Cheers and jeers from around the news:
• Cheers to Congress for passing tough new credit card regulations to protect consumers from confusing, predatory terms. While it’s true the legislation essentially duplicates rules instituted by the Federal Reserve, the Congressional endorsement is worthwhile, even as punctuation. Stronger consumer protections from credit cards are overdue, and popular. Congress can never err when it does something that the people want, even if it is duplicative.
That the legislation was passed with a non sequitur attached — an amendment allowing the carrying of concealed weapons in national parks — is its lone drawback. Not because of the content of the amendment, but the spirit of its presence. Legislative stowaways are contrary to open government.
• Jeers to the bald eagle, for coming back from near-extinction so successfully that they are now threatening the long-term vitality of Maine’s scarce great cormorant population. Although this is a natural issue, it’s a man-made problem, given the strong legal protections enjoyed by the eagle.
Putting the same protections on cormorants won’t do any good, because bald eagles are immune from prosecution. Since man created this conundrum, it sounds probable that further human intervention is needed. After all, the damage is already done, right?
Maybe, or maybe not. Given the results of man’s meddling so far, this could be the time to let nature take its course.
• Cheers to state workers, for accepting, on the whole, deeper salary cuts than the state proposed. State workers lobbied heavily against a 5 percent, across-the-board pay cut, but agreed to forgo merit and longevity increases, plus accept “shutdown” days, a cost-saving budget compromise.
According to state budget calculations, this latter scenario cost workers eligible for merit/longevity increases about $4,400 over the next two years. There’s been some conversation of whether this wasaccidental or intentional. Either way, it looks like this will save taxpayers, which is always laudable.
• Cheers to the Natural Resources Council of Maine for endorsing the wind power project proposed on Record Hill in Roxbury. The 22-turbine project has its permits pending before the Department of Environmental Protection; having the endorsement of the state’s most powerful environmental lobby shouldn’t influence that review, but it does remove the specter of its opposition.
We support wind power and the Record Hill project. The long, detailed review and community electricity incentives should make it a model for others in Maine.
• And, finally, cheers to Empower Lewiston for its years of service. The downtown nonprofit announced this week it would be closing shop, after disbursing its last $300,000. For a decade, Empower Lewiston sowed the seeds of revival in twoof Maine’s most impoverished census tracts. We hope Empower Lewiston’s sad end marks nothing but a new beginning for the neighborhood.
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