Earle M. Rafuse
After reading the May 9 BDN article on softball pitching and having some experience in the area of teaching pitchers, I felt moved to respond.
The concept that softball pitchers can throw virtually an unlimited number of innings is partly true. If the pitcher has very good mechanics and is very confident in herself and her abilities she can throw a great deal. She can do this because she is relaxed throughout her motion. If she is tense at all she will try to “muscle the ball,” which will lead to physical problems.
These problems show up usually in the shoulder, behind the shoulder blade and in the elbow. Experience is not a determining factor. Some very experienced pitchers never can really be relaxed and, thus, are limited in the number of innings they can throw. The key to watch for is her position in the follow through: Is she totally loose and relaxed in her body or are there parts of her body that look tense and stiff?
Another, maybe even bigger factor, is mental. If the pitcher gets nervous, she will get tight and lose her relaxed motion. This is true especially at playoff time. Teams that rely on only one pitcher find that as the playoffs progress and the pressure mounts it is very difficult for one young lady to handle it all alone. Tension enters the equation. With two pitchers, even if one is not quite as good as the other, they share the pressure and have a greater chance of success. Even the great teams we see on TV do not rely on just one arm.
There are always exceptions to these ideas but I find them to hold true more often than not.
No ‘free’ school
I have noticed recently that Maine Connections Academy is running ads on TV with the obvious attempt to draw students to its school, managed by a for-profit national company, which is being paid for by the taxpayers of Maine through our property taxes. The money is being taken from our local brick-and-mortar schools that we have to maintain through all sorts of unfunded mandates from both the federal and state governments.
Shouldn’t Maine Connections Academy be forced to be honest when they say that this school is “free”? It is not free — we are paying for it.
Raise redemption fee
The bottle, can and container redemption program is in place and consumers rarely think about the added cost. If anything, we should increase the current and long-standing amount from 5 cents to 10 cents per can and bottle to increase the chances that people will throw fewer on the roadside.
I would like to see some Boy Scout take on a lobbying effort to put this increase on the legislative agenda. Whether the Boy Scout succeeds in getting such a bill on the agenda, let alone passed, the effort will be publicized and citizens will be educated and encouraged to think about the issue.
Life after prison
On May 15, 2010, Kalief Browder was almost 17 years old and was wrongfully detained for three years while he awaited trial. He spent the rest of his high school years in prison, he didn’t get to graduate with his friends and didn’t get to go to his first year as a freshman in college.
He spent most of his time in solitary confinement and was beaten multiple times by guards and gang leaders. He tried many times to end his life. After he got out, he got his GED and landed a job as a security guard at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, but was later fired because he had been in the psychiatric ward at St. Barnabas.
Many people think that prison is a place where people serve their time, which is true, but it’s the things that happen while they are there that takes a toll. They go through mental and psychological torment and are expected to just come out into society and go back to their normal lives.
When they get out, it’s hard to find a job with a criminal record. In three states, 65 percent of people obtain a job, but after three months 45 percent of them still have their job.
People who have been to prison can suffer from mental and psychological trauma, which is why they should receive post-prison treatment to integrate them back into a normal life.
Tax debate challenge
Gov. Paul LePage publicly accepted my challenge to a debate on the economics of eliminating the income tax during his April 16 forum in Ellsworth. He responded, “You got it. You set the time, and I’ll be there.” I sent a formal challenge on April 25, and have yet to hear a response.
I have a degree in economics from MIT, a master’s degree in Biblical studies from Bangor Theological Seminary, and served our country on a nuclear-powered attack submarine. I am not aligned with any political party. I make my living as an analyst.
I am asking for a public debate in Bangor on an agreeable evening this summer. I can show that: his promise of prosperity and economic growth as a result of the tax plan is unfounded; only a small percentage of people will receive a meaningful benefit from the plan; low-income households will be harmed; 75 percent of the state will be left behind by it; businesses will suffer from increased sales taxes; and the plan will hobble our ability to meet state needs. Eliminating the state income tax does not “tax me less,” it just shifts the taxes elsewhere.
I am asking for a fair, moderated debate from a nonpolitical perspective that is open to the public and the press. It must include rules that allow both sides to make an adequate case. We need to decide our tax policy based on facts, not political rhetoric.