Archive for September 22nd, 2012

(VIDEO) Homer Simpson Votes 2012

Posted on September 22, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |

Fabulous.

A look back to 2008:

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Weekly Democratic Address by Senator Justin Alfond (Cumberland): “PUTTING STUDENTS FIRST” MEANS STRENGTHENING PUBLIC EDUCATION, NOT UNDERMINING AND UNDERFUNDING

Posted on September 22, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Audio link here.

Good Morning. This is State Senator Justin Alfond, the Assistant Senate Democratic Leader.

Today is the first day of Autumn. Kids have been back to school for a few weeks now—and students, teachers and parents alike are just about settled in to their new schedules.

This time of year is special for our students –new hopes, new challenges, and new expectations in the classroom and at home. For many students, it’s a new start—a new opportunity.

Opportunity—It’s why we encourage and why we valueeducation. As a culture, we’ve decided through the years that publicschools provide a level playing field so that all kids can learn, advance, and have the opportunity to succeed—not just those who can afford to pay for school.

It seems year after year —especially during a campaign season— we hear a lot of promises about education: We must make education a priority. We must invest in education. We must put students first.

It’s true. We must make education a priority. We must invest in education. And, we must put students first. But what does any of that mean? Well, I can tell you what it doesn’t mean.

For the last two years, under the LePage administration, we’ve seen one policy after another undermine our public schools—the very schools in our community. Our schools continue to be underfunded— and that’s not just my opinion, that’s a fact. The state made a promise to fund education at 55% – and we are not even close. Instead, the state is funding our local public schools at 46% or the same level as 2006.

LePage and his allies continue to demand that our public schools, our teachers, do more with less. Their budget shortchanges our schools by more than $150 million dollars. This means that local schools districts have been forced to cut programs, lay off teachers, and increase property taxes.

Additionally, the Governor has cut millions in critical investments dollars for HeadStart and other pre-K programs.

How is this putting students first?

And, worse, this administration continues to push an agenda that is not supported by most Mainers. They want to divert tax payer money away from public schools and instead fund private, religious, and in some cases, even for-profit schools.

When are the attacks on education going to stop? Since day one, our Governor has gone on the offensive against public education.

When Governor LePage said our “teachers aren’t doing enough,” he attacked the work ethic of our teachers.

When Governor LePage said that “Maine students are looked down upon,” he not only insulted our students and our educators but he diminished the reputation of every person who lives in this state.

When Governor LePage said that the College of William and Mary had a different admissions standard for Maine students, he lied.

These are not the actions of someone who is “putting students first”. Look, it’s demoralizing. It’s counterproductive and it’s not helpful.

There was a time when Democrats and Republicans worked together to strengthen education—to truly “put students first”. This is not a phrase coined by one party or another. It’s simply common sense.

As lawmakers, it is our job to promote policies that strengthen our students’ achievement, strengthen and support our teachers and our public schools. We should always be looking at what we can improve and how we can do better.

Right now, on this Saturday, teachers across Maine are crafting lessons for the week ahead of us. They are working hard to prepare the next generation of critical thinkers, skilled workers and entrepreneurs to power our economy. Maine’s public education system is the best economic stimulator and job creation program we have. We must invest in and prioritize public education—putting students first.

It’s time to end the blaming, stop the distractions, and start working together to truly put our students first!
Thank you for listening. This is Assistant Democratic Leader, Senator Justin Alfond of Portland. Have a great weekend.

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Weekly Address of President Obama: Congress Must Act to Create Jobs and Grow the Economy

Posted on September 22, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

Hi, everybody. Last week, without much fanfare, Members of the House of Representatives banged a gavel, turned out the lights, and rushed home, declaring their work finished for now.

If that frustrates you, it should – because their work isn’t finished.

See, when they skipped town, Members of Congress left a whole bunch of proposals sitting on the table – actions that would create jobs, boost our economy, and strengthen middle-class security. These ideas have been around for months. The American people want to see them passed. But apparently, some Members of Congress are more worried about their jobs and their paychecks this campaign season than they are about yours.

Right now, if Congress had done the right thing, we could be on our way to having a veterans’ jobs corps that helps returning heroes find work as cops and firefighters in communities all across the country. These men and women have made incredible sacrifices for our country. They shouldn’t have to worry about finding a job when they get home. But last week, Republicans in Congress voted it down. And then they left.

Right now, if Congress had gotten its act together, we would have a farm bill to help farmers and ranchers respond to natural disasters like the drought we had this summer. And we’d have made necessary reforms to give our rural communities some long-term certainty. But so far, Republicans in Congress have dragged their feet. And now they’re gone.

Right now, if Congress had acted, thousands of responsible homeowners could be saving an extra $3,000 a year on their mortgages by refinancing at historically low rates. But instead, Republicans in Congress decided that working families could wait. And now they’ll have to wait a little longer.

And finally, if Congress had listened to you, they could have given 98% of Americans and 97% of small business owners a guarantee that your taxes won’t go up next year by a single dime. This is something we all agree on. It should have gotten done a long time ago. But Republicans in Congress have refused to budge. They’re holding tax cuts for 98% of Americans hostage until we pass tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans. And now middle-class families and small business owners are left wondering what their tax bill will look like next year.

All of these ideas would strengthen our economy and help the middle class right now. All of them are supported by Democrats, Republicans and Independents. There’s no reason to wait.

That’s why, after going home and listening to their constituents for a few weeks, Members of Congress should come back in November and do this work. They should do the right thing for veterans and farmers; for responsible homeowners and small businesses; for Americans everywhere who are just trying to get ahead.

And if you agree with me, I need your help. Tell your Members of Congress you can’t afford to wait any longer. If you get an answering machine, leave a message. If you see them campaigning back home, tell them in person. Because there’s been enough talk. It’s time for action. That’s what you deserve, and that’s what it’s going to take to move this country forward.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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Weekly Address of Governor Paul LePage: Addressing Domestic Violence With Erksine Academy Students

Posted on September 22, 2012. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , |

Audio link here.

Hello. This is Governor Paul LePage.

Today in Maine, only 10 town academies exist, with Erskine Academy being the second largest with an enrollment of 700 students. This week, I had the opportunity to meet students from Erskine Academy in South China and I would like to share with you a part of that experience.

As I looked around the room, I saw the faces of young men and women destined to become the next generation of leaders and mentors. These students will have the power to shape the values in their communities and what is socially acceptable among peers.

That is why it was important for me to share with these students the serious problem of domestic violence in Maine.

Prior to speaking with all of the students, a few gave me a tour of the school. They told me about their efforts to reduce bullying. Erskine students have created groups that address bullying and domestic violence and how they can stop both from happening in their community. It was truly inspirational.

My message was simple: if we are to end domestic violence, we must first understand what it is and then have the strength to stand up and speak up against it. Furthermore, young men in our society must have the courage to man up and recognize their role in stopping all forms of abuse.

While the majority of domestic violence victims are women, this is not only a women’s issue, and women cannot be expected to be solely responsible for stopping the abuse. Men must be the solution to eliminating this heinous behavior. Men are the aggressors in 80% of domestic violence cases.

I shared with them my personal story and how it has had an impact on my life.

The scars of domestic abuse never go away, but I can tell you from experience that talking about it does help heal the pain.

Domestic violence is not borne from some mental illness, or parental abuse. It has to do with power and control, especially toward women and children.

Domestic violence makes us all uncomfortable. Most of feel like what goes on within other families is not our business, or sometimes we do not want to believe a neighbor is capable of being abusive.

As I listened to students questions, I was saddened by what I was hearing. It was clear, these teens knew people affected by domestic abuse and they wanted to do something about it.

I shared the fact that one of their best resources is right at the front of the classroom – a teacher.

This brings me back to the importance of mentors in our communities.

Teachers are shaping the lives of our future leaders and it is not an easy task.

The compassion displayed to me this week at Erskine Academy between students, their teachers, and administrators was truly remarkable. I thank our educators who dedicate their lives to teaching and mentoring our students, and most importantly putting their needs first.

Thank you.

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