Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Cutler Racks Up Endorsements

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Two more!

I won’t turn this into a political blog, I promise, I just find it interesting that now both the Lewiston Sun-Journal and Bangor Daily News have endorsed Eliot Cutler for governor: “Maine needs a statesman, not an antagonist” and “Eliot Cutler for Governor“.

The Sun-Journal:

LePage is correct on the issues, but his bare-knuckle style and bully tactics will not produce the change Mainers so desperately need. In fact, his combative stance will further entrench Maine’s woes.

We need a practiced executive in the Blaine House, a person who has the skills and experience to be an administrator of progress. A person determined to improve our schools, reduce our taxes, fix our roads and vastly shrink government spending.

Cutler is that person.

And from the Daily News:

Maine has a rare opportunity to remake its government. State finances demand it. The public, increasingly aware that big changes are needed for the state to prosper, wants it.

Only one candidate for governor – Eliot Cutler – has the skills, vision and detailed plans to lead this work.

So now the Sun-Journal, the Daily News, the Press Herald, the Portland Phoenix, the York Weekly, the York County Coast Star, the Portsmouth Herald, the Times Record and the USM Free Press have all endorsed Cutler.


Eliot Cutler for Governor

Monday, October 25th, 2010

Not that I’m fond of the Portland Press Herald, but this is pretty big: “Our endorsement for governor: Eliot Cutler the best choice to lead Maine forward“.

University of Southern Maine’s Free Press also endorsed him today: “Eliot Cutler for Governor“.

I have a good Cutler story from last week. I was leaving my class at USM on Thursday night, and I saw Cutler and his wife in the parking garage. I accosted them, told him that I was interested in voting for him, but had concerns about his education platform (I had recently read a blurb about his wanting to increase classroom sizes). He shifted into politician-mode about some mailer from the MEA about teacher layoffs, which I quickly brushed aside – I just wanted to know the facts of his platform.

He went into his prepared remarks about 11.3 students for every teacher and Maine having the second-highest student-teacher ratio, and by increasing it to 13.5 it’d save something like $140 million.

I said that I’d look into it some more, but that I was still 90% sure I’d vote for him.

And then he did something classy.

He said, “Josh, if you don’t vote for me, please email me and let me know why.”

Now shoot, will I really email him if I don’t vote for him? Will he really read it if I really mail him? Will he care why?

But still, I thought it was classy.

Quite honestly I’m going to vote after my Tuesday night USM class, at around 7 pm, and I’ll see where bat-shit crazy Tea Partier Paul LePage is in the standings, and then vote accordingly.

I’m all for independents, but not if elect a nutball (cough) George W. Bush (cough).

Anyway, I ended by saying how I was attending Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity this weekend, and I was contemplating wearing a Cutler tee shirt. His wife thought that was a good idea.

So even if I don’t vote for him, I think I’ll wear a shirt.

Disney Dollars

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Interesting article over at the Orlando Sentinel, “Disney becoming more generous with political contributions.”

Disney, employing close to 60,000 people in Central Florida, has lots of clout, but apparently they’re not above buying a little more.

While I’m not naive to this sort of thing, it’s a little sad to me that they’re greasing the palms of so many Republicans.

Here’s a post about that: “[Walt] Disney World’s favorite Florida politicians.”

We’re Number 3! We’re Number 3!

Friday, August 20th, 2010

And now for some happy news this Friday morning: “10 Signs The U.S. is Becoming a Third World Country“.


American hatred

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Another mikeyhemlok article from the “Attackerman” blog: “Getting Ugly Out There“:

I’m getting increasingly uncomfortable with where we find ourselves going. It’s moving quickly past mere reprehensible politics, fueling itself with more vitriol, more lies, more fear and more hatred, taking us all too fast to a place that, as an American, I believed was behind us for good …

So I look around, at all the racial and ethnic hatred spewing forth from every corner, and I wonder where we can go from here. Is there a path back from all this, or have we passed some kind of tipping point from which there is no return? Will it all fade away after November, or have we lit the fuse and now stand helpless, perhaps even regretful, as we await the inevitable explosion? This all seems like such a very, very bad idea. As the rhetoric gets uglier, the hatred more explicit, it can only be a matter of time before somebody feels threatened enough to push back, and then somebody is going to die. And at that moment, when, shocked into silence, we all hesitate and draw a collective breath and wonder if we should just stop and think, talk to each other, LISTEN to each other, will we have it within ourselves as Americans to back away? Or will we, the most heavily armed nation in the world, reach for our weapons and go to war against ourselves?

Daily Show is Spot On

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

You probably saw late last week Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele called the country’s conflict in Afghanistan “a war of Obama’s choosing.” Here’s the New York Times piece: “G.O.P. Leader Draws Criticism Anew.”

This guy is nuts. Completely detached from reality.

And there’s really only one answer to why/how he’s acting this way; Larry Wilmore and the Daily Show had it dead on back in April with a piece they called “Republicans Want Michael Steele to Fail.”

Quick synopsis: “Instead of Republicans trying to tell America that a black man will steer us all to ruin, they’re using Michael Steele to show us.”

It’s completely genius, although it has some salty language, so be advised:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Republicans Want Michael Steele to Fail
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

Les is More

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Gail Collins had an interesting op-ed in the New York Times last week: “The Rise of the Richies“.

Made me think of Maine’s own Les Otten.

Abramoff and the Tea Party

Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Pointed, but probably true: “If Jack Abramoff weren’t in prison, he’d be leading the Tea Party.”

Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black

Friday, April 30th, 2010

You probably already seen this, but I’ve run out of things to post. Or I’m just lazy. Your call.

Imagine if the Tea Party Was Black.”

Imagine that hundreds of black protesters were to descend upon Washington DC and Northern Virginia, just a few miles from the Capitol and White House, armed with AK-47s, assorted handguns, and ammunition. And imagine that some of these protesters —the black protesters — spoke of the need for political revolution, and possibly even armed conflict in the event that laws they didn’t like were enforced by the government? Would these protester — these black protesters with guns — be seen as brave defenders of the Second Amendment, or would they be viewed by most whites as a danger to the republic? What if they were Arab-Americans?

Hopefully this will change just one person’s mind.

Elizabeth Warren

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Rolling Stone is a weird magazine. For all of it’s articles about old hippies, obscure bands you’ll never hear of again, and pot (every two weeks another article about pot!) they do have fantastic coverage on Washington; the articles can also be longer and a little more pointed than other magazines.

Last week’s issue has an amazing piece on Elizabeth Warren, the TARP bailout overseer and architect of the proposed Consumer Financial Protection Agency: “The Watchdog.”

These are the important people in Washington whom we all should know (although, to be fair, she did appear on The Daily Show a few months ago).

Right Wing Rewrites

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

Wow, this roils my blood: “Not satisfied with U.S. history, some conservatives rewrite it.”

I wonder if these people are just plain stupid … or nefarious?

Here’s a direct quote from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN):

“FDR applied just the opposite formula [than cutting taxes]: the Hoot-Smalley act, which was a tremendous burden on tariff restrictions. And of course trade barriers and the regulatory burden and of course tax barriers.”

Nowadays anyone with wikipedia can verify facts in about four seconds – unless you purposefully change the words. It’s tough to find anything on the internet about “Hoot-Smalley” if the real name was Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act.

And yes, that was passed by President Coolidge, a Republican. Shit, Smoot and Hawley? Also Republicans.

At least Bachmann knew that the act was a disaster. She just blamed the wrong side.

Wow. This irks me so.

Milbank on Reform

Monday, March 29th, 2010

Dana Milbank has a good column in last Sunday’s Washington Post: “Health reform and the specter of Alf Landon.”

Landon, you might recall, ran against FDR in 1936’s presidential election – the most lopsided election in the history of the United States in terms of electoral votes (I don’t want to spoil it, but FDR creamed him).

Additionally the 1936 presidential election, you might recall, was the one in which Maine lost its place as the bellwether presidential elections.

For the hundred years prior Maine had almost consistently predicted the Presidential winner. See, back then our statewide elections were in September. In the presidential election years we oftentimes voted in the governor or senators from the party that would go on to win the presidential election. The political wisdom of the time became “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.”

Then 1936 happened.

Only Maine and Vermont voted for Landon.

Thus the phrase jokingly became “As goes Maine, so goes Vermont.”

Anyway, check out Milbank’s article.

John Lewis

Sunday, March 21st, 2010

Have you seen this yet: “Spitting and Slurs Directed at Lawmakers?”

Tea Party protesers apparently spit on House of Representative members, yelled gay slurs at Barney Frank and the “N-word” at African-American members.

That’s it. The Tea Party has jumped the shark. Everyone out of the pool.

Now, I don’t side with the demonstrators – I’d very much like government health care, please – but I think it’s fair that they’re allowed to display their opinion. Everyone should be allowed to assemble peaceably.

But racial epithets slung towards John Lewis?

That gets my ire up. My blood boiling.

Although he does it so often it’s a bit like crying wolf, this deserves a Keith Olbermann rant.

So I’ll take a shot.

John Lewis is, well if not a “hero” then he’s certainly “heroic”. He’s faced the darkest, most evil aspect of America, risen up and changed the system.

John Lewis is, by my account, the living embodiment of the possibility of America.

Here he is after being attacked by white segregationists at a bus station in Montgomery, Alabama during the Freedom Rides:

The caption that I cut off? “Jim Zwerg [the white Freedom Rider on the right] is checking how many teeth he has left.”

Here’s Lewis, as the leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, being beaten by state trooper during an attempt to march on the Alabama state capitol in March of 1965:

I don’t even have a photo from his beating during the Selma to Montgomery marches, which left head wounds that are still visible 45 years later.

The Tea Party crowd, and before them the Militia-folk of the 1990s, like the Thomas Jefferson quote “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots & tyrants”.

John Lewis, patriot, has shed his blood for our country.

Our country.

Part of the reason that protestors today are not mercilessly beaten is the lessons we as a country learned after the Civil Rights movement. The photos of dogs, water hoses and billy clubs being used on human beings as they tried to exercise their right to peaceably assemble were so violent, so excessive that it sickens us still a half a century later.

Disagree with his politics, that’s fine. Assemble in peaceful manner to do so. Heck, go on Fox News and complain. But don’t do this.

Don’t Mess With Texas

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Not sure if you’ve been following the story of the Texas board of education and how they’ve been throwing their conservative weight around with school book publishers. Things like asserting the Christian faith of the founders and lessening the role of Thomas Jefferson in the founding (he who coined the damned “separation between church and state”), pointing our flaws in the Great Society (damned Civil Rights, federal education funding and poverty war), playing up the violence of the Black Panthers, giving the Reagan Revolution more time … just a whole host of things with which I do not agree.

The New York Times has more on the subject: “Texas Conservatives Win Curriculum Change.”

To be fair, I’m not terribly familiar with Jefferson Davis’ inaugural address as President of the Confederacy, one document they want to elevate. So maybe that should be taught.

Although phrases such as “it is a gross abuse of language to denominate the act rebellion or revolution” and “the rights of person and property have not been disturbed” or “no intention or design to invade the rights of others” or “a desire to protect and preserve our own rights” might ring hollow to a student in the 21st century who was descended from those held in slavery.

Here’s an article from the Houston Chronicle written by a historian: “State education board keeps itself in the news.”

Key quote:

During the discussion, one participant argued that individuals in the guidelines should be limited to “correct historical figures.” I am uncertain what she meant by “correct,” but the suggestion has the ring of paternalism. At the very least, it undermines the purpose of critical thinking. Rather than have a state agency trawl through our past and provide a “correct” list, the guidelines should be seen as opportunities for the display of historical analysis and pedagogical skill.

Les Otten Article

Monday, March 15th, 2010

The Forecaster has an interesting article about Maine gubernatorial candidate Les Otten. Even from the title I think you’ll get the gist: “Risky Business.”

Poniewozik on Palin

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Each week when Time Magazine shows up in my mailbox it feels more and more slender. In fact, this last week even the Rite Aid flier was heftier.

But damn, do they still write good stuff.

I love Joe Klein’s political insights, but this week it was television critic and entertainment reporter James Poniewozik who wrote a blistering political critique. Although, to be fair, it did involve a former-politician / political commentator’s outrage over a television cartoon.

Check out: “An Outrage Smackdown: Family Guy Defeats Palin.”

Likening Palin to Woody Allen’s Annie Hall bit about Marshall McLuhan is brilliant. I want to quote the entire thing, honestly, but this is a key:

She’ll still get that attention, though, because the Family Guys and the David Lettermans can’t resist giving it to her. (On March 2, she’s scheduled to stick it to antagonist Letterman by guesting on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show. And despite Palin’s objections to “Hollywood” intruding on her family, daughter Bristol will play herself as a teen mom on ABC Family’s The Secret Life of the American Teenager.) Just as she has made her personal life the basis for her politics, so are the attacks on her consistently personal. That in turn feeds the victimization that only strengthens her connection with her fans: Hollywood is mocking me, personally, so it is mocking you, personally.

You know, even when Time devolves into a tri-fold brochure as long as they still has Klein and Poniewozik I’ll renew my subscription …

Lookout Palin, Here Comes Mitt

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Spencer Ackerman’s is a blog I read daily. He writes mostly about the Iraq War, but also about comic books and punk rock. He was also a consultant on the film In the Loop.

Much of his post today can be summed up by just the title – “Sarah Palin Is No Longer The Stupidest Republican Presidential Hopeful.” But I do want to quote more than half of the article anyway:

I have just read the foreign policy sections of Mitt Romney’s brand-new book No Apology: The Case For American Greatness and filed a piece about them for the Washington Independent. (Hence today’s slow posting.) It’s currently being edited. My biggest concern for the piece is that I simply lack the narrative and argumentative skill to convey to you, sufficiently, how deeply and thoroughly stupid the political persona known as Mitt Romney is. It’s causing a bit of an internal journalistic crisis in my brain.

UPDATE: Here’s the article: “Romney’s ‘No Apology’ Outlines Foreign Policy for Fantasy World.”

Key quote:

But a glance through the remarkable conflation of conservative shibboleths, paranoid global fantasies and deterministic myopia in “No Apology” makes it difficult to avoid the conclusion that the perennial GOP candidate might have been better off saying nothing at all.

Damn. And damning.