Republican trio proposes defunding Planned Parenthood in Maine

Good morning from Augusta, where it feels as if it could snow. Am I the first person you’ve heard that from this year? You’re welcome.

By all accounts, it’s been a rough week in Maine and the nation. Another Maine paper mill is on the ropes, a ridiculous amount of rain caused havoc and destruction across the state and then there was another mass shooting yesterday in Oregon.

But then again, this week brought us the onset of autumn color and last night, one of the best sunsets I have seen in a long time. And it’s Friday.

I dedicate today’s soundtrack — one of my wife’s favorite songs — to everyone who’s looking forward to relaxing this weekend and celebrating the simple things, like the sunrise, the love in a woman’s eyes and the touch of a precious child, which make life worth living.

It’s funny how it’s the little things in life that mean the most. — Christopher Cousins

Planned Parenthood funding fight coming to Maine

Three Republican state lawmakers say they’ll sponsor a bill to defund Planned Parenthood facilities in Maine, according to a report by Patty Wight at Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

Reps. Richard Pickett of Dixfield, Mary Anne Kinney of Knox and Beth O’Connor of Berwick wrote in an op-ed to the Sun Journal that they will introduce legislation to stop “the unlawful use of taxpayer dollars to fund abortion that might result in the harvesting and selling of baby body parts.”

The proposal, which could be debated when the Legislature reconvenes in January if political leaders on the Legislative Council vote to move the bill forward, comes after months of controversy around Planned Parenthood that spurred a failed congressional attempt to strip the organization of its taxpayer funding.

Democratic Sen. Dawn Hill of Cape Neddick said this bill is the product of political extremism.

“Bills targeting Planned Parenthood are nothing more than catnip for the most radical elements of the GOP,” said Hill in a written statement.

The Republican trio asked for any state dollars flowing to Planned Parenthood to be rerouted to other organizations that provide the same services.

“Whether this group is harvesting from baby bodies here in Maine or elsewhere matters not,” they wrote. “This country does not need to progress down this path. Maine should lead the way and not just follow.”

Is the cost of energy in Maine stifling our economy?

Republican Gov. Paul LePage certainly thinks so and a new report funded by the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and compiled by a Portland firm called Innovative Natural Resource Solutions LLC supports the claim.

The report says what we’ve been hearing for years and over and over again from LePage: Maine has high electricity and natural gas prices, a hefty tax burden and high wood costs. The report, which consists of a series of data graphics and very little text, is a quick and interesting read. Check it out.

There aren’t a lot of surprises in the report, but expect LePage to use it extensively in his arguments for increasing timber harvesting on public lands and pursuing lower energy costs with an effort to bring more natural gas to Maine’s industrial sector.

“In order to achieve greater economic prosperity, we must work together and accept the hard facts,” said LePage in a written statement. “This report is a reality check for the Legislature.”

ICYMI: The Legislature is working on solutions as well. Legislative and industrial leaders just this week announced the launch of a new program to pull more students into the community college system to take advantage of a new Mechanized Logging Operations Training Program. — Christopher Cousins

Reading list

What’s so bad about puns?

The BDN’s Seth Koenig gave us another interesting read on Thursday, this time with a map, generated by Atlas Obscura, that shows businesses across Maine that have what Seth calls “punny” names like the Hair Force One hair salon and the Brewed Awakenings coffee shop.

A shout out to my hometown here: There’s a bed and breakfast in South Paris that I always thought had a clever name, but which didn’t make Atlas Obscura’s cut.

It’s called the Dew Drop Inn.

If you’re rolling your eyes, I suggest you consider giving puns a chance. As a writer, I think I can speak with authority on this issue. I’d tell you a chemistry joke but I know I wouldn’t get a reaction. — Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins

About Christopher Cousins

Christopher Cousins has worked as a journalist in Maine for more than 15 years and covered state government for numerous media organizations before joining the Bangor Daily News in 2009.