Cheers and jeers from around the news:

• Jeers to forgetting to clear snow from doorways. (This is an easy one.) Gary Simard, the fire prevention officer in Auburn, has reminded us about how important a clear doorway is, in case of emergency. With big fires around Maine almost daily, a little prevention is worthwhile.

As are, of course, the usual fire safety accessories: extinguishers, smoke detectors, etc. But saving lives doesn’t always come from things bought in a store. No, life safety in emergencies means a little bit more – like clearing away the drifting snow.

• Cheers to Karen Nash, the nine-year-old from Lewiston who is bravely recovering from a serious form of bone cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma. Her malady is in apparent remission, though she and her family are remaining vigilant to ensure the dangerous condition doesn’t return.

Her story is an inspiration, that no matter the difficulty, one should never lose hope. Nash is now a happy, healthy young girl, after overcoming remarkable odds that two years ago seemed almost untenable. We wish her the happiest of new years, and continued good health.

And good luck teaching Mr. Cuddles, her cockatiel, how to talk.

• Cheers to Carl Lindemann, for keeping his “Agitator No. 1” status before the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices. In the past few years, Lindemann was a frequent face before the commission and a staunch advocate for publicizing its process.

He’s demanded accountability from the same panel that holds legislators and candidates accountable, which is only fair. His latest salvo – an appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, trying to give citizens the right to appeal complaints to the commission – fell short, but he’s not done fighting.

Though we may not agree with him all the time, we applaud what he stands for: government accountability, transparency and ethical standards. As long as he stands for those sacred principles, he has our respect.

• Jeers to increasing taxes. (That is an easy one too.) But there’s a good reason we say it: part of the economic stimulus package desired by states is enactment of a three-year-old bill that’s been stalled in Congress: the Sales Tax Fairness and Simplification Act.

The bill would essentially impose state taxes on remote sales, such as purchases made through the Internet. This would overturn two U.S Supreme Court decisions that have outlawed state sales tax collections on remote sales, although both judgments do date back before the rise of e-commerce.

The problem we see is this: new taxes are not economic stimuli. America needs policies to help the economy, put people back to work and increase consumer confidence. Unless the revenue from these new taxes were earmarked specifically for economic growth, they seem shortsighted.

And probably not good for the economy.


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