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Maine News

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Maine News for Thursday, February 21, 2008

Portland Press Herald:
Lobster industry suffers decline
A weak 2007 harvest could spell even more trouble as overhead increases and a possible recession looms.

Internet tobacco law struck down
The Supreme Court's ruling on Maine legislation could affect efforts nationwide to stem sales to minors.

Officials to defend new toll sites
The four locations being considered for the new $35 million plaza draw mixed reactions.

Facing a budget shortfall that would get worse, officials say Maine can't afford to match a federal tax break for business investments.

Editorial: A 1,000-mile journey may have begun in Cuba
The resignation of Fidel Castro, 81, is a critical first step toward meaningful reform.

Editorial: Portland goes with the flow when it comes to oil
The oil coursing between Maine and Canada carries critical economic consequences.

Editorial: Guns, dogs and bag checks: Welcome to modern train travel
Amtrak's new counterterror measures are a sign of the times -- unfortunate but necessary.

Column: What kind of party calls itself Democratic and uses superdelegates?
A failed attempt to attend a local caucus leaves one wondering how poor this system will prove to be.

LTE: Collins' criticism of MoveOn off-base

The recent attack ad approved by Sen. Susan Collins attempts to score points with voters by grossly mischaracterizing who is a member of, a group that has supported Rep. Tom Allen ("Allen's MoveOn funding criticized," Feb. 6).

LTE: Bring back primary, the proper form for democrac
Primarily, this letter is to thank you for your Feb. 12 editorial, "Biggest caucus ever still left too many out."

LTE: Congress should hold Bush/Cheney accountable
"When Clinton lied, nobody died" -- yet, President Clinton was reprimanded by Congress with articles of impeachment 10 years ago.

Bangor Daily News:

Canada's bridge comment clarified
CALAIS - The Americans "misunderstood" is how Canadian officials characterized a statement made by a Canada Border Services Agency representative last week about the partial opening of a $120 million bridge over the St. Croix River and a customs house next year.

State: Recalled beef 'on hold' in Maine
AUGUSTA - Many Maine schools have supplies of ground beef from Westland Meats, the subject of a recent national recall, but the state Department of Education said Wednesday the beef has been "on hold" in Maine schools since Jan. 31, more than two weeks before the official recall was issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Another candidate in Senate race

BANGOR - Another independent candidate from southern Maine has thrown his hat into the ring for U.S. Senate.

Editorial: Reconsider 'Super' Perk
In this age of instant and mass opinion expression, in which the "American Idol" winner is anointed by text-message votes, it's hard to believe that state legislatures once elected U.S. presidents.

Morning Sentinel:

Licensing legislation sought by midwives
AUGUSTA -- Midwives hoping to be licensed by the state said Wednesday they will continue to push for licensing legislation despite a state report that recommends against it.

Franklin County rate drops after valuation
FARMINGTON -- The tax rate for Franklin County has gone down this year as property values rose in nearly every town, according to state valuation figures.

Consolidation desire persists School Union 52 wants talks to continue
OAKLAND -- Messalonskee School Superintendent James Morse on Wednesday assured his school board that School Union 52 officials are still interested in continuing consolidation talks.

Column: Superdelegates owe party benefit of their best judgment
All this talk about how Democratic convention superdelegates are plotting to steal the nomination from Barack Obama grows tiresome.

Kennebec Journal:

FASTER DEPRECIATION Maine can't afford federal tax breaks for businesses
The federal government, trying to avoid a recession, is encouraging businesses to spend money by allowing them to write off investments faster than normal. But officials in Maine say they can't afford to give businesses the same break on state taxes.

Susan Cover: Hoffman's run, Allen gets endorsement
Another independent is jumping in to the Senate race to challenge headliners Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, and U.S. Rep. Tom Allen, a Democrat.


Electronic Medical Records Raise Privacy Concerns

A top Bush administration official was in Maine today to announce a new initiative to promote the use of electronic medical records in the nation's healthcare system. But as Barbara Cariddi reports, despite incentives for Maine to participate, some are concerned the initiative will result in a loss of patients' privacy.

Rules To Protect Whales From Ship Strikes Linger At OMB
This week marks a year since the National Marine Fisheries Service submitted a proposed final rule to the Bush Administration to protect endangered whales from death and injury caused by ship strikes. But so far there's been no action from the Office of Management and Budget. As Susan Sharon reports, this has some Maine lobstermen upset that they are being asked to bear the brunt of the responsibility for protecting whales.

Court Deals Blow To Law Prohibiting Internet Cigarette Sales
The U.S. Supreme Court is invalidating parts of Maine's law barring internet tobacco sales to minors. In a unanimous decision, the court says Maine cannot impose restrictions on shipping companies that deliver tobacco products directly to consumers. Barbara Cariddi has more.

Sun Journal:
Council considers sister city request
LEWISTON - The City Council is considering a local professor's request to form a relationship with Chechnya's Starye Atagi - pronounced Star-yee At-a-kee - and make it the second international town to be called Lewiston's sister city.

Editorial: Where do the development dollars go?
In the business of helping business, Maine's government can act like, well, a government - by pouring money into popular programs and initiatives that promise plentiful rewards, but suffer from poor accountability and limp auditing.

Column: Democrats end program of terrorist surveillance
Last week, in the words of Nancy Pelosi, House Democrats struck back against "fear" and "fear-mongering." They let the terrorist surveillance program expire, thus making a stirring gesture of national self-confidence and fearlessness.

LTE: Liberals, guns and drugs
The shootings on the campuses and schools will continue as long as there are three things: Ritalin, Prozac and gun-free zones. Liberals and others against guns don't want to hear that.

Times Record:
Committee endorses flat funding for schools
AUGUSTA — The Education Committee is "reluctantly" endorsing a Department of Education plan to flat fund local schools next year by cutting $37 million from promised new school aid as a way to help fill a growing state budget hole — a move the governor's office says he hopes to avoid.

Column: Don't trust state to run county jails
At a time when a news report claims that Maine is the highest taxed state with the lowest household earnings in the country, this taxed payee could not stand it any longer and had to put pen to paper.

Editorial: BIW rises to the challenge
The mood was subdued outside the main gate at Bath Iron Works this morning as workers filed in for their regular shifts. Although some were not familiar with the details, most had heard about the awarding of the DD(X) design contract to Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.

N.J. Senator To Campaign For Allen In Maine Senate Race
PORTLAND, Maine -- New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg is visiting Maine on Thursday to give a boost to fellow Democrat Tom Allen's Senate campaign.

The Lincoln County News:
School Consolidation Amendment Garners Furious Lobbying
With a major amendment to the school consolidation law pending in the Senate that would give local school boards more power, but not achieve the 80 districts statewide the governor wants, both sides are using the Legislature's mid-session break this week to try and sway votes.

Consumer Advocate Tapped to Solve Dirigo Woes
The Senate last week voted along party lines to confirm Gov. John Baldacci's nominee for the superintendent of insurance after a debate that is a harbinger of partisan battles over the fate of the Dirigo Health subsidized insurance plan.

Pieh Sponsors Legislation To Regulate Dog Breeding
Rep. Wendy Pieh, D-Bremen, presented a bill to ensure the responsible breeding of dogs to members of the Legislature's Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee on Mon., Feb. 11.

Portland Phoenix:
Legislative Document 262, "An Act to Amend the Credit for Rehabilitation of Historic Properties," broadly expands state income-tax credits to firms that rehab old buildings. It would create a new tax break.

When criminal-trespassing charges were dropped February 5 against three Maine eco-activists, the activists were relieved. After all, they had merely been standing in a business's parking lot during business hours, and had left when a security guard asked them to. But some authoritarian types, including Maine's entire congressional delegation, might have seen a weakness in our legal system — a vulnerability our elected representatives in Washington are continuing to try to shore up.

Ellsworth American:

Sen. Collins Lands Grant For MCMH
Collins met with the board of trustees before announcing the grant, then watched a slideshow of plans for the new facility.

Society Struggles With What to Do With Offenders After Release
ELLSWORTH — No one wants sex offenders nearby but everyone wants to know where they are and what they're doing.

Gov. Baldacci: Status Quo Won't Do on Electricity
ELLSWORTH — Governor John Baldacci has put Independent System Operator-New England (ISO-NE) on notice that the status quo system used by the regional energy consortium to provide electricity to Maine consumers won't cut it.

Legislators Considering Bill to Require Proof of Residency
AUGUSTA — Legislators are considering a bill that would require people to prove they live in Maine before being given a driver's license here, but they are skirting the more contentious issue of whether the state Department of Motor Vehicles should ask applicants to show they are in the country legally.

Republicans, Business Uneasy
AUGUSTA — Governor John Baldacci's nomination of Mila Kofman of Georgetown University Health Policy Institute as the state's new superintendent of insurance is moving ahead despite concerns from Republicans and business groups.

Snowe, Senate Panel Hear Area Lobstermen's Concerns
BREWER — Lobstermen on Tuesday expressed frustration with controversial new federal regulations that will force most Maine lobstermen to replace the rope connecting their traps, called groundlines, with new sinking rope.

Editorial: In Baldacci's Crosshairs
Governor John Baldacci and Maine Education Commissioner Susan Gendron are going to be very busy while schools are closed for vacation this week.

Editorial: The Old Ball Game
For Republicans in Congress, Roger Clemens apparently walks on water. As far as Democrats are concerned, he may be lying through his teeth. The partisan divide that characterizes so much of the political process in Washington these days extended to the question of Clemens' credibility last week, leaving many Americans scratching their heads and wondering, "What's next?"

Politicker ME:

Maine Senate race: The other candidates
As the Susan Collins vs. Tom Allen race heats up, four other challengers have emerged in the race.


Another Independent Joins Maine Senate Race
PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER) -- Another independent is joining the race for U.S. Senate here in Maine. Herbert Hoffman, a retired psychologist from Ogunquit, announced his candidacy Wednesday at a series of news conferences.

Sanford NEWS:

Sanford chosen as site for firefighter grant workshop
The workshops will help Maine fire departments best apply for the Department of Homeland Security's AFG Program, according to Sen. Collins. In the past month alone, 16 Maine fire departments have been awarded over $1.6 million in AFG funding.

Turn Maine Blue: The Border Fence
Many of us understand that the GOP is more interested in using illegal immigration as a campaign issue than actually dealing with it, this cycles "gay marriage" if you will. The GOP will use it to entice people to the polls, preying on people's genuine fears of illegal immigrants, and in some cases, their thinly veiled racism.

Turn Maine Blue: Still waiting: Collins has not responded to the Senate Guru
On 29 January, Senate2008Guru sent this open letter to Jen Burita asking if she would clarify her LTE in the Kennebec Journal:

Turn Maine Blue: Sen. Frank Lautenberg to endorse Tom Allen

Rep. Tom Allen is engaged in a tought fight to unseat Bush/Cheney enabler Susan Collins, and tomorrow will receive the endorsement of Sen. Frank Lautenberg. From the press release:

Turn Maine Blue: Open Thread

The readers of the Portland Press Herald must be wondering about these letters to the editor in today's edition, seeing as the PPH has yet to print one story about the attack ad that Collins has about

MyDD: Running Against MoveOn

The right-wing is licking its chops at the prospect of an Obama nomination because it will allow them to run against "one of the most liberal senators in the senate!" I know, pretty scary stuff. One of the biggest arrows in their quiver, from their so 3 years ago perspective, is's endorsement of Obama, which the right still thinks it can use as an extremist albatross to throw around Democrats' necks.

DailyKos: ME-Sen: Frank Lautenberg to endorse Tom Allen

Rep. Tom Allen is engaged in a tought fight to unseat Bush/Cheney enabler Susan Collins, and tomorrow will receive the endorsement of Sen. Frank Lautenberg. From the press release: