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Maine News

Friday, August 24, 2007

Maine News for Friday, August 24, 2007


Protest aims at more than war
Organizers of the event in Kennebunkport this weekend have designs on a broader agenda.

LTE: What to do about Iraq seems like repeat history


EDITORIAL: Tough Talk to Tehran
There are many reasons to be frustrated with Iran's double talk about its nuclear program, its backing of Hezbollah in Lebanon and possibly arming Shiite militias in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Friday's Letters to the Editor … Accurately negative … The stealth candidate … Bush’s liberties … Forgotten promises


STATEHOUSE Vote seeks end of paper
AUGUSTA -- Democratic lawmakers voted Thursday to take the next step to make the House and Senate paperless.

Protesters have huge plans for Kennebunkport
Peace activists are hoping this weekend's anti-war protest in Kennebunkport will be a catalyst for broadening the anti-war movement to encompass environmental, labor, health care and social justice issues.

Maine should lead, not lag

The recent tragic deaths of two nighttime boaters on Long Lake, whose boat was broken in two by a powerful 32-foot ocean racer, has raised the issue once again: Are we doing what we can and should do to keep Maine's boaters safe?

JOSEPH R. REISERT : Is government just another word for nothing good to do?
What does the government do? Establish justice, secure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense and promote the general welfare?

LTE: 'Tracking' of candidates should be banned
The stories I have read recently about "tracking" of a political candidate is disturbing. To think that in the quest to be elected to office, a party would constantly follow an opponent around to get some dirt on them.

LTE: Collins' opinion on 'tracking' shows hypocrisy
Well, well, well. It looks like Susan Collins doesn't like being put under surveillance (Sentinel, front page, Aug. 14).


Top Justice official resigns

Friday, August 24, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department's top civil rights enforcer resigned Thursday following more than a year of criticism that his office filled its ranks with conservative loyalists instead of experienced attorneys.

Assistant Attorney General Wan J. Kim was the first immigrant and first Korean-American to head the department's civil rights division - a post he held for just over two years.

Kim is the latest senior Justice official to leave amid a scathing congressional investigation that has raised questions about the department's political independence from the White House.

Kim had been rumored for months to be leaving the department, and is expected to join a private law firm. He worked at Justice for over 10 years, starting as a criminal trial attorney, and was one of the few Senate-confirmed senior officials left.

"For over a decade now, Wan Kim has served the Department of Justice and the American people with distinction and honor," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in a statement Thursday. "Wan has worked his way up through the department, and I will miss his honest opinions and valuable contributions as an adviser to me."

The department's civil rights division enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination, including at work, at election polls and even at casinos. In May, Kim's office settled with MGM Mirage Inc., the world's second-largest casino company, for $55,000 over complaints that several of its hotels were not accessible to the handicapped.

Kim also pursued the illegal and exploitative trafficking of foreign women and children who were forced into slave labor in the U.S. - often working as prostitutes. His office helped re-ignite a decades-old murder case gone cold, winning a guilty conviction in June against a reputed Ku Klux Klansman who abducted two black teenagers in a long-ignored crime from Mississippi's bloody past.

But Justice's civil rights division has drawn criticism. Last year, a Boston Globe analysis of Justice Department hiring data found that the office had become highly politicized with the hiring of lawyers who had little civil rights experience but strong GOP credentials.

Moreover, critics contend that the office has largely focused on voter fraud cases - which civil rights groups charge are intended to hold down minority turnout.

In June, Kim testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about transfer of three minority female lawyers from the his office's voting rights section. The move had been directed by Bradley Schlozman, the former voting rights chief who also has resigned, effective last week.

During his testimony, Kim told senators that he had been concerned by the move and said remarks by Schlozman that appeared to question the women's patriotism "were intemperate and inopportune."

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy said Kim's resignation was part of a mass exodus from the Justice Department that "must not hinder our efforts to demand accountability."

"Too many questions have remained unanswered, too many civil rights laws have not been enforced and too many officials have resigned to evade the accountability that is to come for the disastrously flawed policies of this administration," said Kennedy, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Justice Department said Kim's office set record levels of civil rights enforcement, including winning the most criminal convictions in a single year over the past two decades. In addition, he filed more than twice the average number of voting rights lawsuits in a 12-month period than were filed annually over the past 30 years.


LTE: VA's moral obligation
The Veterans Administration is morally and legally responsible to treat soldiers regardless of length of service, due to their combat history. Yet some combat servicemen and women who have served in Afghanistan and Iraq are having trouble securing treatment by VA hospitals.


Maine Guard Recruiting at Highest Level Since the War Began
The ongoing war in Iraq doesn't seem to be discouraging Mainers from signing up for the Army National Guard. Guard officials say recruiting is at its highest level since the war began. Barbara Cariddi reports.



Think tank unveils TABOR 2...(full story)

EDITORIAL: The wisdom of all ages...(full story)


GOP Using ‘Rightroots’ to Compete With Dems’ Online Fundraising ...
... or to four Republican senators who appear to have the toughest re-election contests in 2008: Norm Coleman of Minnesota; Susan Collins of Maine; ... 


Warner Says US Should Start Withdrawing Iraq Force (Update1)
Virginia Senator John Warner said President George W. Bush should begin withdrawing troops from Iraq on Sept. 15 to show the Iraqi government that the U.S. commitment there isn't open-ended … His influence is such that many in his party may follow his lead, Senator Susan Collins of Maine said last month. Warner, who returned last week from a trip ...


Reporting on Bush's VFW speech, media failed to note his previous ...
O'DONNELL: On the other side, a TV campaign from a group long critical of many Bush policies, targeting Republicans, like Maine Senator Susan Collins. COMMENTATOR [video clip from Americans United for Change commercial]: Tell Susan ...

Iraq: Ramadan Most Violent Time of the Year - Overall violence in Iraq has continued to decline and is at the lowest level since June 2006.

Dem Congressional Candidate Calls Dan Billings “Darth Vader”

Sec. State: Save $$$, Get Rid of Political Primaries

Maine’s growing blogosphere - There are a few new blogs that I’d like to give some attention to, it’s great to see these voices being heard:

...and Americans United responds to Freedom Crock  - What happens when you "call Congress" like Freedom's Watch asks you to in their ads? You get an operator who'll only connect you if you say you support the occupation. That's the Republican version of "freedom," I guess.

Sen. Collins Refuses to Meet with Constituents and Take a Stand Against 08/21/2007 | Sen. Collins Continues to Stand with President Bush, Defying the Will of Mainers