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Maine News

Friday, September 7, 2007

Maine News for Friday, September 7, 2007


Oil dealers asked to increase discount At least one company has already pulled out of the program for low-income Maine fuel customers.

OP /ED: BILL NEMITZ: Ethan the Explorer hangs back

DirigoChoice partners with Harvard Pilgrim The nonprofit takes over for Anthem on Jan. 1 and will offer the same benefits and subsidies.

State to put more emphasis on early childhood services A new commission's goal is to lay out a plan for investment and to identify the revenue sources.

Column: Jeff Wood
State needs to rein in big, fast boats The rules for what engines can be used on inland waterways should protect the greater good.

LTE: Vietnam, Iraq comparison misleading


Ex-Guardsman pleads guilty to wire fraudBANGOR, Maine - A former member of the Maine Army National Guard who allegedly forged orders so he could continue to receive his civilian paycheck while on active duty pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court to fraud charges.

State picks new carrier for DirigoHarvard Pilgrim Health Care has been selected to administer Maine's subsidized DirigoChoice health insurance program, state officials announced Thursday.

Scofflaws pay up for passports AUGUSTA, Maine - Earlier this year, a Maine businessman found out the hard way that the government is serious about collecting child support payments.

Today's Editorial:
Whale rules revisitedFederal regulators have improved proposed rules aimed at preventing whales from becoming entangled in lobster gear by exempting more Maine waters from the regulations.

Friday's Letters to the Editor


State urged to invest in children AUGUSTA -- Attorney General Steven Rowe told members of a new commission Thursday that spending more money on early childhood services now will save money later.

Countyleadersrip jailplan AUGUSTA -- Gov. John Baldacci's plan to take over county jails while leaving the cost of building them with local property taxpayers amounts to "taxation without representation," Windsor Selectman Gerald Nault told other members of the Kennebec County Budget Committee Thursday.

JOSEPH R. REISERT : The trouble with Granite State's inner spoiled child Our presidential nominating process, never exactly a model of rationality, now teeters on the brink of complete absurdity. Although the first primary elections are scheduled to take place only a few months from now, the electoral calendar is still undecided.


Senators speak Saturday SKOWHEGAN -- U.S. Senators Olympia J. Snowe and Susan M. Collins are expected to speak Saturday at the 25th anniversary celebration of the Northwood University Margaret Chase Smith Library on Norridgewock Avenue.

LTE: Foreigners should learn English language Why is it that we are pandering to foreign language junkies? Since immigration started in this country people have come here speaking other tongues and have had to make the choice to learn English to survive.


Guard unit prepares to disband LEWISTON - Rene Morin hoped to spend his whole National Guard career in his hometown unit - the one he served with in Iraq.

EDITORIAL: 'Signatures Inc.' needs a dash of discretion

If necessity is the mother of invention, then ineptitude is the first cousin of citizens' petitions. When lawmakers falter, "grass-roots" efforts arise to give voice to the people.

And when this voice needs amplification, it dials Stavros Mendros, who hasn't met a referendum question he didn't like. Name your issue, he'll name his price and put his signature-gathering machine to work.

It should be little surprise supposed grass-roots efforts are germinated with cash money. Mendros, to his credit, has the entrepreneurial guile to position himself as master of ceremonies for these special interests who covet a spot on the Maine ballot. He's a veritable Karl Rove when it comes to organizing petition drives.

And that's a compliment.

Some will say this is corrupting democracy, as paid signature-gathering campaigns for so-called grass-roots initiatives is counterintuitive, or downright disingenuous. Mendros, in defense, calls it direct democracy, as all ideas - regardless of who proposes or propels them - deserve their chance before the voters.

And you know what? He's absolutely right.

But only to a point.

Popular ideas often stumble in the legislative process, or wilt under its political heat. Citizen initiatives can resurrect good ideas, force lawmakers to attend to certain issues, or retaliate against poor partisan policymaking.

A vehicle like Mendros that directs these proposals through the signature-gathering process is a necessary and valuable commodity, as long as it addresses the needs of Maine and its people. The alternative, more mercenary approach - which Mendros embraces - creates the perfect environment for the system to be abused.

Like the open real estate listing drive Mendros is stewarding. There's neither a strong Maine connection to the issue, nor a groundswell of support here for its enaction. It's the brainchild of a California man, tired of crummy real estate dealings, who looks at Maine as an easy target for setting a precedent of legality for his idea.

We don't fault Mendros for his business instinct and acumen. Our concern is the lack of discretion - while voters should be free to decide any topic, our votes should not be collected as coinage for organizations seeking to build infrastructure for a new model, especially one that could be a business scheme.

There's a difference between direct democracy and democracy-for-profit. Although Mendros paints himself as democracy's defender, he's really a soldier-of-fortune. Wariness about his motives will remain until his attitude toward petitions changes, or laws regarding these initiatives are altered.

Perhaps a grass-roots effort would make the latter occur. A political action committee could form, "Mainers for Greater Discretion in Citizen Initiatives," to advocate for legislation.We know who should be hired to gather signatures.

LTE: A man and his buddiesAfter reading some recent letters by GOP and President Bush supporters, I think these people have been drinking neocon Kool-Aid and know the talking points.


USDA to Close Its Ellsworth Farm Office

ELLSWORTH — Diminishing demand for services is prompting the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to recommend that its Hancock County Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in Ellsworth be closed early next year.

Blue Hill Fair Straw Poll Results

Hillary Clinton wonThe Ellsworth American Blue Hill Fair Straw Poll, see the "voto" gallery!

“Nine Nineties in Nine”

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and journalist Marvin Kalb recently called on every United States presidential candidate, Republican and Democrat, to agree that, if nominated, they would take part in nine 90-minute debates in the nine weeks leading up to next fall’s election day.


Rep. Dean Jones dies

LTE: Cynical
I can't help but have nothing but cynicism for the much-touted Petraeus Report, but I'm somewhat curious as to what spin the administration will dish out to Congress and the American public to get them to buy into continuing their ill conceived and mismanaged war in Iraq.

New Anti-Iraq War Ads Up Against Vulnerable SenatorsNorm Coleman (R-Minn), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Pete Domenici (RN.M.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to “bring the troops home. ...


US Senate vote on Utah's 4th seat likely in mid-SeptemberSusan Collins, R-Maine, that spells out that the bill does not mean the District of Columbia can get two senators. DC Vote and other supporters have been ...


Senators Introduce Legislation to Restore America’s Aging Roads ...... Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), David Vitter (R-LA), and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced today the bipartisan “Build America Bonds” Act. By ...


Thompson's career path may lead to biggest role yetSusan Collins, R-Maine. "By that I mean he was never afraid to cast a vote or take a stand regardless of the political consequences. ...


The Lives That Begin and End at Age 21 - As an Iraq War veteran, watching Charles Ferguson's documentary, No End in Sight, left me frustrated at those such as Donald Rumsfeld whose arrogance cost American and Iraqi lives.

Ken Lindell Column: Marginalizing Ron Paul is Bad for the Republican Party - One could say that the strength of his campaign has been unsettling to Republicans who have talked the small government talk, but walked the big government walk.

One More Disgusting Leftist Ad Against Collins - Using images of children in combat camouflage, a coalition of anti-war groups is airing about $500,000 in ads against Senate Republicans.

Alternate Universe Presidential Poll

Dems already discount war report

Obama to visit Maine

Ron Paul at the GOP debate in New Hampshire

Post-debate interview with Fox’s Carl Cameron

Ripping Romney - There’s a fun new site called which includes such goodies as his rap sheet of former arrests.

GOP 2008: Pick Your Own War Lord - Gen. David Petraeus for President? It’s a great idea according to the right wing conservatives who are looking for someone to “finish the work of winning the war and redeeming the sacrifice of so many Iraqis, allies, and our own GIs.” Mind you, none of these conservatives (ditto their kids) have any plans of enlisting.

Judge Marrero RJs the Patriot Act - U.S. District Judge Marrero struck down a key part of the USA Patriot Act, defending the need for judicial oversight of laws and gave Congress a “wag of the finger” for passing a law that makes possible “far-reaching invasions of liberty.”
Craig Watch - Radio silence, still, from camp Collins on the Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) situation, which now seems likely to drag on quite a bit longer.

Glenn Hurowitz: Why are Democrats Trying to Own the War?Maine Senator Susan Collins, who's facing a contentious reelection has been grasping at straws to try and prove she wants to end the Iraq War -- sponsoring or co-sponsoring a bewildering array of non-binding legislation dealing with ...

TV AD: Sen. Collins, should we start training our kids now?New TV ad targets Republican Senator Susan Collins for her continued support for the war in Iraq. It's time to break with Bush, Senator Collins, and start bringing our troops home, so our kids won't have to fight an endless, ...

Jones: The Surge is Working, Let's Draw DownSen. Susan Collins (R-ME) pointed out that Jones' testimony fit with the Iraq Study Group's recommendation last year to reduce the US combat footprint.

Bangor Daily News Responds To Collins Conflict Of Interest
Last Saturday the Bangor Daily News finally responded to the conflict of interest that involves them and the Susan Collins campaign. (Remember that a Collins aide is married to the executive editor of the Bangor Daily News and that same ...

Homeland Security criticized in report; Disaster readiness still ...
Susan Collins, R-Maine, said it appears the agency didn't get credit for recent enhancements in preparedness. Still, Collins said "I'm very concerned" that theagency only made "limited progress" in establishing an all-hazards national ...

John Judis has a rundown of the 2008 Senate races, noting that in the long run Warner leaving is a lot more important than Craig's resignation. I agree that the Dems are very, very likely to win Colorado and New Hampshire. The most interesting category to me is the "could win" one: Moderate Republican incumbents Norm Coleman in Minnesota, susan collins in Maine, and Gordon Smith in Oregon could be in trouble because they are running in states that are expected to vote strongly Democratic in 2008.

Anyone feel safer now? - Lieberman says DHS needs more money. Seems to me that would just mean more money for Bush cronies, since DHS was never wanted by the Bush Team and has since become a dumping ground for Bush cronies who are not qualified to be dog catcher, let alone for the jobs they are given

Are we ready to fight? - My brother was 6 when he decided to join the military and 18 when he did. He was not drafted. It was his choice ... and marines. This is an ad that is being run in Maine where Susan Collins is up for re-election

So, should we just start training our kids for... - Joe Sudbay, New hard-hitting ad hitting on the reality of what Susan Collins and her GOP colleagues have gotten us into -- an intractable, endless civil war. Versions of this ad