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Maine News

Friday, November 16, 2007

Maine News for Friday, November 16, 2007


UMaine begins global warming study Gov. Baldacci asks for research on the potential effects of climate change on the state.

Administration still reviewing agencies' audit Finance chief Rebecca Wyke says meetings with agency officials reassured her of their understanding.

Medals honor sacrifice of veterans The governor gives out medals to Mainers wounded in war and the families of three who died.

EDITORIAL: Funding issue should prompt hazmat review Cumberland County has taken a responsible short- and long-term approach to its obligation.

Leslie A. Harroun: Coal not suitable for power generation Wiscasset voters considered their options and made the correct decision.

LTE: Government disconnected from reality

LTE: Require automakers to follow strict standards

LTE: Approve MacDonald's bill opposing any coal plant

LTE: System would let foreigners work responsibly in U.S.


NPR legal voice gives opinions on future Supreme Court casesBANGOR, Maine - Rights to abortion and privacy may be in jeopardy under the direction of the current justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, according to renowned National Public Radio legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

Irregularities multiply in culture auditAUGUSTA, Maine - The second part of an audit of Maine's cultural agencies, which will be released in several weeks, has uncovered the inappropriate use of significantly more funds - public and private - than the $4,000 previously reported.

BEP reversal lets Downeast LNG revise planAUGUSTA, Maine - A proposal for a liquefied natural gas facility in Robbinston is off the table again, but only temporarily, according to the developer.

Project targets soldiers' healthA first-in-the nation project to document the neurological function of all members of the Maine National Guard, both before their deployment and upon their return, is among projects funded by the Maine Health Access Foundation in its current round of grants.

EDITORIAL: After the vetoesNow that President Bush has lectured Congress about fiscal discipline, his next lesson could be on hypocrisy. This is, after all, the president who has turned a large budget surplus into an even bigger deficit and who signed nearly two dozen funding bills that exceeded his spending limits when Republicans controlled Congress.

EDITORIAL; Iraq funding gambitLeaders of the U.S. House of Representatives are correct in bringing the Iraq war back into the spotlight.

Andrew R. Vaino: How to fix UMaine: Kill campuses and raise tuitionI applaud Maine voters for approving bond measures to improve the quality of education at the University of Maine. I am, however, dismayed at the vapidity of the recent editorial, "University Finances" (BDN, Nov. 10).

Friday's Letters to the Editor … Disrespect to vets … Down-size the military … No-trust government … Democracy begins within … Stop mob rule … Term limits big issue


LEGISLATUREIt's an emergency: Ban energy drinks AUGUSTA -- Cribbage is in. So's a study of state cultural agencies and a bill to ban the sale of energy drinks to minors.

New report cites food security fears AUGUSTA -- Maine posted the biggest increase in hunger rates of any state in the nation, according to a report released this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Cultural agency probe grows AUGUSTA -- State auditors have expanded their investigation of four state cultural agencies and will release a report next month detailing "significant" instances of money spent inappropriately, State Controller Ed Karass said Thursday.

The ultimate price Tears of joy, sorrow and determined pride were flowing Thursday as Gov. John Baldacci presented 35 medals -- three posthumously -- to Maine veterans injured in combat.

LTE: Mainer says 'farewell' to state's chief game warden A few years ago, when I was working as Congressman Tom Allen's senior field representative, I worked on a rather high profile case with Colonel Tom Santaguida of the Maine Warden Service.

LTE: We're seeing the horrors of unregulated capitalism Capitalism is the economic system of choice for the United States. There is no mention of capitalism in the Constitution. In fact capitalism is abusive and undemocratic. Capitalism is an economic system that is failing and will collapse.

LTE: No affordable health care for widow, 2 teenagers Having unexpectedly become a widow with two teenagers, I have grown frustrated with the "affordable health insurance programs" available in Maine. We are insured through my husband's employer through December, then insurance is available through Cobra at an astounding premium of $1,000 per month.

LTE: 'Cribbagegate' reveals pernicious state attitude I recently read with sadness and disgust the treatment of the vets playing cribbage at a local American Legion post. My father, who passed away decades ago, was a disabled World War II vet. For over 20 years, I have worked on the medical staff of a VA hospital in the long-term wards.

LTE: State should pick on someone else, not players I was appalled when I read the article about the American Legion of Gardiner's cribbage games shut down by the state (Nov. 6). Of all these folks have given to this country, to take away a minor form of entertainment is just impossible to believe. Nobody gains any monetary reward from these brief times of camaraderie, it is just an opportunity for some elderly folks to get out of the house. I would think the state could find someone more appropriate to pick on.

LTE: Gamblers, surrender now and save everybody's time I would like to thank the Kennebec Journal for an excellent article (Nov. 6) pertaining to the cribbage tournaments at the American Legion.

LTE: Bush and oil and Halliburton, Oh My! Kudos to Bush! He has finally revealed the truth about the invasion, and occupation of Iraq. It's oil! He stated that American troops would be in Iraq "nine or ten years", or approximately the time it will take to pump the oil wells dry. There have been other clues -- Halliburton building over a dozen permanent bases for American troops. Also the Bush demand that the Iraqi parliament pass a law dividing the oil revenues among the Kurds (10 percent), The Sunni (10 percent), the Shiia (10 percent), and international conglomerates (70 percent). It's that last item that has Iraqi leadership reluctant to pass that legislation. Do you suppose that 70 percent is enough to pay back big oil for the $2.36 million that those companies contributed to his campaign in 2004?

LTE: Racino lost because it's simply a bad idea The statements quoted in the Nov. 8 edition of the Kennebec Journal, which attribute the defeat of the proposed racino in Washington County to racism, are at best, insulting, and at worst, inflammatory. Personally, I voted against the measure on the basis of its lack of merit, not because of the ethnic heritage of its proponents. Yet, there are apparently those who feel that it is better to play the so-called race card than to attempt to create genuine economic growth and new industry. Gambling facilities have shown time and again to benefit everyone except the patrons, or victims, depending upon viewpoint, since they prey on those least able to afford the loss. Gambling may be a business, but it certainly is not an industry, since it produces nothing. Perhaps the Passamaquoddy tribe should have invested its $700,000 more wisely, rather than gambling that the racino measure would pass after several failed similar attempts.

LTE: Aren't there more important things to do? Well the state has done it again, they have told all the nonprofit clubs (Legion, Eagles, Elks) that they can't have even a friendly game of cribbage.


LTE: Maine legislators need to cut the pork While our state legislators have been wracking their brains trying to consolidate school systems, they couldn't bring to bear the consideration of adopting an aggressive system of reducing the number of state legislators by consolidating voting district representation. Voters have shown their dissatisfaction with Maine government by voting down extended term limits.


Lawmakers told no recurrence of improper spending by agenciesAUGUSTA (AP) - Baldacci administration officials told lawmakers Thursday no recurrence of questionable spending within several state cultural agencies is likely, but that an investigation of past practices is continuing.

LTE: Tortuous debateU.S. Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins voted to confirm former federal judge Michael Mukasey to be the next U.S. attorney general.

LTE: Socialist MaineJudson Duncan's (Nov. 12) rantings are typical of socialists that hate everything America stands for and was built upon. The United States was built on the principles of capitalism and small government. If the Founding Fathers had intended for the government to run everything, and everybody's lives, they would have appointed George Washington as king.


Bill aims to reduce plastic bag use...(full story)

EDITORIAL: Government under glass...(full story)

OP/ED: Can conservation save the nation?...(full story)


Probe Continues Over Whether Lobbyists Were Paid with Taxpayers' Money
Speaking with members of the legislature's Appropriations Committee Thursday, the governor's top financial officials say they are convinced that a non-profit group created to raise money for several state cultural agencies made attempts to conceal the fact they were using taxpayer dollars to purchase lobbyist services -- a violation of state law. As A.J. Higgins reports, the second phase of the state's investigation into the incident is nearing completion.

Wind Farm Plan Pitched to Western Maine Towns
A year ago, the Mars Hill wind farm was still under construction and the perennially contentious wind project proposed near Sugarloaf was on the regulatory ropes. But a lot has changed in the past year, and wind power is on the move. Now a southern Maine company featuring some familiar faces is proposing more than 20 turbines for a ridge north of Rumford. And as Murray Carpenter reports, developers took their case to residents of Roxbury and Byron last night.


Wind power building
KITTERY, Maine — Maybe it will come with the wind: The town may someday feature a wind turbine at the transfer station, but for now the town is simply looking for proposals for the technology.


“Avid supporters” debate in place of Democratic presidential candidates

Breaking: Sykes: Out-of-state students voting in Maine unconstitutional

Rothenberg: Dems favored to hold Allen seat

Crime of the day: Lobbyists getting money for services
The Appropriations Committee spent some time on Thursday reviewing a claim by the administration that there was a deliberate effort by the Maine Arts Commission, the Maine State Museum, and other cultural agencies to hide the fact that these agencies used public funds to pay for private lobbying ... >

A BRAC Commission for Maine?
Representative John Robinson (R-Raymond) was the sponsor of a bill that would create a "BRAC-Like" (Base Realignment and Closure Commission) commission that would essentially ask an outside group to become the Legislature and come up with a way to save the State of ...


Kathi Wolfe: Historic gay, lesbian milestoneSusan Collins, R-Maine, said in a statement. Collins said she will be a co-sponsor when the bill is introduced in the Senate. Opponents of the bill have ...


FEMA Accused Of Wasting More Katrina FundingSusan Collins (Maine), the panel's ranking Republican added: "It is unacceptable that . . . FEMA still is wasting millions of taxpayer dollars. ...


Rep. Rick Sykes Seeks Ruling on Student Voting Rights
AUGUSTA – State Rep. Rick Sykes (R-Harrison) has requested a ruling from Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe on a matter concerning a section of the Maine Constitution that bars college students from out of state from voting in Maine elections. In a letter to Mr. Rowe, delivered today, Rep. Sykes has asked for an official opinion regarding the eligibility of non-resident students to participate in the election of Maine’s public officials.

Congressional Dems Offer Budget 'Compromise'

1st CD Dem Candidate Meister Makes First Appearance at UNE Event

Collins: I Need $8 Mil
This according to the Philadelphia-based Jewish Exponent.
The kicker--wait for it--is that Collins says she wants to raise most of that money outside Maine:

District 1 Candidates' Debate Last Night
Last night a debate was held involving all six of those running to replace Rep. Tom Allen (ME-1), and while it seemed to be a low intensity affair, it was still reported by the Portland Press Herald:

The Senator From Away?
In comments over at Turn Maine Blue, GordonM points to the updated fundraising tallies over at, which now include the 2008 race.

More Flop than Flip: McCain's Accidental Pander
In 1998, McCain joined Republican Senators Susan Collins, John Chafee, and Frank Murkowski on a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee urging immediate consideration and approval of the Law of the Sea. A few years ago, ...

Susan Collins has received more money from her Collins rebekah ...
Susan Collins has received more money from her congressional colleagues than any other member of Congress.

US House Votes to Ban Mercury Export, But Wait, White House Opposes
Tom Allen, D-Maine, proposed a bill that would ban the export of highly toxic mercury and force federal agencies to find permanent storage facilities for their stockpiles. This House vote on HR 1534 was so unanimous it carried on a ...