Iran deal confusion

After wading through all 159 pages of the Iran nuclear deal — thanks to the Washington Post — I wonder how many of our Washington representatives have read it, never mind any side deals we don’t know about. Like many older Mainers I’ve read some tough, boring stuff in my life, but this comes as close to being the worst; I’m still looking for “gotcha” paragraphs for either side. I guess the current adage in Washington “that you must pass the bill to find out what’s in it” applies to this deal.

I have to assume the Iranians are not much smarter than we are and would have just as tough a time understanding what’s in the document, especially after it’s translated into Persian. I’m certain our and their lawyers would have an inspired time finding a paragraph that supported nearly any position.

This deal is certainly unlike the one-page Japan surrender document signed on the deck USS Missouri at the end of World War II; we all could understand that one.

OK, maybe we have an unspoken strategy here to obfuscate the Iranians. Perhaps it is better to have the Iranians sign a long, boring, confusing, newly translated document than not sign it, knowing the future will be spent by lawyers haggling over this paragraph and that, which is better than Iranians building a bomb.

Richard de Grasse


Workplace discrimination

In Maine, women earn 79 cents on the dollar compared to our male counterparts. In the 21st century, the century in which my 2-year-old daughter will live most of her life, the value of her effort is still worth 21 percent less than a boy’s. Unfortunately, my daughter’s first bruise from a glass ceiling was felt before she was even born.

In 2013, I had been working a minimum wage job in Brewer. Looking back, there were countless times I would work back-to-back shifts and go for days on little to no sleep. Despite this, I was barely able to keep food on the table.

When I found out I was expecting, I was told by a manager that because of my pregnancy I would miss out on a promotion to management. It was devastating. After all the work at a poverty-wage job, my opportunity for advancement was halted by sexism. Men contribute to unplanned pregnancy with exactly the same frequency as women, but only women face workplace discrimination as a result.

On top of this, my employer was unwilling to accommodate lifting limits my doctor imposed. As the pregnancy went on, I was forced to take bed rest. Without being eligible for family leave I lost my job.

These are problems that are systemically embedded in our society. For my daughter’s sake, I will work to expand equality for women through a higher minimum wage, family leave, equal pay and ending workplace discrimination.

Kelly Chabot


Not re-creating Acadia

I was disappointed to see Hunter Smith’s Sept. 11 BDN column, “Did you really expect Millinocket to be the next Bar Harbor?” in which he mischaracterizes the intentions of those of us actively working to designate a national park and national recreation area in the Katahdin region. Katahdin Woods and Waters is not the next Acadia, nor has anyone claimed it will be — it is unique, beautiful and worthy of preservation and protection in its own right.

I have enjoyed mountain biking the proposed park lands and just last month participated in a 10K trail race along the beautiful East Branch of the Penobscot during the Wild Maine Weekend put on by Baxter Outdoors, Katahdin Woods and Waters Recreation Area, and Shin Pond Village campground. I plan to cross-country ski there this winter. A national park and recreation area will attract people and money to a region that is one of the nation’s best kept secrets.

While Smith acknowledges that the forest products industry can no longer support the local communities, he fears a park would destroy regional history and culture. The National Park Service is, in actuality, well-known for its superior efforts to preserve cultural richness and historical context. The region Smith cares about can only benefit from visitors to heritage centers and museums in Millinocket.

We should all be urging U.S. Sens. Angus King and Susan Collins to introduce legislation to designate this resource in time for the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016.

Carly Andersen


Costly sick leave policy

On Labor Day 2015, President Barack Obama signed an executive order requiring government contractors to provide sick leave to their employees of up to seven days per year. The administration estimates up to 300,000 individuals would be affected.

I own a company that contracts with the government. Most service contracts mandate a minimum amount of man-hours on site each day of the week. If an employee calls in sick, I am required to hire someone else to replace that employee in addition to providing pay for the sick employee. It’s obvious the cost to the government/taxpayers will calculate to hundreds of millions. Contractors such as myself will be forced to increase future bids based on this new entitlement.

The administration’s argument is that retention and productivity will improve, which I do not contest. But I am also realistic to overall cost. As a citizen, I would prefer the government spending be used to enhance one’s quality of life. I am not opposed to sick leave. The motivation to write this letter is not based upon the sick leave policy but the reckless misinformation, spinning and outright untruthfulness made by our elected officials. It makes no sense to provide this benefit at such a high cost to the government.

Everyone, including myself, is wondering why Donald Trump is doing as well as he is as a presidential candidate. Maybe it’s because the American public have been mislead so cavalierly in order to push an agenda, that even Trump looks inviting.

Michael McCue