Archive for April, 2008

We hear a lot in the news about those strange characters known as ‘organic’ farmers around the state. Seems like they tend to crop up just about everywhere you see a farm stand. And that’s a good thing, by the way. We tend to become entrenched in the newest technology marketed in the magazines, newspapers and TV, and farmers are no different. The economy of Maine hurts everybody, and the farm industry is no different. People want new technology. Too bad.

A report in the Portland Press Herald says that Kendall and Jana Shaw of Fort Fairfield are being foreclosed upon by the Feds. According to the article Shaw hasn’t planted any crops for two years due to the economy. ( )When the big boys start to lose out, the little kids always get to play in the playground. It’s sad to see the old names disappear from the scene, but maybe some good can come from it.

It’s an unfortunate sign of the times, but, if the situation is carefully tended, a lot of good can come from the tragedy of today’s economic condition. Rising fuel and energy prices are contributing to the increase in food costs. But the bigger problem is the increasing demand for bio-fuels and the trend to convert valuable food crops into fuel crops. But like most fads, people will smarten up and that will change. Bio-fuels are not the answer to our energy problems. Reduction of usage is.

And that’s where we can learn some lessons from these organic farmers. The mantra constantly quoted is sustainable production, and that is something we can all afford to heed. Unfortunately, much of this ‘sustainable’ terminology is incorrectly used, being pushed by the UN as a way to save the world from an ecological disaster that will never happen.

During the 60’s and early 70’s the back to nature hippie movement grew and the RRR way of life once again returned to America in a small way. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle was the message. The drawback to the message is that much of the general public looked askance at these long haired, drug taking, dope smoking, free sex miscreants and ignored them. The message was overshadowed by the poor marketing and visual pictures.

But the organic movement grew and evolved, and today has the potential to break new ground and obtain new growth. Commercial food crops are dwindling because of the bio-fuel situation and drought stricken areas of the world. The bigger producers are going after the bigger money. Organic food is better in many ways. Number one on the list is that it helps the local economy. The food is grown locally, sold locally, so the money stays in the community. More consumers purchasing organic food means more opportunity for these farmers, and may well entice more people into the production market.

Organic food is also healthier as no harmful chemicals are used in the production of crops. Which also means there is no harmful runoff into streams and local water supplies, making our drinking water safer. Organic production also relies on sturdy seed stock that has survived for generations and is able to exist under a changing environmental outlook.

Natural fabrics and products are healthier for humans. There is no questioning that. Use glass. Use paper. Use cotton and wool. You’ll be better off in the long run, and remember, what’s grown local, stays local. Who needs wheat from Australia anyways?

Several of Maine’s organic farmers are celebrating a tenth anniversary of collaboration with Horizon Organic® Farms coalition………

Report available on the personal care segment of the organics market………

Is HP Hood LLC a bunch of hoods?……..

Deuteronomy 7:13
He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land that he swore to your forefathers to give you.


We make a lot of commotion in the state of Maine over the tourist industry, trying to lure ever more people from away to line our coffers with their pocket change, will this year be the end of the industry? Probably not, but wise business owners will be ahead of the game if they start making changes to cope with our declining economy. One again the dollar has decreased in the world markets making the cost of imports rise. That means everything we get from another country will cost us more. In case you haven’t noticed, even cheap plastic crap from china is beginning to rise in price.

But the big issue concerning Maine is the price of fuel at the pump. It’s funny, but I realized last Friday when I filled my tank that even though I am driving less, it still costs more to feed my car. But you know what? Everybody else is in the same boat in this country. And that’s going to hurt the tourist industry, whether they want to admit it or not. I suspect that one of the declining segments will be the day and weekend trippers from other parts of New England that come here from say, Mass. and NY for a day or two and hit the shopping outlet areas such as Kittery and Freeport.

But on the other hand, we may see more of those people coming for a week at a time for an extended shopping trip. Bad news on that slant is that they will come once, not multiple times. And in the long run will be spending less here in Maine. Overall, I wonder what the tipping point in the rising pump price for gasoline will ultimately be. For some, the increase is merely an inconvenient truth in the economy, but for others, it means an alteration of their lifestyle. The richer you are, the less it hurts your pocket. Which results in a narrowing of the demographics, and thus spending habits. And in turn the offerings we should be providing to the market.

But will Maine make the adjustments in time to avoid damage to the tourist economy? Given the fact that Maine’s political climate swings too far to the left, it is doubtful we will be willing to make the sacrifices needed to enhance this increasingly vital segment of our economy here in Maine. What do I think the actions to be taken should be? Here’s a short list:

  1. Eliminate the tolls on the interstate;

    This will eliminate backups and increased consumption at the busier interchanges, lower the hazardous ozone creating pockets, thereby improving the environment, and allowing people to more easily navigate to their destinations.

  2. Cut the States excise tax in half, or eliminate it entirely.

    According to the State, the tax is currently 47.5 cents per gallon of regular unleaded. That would cut nearly half a buck off of each gallon.

  3. Increase the availability of the public transportation system.

    Maine needs to begin to take a closer look at the bus and rail transportation systems in this state. Increased availability of train travel would be a great boon the industry.

  4. Connect the tourism industry to the transportation industry, and available routes for mass transit.

    In other words, resist the temptation to build new mega resorts in places that will increase the need to travel on an individual basis. If there is no mass transit to a particular destination, more fuel will be consumed getting there, while at the same time increasing emissions of volatile substances.

The seasonal nature of this industry is blending into a year round business, and if handled right, can create year round employment opportunity. Not just for a few businesses, but most of them. Ski areas can adapt by restructuring their facilities to offer year round camping and hiking opportunities, instead of just skiing during the winter. Coastal communities can offer things like museums, art galleries and shopping year round, instead of just during the summer.

But the key to success of this industry will ultimately rest upon the transportation issues, gasoline prices being the foremost factor. Anything we can do to help reduce those costs here in Maine will only serve to increase the tourist dollars for Maine, enriching everybody.

Seems we have a relatively new project proposed for another part of the state, like I mentioned a few days ago, at Schoodic Point, right next to Acadia National Park. Of course, you know how I feel about big developments, so I just had to poke at this new sleeping skunk. There are some interesting things involved with this project, and it does indeed turn out to be something I’d rather not see happen to the state of Maine.

Most of the characters in this story are different that the characters involved in the Plum Creek Timber proposal, but there is one beady eyed little bugger that crops up once again. Seems Maine is gonna be hard put to cinch this one to a snub line and let go of him. Too bad. But what of this development, and why don’t I like the idea behind it?

Well, like in the Plum Creek scenario, I don’t have an essential argument with development, but I do have an argument with mega-development. And that’s exactly what we have here proposed in Maine’s Downeast area. The details at this point are rather as the full plan has not been presented to the public, but if what I’ve read is anywhere close to accurate, it’ll be a big project.

But the big thing that irks me is this title of “Eco-resort” that the developer has been throwing around. What exactly is an “Eco–resort” anyways? Digging through all of the oddball links and news stories on the web I found one link in particular that raises a question. Actually many questions, and most of them will never be answered here. But once again, the UN makes an appearance in yet another ecology based fad. Believe it or not, they have available an 85 page manual on how to properly promote eco-tourism in the worlds marketplace. They’re even arrogant enough to set standards as to what should happen in one of these resort destinations.

Here’s a quote from the introduction to this manual……………

“Local Agenda 21 is the special mandate given to local governments within Agenda 21, adopted at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro as a way to move towards sustainable development. The Local Agenda 21 approach brings this commitment to the local level, allowing each community to set its own path towards sustainable development. ICLEI’s concern is to ensure that Local Agenda 21 processes are truly participatory with the involvement of all stakeholders, and that they result in new commitments by municipalities and their communities not only to improve and extend urban services, but to do so in a sustainable way.”<p>
Exactly why does this agenda 21 crap keep popping up all across Maine? It showed up in the Plum Creek proposal, everything The Nature Conservancy touches has the smell of UN domination on it, most local planning actions are becoming seated in this insidious program from the UN.

Here’s another quote from the same document……………..

“Many local authorities have been working with their communities to establish a Local Agenda 21 action plan for sustainable development.”

A local Agenda 21? How many communities in Maine have been hornswoggled by this ploy? The UN creates this false doctrine of CO2 being man made, and how the world will come to an end if we don’t comply with their goal of Carbon reduction, and then they sneak in through the back door and get the laws changed so that this organization that does nothing useful besides eating up our tax dollars. (Check out the US budget and how much we give these buggers every year. You’ll be unpleasantly surprised.)

So is this how this Italian Guy, Bruno Modena a pawn for the UN, or is he just using this Eco-tourist line to squeeze through the zoning process and rake the rich environmentalists on a phony vacation?

Hard to tell at this point since the details haven’t been fully made public at this point of time. According to an article from 24 April in the Ellsworth American, a meeting has been set for 14 May where Mike Saxl, (one time Speaker of the House, Maine), the attorney representing the Modena interests will be releasing details of the proposed development. 7PM at the Winter Harbor Gymnasium, if you’d like to attend. Much as I’d like to attend, I’ll have to miss out.

According to several articles, the proposed development is to consist of 3,200 acres. Acadia National Park, by the way, only contains 2,400 acres, just to give an indication of the size of this project. Intended to be built are two world class hotels, an 18 hole “Audubon certified” golf course, several carriage roads and condo style housing. Sounds like quite a dream, but from what I’ve read, it doesn’t quite qualify to be called an “eco-tourist” destination in my book.

From what I’ve read, the majority of the acreage is heavily forested, and to construct this sort of monstrous development would entail quite a bit of clear cutting. In light of the controversy in New Mexico with Modena’s plan to drill 37 deep water wells extending to depths of 2,000 feet, I wonder just how ecologically sound this plan is here in Maine?

Reports from New Mexico indicate that many of the area residents in the San Augustine plains area fear, and rightly so, that their own wells, many under 200’ will quickly dry up and leave them without water. The reasons behind the Augustine Plains Ranch LLC desire to undertake this project have yet to be shared with the public. Perhaps they intend to turn the ranch into a lush “eco-tourist” destination by draining the aquifer?

Either way, whenever somebody tries to use the environment as a marketing tool, I tend to immediately question the motives behind the move. The UN simply has too many thumbs stuck into the pies of the world, and it’s time to change that status.

I’ll be keeping an eye on developments up at Schoodic, as well as the Northwood’s as well. I understand that there may be some more proposals coming forth after the approval of the Plum Creek plan becomes public. Be interesting to see what happens. Welcome to Club Maine, folks. I wonder if what happens here will stay here?

Looks like a pretty bad spell of Red Tide for this season……………..

The Unity House in Unity is a model of green construction………..

Revelation 17;3,4

3For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

Just like Maine’s agricultural crops, the tourism industry relies on seasonal labor too. And every year, the same old argument and whines arise from the tourist related industry. 2008 is starting out to be the same as every other year with the complaints about the Feds H2B visa program. An article in today’s Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel describes some of the problems involved in the seasonal trades we have here in Maine, and why they are important to everybody in the state, or so they’d like you to believe.

The program is capped to a maximum of 66,000 visas annually for seasonal workers, which means that the supply is cut pretty thin overall. But why does this continue to be such a problem? I did some online research into the problem, and a pretty consistent line of material spit out of the search engine. Every Spring, restaurants and hotels along the coast of Maine started crying about not having enough of a labor force to make ends meet. From March 1st to Memorial day there seems to be a steady stream of articles bringing attention to this terrible plight.

Terrible plight? Not one bit. Personally, I’d like to see the government do away with the H2B visa program. Why? The biggest reason is the huge burden the welfare system has become. Rising unemployment and numbers of people o the welfare rolls dictate that maybe we should back away from the accustomed method of paying people to sit around watching Oprah and Days of Our Lives, and get off their fat lazy butts and back to work. You can’t tell me that with all of the people scrounging for work, especially this year, that so and so’s bar and grill can’t find somebody to take orders or wash dishes.

I’d bet that if the state would require people on welfare and unemployment to take these temp jobs you’d see a lot of changes come around here in Maine. But the problem is that the Liberal Lefties prefer to have people dependent upon them for handouts, instead of learning to stand on their own two feet and becoming proud, industrious citizens.

A line in this particular article claims that……. “Tourism is the largest single contributor to Maine’s economy, generating more than $13 billion a year in sales and services and supplying roughly 176,000 jobs, according to the state’s tourism office.” Thirteen billion a year? Why are we having such budgetary problems with that kind of income? And that’s just the tourism industry alone. Those 176,000 jobs could very easily be filled by Maine residents if they really wanted to. After all, what did people do before the H2B program went into effect?

I don’t think you’ll find anybody actually admit that they hired illegal’s, but I’m sure some have, and maybe some still do. But think about it for a minute. How much payroll are we giving to people who will take that payroll away with them? Are we taking income away from Maine people by utilizing this program? If so, how much? And how much revenue is being drained from the state coffers by not putting our own unemployed, underemployed and welfare recipients to work in these temporary positions?

To rely on foreign workers to fill paying positions in the economy we have to deal with today is ridiculous. But even more ridiculous is the fact that the same issue comes up year after year. We know there are only 66,000 visas available on an annual basis. We know that most of the positions are taken up by states to the south of us. We know there is insufficient workers available from foreign sources every year. So why does Maine’s tourism industry keep relying on a labor source that is iffy at best? What is the incentive that keeps Maine’s employers doing the same things every year, even though we know it doesn’t work?

Has Maine’s tourist industry become Pavlov’s dog?

The workers are here in the state already. We don’t need the H2B visa program. I say let’s get together and find a way to overcome the barriers that are preventing us from lowering our unemployment rate, and decreasing the numbers of people receiving welfare from the taxpayers.Do we really need the program?

It seems pretty ridiculous that so large a percentage of the world’s population could be so easily swindled by the Global Warming scam. It kind of reminds me of the controversy that buries Orson Welles production of War Of The Worlds on the radio way back when. People just don’t seem to want to take the time to look for the facts behind the story.

And now, almost behind our backs, right in front of us, in a classic quick change scam, we will have to pay more for our beverages, straight water excluded, I presume. This past Tuesday, after normal hours, but while the lawless lawmakers were still in session in Augusta, the taxes on alcohol and soft drinks were raised in an effort to bolster the failing Socialist health care program, Dirigo.

Disgusting, was my first thought. But then, because I’m always stupid enough to believe what I’m told, I started to check into the current happenings up at Dirigo. I went online to see what their side of the story was.

Here’s what they had to say for themselves………..

Not much of a story, I’d say.

They feel so confident with their successes, they refuse any more applicants due to lack of funding? I’m glad I have my own insurance policy. But Harvard Pilgrim Health is not a Maine company. How did they get into the big picture?

It’s a pretty convoluted tale, and parts of it seem to be missing, art least for now. But I still plan on poking a stick at this sleeping skunk for a good long while. Dirigo was formed in 2003 has a solution to rising health care costs, and Maine’s growing ranks of the uninsured. Basically, as I understand it, it was supposed to be a health insurance plan for Maine’s lower income population, and at the same time, lower costs for other residents by generating savings amongst the health insurance companies. And in good Socialist fashion, this was to be subsidized by the hardworking people of Maine in the form of taxes.

Socialized medicine doesn’t work folks. Check out the facts about health care in the former communist bloc nations, Great Britain and the United States of Europe, Canada and any other country that provides ‘free’ health care. Nothing in this world is free, except the air you breath. Somebody has to pay for it, eventually. And so is the case with this little experiment being conducted by the Liberal lefties in Augusta. But don’t take my word for it, I’m just a nobody. Do the research and find out for yourselves how much this program is going to cost the taxpayers of Maine.

According to several articles, the budget for the current fiscal year for Dirigo is $58m. That reads fifty eight million, or if you were putting it in the top corner of a check, $58,000,000.00. That’s a lot of money for one year. I wonder where it all goes to? My own insurance policy has a lifetime cap of one million dollars. 58 million is a lot of lifetimes. You don’t suppose there are anywhere near fifty eight million in the program, do you? Of course not. But Dirigo is not a self standing insurance company. It is a state sponsored program that was administered by Anthem Blue Cross, until this year. That’s when Harvard stepped in to take over administration.

So how much are you and I shelling out for this program, and does it really work? There are several figure roaming around out there, ranging from 14,000 to 18,000 people participating in the program. So figure the true cost like this; a budget of $58,000,000 divided between 18,000, the high figure for enrollment as of 5 April ’08, means it costs you and I 3.2 million dollars for each and every person on the program for the budget period. Are you gonna tell me that 18,000 people in Maine received 3.2 million each for health care? Where in hell is this money going to? I have a hard time believing that this program can be considered a success in any way shape or form. No way, no how.

So these bonehead legislatures we made the mistake of electing went and approved another tax hike on alcohol and soft drinks. Both bottled and syrup even. The fact is that it really doesn’t raise the total cost up by much, but it is the wrong thing to do. The claim made in Augusta is that these products lead to health issues because people who lead unhealthy lives consume the product. Hogwash. If that’s the case, how come they don’t impose hefty taxes on television sets, cable and satellite TV service, video games and DVD’s? that’s the real reason behind our growing obesity problem. I know that from personal experience.

Dirigo needs to go. It is not a successful business model, never has been, never will. The purpose was to reduce costs for everyone, but in truth, the only thing that will reduce costs is free market reform in the state’s insurance industry. But of course, free market economy destroys Socialism, doesn’t it?

Congratulations goes out to John and Brendan Ready of Portland for thier SBA award