regularly parks outside my window, playing Scott Joplin’s “The Entertainer” in jolly cacophony, children screaming their excitement, gathering their parents and their money, for the ice cream truck! What could be more Americana?

But could someone compile a new CD for the ice cream man which samples some of the fine music literature of the past 500 hundred years as an alternate vehicle for enticing patrons? A fanciful baroque fugue or a Mozart string quartet in 4-part harmony? Something perhaps from “Peter and the Wolf”? Even a different Scott Joplin piece would be fine, say, the “Maple Leaf Rag”? Or, can residents bordering playgrounds be allocated municipal funds to provide headache medication or earplugs?

Let’s enact a new law. Those who willfully play the hurdy gurdy rendition of “The Entertainer” in one spot more than 37 times shall be subject to immediate arrest and incarceration for not less than 48 hours into a locked room which plays “Turkey in the Straw” continuously on a bagpipe.

Surya Mitchell


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Obama’s running mate

Sen. Obama did not select his running mate last week. He selected his running mate 20 years ago. Her name is Michelle.

Fred Martin


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Let analog die naturally

Spontaneous conversion to digital TV is not a good idea. Never in past technology advances has our government been employed to force us to throw away our old technology like monophonic FM radio or black and white TV and buy new non-compatible alternatives.

A better plan, particularly in this time of a possible energy crunch, would be to keep a few analog channels running side-by-side with the new digital system. The existing plan that on a certain day in February 2009 we throw the entire over-the-air, analog, TV system on America’s growing trash heap of capitalist resource consumption is insane.

What will be next, the automobile? Has the auto industry seen the success of the electronics industry’s planned, rapid, obsolescence and is now getting ready to have us all throw away our oil-based cars and buy electric or hydrogen run vehicles?

My old black and white TV and FM mono radio work fine on today’s compatible signals thanks to legislators who worked for the people. Call or write your legislator and ask him or her to sponsor a bill to keep some analog TV on the air until it dies a natural death.

Mike Rivers