Welcome to the first edition of Boos & Bravos, the catchall column for Here’s Something. When the news is fast and furious, the reader can expect a few shortened essays to fill this space.
Let’s get to this week’s rants and raves:
• Bravo to President Donald Trump for breaking the cycle of American appeasement of North Korea and its cultish Kim dynasty.
Of course we Americans don’t want war, but we also don’t want rogue nations gaining nuclear weapons and openly fantasizing about striking our country. I believe Kim Jong Un when he threatens Guam and our homeland. and I’m glad we finally have a president willing to stand up to him.
This is why people voted for Trump. To be a tough guy and break the cycles that have bound our nation. I’m not too worried about North Korea using their nukes since China and Russia have joined with us, but I am concerned about them partnering with terrorist entities who will do their bidding. That’s the more likely end game when it comes to North Korean-made nukes.
• Boo to the media for nearly ruining the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse with incessant talk about how we need to wear ISO-approved glasses so we don’t ruin our eyesight looking at the full corona.
We already have the Nanny State, which overly protects the health and safety of We the Sheeple, but now I’m realizing we also have a Nanny Media, which thinks we’re incompetent, too.
Everyone knows not to look directly at the sun. Our parents told us that long ago. We get it. If that’s the most interesting story about this eclipse, then our media have lackluster imaginations. If they need story ideas, here’s one: Why not cover the amazing fact that beautiful eclipses only happen because the disk of the moon is perfectly sized to cover the disk of the sun from our vantage point here on Earth? If Earth were any closer, the moon would totally blot out the sun; any further away and the moon would swim inside the sun’s bright light.
I learned this in Astronomy 101 and I keep expecting someone to report it. But I’ve yet to hear any media story mention this fact. News regarding the correct viewing glasses was fine the first time I heard it, but I’ve seen or heard it now at least 10 times. It just shows how much the media enjoy telling their readers and viewers how to behave and what to fear.
And the stories won’t go away when the eclipse is over. Look for Aug. 22 and 23 newspapers and TV broadcasts to interview the folks who were blinded by the light. “You burned your retina out!” they’ll exclaim like Ralphie’s mother in “A Christmas Story.”
• Bravo to a U.S District Court judge in Portland for coming down hard on Michael Liberty, the Gray businessman who will serve four months in federal prison for campaign finance violations.
Liberty, who lives part-time in a gated compound beside Crystal Lake on Route 26, used nine family members and employees to funnel $22,500 of donations to a presidential campaign in 2011, thereby sidestepping the $2,500 limit on personal donations.
Liberty has done good things for individuals and institutions in Gray and elsewhere in Maine, but he’s been in trouble with the law before with real estate deals gone awry. It’s just nice that Judge D. Brock Hornby didn’t go easy on someone with a famous name and massive wealth. As much as people complain about America’s unbalanced scales of justice, Liberty’s punishment helps reassure us that everyone lives under the same law.
• Boo to the effort in Portland to impose rent stabilization, i.e. rent control, on the city’s landlords. I understand rent is high on Munjoy Hill and elsewhere on the peninsula, but what do you expect for living in one of the best places on the East Coast? Why punish the landlords?
Portland is prime property for business and recreational activity. If they can’t afford their rent, folks should move out to the surrounding suburbs. Doing so would ignite a downward force on rents, since landlords would find fewer people willing to fork over their exorbitant rents. The law of supply and demand works. Introducing the government and price fixing into the equation isn’t needed.
It really doesn’t matter whether rent control is adopted anyway, because pretty soon the entire Portland peninsula will be overtaken by hotels. Portland is changing folks. Hipsters who want to live in the middle of the action, rather than commuting to it like the rest of us, should look to Portland’s neighboring communities for new digs.
John Balentine, a former managing editor for Sun Media Group, lives in Windham.