ClickBack on Wood, Soda

Posted Nov. 17, 2008, at 6:55 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 3:28 a.m.

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 of the U.S. auto industry.

To participate, go to bangordailynews.com, pull down on the Opinion menu and let up on “ClickBack.” New users will have to register, but the BDN does not share registration information with third parties. Some comments posted at ClickBack may be used on Friday’s OpEd page.

What is different 20 years after the Karen Wood tragedy?

Twenty years ago last Saturday, Karen Wood was accidentally shot dead in her backyard by a hunter. The hunter was acquitted in court on charges relating to the death. What is different today? What have we learned? Are the woods and backyards in rural areas more safe today? What more needs to be done?

Should food stamps recipients be able to buy soda with the coupons?

A Bangor dentist has proposed removing soda from the list of approved products for food stamp purchase, arguing that soda has no nutritive value and in fact contributes to obesity, diabetes and dental decay. Is this too much like Big Brother? Or do government and taxpayers have the right to limit the choices of poor people on government assistance programs, especially if those choices lead to higher health care costs?

Maine’s next attorney general, the best Democratic legislative candidate available?

The Legislature is poised to elect the next state attorney general. Maine is one of a handful of states in which the Legislature, not the public, elects the AG, secretary of state, treasurer and auditor. Legislators Sean Faircloth, Janet Mills and John Brautigam — all Democrats — are candidates for the AG post, and one will be chosen by the Democrat-controlled Legislature. Is this right? What if there is a Republican who would be a great AG? What if the best candidate for the job is not a legislator? Is the general public better able to choose? Or should the governor appoint an AG and the Legislature act to confirm?

Auto industry — sink, swim or bail?

Congress, the president and the president-elect are grappling with the request by the Big Three U.S. automakers for a government bailout. Should General Motors, Ford and Chrysler be allowed to go bankrupt? Should the government grant them loans only? Should a bailout come with conditions, such as raising fuel-efficiency standards? What about renegotiating union contracts?

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