- - Monday, July 9, 2012

PORTLAND, Maine — Critics are putting pressure on blunt-talking Maine Gov. Paul LePage to apologize for referring to the Internal Revenue Service as “the new Gestapo.”

The Republican governor made the remark in his weekend radio address, criticizing the Supreme Court ruling that upheld President Obama’s health care law. He said it gives Americans no choice but to buy health insurance or “pay the new Gestapo — the IRS.”

The Anti-Defamation League’s regional director called Mr. LePage’s remark “hurtful and inappropriate.” Derrek Shulman said comparisons to the Nazi police force have no place in politics or anywhere else.

Mr. LePage had no immediate comment Monday.

Since taking office last year, Mr. LePage has stirred outrage with remarks about labor unions, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and state government middle managers.


Challenges remain for high-speed rail plan

SACRAMENTO — California lawmakers may have given their OK to what would be the nation’s first high-speed rail line, but the project is still a long way from leaving the station.

Among the challenges that project supporters must overcome are environmental concerns, clashes with local leaders over land use, a $68 billion overall price tag with no funding guarantees and an increasingly disenchanted public.

Supporters applauded Friday when lawmakers narrowly approved billions of dollars in funding for the initial segment of the line in the agricultural Central Valley. The move enables the state to tap $3.2 billion in federal bond money.

Critics already are redoubling their efforts to defeat the project, which eventually could link Northern and Southern California by trains traveling up to 220 mph.


Obama’s re-election camp challenging website

Lawyers for President Obama’s re-election campaign are asking a judge to halt a website’s sales of T-shirts, bumper stickers and buttons with the campaign’s signature “O” logo.

Lawyers for the campaign asked the judge Monday to issue a preliminary injunction barring Washington-based Demstore.com from selling merchandise with its logos.

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