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This week’s edition!


OP/ED: Common-sense gun laws are needed to combat the NRA’s war

By Laurent F. Gilbert

The NRA’s war against America. That’s right, the new National Rifle Association is not the old NRA that published an outstanding magazine called “Field and Stream.” It enjoyed the support of hunters and sports enthusiasts all over the country.

As time wore on, the leadership got into bed with the gun-making industry and through its minions went to war on any and all gun legislation under the guise of protecting the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Even strict constructionist and right-leaning Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has said that the right to bear arms isn’t absolute and could be changed in the future. As far as I’m concerned, the future is now.

When will we, as law-abiding citizens, demand that our legislators develop enough intestinal fortitude and political will to enact legislation to hopefully reduce the needless deaths that occur daily in our country? That’s right, 34 people are killed every day with the use of guns. That’s well over 12,000 people killed with the use of guns every year. Add to that another 18,000 suicides for a total of 30,000 deaths. That comes close to the entire population of Lewiston wiped out in one year. The NRA fights everything and anything that could reduce these needless deaths. To me, that is their war on America!

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LETTER: Will Democrats try to stop Maine’s death spiral?

To the Editor:

Maine’s economy is in a death spiral. That’s what Forbes Magazine claims. The same publication measures Maine’s business climate as the worst in the country. One has to wonder if one has something to do with the other.

If Maine business, 97-plus percent of which are small businesses, cannot generate enough new and better jobs and sufficient tax payments to meet our obligations, which is apparently the case, then the state really is in a death spiral.

The above begs the question. If Maine’s economy is in a death spiral, what are we going to do about it?

According to the Maine Economic Research Institute, MERI, a group made up of Republicans, Democrats and Independents, an organization that measures the voting record of legislators on legislation important to business, there are reasons we have the worst business climate.

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Op/Ed: Rational gun control debate requires a more detached examination

By Prof. John Frary

“It’s time to talk about gun control.” This was the title of a Washington Post editorial published on December 14. The editors acknowledge objections to exploiting tragedies for political purposes, but argue that there has been too little said or done on the issue and the time has come.

The time has come because “… the country would be safer with fewer guns … that it is not the Second Amendment but political cowardice that precludes sensible regulation.”

Talk, of course, has been flowing fast and furious (lots of furious) across the nation. In Maine Ethan Strimling, a senator from 2002 to 2008 whose gun regulation bills were routinely thwarted, proposes a petition drive to “force the legislature’s hand.” The presidents of Bates, Bowdoin, Colby, St. Joseph’s, UNE and College of the Atlantic have signed a letter along with more than 160 other college presidents announcing that “it’s time for Americans to live free from the threat of gun violence.”

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LETTER: New laws won’t stop firearms tragedies

To the Editor:

As sad and horrible as Friday, December 14 was in Newtown, Conn., new firearms laws will not stop this kind of tragedy from happening again.

If the government takes away our right to defend ourselves, then only the mentally disturbed and criminals will have firearms, and more of this will happen. I prefer to call police to tell them that I have a criminal in custody at my home or place of work, rather than have someone find my body and have to call the police to identify me. Laws protect no one if the predator does not obey the law.

If the government takes away our right to own semi-automatic firearms, then we will be left to defend ourselves with a revolver, which is not a sufficient defense in close quarters against a criminal armed with a semi-automatic firearm. (By the way, fully automatic firearms are already illegal to own without a federal permit.) No laws would have protected the school full of children from the deeply disturbed young man on Friday, Dec. 14.

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OP/ED: Union busters are busting out all over

By Prof. John Frary

Most people know about the vanguard of the union-busting gang. They’ve seen the videos of corporate thugs in tasseled loafers beating up peaceful picketers and photos of Exxon vice presidents hurling bricks at white-haired school-marms. Members of Maine’s Mural Majority still grieve over the sacred icons removed from the office of the state’s labor department by the Blaine House Brute.

(If anyone’s still interested, those fateful murals now live somewhere in California under an SEIU mural protection program disguised as table-runners.)

What most people don’t know is how deep and pervasive this union-busting fury has grown among Democrats, even liberal Democrats. Gloria Romero, who served as California’s Senate majority leader from 2001 to 2008, stands out among them. Ms. Romero now heads the California chapter of Democrats for Education Reform, a coalition of liberals determined to improve accountability in public schools in the face of fierce opposition from the teachers’ unions.

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LETTER: Make your generosity during the holidays more effective

To the Editor:

This holiday season (Christmas) you should consider being a help and not a hindrance with your charitable handout. I would like to think that the faithful would not fall prey to the fraudulent at this festive time of year. Not only children have Christmas wish lists, but so do criminals.

I have worked in the area of urban youth ministry for 18 years through the vehicle of the Jesus Party and have seen my fair share of sad stories. I am not comfortable with just tossing gifts out the front door of our ministry to every Tom, Dick, and Harry that shows up looking for holiday assistance. I always take into consideration the generosity of the giver, and I go to great lengths to protect the integrity of the donation.

These are hard times for the giver, as well as the receiver, and I want to do everything I can to assure people that their giving becomes a blessing and not a blunder. There are people who go from church to church and organization to organization registering for help. I have been in homes that have received more turkeys than they have room for in their freezer. I have watched people snatch up clothes for their children without even looking at sizes to assure they fit, only to find the clothes in the trash.

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LETTER: Concerns about redistricting Lewiston’s elementary schools

To the Editor:

Through this letter I am hoping to motivate parents to attend the meetings that will be held in their child’s schools concerning the redistricting of the Lewiston Public Elementary Schools as proposed by the Redistricting Committee.

I do have to commend the committee for its transparency in the recent articles concerning the reasons and conclusions on how and why they want to redistrict. I do, however, have many concerns on why it will be done in the fashion that they are proposing.

For starters, taking more children from the downtown area and sending them to schools further away is going to decrease parental involvement. I have spoken to a young, single mom of four who at the beginning of the year put in a request for out-of-district placement for her three children of school age (something that she will have to do every year).

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LETTER: Big money unfairly influences elections

To the Editor:

We love our country; it’s dear to us and should be—it was dearly purchased through revolution and maintained ever since by the sacrifice of patriots. But our government, conceived through the imagination and compromises of the leading politicians of their time, has changed.

Individuals and corporations have found ways to shape government to their benefit. This shouldn’t be a surprise; it’s a human characteristic. We see attempts to circumvent the rules even in our children.

My adult granddaughter interrupted her conversation to admonish my 12- and five-year-old great-grandchildren not to eat snacks while sitting on the couch. My great-granddaughter, already imaginative and showing early promise for a later career as a tax attorney, leaned far forward so that her snacking was actually taking place not on the couch, but over the living room floor.

Her younger brother, just another member of the chorus, immediately joined her in this uncomfortable position, whose concerted purpose was to circumvent their mother’s rule.

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LETTER: Picking the bones of the taxpayers

To the Editor:

We have arrived once more to that time and place where we delude ourselves into believing we can cast our single vote and change government.

We try to select the best candidates, but in moments of honesty, we have to admit that we are truly uninformed voters. We don’t know the details of the issues; we don’t truly know the candidates.  And, although we may have seen them in the flesh, may have made eye contact as they, with what appeared to be sincerity, spoke the words we desperately wanted to hear, we don’t truly know them.

But we know from long experience that those that would seek public office have all been invested with the same magical phrases necessary for an incantation to gain the public trust. We hear this litany of phrases: reduce taxes, provide help for the needy, improve education, create jobs, help veterans. Like sheep following a Judas goat, we are comfortably—but wrongly—reassured.

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LETTER: Rep. Craven seeks meetings with mayor

To the Editor:

This is an open letter to Mayor Macdonald.

Dear Mayor,

I write in response to your column last week, “Lewiston needs legislators who represent tax payers.” I cannot recall a single meeting where you asked us for a list of programs—or any other question, for that matter.

It was surprising to read that I had a “political” motivation in suggesting that we meet weekly. In that first meeting on August 15, the only time the word was uttered was when you said, “No more politics. I will focus my column on the work Chief Bussiere is doing to eliminate fraud downtown.”

We each have deeply held principles, which sometimes conflict. There is no reason that that should prevent us from working together. We serve the same citizens and taxpayers, and we do that more effectively when we work together.

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