Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Grocery Bag Fee?

Grocery Bag Fee?
Maine Associated Press

A state legislator says he's not giving up on his attempt to impose a fee of 20 cents or so on plastic grocery bags as a way to prod consumers to shift to bags that are reusable.
Bar Harbor Democrat Ted Koffman proposed the idea this fall but legislative leaders declined to bring it forward during the coming session, which is reserved for emergency bills.

Koffman, who co-chairs the Legislature's Natural Resources Committee, says the switch to reusable bags would be beneficial because plastic bags harm the environment and it takes a significant amount of oil to produce them.

Koffman plans to meet this week with representatives of the Maine Grocers Association to discuss voluntary action to curb the use of plastic bags. But he says he doesn't intend to give up on his legislative proposal.


My Take on this.

About 15 years ago here in the State of Maine retailers and grocers began promoting the use of plastic bags. The reasoning was twofold; it was cheaper for the stores to use plastic and it was supposedly Ecologically friendly as paper requires trees to produce. In the past 15 years paper has virtually been eliminated as an option for customers to carry home their goods in. Subsequently this has effected the Paper Industry as well. Maine's Paper Industry is essentially defunct at this point.

So, many years pass, and now we are told that the plastic bags that were alleviating the "ecological crisis " are actually hurting the environment as they take so much oil to produce. Perhaps there is some truth to this but I ask what next? Will the Gentleman from Bar Harbor be attempting to " Tax" canvas bags next, as they are produced in a factory? This legislative attempt is ridiculous in the extreme but is important as an example. An Example of the lack of common sense in the State House. What a waste of time, energy and money to pursue such a frivolous bill.

Mr. Koffman is proposing a 20 cent fee to each bag used. According to his interview on WGAN radio this morning the revenues from this fee would not go into the state coffers. So, Mr. Koffman, where would it go? To the stores? the bag manufacturers? I see no purpose in that except to increase revenues for the business. I do not believe for one moment that the State of Maine, with its penchant for tax revenue, will not be getting a piece of the take. Our representatives, ( I use the name loosely ) already have brought the Maine taxpayer to his/her knees through creative accounting and hidden fees. Mr. Koffman would have us believe that this revenue stream would be " Hands Off " to the state. I daresay this is completely false and misleading or Mr. Koffman needs a bit of a vacation.

I wonder too, if Ted, has been watching the news of late. The price of Crude oil was up to $99.00 a barrel just the other day. Now I'm no economist, but does not that translate into higher production costs for manufacturers, including companies like Campbell's, Coca-Cola etc? And do not these Manufacturers pass on said cost to their consumers? Of course they do. That is one of the reasons, with the falling Dollar, that a gallon of milk costs $5.00 and a loaf of bread $3.00. So Mr. Koffman lets just add another $1.00 to the average supermarket visit. Thus burdening the already strained resources of the Maine citizen. If you haven't noticed Ted, Maine is in the northeast of the United States, thus winters tend to get a bit cold. With the increase of home heating fuel costs to $3.17 a gallon Mainers who are already over burdened with taxes, will be struggling to heat their homes. But that's OK isn't it? so long as you get to impose another fee and further your self interests it doesn't matter does it. A Representative is someone who represents the people in politics. Is this bill really representing the constituents of Bar Harbor?

What about the Lobster man, Clam Digger, and Fisherman? Are not they constituents of Bar Harbor? Has not the Legislature regulated these industries to the strangling point? When these families cannot make ends meet through the legislation of the industries Mr. Koffman wants to add an extra cost to their daily lives, rather than face the fact that, the problem isn't paper or plastic. The problem is Reality or Fantasy. Maybe instead of meeting with the grocers, Bar Harbor's distinguished Gentleman should make his way to the State House and see if he can wrangle up a little tax relief for his voters? A novel idea, I know, a politician that actually does his job.



Monday, November 26, 2007

Dissidents hanging on....

Dissidents Hanging on.

I read this article Incident had hallmarks of bad policing - SF from the Derry Journal as I was starting my workday. It bothers me just a little that the victim, Gary Donnelly, was treated so harshly and I am glad someone ( Sinn Fein) is doing something about it. Police brutality, no matter the motivation, I believe to be a serious breach of trust with the community and society. There is no place for such behavior as it weakens society's confidence in the authorities.

That being said, I also believe that I can understand the Officer's Frustration in dealing with dissidents as a whole. The RIRA ( Real Irish Republican Army) and the CIRA ( Continuity Irish republican Army) have recently threatened to kill Police officer's, and burn businesses during the upcoming Christmas season. These "Dissident" groups attempted to kill PSNI Officers in Derry and Dungannon earlier this month. Emboldened, by the PIRA's ( Provisional Irish Republican Army) disarmament and cessation of activity, the Dissidents are attempting to carry the violent struggle to the fore again. What a Pity. For, I believe that the people of Northern Ireland have made their voice clear. They have accepted the cease fire, they have elected an new Assembly to Stormont, and they have chosen Politics over bullets, to resolve their differences. Nationalists and Unionists are trying to talk through the seemingly endless questions about the Troubles. The 30 odd years of violence and bloodshed have stopped and the people of NI wish to move on.

Not so the rag tag few. The perpetrators of Omagh, want to continue the struggle for a United Ireland by burning down shops. Now that's a plan. They want to shoot Police officers, good going there. To what end I ask? If the goal is for a United Ireland, and the people are seeking it through peaceful means, what is the point of burning shops? If these groups ignore the wishes of the populace they claim to represent they will find that the little support they now have will dry up and blow away on the wind. Violence for violence sake makes no sense at all, and is not a sound programme for victory. Perhaps the Dissidents should sit down and formulate a political agenda that they can present to the Nationalist communities that will actually further the interests of the people.

I do not condone the violence perpetrated against Mr. Donnelly, nor do I condone the violence and threatened violence, of these so called Dissidents. I condemn it all and can only hope that the people of NI will continue to do so as well.


Update: From the Derry Journal 12/6/2007

Four arrested in cop shooting probe

By Staff reporter
Four men were still being questioned by police last night after they were arrested as part of the investigation in to the shooting of an off-duty police officer in Bishop Street last month.
The arrests were made in a number of areas of the city yesterday and searches were also carried out at a number of houses and police took a number of items away for further examination, including a car. It is believed that leading dissident republican, Gary Donnelly, is one of those arrested.The four men were taken to the serious crime suite at Antrim PSNI station where a police spokesperson said they were being questioned in connection with “serious terrorist crime.”The arrests are part of the ongoing investigation into the shooting of 43 year-old PSNI officer Jim Doherty on 8th November. Mr. Doherty was shot minutes after he left child to school in Bishop Street. The Real IRA later claimed responsibility for the shooting.
The full article contains 166 words and appears in Journal Friday DER Edition newspaper.
Last Updated: 06 December 2007 6:05 PM

Friday, November 23, 2007

New to Blogs Test

New to Blogs

Being new to the whole " Blog thing" and the various tools at my disposal I thought I would write up a small test and see how things turn out. So a topic of note to play with is Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving morning I logged into my WOW ( World of Warcraft for those of you who have real lives) account and came upon a conversation in the trade channel of the game. Someone was saying that " As a Native American I despise this Holiday and all the Evil White People who celebrate it." What a powerful statement to make. Like anything on the web, this page included, one must determine if the author of such statements is in earnest or is simply a Troll. I thought about it for sometime and came to the conclusion that the author was not being fully honest with him/herself and was seeking to gain sympathy with the " Oppressed". This irritated me a little and my anger got the better of me to be sure.

When do we say, Enough is Enough? When will the ceaseless whining and crying end? Everytime I turn around there is another hard luck story, another cause of injustice. Blah Blah Blah. Enough already. Adversity, real, or percieved, is what strengthens our carachter.

Right I'll be ridding the world of this terrible piece soon it is a test