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The Portland Daily Sun, Friday, January 27, 2012

Mar 30, 2016




The Portland Daily Sun, Friday, January 27, 2012



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    Gulls of Portland;

    elder aviators

    See Cliff Gallant, page 4

    One dead in I-295 crash

    See page 7Concerns have been raised that there isnt enough space on the Maine State Pier for city and Casco Bay Lines vessels, including a 2009 re boat and a yet-to-be-built ferry. Here, a water taxi pulls in to the left of a Portland Fire Department re boat Thursday. (DAVID CARKHUFF PHOTO)

    Groups plan ballot question. See the story on page 3

    Same-sex marriage: Round two in Maine

    Maine State Pier pressure? Water taxi operator worries city has eye on private dock; city councilor

    says no push to limit public access Page 8

  • Page 2 THE PORTLAND DAILY SUN, Friday, January 27, 2012

    Pentagon plans base closings, smaller raisesWASHINGTON The

    Pentagon took the fi rst major step toward shrinking after a decade of war as it announced on Thursday that it wanted to limit pay raises for troops, increase health insurance fees for military retirees and close bases in the United States.

    Although the pay-raise limits are modest, and would not start until 2015, the proposed cuts are certain to ignite a political fi ght in Congress, which since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has consistently raised military sal-aries beyond what the Pentagon has recommended.

    Increasing health insurance fees for former service mem-bers and closing bases are also fraught with political risk, par-ticularly in an election year when the Republican presiden-tial candidates are charging that President Obama is deci-mating the military.

    Next years Pentagon budget is to be $525 billion, down from $531 billion in this fi scal year. As the Pentagon is called on to fi nd $259 billion in cuts over

    the next fi ve years and $487 billion over the decade the departments base budget (not counting the costs of Afghani-stan or other wars) will none-theless rise to $567 billion by 2017. For comparison, the cur-rent Defense Department base budget is $531 billion.

    Although troops left Iraq and the Obama administration has announced plans to drawn down in Afghanistan, the new budget proposal will include a request for $88.4 billion to pay for overseas combat operations next year. The current combat contingency account is $115 bil-lion.

    The modest changes to mili-tary pay and benefi ts were an acknowledgement of the politi-cal risk of loading budget cuts on the backs of active-duty and retired personnel. Other savings are to come, as expected, from reducing the size of the military and canceling or stretching out weapons purchases.

    Presenting an equal political challenge was an announce-ment by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta that President Obama will ask for another round of base closings and

    realignments never popular with a Congress that tries to preserve military spending, and jobs, in local districts.

    Pentagon offi cials said sav-ings from any future base clos-ings were not factored into the fi ve-year budget that Mr. Panetta was sending to the White House, but one offi cial described the closings as the right thing to do.

    There were already objections on Thursday morning, hours before Mr. Panetta made his public presentation. Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Dem-ocrat who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Com-mittee, told reporters that until the United States shut down some American military bases in Europe, Im not going to be able to support closing down bases in the United States.

    Mr. Panetta has disclosed that two heavy Army brigades will come home from Europe over the next decade, leaving an airborne brigade and a Stryker cavalry brigade on the conti-nent.

    Most of the broad outlines, and even many of the fi ner details, of the budget cuts described

    Thursday by Mr. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, chair-man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were previously disclosed.

    But even as the adminis-tration vows to focus on the Asia-Pacifi c region while not decreasing American infl uence and deterrence in the Persian Gulf, a number of warship and jet-fi ghter programs useful in long-range missions are being trimmed.

    Purchases of the Marines F-35 Joint Strike Fighter will be stretched out over more years, in order to accrue immediate savings. Six of the 60 Air Force tactical jet-fi ghter squadrons will be eliminated.

    To fi nd savings, the Navy will retire seven cruisers, and slow work on amphibious ships and an attack submarine. Two lit-toral combat ships will be elimi-nated.

    But all 11 aircraft carriers, the Navys crown jewels, will be preserved.

    As previously disclosed, the Army will drop to 490,000 per-sonnel, from 570,000, and the Marine Corps to 182,000, from a post-Sept. 11, 2001, peak of 202,000.


    Alcohol the role model in Colo. push to legalize potDENVER Proponents of

    marijuana have argued for years that the drug is safer than alcohol, both to individuals and society. But a ballot proposal to legalize possession of marijuana in small amounts in Colorado, likely to be on the November ballot, is putting the two intoxi-cants back into the same sen-tence, urging voters to regulate marijuana like alcohol, as the ballot propositions title puts it.

    Given alcohols long and checkered history the tens of thousands of deaths each year; the social ravages of alcoholism backers of the pro-marijuana measure concede there is a risk of looking as if they have cozied up too much, or are comparable, to old demon rum.

    Why add another vice, right? said Mason Tvert, a co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which has led the ballot drive. But were not adding a vice were providing an alternative.

    The goal of legalization, Mr. Tvert added, is not to make access to marijuana easier, but rather, to make our commu-nities safer by regulating this substance, taking it out of the underground market, control-ling it and better keeping it away from young people.

    The debate here and in Wash-ington State where mem-bers of a pro-legalization group have also submitted what they say are more than enough sig-natures to secure a spot on the ballot is premised on the idea that marijuana has become, if not quite mainstream, then at least no longer alien to the aver-age voter. Medical marijuana is already legal in both states.

    But greater familiarity with marijuana could be a double-edged sword, opponents say.

    Medical marijuana dispensa-ries, especially in Colorado, have exploded in number in the last few years some with medical-sounding names, others gar-ishly suggestive in their names and imagery of the intoxicating substances on sale within. More

    than 88,000 Colorado residents have medical marijuana cards, according to the most recent state fi gures, with young men in their 20s and 30s many of them suffering debilitating pain, according to their doctor-signed certifi cates dispropor-tionately represented.

    And many Colorado commu-nities have been actively debat-ing medical marijuana and saying no to it. Eighty-fi ve Colo-rado communities have banned or halted openings of dispen-saries, through popular vote or through their city councils or commissions, and where a municipality posed the question to voters, marijuana has lost 88.1 percent of the time, accord-ing to the Colorado Municipal League, an association of city governments.

    The federal government, meanwhile, in states from Cali-fornia to Montana, has also been cracking down on medical marijuana growers and sellers who prosecutors say have gone beyond what is allowed in their states.

    Some critics of legalization say that medical marijuanas growth, and the abuse of medi-cines that leak out to become recreational, foreshadow the dangers if accessibility is increased. Washingtons mea-sure would be a statutory legal change, while Colorados would amend the State Constitution.

    Its largely state-sanctioned fraud, said Colorados attor-ney general, John W. Suthers, a harsh critic of the medical mari-juana system who is speaking out against the ballot measure. We have thousands and thou-sands of people lying to doctors, saying they have a debilitating medical condition.

    And some doctors are going along with the ruse, Mr. Suthers said, practicing sub-standard medicine by actually closing their eyes.

    Supporters of legalization agree that medical marijuana now legal in 16 states and the District of Columbia has led to abuses, and that many voters are angry and disgusted with how things have unfolded.



    DIGESTVirus learns new way to


    SAYWHAT...Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.

    Henry David Thoreau

    (NY Times) In a new study published in the jour-nal Science, a team of sci-entists at Michigan State University describes how viruses evolved a new way of infecting cells in about two weeks.

    Some critics have ques-tioned whether such a change could have hap-pened on its own. The new research suggests that new traits based on mul-tiple mutations can indeed occur with frightening speed.

    The Michigan research-ers studied a virus known as lambda. It is harmless to humans, infecting only the gut bacterium Escherichia coli. Justin Meyer, a gradu-ate student in the biol-ogy laboratory of Richard Lenski, wondered whether lambda mi

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