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Maine News

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Maine News for Thursday, August 30, 2007


Anthem seeks jump in health plan rates
The insurer says an 18.6 percent increase is needed to cover Mainers who lack group coverage.

Medical data law disputed in lawsuits
Maine and Vermont are challenged over statutes that keep doctors' prescription information private.

Activists eye excise-tax referendum drive
AUGUSTA, Maine — Looking past this November´s statewide ballot question voting, a couple of activists on the political left and right have found common cause in a new brain storm: a plan to cut the excise tax on cars and trucks in Maine and give the owners of hybrid vehicles an additional tax break.

Ski area's owner plans four-season expansion
The vision for Big Moose Mountain near Greenville includes condos, new hotels and a golf course.

LTE: Leaders lack historical perspective

LTE: Keeping term limits will preserve democratic process

LTE: Dragging names through mud standard political fare


FairPoint vows $16.1M

Editorial: Jail Savings
Gov. John Baldacci's county jail consolidation plan is a welcome move to try to save tax dollars. It's too soon to say whether the plan would work or save the amount of money promised.

OP/ED: Michael Korda: Memo to a president: Try being a bit more like Ike
It might be possible to forgive a president for failing to understand the present or to foresee the future, but it is harder to forgive a total lack of interest in the past.

Thursday's Letters to the Editor … Respect for intel staffs … No WWII-Iraq parallel


Merger activity quickens

Augusta gets state data, but little else
AUGUSTA -- City school officials got the numbers they had been looking for from the state Department of Education Wednesday -- but that doesn't mean they agree with them.

Citing consolidation, School Union 52 chief departing
WINSLOW -- School Union 52 Superintendent Elaine B. Miller announced her resignation Wednesday, citing the ongoing school reorganization initiative as a major factor in her decision.

EDITORIAL: Dunlap undervalues voter process
A government that says it is too poor to pay for voting is not a government.



An honest man has left the Legislature

Thursday, August 30, 2007

It's forgivable to be unaware of William Walcott.

The three-term representative from downtown Lewiston, who resigned Tuesday, was the antithesis of the flashy politician. No bombast, no grandstanding, no scandals. A lunch-pail representative, to coin a phrase.

Which makes it unsurprising that Walcott, whose career involves caring for developmentally disabled adults, has put his work first. He resigned his legislative seat, he says, because of job responsibilities. His peers say he now has an opportunity to finally get some sleep, and pay the bills.

Walcott deserves it. For his five years in the Legislature, his unwavering focus on helping the unfortunate in his community and across the state, and for his recent common-sense analyses of Maine's welfare spending to try to dissipate political smokescreens about the real beneficiaries.

In doing so, Walcott again showed he was unafraid to speak the truth. Just like the first time.

This came in March 2005, when the nervous lawmaker stood before his colleagues and revealed, in the course of discussion on the House floor about anti-discrimination legislation, that he was gay. Previously, he kept his sexual orientation private, known only to family and close friends.

At that time, we praised his courage for being himself. At this time, as a U.S. senator from Idaho suspected of lewd activity dominates the headlines, Walcott's admittance is even more remarkable. Maybe we're used to politicians always resorting to obfuscation when it comes to matters of sexuality.

Walcott's bravery illustrates how shortsighted this can be. After his revelation, he expressed concern some voters would hold his sexual orientation against him, but felt they would support him on the issues, over everything else.

He was right, and earned re-election to his third term in 2006, a superb accomplishment for a political novice nominated at the last minute in 2002, when his predecessor, former Rep. Bill Cote, abruptly resigned his seat after losing the Democratic primary amidst allegations of dirty trickery.

His peers respected him. Legislative leadership thought enough of the blue-collar representative to appoint him chair of a blue-ribbon commission on MaineCare in 2005. And his floor speech about anti-discrimination, in which he described his lifelong fears of prejudice, earned him stirring applause.

Fellow Lewiston Rep. Elaine Makas, one of Walcott's earliest proponents, describes him as "the brightest man in Augusta," a compliment about his intellect, not his luminescence.

Because Walcott didn't shine, not, at least, in the way politicians are known to do. He shirked individual spotlights to focus on committee work, about important issues such as health care and social services. And when he did draw attention - as with his announcement in 2005 - it was for all the right reasons.

With his resignation, Lewiston's lost a hard-working, honest and courageous lawmaker.

Those are the toughest to see go.

LTE: Believes in America
I support a presidential candidate who has not even officially announced he is running.

LTE: Editorial shows tendency of Congress 'stampede'
The New York Times, editorializing on departing Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, found little good to say of him or his boss. Not to excuse Gonzales in any way, but one phrase jumped out at me from this piece: "He later helped stampede Congress into passing the Military Commissions Act of 2006."


Special session eyed for tax cuts...(full story)

Justice in the balance...(full story)


Governor to Unveil Cost-Cutting Proposal



Protest draws 4,000

KENNEBUNKPORT — They came 4,000 strong this time, determined to make their voices heard. They came from around the country, from the dusty back roads of Downeast Maine, the busy streets of New York City, the empty parishes of New Orleans.

Man spends three years walking cross-country to push for peace

Camp Casey was just getting started. Named for the son anti-war activist and congressional candidate Cindy Sheehan lost in the Iraq War in 2004, there have been many Camp Caseys set up around the country since he died. This, however, was the first...

Collins on Gonzales's resignation

WELLS — Sen. Susan Collins offered comments on the resignation of embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales during a visit to Laudholm Farm in Wells on Monday. Gonzales, who has been beset by controversy in the Justice Department, reportedly...


OP/ED: Time to Devise a Test for Lawmakers - How do we qualify our federal representatives for leadership roles?

LTE: Time for Accountability - How unfortunate The American has chosen to take its editorial stance straight from Susan Collins’ Senate office (which apparently serves her campaign as well).

LTE: Now Collins Knows How We Feel - I read with interest your editorial about the “tracking” apparently being conducted by Tom Allen’s campaign against Susan Collins (“A Deplorable Practice,” Aug. 23).


Nation's next AG should be loyal to Constitution
Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to make sure when they consider the next nominee that the person be better known for his or her understanding of the law and ...


Genuine sense of outrage: Politics and other mistakes
Democratic US Representative Tom Allen is being accused by editorial writers and other whack jobs of demeaning the political process.

Portlanders have opinions on iraq - Approximately 250 people turned out in Monument Square last night for the statewide Take a Stand day, sponsored by Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, the organization that's been putting the heat on Maine's congressional delegation (and politicians nationwide) all summer.


GOP Reeling From Money and Sex Scandals
Wayne Allard is retiring, as well as seats held by GOP incumbents John Sununu in New Hampshire; Susan Collins in Maine; Gordon Smith in Oregon;


ME-SEN: Collins Office, Maine Paper Silent On Conflict-of-Interest Allegations

The liberal blogs have been abuzz with accusations against a major Maine newspaper, the Bangor Daily News, charging it with a conflict of interest in its coverage and editorial opinions on the Maine Senate race, which is shaping up as one of the highest-profile races in the nation, with intense interest from the Netroots.

ME-Sen: Collins and the Bangor News are refusing to comment on the major conflict of interest they have: - Lance Dutson is the personal blogger of Senator Susan Collins. Once again, he has attacked Tom Allen, the progressive community, the netroots, and this time he used my report about the Take A Stand event last night to bash Tom Allen and our community.

Pete Johnson: GOP Candidate in HD 27

Abbott Is Busy - Another point about that PPH blog-themed piece: It's the first place where I've seen Steve Abbott identified as both "Collins' chief of staff" and "campaign manager."

False and Balanced - The latest blog-themed piece in the Maine press--this one courtesy of Justin Ellis at the Portland Press Herald--is no worse than the other articles on the subject.

Bush wants $50 billion to pay for his failed, endless escalation
Bush is convinced he can roll Congress -- again. For Bush, Iraq is an endless war with an endless supply of money. That's why so many people took a stand last night including Congressman Tom Allen, pictured below. ...

Mattel Toy Recall Causes CPSC to Face Senate Scrutiny
Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), the ranking Republican on the committee, said in a statement that the toy recalls suggest that not enough is being done to ...

Moderates for Torture - Mainesippi Sue: Fighting For Our Right to Torture In closed door meetings White House officials convinced Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn), Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-California), Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Congressman Peter Hoekstra (R-Michigan) to delete the anti-torture provisions before the bill went to the House

About that so called lib media… - About that so-called lib media… Wednesday, August 29th in Republicans, ... Daily News (Maine) has a major conflict of interest regarding US Senator Susan Collins (R-ME). Turns out that the Daily News’ executive editor, Mark Woodward, is married to a member of Sen. Collins’