Sunday, May 19, 2013
I would like to commend the ladies and gentlemen of the Maine Legislature for expending the time (and money) it took during the last year to return to us the God- and Constitution-given right to buy fireworks and use them to relentlessly affirm our patriotism, blow off our fingers, set fire to our apartment buildings, terrorize our neighbors' pets and litter parking lots with empty Big Boom-R boxes.
The legalization of fireworks sales should prompt legislators to consider lifting “other nanny-state regulations,” a reader suggests in a tongue-in-cheek letter.
2012 File Photo/Gordon Chibroski
And the fact that the new legislation was passed as an "emergency measure" because it was "immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety," while a little puzzling, is still very impressive, and only fitting for this big step toward eliminating government intrusion into our everyday lives.
I hope the Legislature will continue that progress by looking into other nanny-state regulations, like the one against drinking and driving. This is typical government "broad-brush" lawmaking, which leaves no room for the nuances of a particular situation.
While there may be times when drinking and driving is not a good idea, that decision should be made, not in Washington or Augusta, but by the actual people involved, at the place and at the time that the events unfold -- for instance, by me and my buddies down at the Starlite at drivin'-home time.
And since the fundamental reason behind this new wave of legislation seems to be to proclaim that Maine is "open for business," think of the financial boost resulting from the additional spirits that could be purveyed without the pesky legal "OUI" deterrent.
Looking forward to more legislative progress in the near future -- onward and upward, or, to quote the Constitution (which I think got it from the Bible): "Forward into the past!"
Don't reject east-west road before learning all the facts
I am dismayed at the position taken by some environmental groups in opposing the East-West Highway Study. Even before knowing where the road corridor might lie, they oppose it because a future east-west highway, wherever it might go, will create grave environmental damage.
I am a Democrat of long standing and sympathetic to environmental causes, but this type of knee-jerk reaction to a development project even before we know much about it gives me heartburn.
So, a highway through a heretofore-undeveloped area of Maine will cause irreparable damage to the environment and, potentially, lead to rampant development pressure in rural communities? Well, folks, you only need look north-south rather than east-west and see a real live example of a major highway in rural Maine.
The 105-mile section of Interstate 95 between Old Town and Houlton has nine exits and was built in areas that were just as undeveloped as those that opponents believe will be destroyed by an east-west highway. With the exception of a mom and pop store here and there, there has been virtually no development within the viewshed of the highway.
Indeed, some of the most spectacular views of the Penobscot River, Mount Katahdin and Baxter can be had from I-95, and, of course, it provides critical access for recreationists to the Great North Woods.
Without the ability to get paper- and wood-products trucks to I-95 and to markets around the world, would the industries of the two largest communities in the region, Lincoln and Millinocket, have survived into the 21st century? Probably not.
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