Jeers for Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson, and other senators, who bartered their votes on health care reform for sweetheart deals.

Cheers to Maine Sen. Olympia Snowe for refusing to do so.

“I just think it’s so politically egregious and grotesque that we would have these kinds of exemptions embedded in this legislation as a way to secure votes,” Snowe told the Sun Journal last week. She said she doesn’t think Mainers want her to play that game and she’s right.

Nelson, on the other hand, gladly took what’s now called the “Cornhusker Kickback.” He negotiated a special Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement rate for his state worth an estimated $100 million.

We don’t mind Nelson taking a principled stand against federal funding for abortions. That’s his prerogative. But, when it comes to political pork, he apparently has no principles at all.

Cheers to the Auburn City Council for keeping a brouhaha over a slogan from developing into another dumb donnybrook.

Mayor Dick Gleason and city councilors managed to have a very adult-like discussion Monday over the “Hub of Maine” slogan Gleason sprang on the council without consultation.

Councilors criticized Gleason for announcing the public image campaign without consulting them first, and they had a good point. Gleason, to his credit, admitted as much.

In the past, we’ve seen such minor differences of opinion balloon into major distractions for the council. Witness Gleason’s call upon councilors to spiff up their attire when attending city meetings.

Gleason, a former councilor himself, can be forgiven for his slightly over-eager gesture of community spirit.

We have nothing but Jeers for the idea that communities can save money by pulling up asphalt and returning some roads to dirt.

Two towns in Maine, Vienna and Cranberry Isles, are talking about doing this to save money in this tight economy. Others say dirt roads will slow traffic and remind them of slower, bygone days.

Yes, they will do that and a lot more.

Dirt roads batter the undercarriages of cars, develop muddy holes in the spring and choke the air with dust in the summer. If you’ve ever lived on a dirt road, you know they are difficult to plow and must be regularly filled and graded.

That may be fine on Cranberry Isles with a total population of 118, but we doubt this “cost-cutting” measure will work well in most of Maine.

Cheers to the Portland Police Department for testing a device which seems likely to cut down on idling and save fuel.

The Idleright Fuel Management System keeps all of a cruiser’s electronics — light bar, computer and camera powered up — even when the officer is not in the car.

The device constantly monitors the vehicle’s battery and, when the charge runs down, automatically starts the engine to recharge the battery.

At accident and crime scenes, police vehicles are often left running for hours. This innovative system could save thousands of dollars and might even have applications in other types of public and private fleets.


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