A loan program unveiled last week fills an important void by targeting money to small businesses in rural and downtown areas. The new loans also come at a critical time when credit markets across the country remain frozen. Coastal Enterprises, Inc. was selected by the… Read More
    The country’s health insurance industry was praised last week for joining the national debate over universal health coverage. Pledges to give up its ability to reject people with pre-existing medical conditions and its longstanding objection to guarantees of insurance coverage could represent a significant change for the insurance… Read More
    This week, ClickBack seeks comments from editorial page readers on the future of the social safety net in Maine, the role of women in state government, Bangor’s urban renewal and international terrorism. Readers are directed to the “Opinion” pull-down menu at bangordailynews.com, where they will find the ClickBack… Read More
    The political meltdown in Canada, at first, looks like a power grab by the Conservative Party and its leader, Prime Minister Stephen Harper. A closer look reveals that the parliamentary crisis came about because minority parties tried to undermine Mr. Harper just weeks after his party gained seats… Read More
    It won’t be winter until Dec. 21, but it already feels like winter in Acadia National Park. The summer crowds are long gone, the entrance fees are no longer charged, the Park Loop Road is mostly closed to automobiles, and it’s too chilly for a picnic. Still, the… Read More
    Americans are pretty broad in their definition of the word “right.” We claim rights to a host of activities that might better be described as privileges or even wants. A whirlwind trip around the globe would narrow our understanding of “rights,” and leave us both appreciative of the… Read More
    Accounts, comments and reminiscences of that terrible morning 67 years ago give dramatic emphasis to America’s need to commemorate Pearl Harbor. Dec. 7, 1941, was a colossal lapse and failure militarily and a tragic awakening to the realities of war and eventually to a new era in international… Read More
    Maine, like other states, must balance its budget every year. Faced with declining revenues, serious spending cuts will be necessary to accomplish this for the next few years. At the same time, however, the federal government should direct some of its stimulus funds to cash-strapped states to help… Read More
    There has been so much talk recently of cracks in glass ceilings, it’s a wonder we’re not all watching where we step for fear of treading on sharp shards. The glass ceiling, the symbolic barrier women have yet to fully break through, was a hot topic late this… Read More
    This interregnum seems interminable. Barack Obama was elected president on Nov. 4 and now the country must wait until Jan. 20 for him to take over from George W. Bush. It would have been an uneasy gap in any case. But it catches the United… Read More
    Although the price tag for a government bailout of the auto industry has increased, the changes the car companies are willing to make to get the federal help are moves in the right direction. In appealing for a second time to Congress for money, the country’s three automakers… Read More
    A prepared military needs places to practice its maneuvers, which are often loud and disruptive. To meet its readiness requirements, the military should find the best place to do this training with the least disruption on the ground. It is unclear that a proposal from the Massachusetts Air… Read More
    Here’s a distressing statistic: Children spend nearly three times as much time with electronic media than with their parents. Therefore, it is not surprising that TV shows, text messages and music can have a detrimental effect on children’s health. Since ditching the TV or iPod would end in… Read More
    Beyond the criticism – from both the left and the right – that his Cabinet appointments don’t represent the promised change, President-elect Barack Obama’s national security team represents a cohesive vision for reshaping America’s role on the international stage. That vision appropriately emphasizes diplomacy and economic development over… Read More
    This week’s ClickBack focuses on state spending, terrorism in India and highway fatalities. To share your thoughts, go to bangordailynews.com and look for ClickBack on the Opinion drop down menu. Some responses may be printed on Friday’s OpEd page. State spending – what should go?… Read More
    Last week’s attacks in Mumbai exposed numerous fault lines in India and between it and its neighbor, Pakistan. How the Indian government, and the international community, respond to the attack and its aftermath will determine whether the fault lines heal or are widened. For three… Read More
    Considered together, two recent news stories on two very different issues illustrate society’s growing pains. The first story reported the pending effort by a state senator to restrict teen access to birth control. The second story reported a new law taking effect in January that allows those who… Read More
    Federal regulators last month belatedly finished rules requiring ocean vessels to slow down in some areas to avoid hitting endangered whales. One of the best aspects of the rules is that they will be studied to ensure they are working. This same standard should apply… Read More
    The terrorist violence in Mumbai, India on Thursday is a grim reminder of the challenges democratic countries will face in this century. Americans were shocked into awareness of the new face of hostility and conflict in the world on Sept. 11. Other nations have been well aware of… Read More
    A new report from an energy standards setting group adds urgency to the need to upgrade electricity systems in Maine, especially as the state hopes to produce and export more green power. Before any of this work can be fully considered by regulators, however, the important question of… Read More
    Americans have had it drummed into them for generations that they have the world’s best health care system. Once again, we now are told by a widely respected organization that it’s not true. This time, we are in a position to do something about it. Read More
    The phrase “Black Friday” has a double meaning today. It has become the description for the day after Thanksgiving, when hordes of shoppers charge to – and charge at – stores to buy Christmas presents, or to find bargains for themselves. For many retailers, this day marks the… Read More
    Harriet Beecher Stowe moved to Maine in 1850 with her husband, Calvin Ellis Stowe, a professor at Bowdoin College. In Brunswick, she wrote her famous “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and many stories about New England life, including “The Pearl of Orr’s Island” (1862) and “Oldtown Folks” (1869). The latter… Read More
    The lyrics of the U.S. Marine Corps hymn, “From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. We fight our country’s battles in the air, on land and sea” honor the Marines’ daring trek across the Libyan desert in 1805 to free the captured Navy frigate, the… Read More
    Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the Legislature’s Transportation Committee last week took the indefensible action of indefinitely shelving a compromise plan for state-owned Sears Island. Unlike other plans, reports and studies that make their way into the hands of legislative committees, the Sears Island agreement, which… Read More
    Analyzing the belief system and thought process that led a Standish store owner to host a betting pool on when President-elect Obama would be assassinated is about as useful as trying to find meaning in the bird droppings on your car’s windshield. But like the windshield splatter, such… Read More
    This week, ClickBack considers some Maine-based issues: budget cuts, an apparently racist swipe at President-elect Barack Obama by a Standish store, sentences for convicted arsonists and the lobster industry struggles. To participate, go to bangordailynews.com, look for the Opinion tab and select ClickBack. Only registered… Read More
    Maine and the nation are likely to become embroiled, yet again, in debate over social and civil rights for homosexuals. This time, the question of whether homosexual couples should be able to marry and enjoy the same rights and privileges as heterosexual couples will be at stake. Read More
    The Democratic showing in the election – not a landslide but decisive presidential and congressional victories – raises a question of the future of the Republican Party. Nationally the party’s future looks cloudy. A New York Times map showed that more than three-quarters of the… Read More
    Looking through the long list of cuts ordered this week by Gov. John Baldacci, it is easy to see the great difficulty that will plague lawmakers when they reconvene next month. Their challenge is to decide where to reduce state spending while doing the least to harm essential… Read More
    With a short time to significantly cut state spending, lawmakers must remain focused on cutting costs without gutting programs, especially those that serve the state’s most vulnerable population. Long gone are the days of “cutting the fat” or eliminating wasteful spending. Numbers presented by the… Read More
    Next November, Maine voters will have another chance to rewrite their tax bills, just as they did on Nov. 4 by repealing the DirigoChoice beverage tax. Thanks to the efforts of conservative groups Maine Heritage Policy Center and Maine Leads, two initiatives will be on the November 2009… Read More
    It sounded voluntary and generous when the top executives of Goldman Sachs announced that they would give up their usual bonuses this year. Actually, it wasn’t so voluntary, and it wasn’t so generous. They still get their $600,000 base pay. And Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein can keep his… Read More
    Whenever government takes action that smacks of imposing values on a group of people, critics abound on both the left and right. The most recent case in point is a proposal to remove soda from the list of foods that may be purchased with food stamps. Liberals worry… Read More
    With prospects of financial handout to American automakers fading, Congress and the car companies must look for alternatives that will preserve needed jobs but not sustain imprudent business decisions. Sen. Olympia Snowe, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, articulated the conflicted feelings of many lawmakers. “It is… Read More
    The repeal of taxes on beer, wine and soda to fund the Dirigo Health program leaves lawmakers with the difficult task of keeping the controversial program afloat. They should focus their efforts on capturing savings and reducing costs, while not losing sight of the fact that Dirigo is… Read More
    Financial markets are as much about confidence and certainty as they are about dollars and cents. That’s why the apparent lack of coherent direction in the financial bailout approved by Congress last month is dangerous. Last week, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said that using billions… Read More
    ClickBack returns this week after an Election Day and Veterans Day hiatus. The BDN’s editorial page interactive feature seeks thoughtful comments on the Karen Wood tragedy, the proposal to block the purchase of soda with food stamps, the Legislature’s election of the state’s attorney general, and the bailout… Read More
    A consensus on the future of state-owned Sears Island in Penobscot Bay, which took years to achieve, is poised for acceptance by the Legislature’s Transportation Committee. The compromise vision for the island, which protects 600 of its 940 acres while also creating a zone for a possible container… Read More
    It was truly a revolutionary era, and the University of Maine at Presque Isle has done an outstanding service in conducting a six-day “1968 Retrospective” for the benefit of the many who are too young to recall it. For many who lived through it, the… Read More
    While the rejection of school consolidation plans in some communities is troubling, the move toward centralized – and hence less expensive – administration is moving forward. Last week, 12 of 16 consolidation plans were approved. In those communities where they were rejected, alternatives are already being sought. Read More
    Two deeply held Maine values collided on Nov. 15, 1988, when Karen Wood was shot dead by a hunter in her Hermon backyard. Mainers cherish hunting as recreation. It’s a tradition that connects us with our past, when deer, moose and other animals filled the larder for winter. Read More
    With the nation and Maine mired in what looks like a recession, holiday shopping is likely to be sluggish. Things are even less festive for families where jobs have been lost or chronic underemployment have made it difficult to pay the everyday bills. So before you finish –… Read More
    Mainers may be surprised that there’s still a political campaign going on. Although it involves the state’s top legal officer, the public has no say and likely isn’t even aware of who is competing for the job. This is a poor way to choose an attorney general and… Read More
    These are not good times for conservatives whose faith lies in the unfettered marketplace. With President Bush, Congress and President-elect Obama all supporting the $700 billion federal bailout plan, the government has committed to playing lifeguard, even if it means rescuing those who decided to go swimming in… Read More
    The near tragedy averted at Stockton Springs Elementary last month when a man took 11 children hostage at gunpoint, according to police, highlights the challenges school administrators face in keeping children safe. Even though the Waldo County school had been in lockdown mode during the… Read More
    Some ardent feminists have launched a campaign to block Lawrence H. Summers, former President Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary, from taking the same post in the Obama administration. In raking up old controversies, they threaten to deprive the new government, in the midst of a deepening financial crisis, of… Read More
    Just one county in Maine is seeing a decline in domestic violence – or at least a decline in reported incidents. Although it may be difficult to say precisely why Sagadahoc County is reversing this criminal tide, there are some clues. Steve Edmondson, the county’s… Read More
    After the casino referendum went down to defeat last week, Dennis Bailey of the anti-casino group CasinosNO! said the casino question had been asked and answered. “I really think Maine people made up their minds about casinos five years ago and Las Vegas just didn’t get the memo,”… Read More
    Terrorism, the war in response and the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan give Veterans Day special urgency. The nation is encountering new types of warfare, wondering about old enemies and, appropriately, recalling with new respect the veterans of wars past and present. All of this gives the… Read More
    The former Boggy Brook Regional Vocational Center, renamed the Hancock County Technical Center, is playing a special role as Maine and the rest of the country slide into recession. Jobs are probably going to be scarce, and the center and others like it across the state are providing… Read More
    Deterring shoplifting is important, but there must be better ways than the wasteful, and sometimes dangerous, packaging around toys, electronics and other products. Sadly, things will get worse in the approaching holiday season, resulting in broken fingernails and maybe even chipped teeth. The worst ones… Read More
    The Democratic celebration over the party’s gains in the Maine Legislature will be short-lived, if it ever started. The day after Election Day, Gov. John Baldacci issued an order to cut state spending by $150 million, which is likely to prompt the Legislature to meet in a special… Read More
    In the buzz leading up to Election Day, an important anniversary was missed by many in the news media. Oct. 23 was the 25th anniversary of a pivotal event in United States foreign policy – the killing of 241 American troops in Beirut, Lebanon. On that day in… Read More
    Susan Collins not only won re-election Tuesday; she became the most important member of the Senate. While this assessment, from an editor at Congressional Quarterly, may be a bit overwrought, Sen. Collins is among a shrinking group of moderate Republicans who will play crucial roles in determining what… Read More
    The 2008 presidential election has provided more evidence of the need to reconsider campaign finance rules. This presidential campaign is expected to cost $1.6 billion; including congressional races, the election total is $5.6 billion. That’s a lot of money, bringing with it a lot of expectations on the… Read More
    As monumental as Barack Obama’s resounding victory in Tuesday’s election were the large, cheering, crying crowds that gathered in cities across the country to celebrate his win. It has been decades since a presidential election elicited such emotion, such expectation. It is doubly historic that the man at… Read More
    At several points in his improbable, inspiring and historic run for the White House, Barack Obama told voters his faith in America was restored by the electoral success he saw along the way. Pundits, critics and opponents – including Sen. John McCain – lambasted Sen. Obama for what… Read More
    By delaying a decision on reforming subsidies for telecommunications services, the Federal Communications Commission has given itself time to get the changes right. The FCC is wisely looking at ways to reform the subsidies and to use some of that money to provide fast Internet connections across the… Read More
    Nearly a decade after listing Atlantic salmon in eight small Maine rivers as an endangered species, the federal government proposes to expand that designation to include the state’s three biggest rivers – the Penobscot, Kennebec and Androscoggin. In the years since the first listing, it has become clear… Read More
    The chilly weather got to you? Lost the old pep? Can’t get motivated? Try voting! There’s no better way to reinvigorate the democratic-republic in you than to cast a vote for a worthy candidate or against one who didn’t impress. Want another reason? Your neighbor, or maybe even… Read More
    Many Americans are sleep deprived, exercise deprived and fiber deprived. Now it turns out they are probably vitamin D deprived as well. An American Academy of Pediatricians study found that people are getting far less vitamin D than they need. Especially at risk are older… Read More
    These Indian summer days – mild or even balmy, except for occasional gusty spells – offer a great time to relish the beauties of late fall. A few flashes of scarlet maple leaves remain, mixing with what’s left of the yellow of the ashes and… Read More
    Despite the proliferation of TV shows devoted to lawyers, the judicial branch of government is not well understood by the general public. And taxpayers regularly put courts at the bottom of the list for additional spending of public funds. It makes sense, since few people expect to go… Read More
    Barack Obama for president The popularity of Barack Obama’s hope-themed campaign shows that the country is eager for positive leadership, not a continuation of the divisiveness fostered by the Bush administration. googletag.cmd.push(function () { // Define Slot var slot_sizes = [[300,250]]; var new_slot_sizes = []; var… Read More
    Earlier this month, fashion designer and critic Richard Blackwell died at 86. His list of worst-dressed celebrities skewered the popular and the powerful. Though he died before the news broke, Mr. Blackwell probably would have been gratified to learn that the McCain campaign spent $150,000 on clothing and… Read More
    Every journalist has heard the exhortation “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” The power to do good, to be a crusader for truth, justice and the American way, is what inspires many reporters to take up pen and notebook. But too often, journalists “afflict… Read More
    Recent revelations that JPMorgan Chase, the largest U.S. bank by market value, may use its bailout money to buy other banks rather than to make more loans to customers raises questions about the effectiveness of the current rescue plan for the nation’s faltering financial system. Read More
    Tuesday’s election will be the first large public referendum on school district consolidation as voters in dozens of communities vote on reorganization plans. As the reasons for consolidation pile up – high costs and the likelihood of flat funding from the state in the next budget cycle –… Read More
    The McCain campaign’s descent into nastiness has elicited strong rebukes from the state’s top Republicans. This, unfortunately, has not stopped fliers portraying Barack Obama as a friend of terrorists and lacking judgment from showing up in Maine mailboxes or calls with the same themes from filling answering machines. Read More
    If you lived in Canada, your national elections would be over by now. And you would have had to endure just six weeks of campaigning. Canada employs a parliamentary system, evidence of its ties to the United Kingdom. Under that system, representatives to the legislative… Read More
    Maine’s lobsters are clearly sustainable, through license limits, trap limits, v-notching of females and throwing back undersize and oversize lobsters. But what about the lobstermen and the lobster industry? Both are in bad shape these days. The catch is not bad this year. But the… Read More
    This week, we feature the last installment of the election version of ClickBack, the BDN’s editorial page interactive feature. To participate, go to bangordailynews.com and pull down on the Opinion menu, and let up on ClickBack. Readers can also post their own questions, or join the conversation on… Read More
    There are good reasons for revising the Endangered Species Act – it is slow and cumbersome for some developers and landowners, for example – but any such rewrite must be thoughtful and deliberate. Reviewing 200,000 written comments, some of them dozens of pages long in… Read More
    The next president and Congress have a rare opportunity to remake the way Americans build, buy and sell houses. The current economic downturn is linked in large part to the boom, bubble and bust cycle of the housing sector. The government can and must take a strong hand… Read More
    The next administration faces the large task of rebuilding the U.S. economy, developing a comprehensive energy policy and reining in health care costs. This work depends on lawmakers with differing views and philosophies coming together. Sen. Susan Collins will be instrumental in bridging partisan divides and moving needed… Read More
    Without much fanfare, Mike Michaud has helped veterans get health care services closer to home, secured funding for needed road projects and created a commission to advance economic development for Maine and other Northeastern states. This ability to roll up his sleeves, work with his colleagues regardless of… Read More
    Do you want to reject the parts of a new law that change the method of funding Maine’s Dirigo Health Program through charging health insurance companies a fixed fee on paid claims and adding taxes to malt liquor, wine and soft drinks? Adding a few… Read More
    Do you want to allow a certain Maine company to have the only casino in Maine, to be located in Oxford County, if part of the revenue is used to fund specific state programs? With the lone exception of the Hollywood Slots facility in Bangor,… Read More
    Do you favor a $3.4 million bond to support drinking water programs, to support the construction of wastewater treatment facilities, and to leverage $17 million in other funds? Compared to such government expenditures as the $700 billion federal bank bailout, the $3.4 million the state… Read More
    The investigation of an Aug. 18 clash between Acadia National Park rangers and a group of revelers is not yet complete, so final judgment on the conduct of law enforcement officials should be withheld. But a statement by a supervising ranger who was at the scene of the… Read More
    Now that they’ve passed a massive bailout plan for the financial sector, lawmakers are again turning their attention to average Americans and talking about a second stimulus package. Such a package should only be considered, with Congress returning to Washington for a lame duck session to work on… Read More
    The election is two weeks from today, and ClickBack remains locked in political mode, so we focus our questions on issues that will be resolved on Nov. 4. What do editorial page readers make of Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama? Should the casino proposal be approved? Will… Read More
    Socialism has become a dirty word on the presidential campaign trail. Supporters of Republican John McCain increasingly say they fear that Democrats, led by their candidate Barack Obama, will lead the country into socialism, defined as a system under which the means of production and distribution are owned… Read More
    Senators and representatives to Congress earn about $170,000 annually, enjoy generous health care benefits and, if they stay in office long enough, receive a generous federal pension. Maine’s selectmen and city councilors get paid pennies on the actual hours they work, may be handed an aspirin by a… Read More
    At a Senate subcommittee field hearing in Portland Tuesday, a federal fisheries regulator said the current rules have “not entirely achieved the desired results.” That was a big understatement. Rather than move to solve the problem, however, James Balsiger of the National Fisheries Management Service… Read More
    Change has become an overused buzzword this election, but change is what this country needs. Change from a misguided foreign policy that indefinitely leaves U.S. troops in Iraq more than five years after an invasion based on dubious evidence. Change from a hands-off approach to financial markets that… Read More
    A new star emerged from Wednesday night’s final presidential debate: Joe the Plumber. Joe is an actual person, one Joe Wurzelbacher of Holland, Ohio. His exchange with Barack Obama on tax policy was recorded at Sen. Obama’s recent appearance in Toledo. During the debate, John… Read More
    Too often the accomplishments of eminent citizens aren’t recognized until after their deaths. Fortunately, Maine is celebrating the accomplishments of Bernard Lown, a pioneering physician and Nobel Prize winner, while he is still very much alive. Today, by proclamation from Gov. John Baldacci, has been… Read More
    Students in Searsport District High School and many families in Searsport, Stockton Springs and Frankfort are reeling this week in the aftermath of the very pubic suicide of a 14-year-old boy. Suicide is one of the most tragic endings to a young life, because in theory it is… Read More
    Ashley Bryan, a Maine artist and author, will be honored at the New York Public Library’s annual Library Lions benefit on Nov. 3. Others receiving the Literary Lion awards this year are playwright Edward Albee, screenwriter and essayist Nora Ephron and novelist Salman Rushdie. The master or ceremonies… Read More
    After a week of increasingly bitter and personal attacks, Republican presidential nominee John McCain has asked his supporters for a more respectful campaign. We hope this means a new direction for the McCain campaign, a new direction that will be on view Thursday when his running mate, Alaska… Read More
    As panic selling spread and stock markets plunged with no bottom yet in sight, Warren Buffett, the world’s richest person, followed the example of J. Pierpont Morgan in the Panic of 1907 and did some buying. The two panics are strikingly different, but loss of… Read More
    Northern and eastern Maine has Palin fever. Or not. At any rate, Alaska’s “first dude,” Gov. Sarah Palin’s husband, Todd, visited the region during the weekend, and Gov. Palin herself will visit Bangor on Thursday. What do editorial page readers make of this attention from America’s newest political… Read More
    As difficult as it was to shrink the state budget earlier this year, lawmakers will face an even more difficult task next year. Already facing a $500 million gap between state revenues and expenditures over the next two years, the current economic downturn is likely only to widen… Read More
    By tabling a measure to reconsider a regional high school, the Orono School Committee has kept the idea alive. Now, it is time to move beyond life-support to more fully consider this forward-looking proposal. The Old Town school committee has unanimously supported studying the possibility… Read More
    Liberal commentators are looking at polls and declaring conservativism dead. The obituary may be a bit premature, but their optimism is understandable. Sen. Barack Obama is ahead in popular vote polls and his electoral picture is getting rosier. Further boosting liberal enthusiasm is President Bush’s approval ratings of… Read More
    The news that retirement accounts have lost $2 trillion in value in little more than a year was a sobering reminder of the severity of the ongoing financial crisis. Although the huge losses are on paper for now, they highlight the difficult choices for not only those hoping… Read More
    In 1998, 27 schools in Maine offered pre-kindergarten programs, also known as 4-year-old programs. By 2002, 78 schools offered the program, and this year, 130 schools are operating pre-K classes. Nationally, the concept has gained acceptance with proponents leaning on the large body of evidence that shows investing… Read More
    As long as voter fraud is held at bay, easing the voting process can only mean a better democracy. We may have to give up some of the casualness of small-town life, like having to present identification rather than just nodding at the ballot clerk we’ve known for… Read More