Archive for December, 2013

MPW’s Top 13 of 2013

Posted on December 31, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , |

(As every other site seems to being doing a year in review round up, it seemed appropriate to take a look back at what stories hit your fancy. So here is the list- enjoy the trip in the WayBack Machine! ~AP)

1. May: Apportionment Committee Unanimously Approves Redistricting Compromise Senate and House District Maps

    house final 5_31

      The commission’s unanimous vote was seen as a victory in the redistricting process. Decisions often have been left to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, including in 2003, when lawmakers couldn’t settle on a Senate map.

      We have reached a map that I think is reasonable and fair to both sides,” said David Emery, a consultant for Republicans who has been involved in redistricting debates in Maine dating to 1973. “It’s impossible to make everyone happy in a negotiation of this kind, but both caucuses should be congratulated for their work.”

      Greg Olson, a Democratic consultant, agreed.

      “Overall, this is a true compromise,” Olson said Friday of the new House map. “This is a map both sides and the people in the state can be proud of. This represents the first time in many decades that we’ve come to an agreement on both chambers of the Legislature as well as the county commissions.”

      Maine law requires legislative district and county commission maps be updated every 10 years based on population changes. The new maps are based on the 2010 census, which shows a shift in population from Northern to Southern Maine.

2. June: Troy Jackson’s Heart (Now featured on the Troy Jackson for Congress “News” page of the campaign website)

      Expounding on the theme of the “ladder to success,” Jackson said that LePage had “pulled the ladder up behind you once you climbed it,” and that:

      Senator Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) speaking in support of Medicaid expansion bill.

      Senator Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) speaking in support of Medicaid expansion bill.

        “We will do better. THAT is why we are Democrats!

        Because, Brothers and Sisters, we are the party of Allagash’s proud loggers, just as we are the party of the entrepreneur in the renovated mills of Biddeford. We are the party of the creative economy on Congress Street in Portland, just as we are the party of the tireless mill workers in Rumford. We are the party of the lobstermen in Rockland and the Maine Guide in Jackman.

        It is we who are, the party of the potato farmer in Caribou and the teacher in Waldoboro. It is we who are, the party of the HARD WORKING state employees here in Augusta and the abused Decoster workers a few miles north. We are the party of children, whether they’re in Jay or Machias, and we are the party of the elderly whether they’re in Greenville or Belfast.

        Brothers and Sisters – we are going to go forth together and win in November. And when we do we will make damn sure that the ladder of success is there for every Mainer. We are on the right side of this fight, we are on the right side of history, we are the party of the people of Maine – we are the Democrats AND we have your back!”

    Compare that with, at the Maine Republican Convention weeks’ prior, we heard this from Governor LePage:

      “This November represents a real choice at the ballot box. Do you want to remain a sinking welfare state? Can we revive the American dream? Remember Eliot Cutler? He’s still running for governor. He mocked me. He said I was pandering. But we did what Eliot Cutler and the liberal media said wasn’t possible: We passed the largest tax cut in Maine’s history… I understand welfare because I lived it. I understand the difference between a want and a need. The Republican Party promised to bring welfare change. We must deliver on this promise. Maine’s welfare program is cannibalizing the rest of state government.

      To all you able-bodied people out there: Get off the couch and get yourself a job.

3. July: Governor LePage’s Mulligan

    Yesterday after the House (114-34) and Senate (26-9) delivered crushing blows to Governor LePage’s veto of LD 1509, the FY 14-15 fiscal budget bill and in doing so avoided the first statewide government shutdown in over twenty years, the governor held a press conference in which he was a far, far more subdued man than just last week:

      “I’m very disappointed on this budget. Until we start understanding what makes an economy drive and why the southeast and the southwest and the Atlantic states have such good economies, until we emulate some of their behaviors we are not going to be anywheres but 50th place in the country for doing business.”

      “It’s a real sad day for the state of Maine. We took, I thought, with the 125th Legislature, that we took two steps forward for the state. Today, I think we took three steps back. I really feel bad for today.”

4. June: ME Sen. Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) Re GOP LePage: “Governor Is Upper Management And I Am Working Class”

    While Governor LePage was speaking at an Americans for Prosperity rally in the Maine State House’s Hall of Flags threatening to veto the budget and shut down the Maine state government, Senator Troy Jackson was chairing the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry committee.

    As such, Jackson was unable to hear the Governor’s highly offensive comments about him, as reported by multiple local media sources (WARNING: Not safe for work). Via WMTW’s Paul Marrill:

      “Sen. Jackson claims to be for the people, but he’s the first one to give it to the people without providing Vaseline.” LePage added, “He is bad. He has no brains, and he has a black heart.”

    Jackson, who serves in the Senate as Assistant Majority Leader, was joined after the conclusion of his 11 am meeting by Majority Leader Seth Goodall (D-Sagadahoc) for a 2pm press conference today.

    Troy Jackson:

      “I don’t know if it’s where I’m from or the way I speak or something, but it comes up that maybe I’m not the smartest guy. I don’t know if I am or not. Maybe I am the country bumpkin, but that doesn’t bother me. What’s in my heart is good and I feel comfortable about that. I’ll go back in the woods any time I have to. That’s where I made my name in my district. … I feel comfortable that my district supports that. He just keeps going on with things that don’t seem to be accurate and [are] delusional. When he talks about working class people, I think that I represent working class people because that’s who I am. People I know very well are concerned very much about what the governor’s budget is going to do to them.”

5. November: Eliot Cutler Confuses “Independent” With “Passive Aggressive” In Attacks Against Non-Supporters

    Some excerpts of Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos‘ share:

      evangelos“As the only independent in the Maine House of Representatives who does not caucus with either party, I am pleased to announce that I am supporting U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud for governor. I plan on campaigning for Michaud during the 2014 election season.

      Mike Michaud will make a terrific governor of our state. He has the two characteristics that are sorely lacking in the current administration in Augusta: humility and common sense. He’s a good listener, thoughtful and respectful. It will be such a breath of fresh air when Michaud is elected as our next governor.

      Why am I throwing my support to Michaud rather than fellow independent Eliot Cutler? Cutler’s successes have come on the wrong side of the economy at the expense of common people. His relationship as a director of a bankrupt mortgage company, Thornburg Mortgage, whose former top executives are facing allegations of fraud, and his employment and association with the Dallas-based international consultancy Akin Gump, where outsourcing jobs to China is part of the mission, disqualifies Cutler as a person who can lead Maine out of this serious recession Maine people are experiencing.

      Contrast this with Michaud, a paper mill worker who understands what it means to keep and develop good paying jobs in Maine.”

6. June: Maine State Senator Emily Cain (D- Penobscot) Announces 2 CD Bid Intentions

    emily cainORONO– State Senator Emily Ann Cain of Orono today announced her intent to run for U.S. Congress in Maine’s Second Congressional District following news that Congressman Mike Michaud is running for Governor.

    In her announcement Cain said that securing the economic future of the Second Congressional District is her reason for entering the race. Cain’s priority is to continue creating good-paying jobs across Maine.

    “During my nine years in the Legislature I have fought to protect and create jobs, make college more affordable, increase accountability in government, and support Maine workers and their families. I will take those same priorities with me when I go to Washington.”

    Cain has a track record of working across party lines to benefit Mainers.

    “I believe government exists to make sure everyone is treated fairly and has a chance to succeed,” Cain said. “I believe it is the responsibility of our elected leaders to work together to create opportunity and make sure the playing field is level for hard-working Maine people.”

7. May: Governor LePage Angrily Attempts to Interrupt, Address Appropriations Cmte Hearing (VIDEO)

    The Senate chairwoman of the Legislature’s budget-writing committee spurned Gov. Paul LePage’s surprise attempt to speak Sunday during an emergency meeting called to address the governor’s recent claim that the Department of Health and Human Services won’t be able to pay MaineCare providers come May 28.

    LePage asked to address the Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee as it was preparing to recess. Sen. Dawn Hill, D-Cape Neddick, told the governor that she didn’t want to inject politics into a meeting during which lawmakers had agreed that the shortfall could be fixed by the end of the week.

8. May: UPDATED: As Now 80 Maine Towns, Schools (5/29/13) Pass Resolutions Opposing LePage Budget, Gov Urges Towns “Work Together”

    lepage head 2At long last, Governor LePage has finally chosen to directly address the ever growing number of local municipal and school district voter passed resolutions against his administration’s biannual budget with its zero revenue sharing scheme- by essentially throwing his hands in the air and telling the towns to figure out the problems among themselves.

    What is going to be interesting to watch is how the GOP in the 126th Legislature react- as the governor insists on dragging them down with him.

      “The problem is there are only three large budget areas – education, welfare and revenue sharing,” wrote Governor LePage. “We cannot cut $200 million from debt service – the State must pay its bills. The Judicial Branch costs $100 million – courts are already behind, and I will not cut them further. Other core state functions – State Police, Corrections, our Natural Resource agencies – have been cut to the bone to feed continued growth in education and welfare spending, and they cannot be cut further without reducing public safety or our future economy. That leaves only the three large pots of money, and I chose revenue sharing.”

9. July: Veto Day Scorecard (UPDATED W/ FINAL RESULTS) : 2 Overridden, Rest Sustained

sine die11:30 AM UPDATE: One of the first votes in the House was on LD 1572, “An Act To Correct Minor Technical Errors and Inconsistencies in the Unified Budget Bill”. It failed to pass that chamber by a 92-50 total vote (9 absent); among those who flipped their vote was House Minority Leader Ken Fredette (R-Newport).

It later passed the Senate (3 PM) by a 24-9-2 (Senators Craven and Millett are absent today) vote and will go back to the House this evening.

4:30 PM: So far, only 4 vetoes have been overridden: LDs 415, 1132, 1263 and 1390 (see below).

UPDATE: By the end of the evening and conclusion of the session, only LDs 415 and 1132 were overridden in both chambers, of the 31 vetoes taken up by legislators.

10. June: (UPDATED W/VIDEO) Maine’s First Mass Same Sex Marriage Ceremony Conducted At Southern Maine Pride Festival

seersucker

    As the country awaits SCOTUS’s decision regarding DOMA, ten happy couples decided to tie the knot before family, friends, Portland Mayor Michael Brennan and thousands of their closest supporters at this past weekend’s 27th Annual Southern Maine Pride Parade and Festival at Deering Oaks.

    The theme of this year’s event, “Marry Me”, was in honor of the 2012 marriage equality law that went into effect last December and the first same sex couple married in Maine, Portland’s own Michael Snell and Steven Bridges, were honorary marshals of the parade proceeding the wedding ceremony. The grand marshal for this year’s parade was Bethel resident Richard Blanco, who was the inaugural poet at President Barack Obama’s ceremonial swearing-in last January.

    Rob Hopkins of Pennsylvania, who had been in a relationship with his fiance for 18 years, said the couple decided to travel specifically to Maine to exchange vows: “We came to get married because Maine recognizes gay marriage. Maine is a beautiful state.”

11. May: (UPDATED) Despite Hours’ of Administration Testimony with Appropriations Cmte, Governor LePage Insists on Injecting Self into Legislative Process

    UPDATED: Late Friday came word that the Governor now intends to be the one to testify before Appropriations in the future- and no one else from his administration:

    paul staring at camera

      Gov. Paul LePage has instructed state department commissioners to stop appearing before the Legislature’s budget-writing committee.

      If someone from the administration is asked to speak before the committee, according to the governor’s office, it will be LePage himself.

      The administration’s order is in direct response to a clash last Sunday when the committee’s Democratic chairwoman refused to let LePage address the members.

        “I wanted to tell the Appropriations Committee that I sent a balanced-budget proposal to the Legislature that did not require supplemental budgets or increased taxes,” said the Governor. “I also submitted a bill to pay the hospitals, which could have saved jobs and put Mainers to work. But Democratic Legislative leadership and the Dems on the Appropriations Committee are playing games.

        “Instead of taking care of the 3,100 disabled and elderly Mainers on a waiting list for MaineCare services, Legislative leadership is trying to tie another expansion of welfare to paying the hospitals. They have rejected all of my proposals to crack down on welfare fraud, and they are pushing for a budget that will have to be paid for with tax increases. I told them months ago that the supplemental budget was not balanced, but they passed it anyway.

12. July: Theater at Monmouth: “Our Town” (REVIEW)

    “It goes so fast; we don’t have time to look at one another.” Hannah Daly, “Emily”

    Thornton Wilder’s classic “Our Town” opened on July 19th and is set in a fictional town called “Grover’s Corner, New Hampshire” in the early 1900’s.

    our townIt is impossible not to see striking similarities between that location and so many other small New England towns- in fact, the cast photo used for the play’s online promotion was taken in the large Monmouth Center Cemetery which borders Cumston Hall, the Theater’s home. Within that cemetery lie the remains of many generations of families eerily similar to the Gibbs, Webbs, Herseys, Crowells and Newsomes of Grover’s Corners, right down to those who served and died in the Civil War, and no doubt some of their lives mirrored those of the characters in this play.

    TAM’s exceptional cast and crew worked their magic with transforming the past back to life in the telling this simple tale; it was surreal during the intermission to step outside for those few minutes and into what appeared to be a future version of the tale currently being told inside.

13. May: ME Republican Party; Maine Wire Call Out 126th Dem Leaders- for Doing What 125th GOP & Others Before Them Did

    Oh, those “Liberal Elitists in Augusta”– Governor LePage just today tried to warn us all about them! Now, look at the no-good, very bad thing they did!
    House Minority Leader Ken Fredette had the following reaction:
    Governor LePage's "Liberal Elitists in Augusta" (aka Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves) once again refuse to provide Maine with a plan to pay off Maine's hospital debt. NOTE: Completely ignore, as the Maine Wire and Maine GOP do,  the information behind the nefarious pair of no-goodniks!

    Governor LePage’s “Liberal Elitists in Augusta” (aka Senate President Justin Alfond and Speaker of the House Mark Eves) once again refuse to provide Maine with a plan to pay off Maine’s hospital debt. NOTE: Completely ignore, as the Maine Wire and Maine GOP do, the information behind the nefarious pair of no-goodniks!

        “This is symptomatic of some of the problems we’ve been seeing in committees,” said House Republican Leader Kenneth Fredette (R-Newport). “Add to that Democrats continuing to use the one big thing we all agree on, the hospital bill, as a bargaining chip and a lack of credible solutions coming from them on balancing the budget, and we’re bound to have a very rushed final two months of session,” Fredette said.

      Assistant Minority Leader Alec Willette concurred:

      Wearing a nice suit in a potato field apparently makes sense to Rep. Willette, even if there is not a single potato farmer in Maine who would ever do this.

      Wearing a nice suit in a potato field apparently makes sense to Rep. Willette, even if there is not a single potato farmer in Maine who would ever do this.

        Assistant House Republican Leader Alexander Willette (R-Mapelton) said the Democrat’s decision does not bode well for the creation of sound public policy.

        “Anytime you stop advertising public hearings, you’re hindering the public’s ability to weigh in on important issues and, as a result, hindering our ability to craft good public policy,” he said.

      Oh, that is terrible! Awful! How dare they?!?

      Hey, wait a minute… what? Could it be that the Maine Wire/ GOP is trying to score cheap political points out of nothing at all?

      Nah… couldn’t be. Not those bastions of honesty and truth!

Well, there it is- the 2013 wrap-up. Happy 2014, everyone!

Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

Ice Storm Information

Posted on December 22, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , |

(Setting a Maine-specific informational post- similar links for other New England states/ regions available on various tabs above. ~AP)

WEATHER:

  • AccuWeather (Augusta)
  • National Weather Service (Gray)
  • Weather.com (Augusta)
  • National Weather Service home page
  • Wunderground (Augusta radar/ forecast)

    TV/ RADIO:

  • MPBN
  • WABI-5
  • WAGM-8
  • WCSH-6
  • WGME-13
  • WLBZ-2
  • WMTW-8
  • WPFO-23
  • WVII-7
  • MPBN Radio
  • WGAN 560
  • WLOB 95.5 1310
  • WVOM-103.9
  • WZON- The Pulse Morning Show
  • PRINT MEDIA:

  • Bangor Daily News
  • Fiddlehead Focus
  • Kennebec Journal
  • Lewiston Sun Journal
  • Maine Campus
  • Morning Sentinel
  • Portland Daily Sun
  • Portland Press Herald
  • Seacoast Online
  • St. John Valley News
  • Times Record

  • EMERGENCY INFORMATION:

    MEMA: http://www.maine.gov/mema/
    American Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/
    Red Cross Shelter Information: http://www.redcross.org/find-help/shelter
    Federal Emergency Management Agency: http://www.fema.gov
    FEMA Twitter: @FEMA

    POWER OUTAGES:

    Bangor Hydro-Electric: http://www.bhe.com/

      Contact info: Local (207) 947-2414
      Toll free US & Canada (800) 499-6600
      TDD (hearing impaired) (207) 990-6969
      TDD (hearing impaired) (800) 559-0069

    Central Maine Power: http://www.cmpco.com/

    President Barack Obama’s Eulogy at Nelson Mandela Memorial Service (VIDEO; Transcript)

    Posted on December 10, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

    This morning at Nelson Mandela’s state memorial, attended by dozens of world leaders and thousands of supporters of the late former President of South Africa, President Barack Obama delivered arguably the most important speech of his political career outside of the United States. Here is a video and the full transcript of his speech as delivered.

      Thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. To Graça Machel and the Mandela family; to President Zuma and members of the government; to heads of states and government, past and present; distinguished guests — it is a singular honor to be with you today, to celebrate a life like no other. To the people of South Africa — people of every race and walk of life — the world thanks you for sharing Nelson Mandela with us. His struggle was your struggle. His triumph was your triumph. Your dignity and your hope found expression in his life. And your freedom, your democracy is his cherished legacy.

      It is hard to eulogize any man — to capture in words not just the facts and the dates that make a life, but the essential truth of a person — their private joys and sorrows; the quiet moments and unique qualities that illuminate someone’s soul. How much harder to do so for a giant of history, who moved a nation toward justice, and in the process moved billions around the world.

      Nelson_Mandela-2008_(edit)Born during World War I, far from the corridors of power, a boy raised herding cattle and tutored by the elders of his Thembu tribe, Madiba would emerge as the last great liberator of the 20th century. Like Gandhi, he would lead a resistance movement — a movement that at its start had little prospect for success. Like Dr. King, he would give potent voice to the claims of the oppressed and the moral necessity of racial justice. He would endure a brutal imprisonment that began in the time of Kennedy and Khrushchev, and reached the final days of the Cold War. Emerging from prison, without the force of arms, he would — like Abraham Lincoln — hold his country together when it threatened to break apart. And like America’s Founding Fathers, he would erect a constitutional order to preserve freedom for future generations — a commitment to democracy and rule of law ratified not only by his election, but by his willingness to step down from power after only one term.

      Given the sweep of his life, the scope of his accomplishments, the adoration that he so rightly earned, it’s tempting I think to remember Nelson Mandela as an icon, smiling and serene, detached from the tawdry affairs of lesser men. But Madiba himself strongly resisted such a lifeless portrait. Instead, Madiba insisted on sharing with us his doubts and his fears; his miscalculations along with his victories. “I am not a saint,” he said, “unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying.”

      It was precisely because he could admit to imperfection — because he could be so full of good humor, even mischief, despite the heavy burdens he carried — that we loved him so. He was not a bust made of marble; he was a man of flesh and blood — a son and a husband, a father and a friend. And that’s why we learned so much from him, and that’s why we can learn from him still. For nothing he achieved was inevitable. In the arc of his life, we see a man who earned his place in history through struggle and shrewdness, and persistence and faith. He tells us what is possible not just in the pages of history books, but in our own lives as well.

      Mandela showed us the power of action; of taking risks on behalf of our ideals. Perhaps Madiba was right that he inherited, “a proud rebelliousness, a stubborn sense of fairness” from his father. And we know he shared with millions of black and colored South Africans the anger born of, “a thousand slights, a thousand indignities, a thousand unremembered moments…a desire to fight the system that imprisoned my people,” he said.

      But like other early giants of the ANC — the Sisulus and Tambos — Madiba disciplined his anger and channeled his desire to fight into organization, and platforms, and strategies for action, so men and women could stand up for their God-given dignity. Moreover, he accepted the consequences of his actions, knowing that standing up to powerful interests and injustice carries a price. “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I’ve cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and [with] equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”

      Mandela taught us the power of action, but he also taught us the power of ideas; the importance of reason and arguments; the need to study not only those who you agree with, but also those who you don’t agree with. He understood that ideas cannot be contained by prison walls, or extinguished by a sniper’s bullet. He turned his trial into an indictment of apartheid because of his eloquence and his passion, but also because of his training as an advocate. He used decades in prison to sharpen his arguments, but also to spread his thirst for knowledge to others in the movement. And he learned the language and the customs of his oppressor so that one day he might better convey to them how their own freedom depend upon his.

      Mandela demonstrated that action and ideas are not enough. No matter how right, they must be chiseled into law and institutions. He was practical, testing his beliefs against the hard surface of circumstance and history. On core principles he was unyielding, which is why he could rebuff offers of unconditional release, reminding the Apartheid regime that “prisoners cannot enter into contracts.”

      But as he showed in painstaking negotiations to transfer power and draft new laws, he was not afraid to compromise for the sake of a larger goal. And because he was not only a leader of a movement but a skillful politician, the Constitution that emerged was worthy of this multiracial democracy, true to his vision of laws that protect minority as well as majority rights, and the precious freedoms of every South African.

      And finally, Mandela understood the ties that bind the human spirit. There is a word in South Africa — Ubuntu — a word that captures Mandela’s greatest gift: his recognition that we are all bound together in ways that are invisible to the eye; that there is a oneness to humanity; that we achieve ourselves by sharing ourselves with others, and caring for those around us.

      We can never know how much of this sense was innate in him, or how much was shaped in a dark and solitary cell. But we remember the gestures, large and small — introducing his jailers as honored guests at his inauguration; taking a pitch in a Springbok uniform; turning his family’s heartbreak into a call to confront HIV/AIDS — that revealed the depth of his empathy and his understanding. He not only embodied Ubuntu, he taught millions to find that truth within themselves.

      It took a man like Madiba to free not just the prisoner, but the jailer as well — to show that you must trust others so that they may trust you; to teach that reconciliation is not a matter of ignoring a cruel past, but a means of confronting it with inclusion and generosity and truth. He changed laws, but he also changed hearts.

      For the people of South Africa, for those he inspired around the globe, Madiba’s passing is rightly a time of mourning, and a time to celebrate a heroic life. But I believe it should also prompt in each of us a time for self-reflection. With honesty, regardless of our station or our circumstance, we must ask: How well have I applied his lessons in my own life? It’s a question I ask myself, as a man and as a President.

      We know that, like South Africa, the United States had to overcome centuries of racial subjugation. As was true here, it took sacrifice — the sacrifice of countless people, known and unknown, to see the dawn of a new day. Michelle and I are beneficiaries of that struggle. But in America, and in South Africa, and in countries all around the globe, we cannot allow our progress to cloud the fact that our work is not yet done.

      The struggles that follow the victory of formal equality or universal franchise may not be as filled with drama and moral clarity as those that came before, but they are no less important. For around the world today, we still see children suffering from hunger and disease. We still see run-down schools. We still see young people without prospects for the future. Around the world today, men and women are still imprisoned for their political beliefs, and are still persecuted for what they look like, and how they worship, and who they love. That is happening today.

      And so we, too, must act on behalf of justice. We, too, must act on behalf of peace. There are too many people who happily embrace Madiba’s legacy of racial reconciliation, but passionately resist even modest reforms that would challenge chronic poverty and growing inequality. There are too many leaders who claim solidarity with Madiba’s struggle for freedom, but do not tolerate dissent from their own people. And there are too many of us on the sidelines, comfortable in complacency or cynicism when our voices must be heard.

      The questions we face today — how to promote equality and justice; how to uphold freedom and human rights; how to end conflict and sectarian war — these things do not have easy answers. But there were no easy answers in front of that child born in World War I. Nelson Mandela reminds us that it always seems impossible until it is done. South Africa shows that is true. South Africa shows we can change, that we can choose a world defined not by our differences, but by our common hopes. We can choose a world defined not by conflict, but by peace and justice and opportunity.

      obama eulogy mandelaWe will never see the likes of Nelson Mandela again. But let me say to the young people of Africa and the young people around the world — you, too, can make his life’s work your own. Over 30 years ago, while still a student, I learned of Nelson Mandela and the struggles taking place in this beautiful land, and it stirred something in me. It woke me up to my responsibilities to others and to myself, and it set me on an improbable journey that finds me here today. And while I will always fall short of Madiba’s example, he makes me want to be a better man. He speaks to what’s best inside us.

      After this great liberator is laid to rest, and when we have returned to our cities and villages and rejoined our daily routines, let us search for his strength. Let us search for his largeness of spirit somewhere inside of ourselves. And when the night grows dark, when injustice weighs heavy on our hearts, when our best-laid plans seem beyond our reach, let us think of Madiba and the words that brought him comfort within the four walls of his cell: “It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”

      What a magnificent soul it was. We will miss him deeply. May God bless the memory of Nelson Mandela. May God bless the people of South Africa.

    Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

    Maine’s Republican Legislature Divided on LD 1066, Medicaid Expansion Bill

    Posted on December 2, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    NOTE: Continuing to dust off past posts regarding Maine Senate Minority Leader Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo), as news broke today that he is considering jumping into the GOP primary race for Mike Michaud’s open seat. Here is the clip linked below in the original write up.

    *Related: “Maine Senate Floor Debate On Override Of LePage LD 1509 FY 14-15 Budget Veto (June 26 VIDEOS)”

    (Originally posted 18 Jun 2013)

    Last week saw a clear division among the 126th Legislature’s GOP caucus regarding whether or not to pass LD 1066, “An Act To Increase Access to Health Coverage and Qualify Maine for Federal Funding”, as Assistant Minority Leader Sen. Roger Katz (R-Kennebec) proposed a “sunset provision” amendment that passed that chamber by a 23-12 vote.

    Rising to speak against the provision were Minority Leader Sen. Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo), Sen. Doug Thomas (R-Somerset) , Sen. James Hamper (R-Oxford) , Sen. Garrett Mason (R-Androscoggin) , Sen. David Burns (R-Washington) and Sen. Andre Cushing (R-Penobscot) .

    Over in the House, Rep. Deb Sanderson (R-Chelsea) offered a second amendment to the bipartisan Senate approved bill, adding a $100 million dollar fiscal note that was indefinitely postponed by a 88-61 vote.

    From her prepared testimony: (shortened dramatically, due to available working space on this post. ~AP)

      “I rise before you today and present an amendment to LD 1066. This amendment seeks to set a clear and distinct priority in our MaineCare program and ensure that its original mission of caring for those who cannot care for themselves is fulfilled….

      Today I speak for the people that we legislators, policy makers and budgeters have shoved into the shadows. Today I’d like to bring them out in the light for you to see. Yes, these are the 3100 people being forced to languish on a waitlist, not receiving essential services because we don’t have the fiscal discipline to make the choices that need to be made in order to fund the care they need… not want… need. Some have been on this list for years….

      This amendment tried to rectify the abuses committed by the legislature and asks that you vote to insist that they begin receiving services by July 1 of THIS year….

      Yes, it will be expensive. This amendment carries a fiscal note of almost $100 million dollars over the upcoming biennium….”

    Her colleague Rep. Heather Sirocki (R-Scarborough) rose to speak in support of the amendment:

    Then Minority Leader Rep Ken Fredette (R-Newport) spoke in strong opposition, not just to the amendment but to the Medicaid expansion bill as well.

    (Later, Fredette would rise again to speak infamously out against the expansion- but, we’ve already covered THAT today!)

    Asst Majority Leader Jeff McCabe (D-Skowhegan) then moved to indefinitely postpone the LD 1066 amendment.

    When the House took the bill up again, as amended previously by Asst Minority Leader Senator Roger Katz (R-Kennebec), the vote results revealed some modest gains for the expansion, with 97 voting for enactment.

    As expected, Governor LePage vetoed LD 1066 on Monday (now the second time he has vetoed Medicaid expansion), so now it awaits more votes in the Legislature.

    Currently, House Majority Leader Seth Berry has moved for the bill to be tabled until later today (June 18) pending reconsideration.

    Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

    Maine Senate Floor Debate on Override of LePage LD 1509 FY 14-15 Budget Veto (June 26 VIDEOS)

    Posted on December 2, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

    3amigosNOTE: Now that Senate Minority leader Mike Thibodeau (R-Waldo) has indicated he is considering entering the #2CD #MEGOP primary fray against former Senate President Kevin (“Third time’s the charm, I tell ya!”) Raye and former Treasurer Bruce (“Which district do I live in, again?”) Poliquin, it’s time to go back through and dust off some posts.

    Oh, yeah… Blaine (“I’m running, too!”) Richardson is in the mix there, too- somewhere.

    Here’s a goodie- the day Mike Thibodeau vote to sustain LePage’s veto and shut down the entire state government. Ah, good times!


    (Originally posted 30 Jun 2013)

    Before the Maine Senate voted decisively by a 26-9 tally last Wednesday to override Governor Paul LePage’s Tuesday veto on LD 1509, “An Act Making Unified Appropriations and Allocations for the Expenditures of State Government, General Fund and Other Funds and Changing Certain Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government for the Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2014 and June 30, 2015”, twenty members of that body rose to deliver speeches.

    gop vs gopNOTE: Although Maine Republican Senators Assistant Minority Leader Roger Katz (Kennebec), Pat Flood (Kennebec; member of Appropriations committee), Brian Langley (Hancock), Tom Saviello (Franklin), Roger Sherman (Aroostook) and Edward Youngblood (Penobscot) joined Independent Senator Dick Woodbury (Cumberland) and all 19 Democratic Senators in overriding the Governor’s veto hence preventing a disastrous statewide government shutdown, there were no public statements released by their press office.

    The closest one can find would be this scathing letter from Assistant Minority Leader and former Augusta Mayor Roger Katz (Kennebec), which was picked up by the Washington Post.

    Katz has taken some heat from his own party for the letter:

      Commenters on a well-known conservative website blasted Katz for attempting to compromise on Medicaid expansion. The senator was dubbed a RINO, a “Republican In Name Only.” One commenter suggested that Katz is predisposed to support liberal policies because he is Jewish and an attorney.

    Ugly- and indicative of a party very deeply divided indeed.

    Here in order of speakers are clips of the full debate. The statements added are from a Senate Democratic press release sent out after the vote. Additionally was this statement from Senate President Justin Alfond (Cumberland).

      “We did what the people of Maine expect us to do— we passed a responsible budget that will keep the state working,” said Senate President Justin Alfond of Portland. “This is what we came here to do: work together to find common ground and help our state thrive.”

    *Related: Maine Senate Debate On LD 1509, FY 14-15 Biannual Budget (June 13 VIDEOS)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Dawn Hill (York)

      “Today’s vote is no longer a vote on whether you like the budget; today’s vote is a vote to either shut down or not to shut down our state’s government,” said Senator Dawn Hill of York, the Senate Chair of the Appropriations Committee. “I’m proud that our Republican colleagues joined us and stuck together to keep our state going, and pass a responsible, balanced budget for the people of Maine.”

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Pat Flood (Kennebec)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Emily Cain (Penobscot)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Brian Kangley (Hancock)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator David Burns (Washington)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator John Cleveland (Androscoggin)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Doug Thomas (Somerset)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Tom Saviello (Franklin)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Anne Haskell (Cumberland)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Colleen Lachowicz (Kennebec)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Margaret Craven (Androscoggin)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Chris Johnson (Lincoln)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Stan Gerzofsky (Cumberland)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Andre Cushing (Penobscot)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator John Tuttle (York)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Geoff Gratwick (Penobscot)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Roger Katz (Kennebec)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Troy Jackson (Aroostook)

    “I have voted on six biennial budgets in my time in the Legislature, and this is the budget vote I am most proud of,” said Assistant Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson of Allagash. “It’s certainly not a perfect budget, but it is a responsible budget. This is what legislating should look like.

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Mike Thibodeau (Waldo)

    LD 1509 Veto Override Floor Speech of Maine Senator Seth Goodall (Sagadahoc)

      “While no one got everything they wanted in this budget, everyone got something they needed. That is compromise, and that is what is needed in divided government in order to move Maine forward,” said Senate Majority Leader Seth Goodall of Richmond. “Today’s vote is a vote for a higher responsibility to put our state on solid footing. It’s also a vote for an opportunity to avoid property tax increases on every Maine homeowner. It’s a vote for an investment in our schools and our children–and it’s a vote to keep the lights on.”

    Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )

    Liked it here?
    Why not try sites on the blogroll...

    %d bloggers like this: