March 05, 2012
Maine Senate Race Game Change
Look at this map. It shows the results of the 2010 gubernatorial election in Maine. The red counties are those won by Republican Paul LePage. The green are those won by independent Eliot Cutler. There are no blue counties, because Democrat Elizabeth Mitchell didn't win one.
Angus King's decision to run as an independent may re-create it in Maine's Senate race this fall. When Olympia Snowe announced her retirement from the senate, Democrats rejoiced because they automatically assumed the seat was theirs to lose. They should moderate their expectations.
As Sean Trende noted last week, politically, Maine is not the most predictable state. Southern and coastal Maine (and the St. John Valley) tend to be Democratic. Northern, central and western Maine tend to trend center-right. In order to win statewide, a Democrat needs to rack up huge margins in southern and coastal Maine (the state's population centers) to overcome the center-right advantage in the rural vote. If the Democrats nominate Chellie Pingree, she and King would split the vote in those counties, opening the door to a potential GOP win.
Pingree is more liberal than the average Maine voter outside of her district, which makes her vulnerable to a challenge from the center-left King. So far, Republicans William Schneider and Charlie Summers have both declared their intention to run for the seat. Both are relatively moderate candidates who could get more support than LePage did in Pingree's district, weakening her and King's overall electoral position.
This is, of course, a presidential election year so turnout will be heavier than normal. However, Mainers are not party-line voters so I could see the state going for Obama while splitting the Senate vote between a liberal Democrat and an independent, allowing a moderate Republican to win a plurality. Remember, this is the state that gave Barack Obama 57% of the vote in 2008 while at the same time giving Susan Collins 61%.
I hope Democrats didn't spend too much on the victory champagne, because this race just got interesting.
February 21, 2012
Headline of the Day
Oh, Maine politics. Always something fun.
February 17, 2012
Maine GOP: The Spam Folder Ate Our Results
Why yes, the Maine GOP can make itself look more foolish.
Maine Republican Party chairman Charlie Webster has admitted that the state party made numerous clerical errors in counting the state’s caucus results — even omitting some votes because emails reporting tallies “went to spam” in an email account.Remember, this is a caucus in which only about 5,500 people voted and the winner is still in doubt. This is an embarrassing amount of incompetence on the part of the Maine GOP and Waldo County Republicans are right to call for Webster's censure. No delegates are actually awarded as a result of the caucuses, so this process was already meaningless. This post-vote bumbling is just the exclamation point at the end of an already bad joke.
However, Webster insisted that the errors did not change the outcome.
On Saturday, he had declared former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney the winner of Maine’s Presidential Preference Poll by fewer than 200 votes, even though not all municipalities had reported results.
“There were clerical errors that did not significantly change the numbers. There were several smaller towns that were left out, the reporting was wrong. … We’ve corrected those clerical errors and will send those numbers out [soon],” said Webster in an interview with POLITICO.
The inept handling of this process brings up a good question: isn't it time to get rid of caucuses?
When you’re dealing with caucuses versus primaries, the impact can be more easily seen. A caucus that’s held starting at 7pm on a weeknight in the middle of winter is obviously going to draw far fewer voters than a primary where the polls are open for twelve to thirteen hours a day and where voters have an opportunity to vote absentee if they aren’t going to be able to make it to the polls on primary day (as Ed Morrissey recently discovered in Minnesota, there is no such thing as absentee voting in a caucus). Turnout for a primary is often low to begin with, but turnout for a caucus is even worse. Many people don’t have the time to spend two or three hours on a work night sitting in a school gymnasium, firehouse, or meeting hall going through the often tedious process that ends with the (non-binding) straw poll that the cable news networks breathlessly report as the results of the caucus. This is especially true for people who work late, or have children.There are many things about the primary process that need to be overhauled. Getting rid of an outdated system for choosing delegates (or in Maine's case, not choosing delegates) seems a good place to start.
February 15, 2012
The Truth About Blogging
Sad, but true.
I've seen these "what I do" pictures around the web and they amuse me. So I created one.
February 12, 2012
Romney wins Maine Caucuses
The Ron Paul campaign had tried to lower expectations somewhat Saturday, alleging that the Romney campaign had been involved in some tricky business, and predicting that the results would be very close.Ron Paul supporters engaging in conspiracy theories? What a shock! A few towns also cancelled Saturday night bingo because of the weather. Guess that's on Romney as well?
In particular, a senior Paul aide had suggested that the Romney campaign was involved in the cancellation of a caucus where Paul’s campaign had expected to do well. “It’s not completely insidious, but they knew we were going to swamp it up there,” said Paul campaign chairman Jesse Benton.
The state GOP said that the caucus was cancelled due to inclement weather.
For the record, I didn't participate in the caucus. The results are non-binding. When the Maine GOP decides to make itself relevant and move to an actual primary that awards delegates, I'll re-register as a Republican and cast a vote. Until then? Meh.
February 07, 2012
Dems: Leave the Housing Authority Alone!
Nice commerce you had there...it would be a shame if anything happened to it.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Frustrated with a lack of response from the Attorney General’s Office, Rep. Mark Dion, D-Portland, presented new information Tuesday he says supports claims that Treasurer Bruce Poliquin has violated the state Constitution by engaging in commerce.Remember, Dion raised none of these charges until recently. It was only after Poliquin started noticing what seemed to be irregularities in the Housing Authority's budget that Dion started asking questions. Interesting timing, no?
February 06, 2012
Quick Super Bowl Reaction
Around the web, the general reaction to last night's game is to proclaim it one of the best Super Bowls ever. I'm not seeing it, and not just because the team I was rooting for lost. Last night, the Patriots played some terrible football, and the Giants still only barely beat them. It was two mediocre teams flailing away at one another for four hours - it was like the game was in slow motion.
That said, Jason Pierre Paul was robbed. He was the MVP of that game.
February 03, 2012
Protecting their Own
Maine Treasurer: Hey, the Housing Authority is spending money on some questionable stuff. Maybe we should look into that.
Maine Democrats: NUH-UH! OH, AND YOU'RE PRACTICING CAPITALISM OR SOMETHING!
The head of the Housing Authority really has no answers for the spending, high profile Democrats are fighting legislation that would make the organization more accountable. This comes just after the former head of the Maine Turnpike Authority pleaded guilty to felony theft.
And the Democrats answer this by going after the treasurer, who is doing nothing more than his job - making sure taxpayer resources are being spent appropriately. You've got to wonder why they're putting up such a smokescreen.
February 02, 2012
Weak Organization Engages in Useless Exercise
No actual votes and the results are nonbinding.
If anyone wonders why I left the party, look no further than this. The GOP leadership in Maine decided that an insignificant gabfest was preferable to an actual primary. If I were still a Republican, I would quite literally have no say in choosing my party's nominee.
Great job, Stupid Party!
February 01, 2012
Last night's dinner:
Cote de Porc a la Charcutiere
from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles cookbook)
1 tbs olive oil
1 tbs butter
4 rib chops of pork (approx 10 oz each)
salt & pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp wondra flour or all purpose flour
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup dark, strong chicken or veal stock
2 tbs dijon mustard
10 cornichons, thinly sliced
1 sprig of flat parsley, chopped
Preheat oven to 375. in an oven safe saute pan, heat oil, then butter. Season the chops with salt and pepper, then sear in the hot pan for about 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for another 8 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and remove the chops. Set them aside on a platter, loosely covered with foil, while you make the sauce.
Return the saute pan to the heat, add the onion. Cook until golden brown. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for one minute. Stir in the wine and reduce by half, scraping. Add the stock. Reduce the liquid by half. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the mustard. Add the cornichons, the parsley, and any nice juice that has run off the cooked chops. Adjust the seasoning. Arrange pork chops on platter and pour over sauce.
The pork chops are fantastic (especially if you cook them to the new temperature standards), but the sauce is the real winner here. Amazing.
January 31, 2012
Fiscal Reality? Pah!
Member of so-called "reality based" party refuses to accept actual reality.
AUGUSTA, Maine — Rep. Chellie Pingree told Gov. Paul LePage during a private meeting on Tuesday that it was unlikely that any federal Medicaid waivers would be granted to allow some of the health care cuts he has proposed.Sure, DHHS is bankrupting the state, but we can't cut a dime because...UNICORNS!
After a 45-minute meeting between the two in the governor’s office, Pingree spoke briefly to reporters.
“The governor and I had a very honest conversation about what a tough problem he and the Legislature has,” she said. “I continue to disagree with him on the issue of Medicaid waivers … I don’t know that the federal government at this point is going to say to Maine, it is OK to put people back out on the street with no health care coverage.”
Actually, Pingree does have a solution in mind.
Pingree was asked whether she offered the governor any alternatives.Funny how liberal solutions always come back to someone else giving up their money.
“I said one thing the governor can do is go back to companies like Wal-Mart that actually educate their workers to qualify for Medicaid as opposed to giving better coverage to their own workers,” Pingree said. “One of the reasons many people have turned to Medicaid is because the cost of paying for health care through your job have gone up and employers are giving less and less. For many of the big chains, they could do more of their share.”
Also, I've actually worked for Wal-Mart. They never told me to qualify for government assistance. Just saying.
January 30, 2012
The Coveted Slublog Endorsement
This has been an awful primary season.
After only a couple of primaries, Republicans have a choice between three politicians who have embraced big government solutions in the past, and Ron Paul. After much thought, I've finally decided which candidate I can wholeheartedly support.
January 27, 2012
An Open Letter to the RNC
Morons...sorry, that's no way to start a letter. Let's try again.
Dear RNC Leaders,
Here we are again.
Four years ago, the GOP primaries began and I was a big supporter of Rudy Giuliani. He did poorly in Iowa, then New Hampshire and in South Carolina. His loss in Florida ended his campaign and I had to consider an alternative candidate. I think Giuliani could have beat Barack Obama in the general election. Unfortunately, voters in four states decided that he would never have the chance at such a campaign.
Every time a state other than those tries to move their primary to a place where it would have some relevance, the RNC punishes that state by stripping it of delegates, or taking away convention perks. The party has shown its commitment to the current system time and again, and frankly, I'm sick of it.
This year, after voters in two states cast their ballots, five candidates dropped out: Herman Cain, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Jon Huntsman. We are in another election cycle where I am once again denied the chance to vote for my preferred candidate. Thanks to a stupid, out-of-date primary system, the candidate I would have chosen has already been eliminated by a handful of voters.
Cycle after cycle, voters in two states are given more power than the rest of us. The current system is antiquated, unfair and frankly, idiotic. And it needs to end. I'm sick of it, and I'm probably not the only one.
Tomorrow, I'm going to walk to City Hall. I'm going to change my party affiliation from 'Republican' to 'None.' I will not give any money to the GOP nominee, nor will I volunteer any time. None of those left is fully acceptable to me, so they will have my vote and nothing else.
Change the process, and you have a chance at winning me back. If you keep courting the spoiled brats in New Hampshire and Iowa, you will lose me and those like me forever.
January 26, 2012
BDN Editorial Staff, Mind-Readers
How do I know they can read minds? Behold:
Paul LePage probably is fond of the cliche, “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” We can infer as much from his first State of the State address Tuesday night.Yes, you read that correctly. The governor is, you know, 'probably' fond of that saying. Of course they can't be sure of that, but they're going to write an entire editorial on his State of the State speech based on that assumption because he used the word 'outraged' a few times and stuff. So, you know, he's almost definitely fond of that particular cliche.
For the record, the governor used that word exactly twice. I counted.
Then, there's this - the BDN fact-checks the speech.
Here's the weird thing. I checked two newspaper archive databases with the search terms "Baldacci state of state fact check" and got no results back from either search. It's almost as though they're treating the Republican governor differently than the Democrat. Funny, that.
Now that the blog is back up, I've had a query about comments. I do plan to bring them back online, just as soon as I can get the spam filters working correctly.
January 25, 2012
Maine Liberals: Why Cut DHHS...
Engage Maine said the state’s wealthiest 1 percent pay an effective state and local tax rate that’s 12 percent lower than the average Mainer’s. Making residents who earn more than $350,000 a year pay “their fair share” at the average state tax rate and restoring the 2010 tax rate for those earning more than $200,000 annually would generate $72 million a year, said Garrett Martin, executive director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy, a member of Engage Maine.A revenue problem?
He pointed out that the state is spending less General Fund money than it did in 1998, in inflation-adjusted dollars.
“We don’t have a spending problem here,” Martin said. “What we have is a revenue problem.”
Yeah, not so much.
Maine's 2009 state and local tax burden of 10.1% of income is above the national average of 9.8%. Maine's tax burden has remained relatively constant from 10.1% (23rd nationally) in 1977 to 10.1% (9th nationally) in 2009. Maine taxpayers pay $3,832 per capita in state and local taxes.Combine an above-average tax rate with a below-average per capita income, and it adds up to a simple truth: there's not a lot of money left for the government to take.
The progressives, though, have only one playbook, containing variations on one play - they believe they are entitled to more of your money, all the time. Their appetite for taxes will never go away, and never wanes. The only way to keep them from taking it is to keep them out of office.
No Crying in Football
Update: Harbaugh: "nonsense."
Awwww....I know it hurts...let it out...
Baltimore Ravens kicking consultant Randy Brown told Angelo Cataldi and The Morning Team today on 94 WIP that the scoreboard in New England was incorrect during that final drive. “The scoreboard was one down behind, the entire last three plays, from what we understand,” Brown said. That caused Billy Cundiff to have to rush on to the field with just seconds left on the play clock to try and make the kick, which he missed.Losing such a close game has got to hurt, but this sort of whining is just unbecoming. This guy was the coach directly responsible for the kicker, he's trying to take the heat off himself and he knows the best way to do that is point fingers at a team and a guy disliked by many in the league.
When Cataldi asked Brown if he thought the Patriots did it it on purpose to gain an advantage, Brown replied, “I don’t think you can rule anything out in New England, can you?”
Is Brown trying to suggest that not one person on the Ravens sideline could accurately count downs? Not one of the coordinators let Harbaugh know there was a mistake? If Brown's looking to blame someone, he can look at his coach, who had a time out he could have used but did not.
If the Ravens want to make it to the Super Bowl, they've got to be honest about their weaknesses and fix them instead of looking for villains to blame.
UPDATE - Harbaugh responded earlier today.
“Any suggestion the wrong down info was a deliberate effort to affect the outcome of the game is nonsense,” Harbaugh said Wednesday, per Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun.Good for him. Unless teams have strong evidence, they shouldn't throw around these sort of accusations.
January 24, 2012
Why Do Conservatives Distrust the Media?
WASHINGTON — Declaring the American dream under siege, President Barack Obama called Tuesday night for a flurry of help for a hurting middle class and higher taxes on millionaires, delivering a State of the Union address packed with re-election themes. Restoring a fair shot for all, Obama said, is "the defining issue of our time."Fairness. That's in the Constitution,right?
Obama outlined a vastly different vision for fixing the country than the one pressed by the Republicans challenging him in Congress and fighting to take his job in the November election. He pleaded for an active government that ensures economic fairness for everyone, just as his opponents demand that the government back off and let the free market rule.
Okay, that's just snark. Fairness is not mentioned in the Constitution, for a simple reason - life is not fair. I do not say that because I'm a comfortable member of the "one percent." Quite the opposite.
My father was in the military and I was raised on bases around the country. My first job was framing pictures at an art auction. That was when I was in high school. When I was in college, I paid for books and gas money by working in retail and food service. I have put up with grumpy customers who have literally hit me with shopping carts and burned myself on skillets and with hot frying grease.
After graduation, I got my first 'professional' job, which led to another job and graduate school, which led me to where I am today. I earn a decent salary with good benefits because I've worked for them. My wife is a medical professional who makes more than me. In Obama's world, neither of us should profit from our efforts to better our station in life. In our president's eyes, the fact that we earn more than others is reason enough to hand over more of our paycheck to ensure we aren't making more than we "should."
Frankly, the fact that our president has decided that he knows the acceptable level of personal profit we should earn from our labor is frightening. At best, his statements on 'fairness' make him a dreamer. At worst, they reveal his true nature - a near-fascist who dreams of a utopia defined by his personal desires.
Neither is comforting.
What's even less comforting is that the media seems all too willing to frame their stories in a way that supports his message. In their eyes, Obama wants "fairness." The GOP? They want you to be at the mercy of the awful "free market." Look upon the invisible hand and despair!
So...Newt? Mitt? After that speech, all I have to say is yes. Just...yes.
Pipeline? We Don't Need No Stinking Pipeline!
In the State of the Union address, President Obama emphasized the need for more "green" energy. This call came about a week after Obama killed the Keystone pipeline from Canada.
Obama, in his insipid speech, talked about alternative energy sources. I would like to see him explain how I can heat my home with a windmill or solar panels.
Until then, I will burn both oil and wood pellets to keep me and my family warm. The alternative is really not that attractive. If the media were fair, this man's death would be a national story as an example of why Obama's energy policies are so misguided.
Fortunately for the president, he's a Democrat, so this will remain a senseless tragedy. Funny how that works.
Time to Show Some Professionalism
In the past few years, Bangor voters have finally elected young people to serve on the city council.
After reading this, I'm thinking we might have made a mistake.
“Sure, I might have gotten elected in 2010 and sure I might’ve been, or might be, 23 presently, but for the chair of the Bangor City Council — and I don’t care if you’re chair or not — to address me in that manner is disrespectful and unbecoming of your office,” Longo told Weston. “Don’t you ever do that again and I demand an apology for your actions. It was very distasteful and it better not happen again.”Seriously?
Longo added that Weston had insulted him as well as anyone who voted for him. He repeated his demand for an apology.
Weston then recognized Councilor Ben Sprague after saying: “Very good. Thank you, Councilor Longo.”
Longo bristled and repeated his demand. Weston said, “I heard you. Councilor Sprague.”
Longo repeated his demand twice more before Weston responded, “Councilor Longo, enough.”
“I’m not your son, OK! I ask for an apology,” Longo said. After Sprague said that this was a conversation that they should probably have “off hours,” Longo gathered up his materials, stood up and left the meeting. He did not return.
“I said I was sorry to the other councilors and city staff who were there because I shouldn’t have left,” Longo said Tuesday afternoon.
Mayor Weston...Councilor Longo...I have but one request.
Please, grow up and get over yourselves.
Bangor needs new blood and new ideas. Stupid, senseless feuds like this will make voters wonder whether this generation has what it takes to lead the city. Personally, I think we do have potential, but it is squandered by foolish arguments over trivialities. Mayor Weston, thank you for apologizing. Councilor Longo, curb the drama. Did you really need to walk out? Next time, try to show some professionalism.
Seriously, guys. Don't make me fill out candidacy forms and petitions to replace you.
Just do your jobs. Is that too much to ask?
On Second Thought...
After that speech?
The blogging mojo may be back. Obama's got to go.
More to come, folks...