Bring back Non-Sequitur

I was initially only puzzled by the BDN’s cancellation of Wiley Miller’s “Non-Sequitur” comic strip. That puzzlement has turned to anger, not at the profanity in the strip but at the overly aggressive response of the paper.

Miller’s “Non-Sequitur” is not the first comic to contain profanity, but unlike others’ strips, his was cancelled. The artist himself has apologized for what he calls the unintended inclusion of the offending text. Mistakes happen, and he took responsibility for it. It could be argued that one of the other mistakes was made by the Bangor Daily News’ editors. This has always been a politically engaged comic, which, one would think, would be scrutinized carefully before publishing. But it clearly was not.

Pulling that day’s strip may have been an appropriate response had the paper done its job. Cancelling the strip is not. The BDN should own up to its own culpability in this. The paper should reinstate the strip with the realization that sometimes free speech can be messy business, but it is still the responsibility of honest media in this country to respect it.

Dana Williams


Our tragedy of the commons

The early New England village common was an open field where animals grazed, until over-grazing unintentionally destroyed it as each farmer, hoping to maximize personal gain, kept adding more animals.

In 1968, Science Magazine published an article by Professor Garrett Hardin who called the resulting wreck “The Tragedy of the Commons.”

Today, because of the market’s failure to assign the full costs of burning coal, oil and natural gas, the whole globe is threatened with our own “tragedy of the commons.”

It’s called climate change with its warming air, warming and rising oceans, increasing hurricanes, increasing droughts and wildfires on land, while hovering over all is the threat of overpopulation, human starvation and migration.

What’s to be done?

Some economists from around the world suggest that pricing carbon emissions is the best path to reduction, and that directing all revenues as an equal dividend to all families maintains fairness.

These essential elements are proposed in a bipartisan bill to Congress called the Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019.

The message is clear: Any freedom resulting from unintentionally abusing Mother Earth like a common is no freedom at all.

JeanAnn Pollard


Question from a basketball fan

I love going to the University of Maine men’s and women’s basketball games and have attended them for many years. The Cross Center presents a great venue to enjoy the games with comfortable seats and good viewing.

But after spending money on an elaborate score board that allows us to see the points scored by the players, why would you cover it up this year with repetitive advertisements? Rather than encouraging me to give these places my business, it has had the opposite effect.

Leah Vetelino


Northern Light name change

Recently, our local medical center experienced a change in its name from the meaningful Eastern Maine Medical Center, or EMMC, to the Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center.

This change makes me nervous because when I feel a need to go to hospital I would like to be certain that I am going to a right place. That is even though going to an emergency room has become an oxymoron, as the experience is nothing like an emergency where now you wait in pain and wonder for many hours before receiving any relief.

Anyway, the metaphor for that new name totally escapes me, as any Mainer knows that northern lights are quite erratic in behavior, diffuse in nature, and hard to see when you think you would like to see one. It has been my experience that a northern light only appears at random and you are lucky when you get to see one at all.

Is this what those administrators really meant by adopting such a name for the large conglomerate of hospitals? Like the random ionized particles in the aurora, will these merged facilities actually jump to help you like a dependable shining light? Apparently that is what the administrators want us to believe.

Fred H. Irons