The proposed resolution “denouncing racism and threats” sponsored by Maine lawmakers is a knee-jerk reaction to an incident that was in bad taste and idiotic but not illegal, at least not yet. So why give it even more attention than it deserves?
The fact is that we, especially politicians, cannot dictate or legislate good behavior and when we try it usually comes at a price, sometimes the stifling of free speech. For eight years, there have been exactly these types of moronic stunts all over Maine, but directed at the current president. There were no whining windbag legislators shedding crocodile tears about the tacky and slightly obscene Bush dolls on store counters that do nasty things when one pushes a button or the nearly homicidal anti-Bush bumper stickers.
So what is the point? Are they next going to intimidate legitimate criticism of the new White House by telling people they better be careful or they will answer to them in the form of social ostracism, accusations of racism and full press coverage? What will this resolution really accomplish other than pumping up a bunch of legislators’ egos (as if they need it) by allowing us to watch them trip over themselves to show us what good, sanctimonious little boys and girls they are while meanwhile, Maine’s serious problems are shoved to the back burner.
I’m not entirely convinced that the automobile industry is solely responsible for the sad condition it now finds itself in. Equally responsible are the Bush administration and the Republican lawmakers who stubbornly resisted setting higher efficiency standards over the past eight years. Without such mandates the car manufactures have been subject to the whims of American consumers, nearly always short-sighted and self-indulgent.
So long as oil prices were artificially low, the market was very strong for gas-guzzling trucks and “safe” SUVs, and very weak for smaller more efficient vehicles; and the automakers had little choice but to supply this self-destructive appetite.
In whatever shape the industry emerges from this crisis — and for the good of the economy I believe it should receive some help — let’s hope the new administration and Congress have the foresight and backbone to impose much higher fuel economy standards on all automobiles sold in the country.
This will give the industry the chance to use its great ingenuity (without the distraction of fluctuating oil prices) to retool, build and sell efficient cars to American drivers, and help the current imbalance of trade by exporting these efficient vehicles and the new technology to foreign markets.
This will help strengthen both the national economy and national security and will go a long way to slow an even greater threat — global warming.
Program fails Mainers
Carrie Smith’s recent letter, “Stop methadone funds” (BDN, Nov. 28), inspired me to write. I think the methadone program is the worst program that the state of Maine funds.
I wonder how many people are aware that participants are allowed to test positive for pot and still receive methadone. Instead of lowering doses they increase it when the addict requests it. There is no cutoff point, it is all left up to the addict.
Why are we paying for this? They all seemed to find the money to buy drugs before they went on the methadone. The addicts should be made to work and pay for their drug or do community service. If this is a legitimate program there should be a timeframe like all other drug programs.
Gates should go
I am very concerned about the notion of Bush’s Secretary of Defense Robert Gates staying on at the Pentagon. Gates has vocally opposed Obama’s withdrawal plan for Iraq. Gates also has become the leading voice in the Bush administration pushing for an aggressive nuclear weapons posture.
And even many conservatives have argued he has a habit of skewing intelligence to fit his predetermined policy preferences.
Obama’s desire for a diversity of views around the Cabinet table is refreshing. But Robert Gates’ support for the policies of the past makes him the wrong person to lead U.S. military and foreign policies in a new direction.
Bush should resign
It is so bloody frustrating to hear experts explaining the dire situation that our economy is in. They further stress that serious effort must be exerted now, immediately, without any delay. One cannot wait before the new administration takes over, because the deterioration progresses so rapidly that by mid-January the situation will be so much worse and therefore so much more difficult to revert or even to stop.
A couple of moths ago, when Treasury Secretary Paulson recommended providing $760 billion to rescue the economy, it appears that there were no concrete plans and therefore the Congress was not ready to sign a blank check. And even after the money was provided to the banks, CEOs and their assistants were having lavish conferences and making certain they would get their perks.
The strategy by Mr. Paulson is now being revised in how the money is to be used by banks, but that does not appear to improve the economy.
It must be said that the Bush team failed in all respects, except getting tax breaks for the rich, privatizing Medicare Part D and getting Mr. Gates as secretary of defense. Everything else is in shambles. A decent thing George W. could do is to resign, effective immediately and allow President-elect Obama and his team to take over. In fact, that would have happened under the British system. Such change would disrupt the inauguration ceremonies, but the nation would be saved.
Weapons of choice
Regarding the recent news that people were buying up assault weapons, fearing they will be made illegal by the new administration: People don’t need AK-47s to protect their homes, and they don’t need one to go moose or deer hunting. A 30-30 up to a 30-06 is just as good. You don’t need an assault rifle that can hold up to 30 bullets at a time to hunt big game.
Harold E. MacRae