Thursday, December 5, 2013
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CEO Wayne LaPierre addresses the National Rifle Association convention May 4. A reader says he was disturbed by reports that those at the convention were advised to store guns in youngsters’ bedrooms.
2013 File Photo/The Associated Press
Immigration reform with a roadmap to citizenship is an incredible opportunity to create sustainable, just solutions to the pressing issues that most Americans face.
Quick action on FAA delays shows Congress' hypocrisy
The Budget Control Act of 2011, more fondly referred to as the "sequester," finally inconvenienced some relatively powerful people: members of Congress, businesspeople and the leisure travelers of America.
All were in an uproar over Federal Aviation Administration furloughs and long delays in aircraft departures and arrivals.
For the first time in recent memory, both houses of Congress responded in prompt bipartisan fashion. And while the White House bemoaned the sequester, they announced the president would sign this legislation.
The vast majority of the members of Congress voted to exempt the FAA from the restrictions of the sequester.
Unlike every other department and program, the FAA will be allowed to shift funds around to end air traffic controller furloughs in order to end the unnecessary delays in air travel.
In the meantime, no such relief has been afforded programs that negatively impact the most vulnerable.
Programs like Head Start, food assistance for the elderly, cancer treatment and unemployment compensation, to name a few, will continue to reduce needed services.
There is a lesson to be learned here: Congress responds to its own self-interests and those of the powerful -- one more example of the rank hypocrisy of the representatives of the people.
It is worth noting that our own U.S. representative, Chellie Pingree, did not participate in this travesty. She was one of a handful who voted "no" on this shameful piece of work.
I, for one, will remember this on Election Day 2014.
Yanking junk food subsidy? Let's target developers, too
Supporters of a bill prohibiting the use of food stamps to purchase junk food argue that taxpayer dollars should not be used to buy food that can cause obesity and health problems.
To assuage my concerns that this proposal unfairly singles out only the most vulnerable Maine residents, I hope the bill's sponsors will broaden its reach to include all taxpayer-funded subsidies.
Specifically, it seems only right that such a ban on junk food should also apply to subsidies given to developers who build hotels, restaurants and retail stores where junk food might be sold. Surely, the health of hotel guests and restaurant patrons must be just as important to the bill's supporters as the health of food stamp recipients.