University censorship troubling
I have just read the Jan. 11 BDN article, “Professors question Maine university system’s push to limit political activity.” I’m writing as a University of Maine alumna, a Mainer, an American citizen, and a concerned human being.
Are the values of free speech and the free development and exchange of ideas now low priority at the university? I can hardly believe it. I want to trust that all concerned will do everything necessary to ensure that students, faculty and all university employees maintain First Amendment rights.
I hope this crisis — and it is a crisis — will move those in power within the university system to access their own clearest thought and return to the core of what brought them into higher education. Such self-searching and a passion for truth must be the foundation of what a university offers. All else follows. Chancellor James Page should know this.
Page also should know that self-censorship, extended unconscionably to an entire system, in an era when basic human rights are being challenged in our country is very dangerous. The tiniest beginnings should be discerned and uprooted. The university is in a position to humbly and ethically do what is necessary.
Please do not give me reason to be ashamed of the university that gave me, in my 50s, a much-valued masters degree in English and creative writing.
Trump’s reckless drilling order
President Donald Trump’s recent announcement to open up over 90 percent of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf to drilling is reckless and an enormous threat to the Gulf of Maine, endangering to our coastline and our economy.
Gov. Paul LePage probably applauds this move. He chairs the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition, a pro-drilling task force that advocates expanding areas available for offshore energy development, shortening the wait time for approval for drilling projects and accelerating the pace of permitting for those projects.
Just last week, Trump dropped the safety inspection requirement for drilling platforms that his predecessor, Barack Obama, had put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, then the largest in U.S. history. BP’s disregard for following adequate safety measures was found to be largely responsible for the blowout and then Obama’s new safety requirements would likely have prevented it.
Seismic testing to locate drilling sites creates low-frequency noise that can extend out as far as two miles, endangering commercial species and whales and dolphins. And fragile coastlines, especially those with marshes and dunes that serve as weather buffers, can sustain major damage during spills.
In 2005, Hurricane Dennis contributed to the partial collapse of an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. Dennis was a category 4 hurricane, and hurricanes are growing stronger, a probable effect of warming oceans.
LePage supports the efforts of a president who clearly intends to undermine or destroy all that protects our country from environmental threats. That is unacceptable.
Refuting ‘Fire and Fury’
He could truly break the mold and use his vast wealth to snag an hour-long block of time on live TV, look directly into the camera, with no teleprompters, and explain in detail each of his policies, philosophies and personnel choices in a calm and controlled, one-on-one manner.
This would obliterate any sense of incompetence. Seems pretty simple.