Welcome to another edition of Boos & Bravos, where we try to criticize and praise in equal amounts:
Bravo to the show of respect for Cpl. Eugene Cole, the Somerset County sheriff’s deputy who was shot and killed in the line of duty.
While the manhunt to find his killer was swift and effective, so too has been the outpouring of appreciation for Cole by the community in which he was born, raised, lived and served. They say you only appreciate things when they’re gone, and it seems the Maine community truly appreciates Cole and his many comrades in blue who go the extra mile to keep us safe.
What’s encouraging about the coverage of the Cole tragedy is the attention being paid to the concept that our police departments represent a figurative thin blue line between the public and criminals. Cole died defending that thin blue line, and every police officer on the job today similarly could pay the ultimate price to maintain law and order. In a time of unfair criticism and derision of police, it’s amazing brave men and women still enlist. The show of respect and admiration for Cole has encouraged fellow officers, and hopefully the tragedy is encouraging naysayers to think twice before they take our police for granted.
Boo to my fellow early-morning commuters on the Maine Turnpike, who drive as if they’re taking part in the Indianapolis 500. The speed limit on the stretch between Cumberland and Portland is 60 mph, but pretty much everyone drives between 65 mph and 70 mph, or more. While there are only a couple exits and entrances, those interchanges are dangerous and I’ve seen a few close calls. Perhaps drivers can police themselves and slow down, or perhaps state troopers need to increase their presence to dissuade speeding and prevent accidents. The turnpike isn’t a race course, people.
Boo to Netflix’s streaming service, but Bravo to its DVD plan. Netflix has about 125 million streaming subscribers, but those customers are missing out compared to the 3.1 million DVD-only subscribers. I’ve been a member of Netflix since 2008 and about two years ago switched from receiving DVD movies to a streaming plan. What a mistake. The selection was poor. Sure, there were a few good movies and TV shows worth watching on the streaming plan, but whenever I searched for something by name, say “Vertigo” by Alfred Hitchcock or “The Last Jedi,” results showed the stuff I wanted to watch only existed on the DVD plan. After searching for a reason for this paucity of quality offerings, I learned that while Netflix’s DVD plan offers about 100,000 movies, the streaming plan only offers about 5,000. No wonder I could never find something good to watch other than “Stranger Things,” which, I readily admit, was worth the $7.99 monthly streaming cost.
While I enjoy seeing my red envelopes in the mail once again and I’m finally getting to see some quality movies, I assume I’m not the only frustrated customer. Netflix revolutionized home entertainment, but it needs to complete the revolution by streaming the full library online.
Bravo to the resurgence of bumper stickers. It seems their popularity has greatly increased in recent years. While I find some perplexing and grating – like the “Coexist” ones on, what else, Toyota Priuses, or the “Bernie 2016” stickers that are looking as worn out as the Vermont socialist’s calls for failed policies that do nothing but bankrupt countries and turn individuals into wards of the state – for the most part, it’s great to see folks advertising their political views.
I saw one the other day that caught my eye: “If you can’t feed ’em, don’t breed ’em.” How true. I saw that in downtown Portland, where it seems every street corner is occupied by at least one homeless person.
Speaking of Bernie Sanders bumper stickers, Boo to his plan for providing a government job for everyone in America who “wants or needs one” as well as full health benefits and a $15 minimum wage. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said Bernie’s plan would triple taxes for the every taxpayer in America. Even some fellow Democrats say the plan is unworkable due to its expense. No thanks, Bernie. You and your ideas are so two years ago.
Trump’s pro-business models are good for the country, and working-class voters are so eager for pro-business policies that they’re willing to put up with Trump’s many circus sideshows. Bernie and his fellow wacko liberals have had their 15 minutes, and despite predictions of a Blue Wave in November, I think we’ll all be seeing red again this election cycle.
John Balentine, a former managing editor for Sun Media Group, lives in Windham.