Real ‘straight talk’

To see the Republican Party assume or co-opt the mantle of change is the most disturbing aspect of this presidential campaign. The assertion is so preposterous, the lie so great and bold, that any attempts to counter it appear feeble. Perhaps, rather than wasting precious time attacking this epiphany, the Democratic Party should embrace it, accepting all that has been proclaimed by the Republican candidates and their surrogates at face value, and challenging them to demonstrate their commitments to openness, honesty and change.

It is time for us to call John McCain to task for his statements. He pledged that a McCain administration will serve as a model for government transparency. Is his campaign’s refusal to allow the media to question Gov. Palin an indication of the transparency we can expect?

With great vigor, Sen. McCain vowed to continue his maverick ways and expose the names of those who would use earmarks to fleece the American people. To date, Sen. Obama is the only one he has yet “exposed.” Sen. McCain could reassure me that he is sincere by naming those of his party yet in Congress who are responsible for the abuses he rails against.

Michael Smith


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Palin pregnancy views

I’m writing in response to Dr. Erik Steele’s Sept. 9 column concerning the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter. Some parents raise their children according to their belief in relativism. Others raise their children according to their faith in the Holy Scriptures. The former tend to be pragmatic in decision-making, and the latter stand on principle. Dr. Steele has judged Gov. Palin’s faith to be blind. I expect she and others with like faith might take exception to that.

If, as Dr. Steele suggests, the pregnancy of Sarah Palin’s daughter proves that abstinence-only sex education is a failure, then likewise the unintended pregnancy of any teen who received explicit sex education proves that program to be a failure. Let’s not forget that we are dealing with willful human beings here.

Dr. Steele further states that Gov. Palin “opposes explicit sex education.” Perhaps she doesn’t oppose it at all. Perhaps she and her husband deem such an intimate subject to be their personal responsibility and choose not to relegate it to some relative stranger who does not share their standards.

And finally, Dr. Steele ends the column with his opinion that it is time for Gov. Palin and those who share her faith to ignore their beliefs and “grow up fast.” Well, I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that sounds a bit self-righteous.

Laurence I. Esancy


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Gorillas v. gay-bashing

I am puzzled. Over the past eight days there have been daily, long stories about the theft of a mechanical gorilla from in front of a store in Machias. But there has not been a single report, as far as I have been able to see, about the gay-bashing of a man in Portland the weekend of Sept. 6. Why is the beating of a human being so much less newsworthy than the theft of a toy?

David E. Brass


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Palin: ‘American Idol’

Like most Americans, I was shocked when John McCain picked an unknown (at least unknown outside of Alaska) running mate with very little experience and very few qualifications. And the more we learned about her, the less intelligent that choice seems to have been.

So far her less-than-admirable moments have been: trying to get a state employee fired for personal reasons; trying to find out how to ban books in the local library; saying she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere when in fact she endorsed it and only withdrew her support when the Congress turned it down; billing the state for per diem expenses when in fact she was working out of her home; opposing abortion for any reason, including rape and incest; saying that, in regard to Iraq, we were on “a mission from God.”

The list seems to go on and on, with new things turning up every day. I was trying to think what this reminded me of, and then it came to me: “American Idol.” How many times have you seen mediocre performers with limited talent stay on the show and even rise to the top because “America loves them”?

Welcome to “American Idol,” Ms. Palin. You may even top Sanjaya.

Stephen Allen


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Palin a great choice

Gov. Palin once supported the Bridge to Nowhere, but when she became aware of the problems earmarks created she changed her position. I guess you could call this a flip-flop. The Alaska Democratic Party credits her with killing the bridge. When the Senate had its chance to stop the Bridge To Nowhere and transfer the money to Katrina for rebuilding, Obama and Biden voted for the $223 million earmark, siding with the old boys club in the Senate. Change?

Sen. Harry Reid offered an ethics bill but it shielded earmarks from public scrutiny. Instead of being for the taxpayers, Obama voted for the bill. Change?

The left loves to say McCain voted 90 percent of the time with President Bush. Never is it said that Obama voted 97 percent with the Democratic Party. I wonder why? Maybe it shows he never stands up to his party for change.

The governor’s office in Alaska is one of the country’s most powerful. Only four other states, Maryland, New Jersey, New York and West Virginia concentrate as much power in the governor’s office as Alaska; Massachusetts concentrates more. California may be the nation’s most populous state but the governor rates below average in executive authority.

McCain made an excellent choice with Sarah Palin. The Democrats are now thinking they made a risky choice with Obama and good old Joe.

Constance Henkel


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Regulate gas prices

I would like to know why fuel oil is as low as $3.169 down in southern Maine and as high as $4.099 in eastern Maine. The Web site shows oil prices in Maine. Our governor and representatives need to look at this and actually do something.

I can understand a difference in price of 5-10 cents, but this is ridiculous. I guess there are not enough votes in Washington County to count, so we are out of sight and out of mind. We are one of the poorest counties in Maine and we pay more for fuel oil, gasoline, propane and probably food.

I am starting to believe that the state should regulate fuel and gas prices. There is no reason why there should be such a difference in oil and gas prices throughout the state.

Donald LaViolet