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Maine News

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Maine News for Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Congress works on help with heating If the spending bill passes, low-income Mainers could be getting millions to help them pay for heating fuel.

Baldacci targets toxic chemicals Recommendations from the governor's task force will be included in his 2008 legislative package.

County officials want a new jail authority The proposal is a response to the governor's plan for the state to take over jails.

EDITORIAL: Farm Bill enriches those who don't need help Sensible caps on aid didn't make it into this budget-busting, $286 billion monstrosity.

EDITORIAL: Augusta can't put too many limits on marching for a cause Charging thousands for a parade permit makes free speech unaffordable.

EDITORIAL: Easier access to pills wrong way to combat heart disease Experts at the FDA wisely advise against making a statin available over-the-counter.

A. Robert Casimiro: Control immigration to control growth While transformation here is slower than in other locations, it's still happening too quickly.

LTE: Consolidation a political shell game

LTE: Remember soldiers killed in Iraq, Afghanistan

LTE: Congress should respond to public, act on impeachment

LTE: Animal abusers should face harsher punishment

LTE: Develop nuclear sources as energy alternatives


Indian Island: Penobscot Nation receives $35000 development grant
INDIAN ISLAND, Maine — The Penobscot Indian Nation has received more than $35,000 in grant money from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

Fallen soldier to be buried in HoultonTuesday, December 18, 2007HOULTON, Maine - A 38-year-old Houlton native and decorated career soldier who was killed in Iraq on Friday will be laid to rest in a Houlton cemetery Saturday.

Chemical panel hands in reportTuesday, December 18, 2007AUGUSTA, Maine - Gov. John Baldacci said Monday he would incorporate into his 2008 legislative package some of the recommendations of a task force on reducing toxic chemicals in consumer products.

Panel says state faces more red inkTuesday, December 18, 2007AUGUSTA, Maine - The state revenue forecasting committee is warning there could be more red ink in the months ahead. Meanwhile, members of the Legislature's Appropriations Committee say revenues are only part of the budget problem facing the state. Another is increased costs.

EDITORIAL: Mileage milestoneTuesday, December 18, 2007What a difference two years - and $3 per gallon gasoline - make. In 2005, when gasoline cost an average of $2.27 a gallon, the Senate rejected an increase in vehicle gas mileage standards by a vote of 67-28. Last week, it approved a 10-mile-per-gallon boost by an overwhelming 86-8.

Editorial: Invest in 'quality of place'Tuesday, December 18, 2007A report issued this month by the Governor's Council on Maine's Quality of Place confirms what most already knew: Maine is not Anywhere, U.S.A.

Tuesday's Letters to the Editor … Project a net loss … Suspicious spending … Who cares? … Sex abuse in military


The proud, the few AUGUSTA -- A bunch of old Marines could use some help breathing life back into a service organization with a declining membership.

Jail plan bill eyes savingsCounty officials proposing authority with oversight AUGUSTA -- County sheriffs and commissioners want to create a jail authority to oversee local and regional jails as part of a two-step response to the governor's call for a state takeover of county jails.

Governor receives final report on toxic chemicals More than a dozen Maine environmental and business officials said Monday they will continue to work with the federal government to promote the purchase and use of nontoxic chemicals.

Congress pushing to boost heat aid WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats have added $409 million to a program to help the poor pay for heating oil as part of a massive spending bill that Congress is expected to pass this week to keep the government running.

No fanfare with Clinton endorsement
As endorsement announcements go, this was a low-key affair.
At 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign sent out a press release announcing that Gov. John Baldacci would support her bid for president.

EDITORIAL: Farm Bill:One step forward, two steps back Where can you find Republicans sounding like Socialists, farmers from Zip Code 90210 getting million dollar taxpayer subsidies and talk of poor people who are supposed to get by on a little more than a dollar a meal in food stamps?

LTE: Dec. 20, rotary vigil for peace and war dead As we approach the fifth Christmas season at war in Iraq, we are quickly nearing 4,000 dead American men and woman. We also have close to 30,000 casualties. If you multiply these numbers by many family members per soldier, then you have many thousands of victims of this terrible war.

LTE: Go back to your 'idyllic life' and leave us alone Concerning Lynda Martin's letter of Dec. 4, stating she was starving since she moved back to Maine because of "family" and that the state of Maine was going under back in 1987 and she moved out.

LTE: Collins is an independent choice for U.S. Senate The 2008 election comes at a critical time in the history of the United States and the world. I strongly endorse Susan Collins for U.S. Senate because I believe she is the candidate best able to address the profound challenges we face as a country. I trust her integrity and independent voice, moving outside the partisan politics of the current Congress.


LTE: Prohibition didn't work then and won't work now In response to the call for a second shot at prohibition (pun intended) I want to remind letter writer Jeffrey Green (Dec. 12) of the reasons why prohibition was repealed.

LTE: Here's one answer to immigration problems Well Mainers are finally starting to understand what our crazy governor did years ago.


Baldacci receives report on toxinsAUGUSTA (AP) - Gov. John Baldacci said Monday he will incorporate into his 2008 legislative package some of the recommendations of a task force on reducing toxic chemicals in consumer products.Maine may get more heating aidAUGUSTA (AP) - A $500 billion catchall spending bill that was near final approval in Congress includes hundreds of millions more in home heating assistance, which would come as a relief to Mainers who depend on the federal program to keep their homes warm.Heating oil price up 4 cents a gallonAUGUSTA (AP) - After a one-week reprieve, heating oil prices have gone up again in Maine.

LTE: Waiting for oilI have noted the many articles about the Low Income Home Energy Program (LIHEAP), but I have not seen any articles about how many people are very cold because they haven't received any funds to date.


OP/ED: Posting Commandments in schools won't make this a Christian nation...(full story)


Consolidation plan rejected
BAR HARBOR — Mount Desert Island’s school Reorganization Planning Committee received written notice this weekend from Commissioner Susan Gendron that the Department of Education is not approving the local reorganization plan.


Changes Proposed for School Consolidation Law A legislative committee has proposed changes to the state's school consolidation law in an effort to remove some of the perceived financial barriers to communities as they form new school districts. The governor hopes to achieve long-term administrative savings by merging the state's existing 290 school districts into 80 districts. As A.J. Higgins reports, key changes include delaying the local referendum requirement on school budgets until 2009 and addressing cost shifts that could arise among some communities through local cost-sharing agreements.

Congressman Allen Says No-Child Law Needs Reform Maine First District Congressman Tom Allen is taking aim at President Bush's signature education initiative, No Child Left Behind. Barbara Cariddi reports.

Task Force Says Maine Needs Chemical Safety System A state task force has concluded that the federal safety system for chemicals in commerce is badly broken and too many hazardous chemicals are still on the market. As a result the Governor's Task Force to Promote Safer Chemicals in Consumer Products is recommending that Maine establish its own comprehensive policy requiring safer alternatives. Keith McKeen reports.

Federal Farm Bill Offers Good News and Bad News for Maine Farmers The Senate on Friday passed a nearly $300 billion dollar farm bill covering spending for items ranging from food stamps to manure management to crop subsidies. Maine’s Senators split their votes on the legislation, and as Murray Carpenter reports, the two have very different views about what the bill does and does not do for Maine farmers.

Truckers Continue to Face Diesel Woes Truckers, loggers and others concerned about the skyrocketing cost of diesel fuel held the third in a series of meetings in Skowhegan over the weekend. The Coalition to Lower Fuel Prices is searching for ways to prevent the forest products industry, truckers and customers who rely on home heating oil from going out of business or going cold this winter. As Susan Sharon reports the prices are already beginning to imperil business owners.


Maine Could Get More Heating Assistance Under Budget BillUS Senator Susan Collins says Maine's likely to get between $10 million and $20 million more, but she's confident the state will get a significant increase.


Maine Could Get More Heating Assistance Under Budget BillUS Sen. Susan Collins said Maine's likely to get between $10 million and $20 million more, but she's confident the state will get a significant increase.


Lewiston Mayor to seek House seat
Lewiston Mayor Laurent Gilbert Sr. will run for the Maine House of Representatives in 2008.

Strimling blasts Scontras again, this time in the blogosphere
The debate over illegal immigration remains heated between First Congressional District candidates Ethan Strimling, a Democrat, and Dean Scontras, a Republican.

Collins takes on Saudi laws
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins is pushing judicial reform and action to address the issue of violence against women in Saudi Arabia.

Baldacci endorses Clinton
Gov. John Baldacci has officially endorsed Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.


Maine could get more heating assistance under budget bill
AUGUSTA, Maine - A $500 billion catchall spending bill that was near final approval in Congress includes hundreds of millions more in home heating assistance, which would come as a relief to Mainers who depend on the federal program to keep their homes warm.


Slip-Sliding Away
But retirements aren't the GOP's only Senate problem. New Hampshire's John Sununu is very vulnerable. And incumbents Susan Collins of Maine and Norm Coleman of Minnesota will face stiff challenges in fairly blue states.


Truckers bemoan high fuel costs
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is participating in U.S. Senate hearings examining the impact of energy market speculation on prices. On Thursday senators passed legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, to close the "Enron loophole" by tightening energy market investment oversight. In development for about two years, the measure now must pass the House.


Both Parties Recruiting War Vets As Candidates
One of them, Maine Republican Charlie Summers, is in the midst of a one-year deployment to Iraq as a Navy Reserve lieutenant commander. … The House contest in Maine’s 1st District stands out because two candidates with Iraq War experience are vying for the Democratic and Republican nominations.
… In addition to Republican Summers, whose wife Ruth is running his campaign while he serves in Iraq, Adam Cote, a veteran of Iraq and Bosnia is one of a pack of five anti-war candidates scrambling to win the Democratic nomination.


[MoveOn] Call Sens. Snowe and Collins: No immunity for illegal spying
Progressive Senators Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold are pledging to block any legislation that includes "telecom immunity." 2 And presidential candidates Joe Biden and Barack Obama have said they'll support a filibuster.3
It is critical that other senators support Senators Dodd and Feingold . Can you call Sens. Snowe and Collins today and tell them to join progressives in the Senate in blocking any bill that includes immunity for lawbreaking phone companies? Tell them voters want accountability and oversight—not immunity.

2005 Tax Numbers Released: The Rich Got Soaked
The richest 1% paid about 39% of all income taxes. The richest 5% paid just less than 60%. The richest 10% paid 70%.

Dems Surrender 80% Final Spending Plans
The giant federal spending bill will dominate the political stage in closing days. Every corner of government is affected by the package.

Bali Aims To Share Weight Of Emissions Cuts
The agreement calls on developing nations to take "actions" to mitigate climate change in a "measurable, reportable, verifiable" manner.

The Council for a Livable World is supporting Tom Allen…
Well, of course The Council for a Livable World is supporting Maine’s great Congressman! When you stand Tom Allen’s record next to Sen. Susan Collins’ record, you find that Suzie-Q is a warmonger who loves war, loves big ole weapons of mass destruction, and who has gone out of her way to make sure George Bush and his Band of Warmongering Liars get what they want when it comes to killing people needlessly.

Bush: Can You Hear Me Now? No? Good!
President George W. Bush’s demand for immunity for telephone companies that participated in his warrantless (read: illegal/unconstitutional) domestic spying program won an initial victory on Monday in the U.S. Senate by a vote of 76-10. Voting in favor of more government surveillance and less accountability were Maine’s senators Collins and Snowe.

Candidate questions
Update: I'm shooting these questions off tomorrow night to the campaigns, so this is your last chance to get your question answered by one of the many great candidates for the CD-1 seat currently held by Tom Allen.

It's time to stop talking and complaining. It's time for action.
I am tired. So tired. I usually use an editor for my diaries because of my head injury and poor organization, grammar, repeating myself and essays that are generally too long. Those take me 10 hours or more and then an editor.

Allen Video Up and Running
The Council for a Livable World recently published a video of Allen on their website. Check it out here: Feel free to repost! You can find the embed link on You Tube.

Open Thread
Sen. Chris Dodd is now on the Senate Floor filibustering a cloture vote that would bring the new FISA bill up for a vote. This bill would grant retroactive immunity to the telecom industry that illegally gave personal information to the Fed without a warrant being issued.
The Kennebek County Dem's were on this last October, as Eddie made clear in this diary:

Council for a Livable World endorses Tom Allen
Tom Allen is campaigning to unseat Maine's junior senator, Susan Collins, and last week received the endorsement from the Council for a Livable World:. Rep. Allen has opposed the Iraq war in both word and deed.

LIHEAP Recipient Describes Importance of Support
AUGUSTA-- Lawmakers and Community Action Agency officials were calling on President Bush and Congress to increase funds for heating assistance for Maine people this winter in advance of expected votes in Washington, DC, in the coming week.

Lieberman Endorses McCain
Don't ever forget that Joe Lieberman is the man who stabs his former party (the Democrats) in the back every chance he gets, hes the man who supports and endorsed Susan Collins for Senate, he's the man who STILL wants to attack/invade ...