Cheers and jeers from around the news:
• Jeers to stupidity. So there are a few nuts in Acorn, the low-income advocacy group. Two young, conservative filmmakers masquerading as a pimp and prostitute caught Acorn workers dishing out advice on cheating the tax system and evading capture.
This has spurred action by Congress to cut funding for the controversial agency and denounce its work. This seems like an extreme penalty for any organization, regardless of the political firestorm. No agency or business is perfect. Acorn should be investigated, it's ranks cleaned out, or risk losing its contracts.
• Jeers to fairness. In the Acorn fallout, a good point has been raised: Why is the U.S. government still employing Blackwater, the notorious security firm, in Iraq? After all, the company was banned from operating in Iraq by the provisional government, after Blackwater guards allegedly killed 15 civilians in 2007.
Yet, on Sept. 1, a contract with a Blackwater subsidiary, Xe, was extended by the State Department, according to the New York Times. Concurrently, the State Department is investigating another contractor, Armorgroup, now operating in Kabul for "mismanagement and misbehavior."
Blackwater had long ago worn out its welcome with the American people. So should this dangerous practice of hiring mercenaries to augment the presence of U.S soldiers. If Acorn is going to come under scrutiny, these firms should as well.
• Cheers to increasing truck weights on the Maine Turnpike. A one-year pilot program to remove restrictions on the Turnpike earned preliminary approval by the U.S. Senate on Thursday; it now travels to the House for consideration.
The need is clear. North of Augusta, trucks that weigh greater than 80,000 pounds must depart the Turnpike and travel surface streets. This is a threat to safety along these roads and a burden on commerce, by extending travel times and costs for truckers and what they're hauling.
Sen. Susan Collins deserves credit for pushing this pilot program forward.
• Cheers to LifeFlight of Maine. The Washington Post visited Lewiston recently to write about LifeFlight, which was founded by Central and Eastern Maine medical centers in 1998. Sometimes, it takes an outsider's perspective to remind us what a remarkable service it is.
For 11 years, LifeFlight has made Maine smaller for people suffering from serious injuries that demand emergency care. It has saved lives, safely and efficiently.
Hearing the woosh of their rotors overhead, and the chatter of their pilots on the scanner, has almost become second-nature. Yet we should never take LifeFlight's service for granted.
We'e glad it is here.