Here's a random assortment of stuff that makes me suspect Maine's IQ is falling faster than its economy:
• According to the Bangor Daily News, state Representative Paul Davis (R-North Numbskull) is sponsoring a bill that would require all public schools to offer gun-safety courses. The key word here is "require."
There's nothing in current law that prevents schools from adding such training to their curricula. There's no statute that prohibits educational institutions from teaming up with rod and gun clubs to provide this service, either during the school day or after class. And even if your local district isn't interested, it's already permissible for parents to enroll their offspring in gun programs offered by police organizations or sporting groups.
In short, if you think your kids would be better off learning how to safely handle firearms, there's no need for a government requirement of any sort.
Davis claims to be an old-fashioned conservative. You know, the kind of guy who doesn't want children going to sex-education classes for fear they'll put whatever they learn to use and start bonking each other. He doesn't want them indoctrinated with hard science, such as evolution or climate change, for fear they'll start questioning religion or believing human beings contribute to global warming. But he and his co-sponsors — Representative Russell Black (R-Clunkhead Junction), Representative Brad Crafts (R-Doofus Center), and Senator Stan Gerzofsky (D-Noodlebrain Plantation) — are convinced that mandating that children learn how to use guns won't result in them growing up to believe their elders are a bunch of meddlesome twits.
• The Lewiston Sun Journal reports that the Board of Selectmen in Dixfield (a town formerly known as Idiot Gulch) has discovered a way to restore civility to public meetings. According to new rules approved last month for citizens who wish to speak about agenda items, "complaints are not allowed."
The Taliban have the same regulation, although, to date, the Dixfield selectmen haven't decided whether to include the standard al Qaeda punishment for violators — removal of the tongue by sword.
Dixfield also requires anyone wishing to speak at its Monday meetings (please stand over there next to the mean-looking guy with the scimitar) to notify the town by the preceding Thursday. That's probably so they can do background checks to make sure those folks don't have a history of exercising First Amendment rights.
• According to the state Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations, Maine loses an average of $30 million in booze sales each year to New Hampshire, where prices are significantly cheaper. A Granite State official once told me the figure is significantly higher than that — more like $200 million — but why quibble over such inconsequential amounts? The point is Maine is trying to reclaim some of those customers by lowering prices on a few products.
At a legislative hearing on January 28, bureau director Gerry Reid said large bottles of popular brands would be discounted by four bucks. Reid mentioned Captain Morgan's rum. That reduction would make a 1.75-liter bottle the same price in both states — $25.99 — except it's nearly always on sale in New Hampshire, so it would still be $4 cheaper across the border.