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NEWS!  from August 2011 (updated: 10.02.2011, 13:17)  Previous month's news


  • maine district map08/29 Redistricting Update. The R's latest is to move Androscoggin County into the 1st District. Compromise is unlikely. Here's the BDN article (08/28).
  • FLOTUS in Maine September 30th. Michelle Obama (First Lady of the U.S.) will be in the Portland area at the end of the month. Here are the links for information/tickets, to donate and RSVP to the Portland events:

    RSVP Online Using the Contribution Pages:

    Lunch: http://my.barackobama.com/sep30capeelizabeth

    Reception: http://my.barackobama.com/sep30portofportland


  • Notes on the Affordable Care Act. Former state senator Mary Cathcart emphasizes the importance to women of President Obama's Affordable Care Act in this BDN OpEd (08/22). She and co-writer Joanne D'Arcangelo say, in conclusion:

    "...Even though women are more likely to need preventive health care services, a recent national survey found that 44 percent of women reported delaying or avoiding care because of costs. Under the new guidelines, cost-sharing requirements are gone, ensuring that new insurance plans will offer preventive services without charging a co-payment, co-insurance or a deductible.

    Let's share this good and long-overdue news with our co-workers, neighbors, family members, and friends. If you're employed, gather your co-workers and lobby your employer to sign up for these preventive measures today. Women and men should celebrate this victory, because no one's mother, daughter, sister, niece, aunt, grandmother or granddaughter should ever struggle or suffer with a preventable illness.

    Why? It's as simple as this: preventive services save lives. And because we're worth it."

    And the chilling counter-poise is Jeffery Toobin's 08/29 article in the New Yorker, Will Clarence and Virginia Thomas succeed in killing Obama's health-care plan?. When the lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act reaches the Supreme Court, he writes:

    ...It is likely to be the most important case for the Justices since Bush v. Gore, and it will certainly be the clearest test yet of Thomas's ascendancy at the Court. Thomas's entire career as a judge has been building toward the moment when he would be able to declare that law unconstitutional. It would be not only a victory for his approach to the Constitution but also, it seems, a defeat for the enemies who have pursued him for so long: liberals, law professors, journalists - the group that Thomas refers to collectively as "the élites." Thomas's triumph over the health-care law and its supporters is by no means assured, but it is now tantalizingly within reach...
    The article is an eye-opening view of Thomas and the conservative Court - a must-read.
  • maine district map08/23 Redistricting Update. The public hearing was well-attended by Knox County citizens, with the overwhelming majority of speakers in favor of the Democratic plan(s). Republicans would not show their latest plan, driven by their national party organization, hoping to unseat 2nd District Congressman Michaud. The Redistricting Committee's last meeting is 29 August; compromise within the committee is unlikely.

    In a new twist, majority Republicans in the Legislature are planning to change the required a two-thirds vote to a simple majority for approval of a redistricting plan by the full Legislature in September's special session. BDN story (08/24).


  • Our John Syrett Lobster Bake (Saturday, August 20th) was a success. Among the attendees were special guests, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Martha Fuller Clark of New Hampshire (Obama for America National Finance Committee; Obama New England Steering Committee; Vice Chair, New Hampshire State Democratic Committee; member, Democratic National Committee).

    We'll have pix up soon.

    Click the ActBlue button below to contribute.


  • The Public Hearing on Redistricting is Tuesday, 23 August. (our email today had the day right, but date wrong at the top). We need to be there to show our support for the Democratic plan. As state rep Joan Welsh says, "Knox County made a strong showing in 2003, objecting to being moved into the 2nd district, and we succeeded. We can do it again."

    9:00 a.m. ,State House, Augusta, Room 228 (Appropriations Committee Room)


  • maine district mapRedistricting Update. Our Rep. Joan Welsh sent us the press release from the House Democrats on the status of the Redistricting Committee's work.

    Short story: The Democratic plan would move the town of Vassalboro into District 2. The Republican Gerrymander would move 350,00 Mainers so the party can gain 10,000 registered Republicans in District 2, would put Knox County into District 2, and would put U. S. Representatives Pingree and Michaud in the same district (2).

    Included are a couple of Powerpoint slide shows that illustrate the differences between the Democratic and Republican plans. The Democratic plan and some history here, and comparison of the two plans here.

    The Bangor Daily News (08/15) opines that there is room for negotiation. But with the sides so far apart, and with so little time to work, we probably are headed for a court resolution in January.


  • earthClimate change. NOAA recently calculated the new normal temperatures for the last decade: up 1.5 degrees over that of the 1970's. More at NYTimes (07/20)

    Climate Central is an interesting source of information on these issues, including hotter nights, climate change deniers, and impacts of climate change.


  • dollar signThe Bottom Line. "There is no economically sensible or politically honest way to address the deficit without also increasing revenues and reforming the tax code." (NYTimes 08/07)

    The fight over the national budget will continue with probably no rational resolution when the Congressional "super committee" reports at the end of November. With a few notable exceptions (Maine's Senators among them) most Republicans have signed Grover Norquist's "No Taxes" pledge. (Here's a link to his Americans for Tax Reform organization.)

    The NYTimes (07/19) discusses the pledge issue in an opinion here, titled, "Signing Away the Right to Govern."

    This NYTimes (08/05) article discusses some of the implications of the recent debt ceiling deal, particularly with respect to the defense budget:

    ...But what really has folks up in arms, so to speak, is what happens next. A six-person "supercommittee" has until Thanksgiving to find another $1.5 trillion in cuts over the next decade; if it doesn't, then $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts will kick in, the so-called sequester mechanism, with half coming from defense spending...

    Here's Warren Buffet discussing the injustice of his 17% tax rate, and why it ought to be at least as high as that of the wage-earners in his office (NYTimes 08/15). He ends his piece with, "...My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice."

    President Obama's position in the debt limit negotiations as a black American - an articulate and interesting point of view here. "Progressive angst: it's not him--it's you."

    So is it divine retribution on the pious Republicans that:

    • Tea Party-Born Again Christian-Nut Case Michele Bachmann won their Iowa straw poll? (Read the New Yorker (08/15) Bachmann profile here.)
    • Willard "Mitt" Romney said to an Iowa heckler, "Corporations are people, friend"? (Maureen Dowd's amusing take (NYTimes 08/14) is here.)
    • Olympia Snow and Jock McKernan's Education Management Corporation has had a multi-billion-dollar fraud suit filed against it by the federal government and four states (NYTimes 08/09)?


  • Election Day Registration drive: The People's Veto petition was turned in to the Secretary of Sate's office on Monday, August 8th, with about 68,000 signatures. In Knox County, we turned in an outstanding effort with almost 11% of registered voters signing the petition. Not bad for the bunch of "extreme left-wing groups and individuals" characterized by Republican House Speaker Nutting (BDN 08/08).

    Carolyn Foster received the KCDC "John Hancock" award for getting the most signatures; Bonnie Post should get the Barnum Bailey award for keeping the most balls in the air while organizing a petition drive.

    Results by town:

    Town Signatures
    Appleton 142
    Cushing 152
    Friendship 130
    Hope 174
    Isle au Haut 38
    Matinicus 10
    North Haven 96
    Owls Head 109
    S. Thomaston 120
    St. George 238
    Thomaston 313
    Union 104
    Vinalhaven 87
    Warren 215
    Washington 88
    Subtotal rural 2,016
    Camden 554
    Rockland 367
    Rockport 141
    Subtotal urban 1,162
    Total Knox 3,178

  • Our last meeting was Tuesday, August 9, at Stella Maris House in Rockland. The agenda is here. We'll have a recap soon.

  • click to enlarge
    Lobster Festival Parade was Saturday, August 6. We had another great turnout with 45 loyal Dems including all our Knox County legislators. Our friends at Dirigo Blue have a photo gallery.

    Thanks to Amy Fischer & Diane Smith (the organizers), Chaos Sauce (the band), and Meklin & Sons of Cushing (the semi!).


  • New on our website...
    • A search page; so you find all the old stuff on the site.
    • Links to Right Wing sites; so you can keep tabs on the opposition (on our 'Links' page.)

  • Sen. David Trahan announced his December resignation. Trahan represents most of Lincoln County and the towns of Washington and Friendship in Knox County. He will become executive director of the Sportsmen's Alliance of Maine; his lobbying for that organization would create a conflict of interest with his duties in the Maine Senate. BDN (08/03)
  • elephantChildren! According the Bangor Daily (08/01) "[Charlie Webster,] The chairman of the Maine Republican Party said Friday that College Republicans at the University of Maine at Farmington worked to prevent university vans from being used to take student voters to the polls on Election Day 2010."

    The Republican students reserved the University vans on election day, and then parked them, to prevent the vans from being used.

    This reminds us of the Republican Convention incident in June 2010, when Bill Chapman's Knox County delegation defaced their host school's classroom: "...a collage depicting the history of the labor movement was missing. In its place, someone had left a bumper sticker reading: 'Working People Vote Republican.'" (BDN 05/12/2010)


  • checkmarkOOPS! Motor Voter gumshoe stumbles. Secretary of State Charlie Summers' investigation of fraud at the BMV missed at least one promising lead by failing to talk to the prior administration's SoS, Matt Dunlap. Dunlap recognized Summers' "whistle blower's" story from a 2004 incident that he resolved. According to the (BDN 08/01) story:

    "After Summers' announcement last week, Dunlap said he called the Bureau of Motor Vehicles employee directly. She told him that she was upset with Summers' characterization of her concerns, and that she since has asked Summers to clarify the substance of their conversation...

    Summers did confirm that he did not contact Dunlap or any other previous secretaries of state before his press conference and said that he has no plans to do so...

    The secretary of state also said his investigation was not related to same-day voter registration, but many Democrats believe that point has been lost in the discussion..."

    Hah!


  • People's Veto. The petition is to turn back a part of LD 1376, the legislation repealing same-day voter registration. The petition drive has gone well - most Knox County towns have surpassed their quotas.

    Information about the Peoples Veto effort can be found here.

    The petitions must be delivered to the Secretary of State by August 8th. If you haven't signed, some solicitors may still have petitions open until Thursday or Friday (Aug 4th or 5th). See our July news for a list.


  • Redistricting Maine. The BDN (07/29) lays out the problem: move 4,300 voters from District 1 (southern Maine) to District 2 (northern Maine). Potential solutions: move Vassalboro or split up Knox County? Our Joan Welsh is on the bipartisan Redistricting Commission of seven Republicans, seven Democrats and one independent moderator.

    The schedule:

    • Aug 31: Commission recommendations due to Legislature.
    • Sep 30: Legislature's decision due after special session.
    • Nov 15: Maine Supreme Judicial Court reapportions, if legislature fails to do so.
    • Jan 1, 2012: Panel of federal judges decides if we are still dead-locked.

    The Redistricting Commission:

    Independent Moderator

    • Michael Friedman, a Bangor attorney and former chairman of the Maine Ethics Commission

    Democrats

    • Rep. John Martin, Eagle Lake (D)
    • Rep. Joan Welsh, Rockport (D)
    • Rep. Henry Beck, Waterville (D)
    • Sen. Philip Bartlett, Gorham (D)
    • Sen. Seth Goodall, Richmond (D)
    • Cathy Newell, chair, Oxford County Democrats, Public representative (D)
    • Dick Grandmaison, Lewiston, Maine Democratic Party representative (D)

    Republicans

    • Rep. Kenneth Fredette, Newport (R)
    • Rep. Les Fossell, Alna (R)
    • Rep. Richard Cebra, Naples (R)
    • Sen. Debra Plowman, Hampden (R)
    • Sen. Rodney Whittemore, Skowhegan (R)
    • Josh Tardy, former legislator, Newport, Public representative (R)
    • Dan Billings, chief counsel for Gov. Paul LePage, Maine Republican Party representative (R)

 

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