Monday, November 26, 2007

Who's Better Off?

Call me cold-hearted....or call me someone who sees, every day, the economic consequences of George Bush's Wars.
This post is a response to a conversation I had last week about how much better off the Iraqi people are these days. Whether or not that's true is a matter of some debate, but not my focus here. My question is "Why have the needs of the American people become less important than those of the Iraqis?"
How dare this proponent of family values devalue the American family, whose members are left to try to survive despite the plummeting value of our dollar and the rising cost of gasoline and fuel oil, all direct results of our foreign policy?
How dare this president who claims to be a compassionate conservative show no compassion for his own people?
People used to say that going to war meant choosing guns over butter, since our finite resources cannot offer both. But butter is a luxury, not a necessity, for most of us. When the choice is between guns and heating our homes, between guns and the stability of the American dollar, the choice becomes even easier.
Sure, this is one of many posts complaining about George's Wars. My hope here is not to add one more brick in that high, solid wall. What I'm trying to make so very clear here is that we have elected a government which truly cares nothing for its own people, their liberty and their daily lives.
We have a chance to change this. I won't even ask you to stop complaining about the Democrats and consider the alternative. I won't insult your intelligence by reminding you how important it is to register and cast your ballot. What I will say is that sometimes, this time, voting is not enough. If you are truly ready for a change, get involved, step up and become part of the solution.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I haven't seen anything from a news source that I recognize yet, but if this is not a hoax, it's a huge story. The headquarters of the Liberty Dollar was just raided, and all of their gold, silver, currency, and records have been seized. If you're not familiar with the LD, it's a privately minted currency, stamped out of actual precious metals, and fully backed. Private currency is legal. Counterfeiting American currency is not, but that's not what they're doing.
My first thought was aha, that's how they'll recover some of that money they sent by the pallet-load to Iraq, and lost track of! But I think the story is bigger than that. It's the Bush administration trampling all over yet another freedom. I can think of no excuse, but I bet we'll hear some!


Friday, September 21, 2007

A silver lining

Much ado has been made of Hannaford's plans to build a new supermarket on the site of the old Cony High School. I myself opposed the plan, and voted it down when I was given an opportunity to do so. I feel it violates the spirit of the trust given to Augusta by Mr. Cony over a hundred years ago.

However, I am ever optimistic about the traffic hell that will soon ensue at the East Side Rotary, after reading this today...

Hannaford Bros. Co. said Wednesday it will be the first to build a supermarket meeting a building industry group's highest environmental standard.

The store will be so green that plants will be grown on part of its roof to add insulation and control stormwater. It will be built on the former site of Cony High School in Augusta.


By pursuing the platinum designation, the company commits to a design including features such as solar photovoltaic panels, geothermal heating and cooling, high efficiency refrigeration, energy efficient lighting and an advanced recycling program, not to mention the vegetation-topped roof.

You can read the rest here. All in all, I still think the whole thing reeks. But this is indeed a very nice silver lining. I look forward to seeing a Hannaford with a grass roof, should be neat.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Why'd you write that Obama post?

(Cross-posted at Turn Maine Blue)

I'll tell ya. That Obama deal in Portland that I wrote about makes me mad because it is precisely what Democrats don't believe in. They believe in government for all the citizens. Not just who can pay.

And yeah, I know, you see lots of people charging lots of money for stuff these days. But in Kennebec County, we're different.

Earth Day forum: free.
Labor Day picnic: free.
Candidates forum: free. (In Kennebunk, for the same event? $20.)
Fundraising dinner: $25.

Noticing a trend here? Almost always free, and if not free, cheap. We don't stand to make much off the Annual Dinner, unless we come through with a large Host Committee (and I'm trying! Boy am I trying!). And that Host Committee doesn't get "better access", or "more face time". They get acknowledged by us in our printed materials. They get loved by us. And when the elections roll around, you can guess which candidates we'll feel better about helping win their races. THAT is the only quid-pro-quo you'll see from us. Money from you (and as you can spare it, not certain amounts of it!) makes us happy. It makes us like you.

And to me, that dollar I get from the single mom on food stamps is much more valuable than a hundred bucks from a millionaire. Because it takes a special something from us for that woman to part with that dollar. She really has to believe in us to part with that dollar. And in exchange, we'd better deserve that dollar. That woman is the Kennebec County Democratic Committee's "special interest".

So the next time you're at one of our events, and you know you have money you can part with, for pete's sake, give it. You are giving us money to make sure that we don't have to charge that woman to get in. You keep us in the black. The Host Committee makes our dinner cheap, so people can say that they're going out and enjoying a tasty dinner, good company, and not breaking the bank to do it.

And compared to seeing Barack, at least at our event, you get to EAT for that $25. And boy is it tasty!

(P.S.: The Kennebec County 1st CD Candidate Forum is on September 20th at 7:00 PM at Augusta City Hall. Hope you can make it. And if you can spare some scratch, please bring it along and help keep these events free!)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A bit of a rant

Yeah. I know I'm supposed to be neutral. But this annoys the hell out of me. ~Ed.

Barack Obama is scoring a plus with me on one side of this coin: he's actually coming to Maine. Kucinich comes here, because he knows this is a place where his support is strong and he can bring in delegates. And love Dennis as I may, he isn't gonna win the election. But I do want his voice heard in the debate, and with the potential of a brokered convention this year, I'd love to see The Menace be able to swing a nomination.

Obama, on the other hand, is a star. One of the top three. Preaching his message of hope for us all. So I hear he's coming to Portland, and I say, hey, I want to meet him. See what he's all about. So I check into it... and I can see Obama speak, for the low low price of only $23.

Now, I skip the Muskie Lobster Bake every year. Why? Can't afford it. I skip the Jefferson-Jackson dinner. Same reason. I scrape together the $25 for my county's annual dinner, because I'm the vice chair, for pete's sake. I have an obligation to be there. And I know how poor our county is... I'd never ask for a complimentary ticket. I do get comped to go to the state convention, though.

I'm lower middle class, as the scale of poverty goes. I'm not in poverty, but some poor choices from my past have left me with some debt that I pay off, bit by bit. I'm not looking for pity, here, just a fact of life. But I have been very poor in the past, living in high cost of living Connecticut, family of 3, on one $8/hr paycheck. I know what it is to not eat because I don't have the money. Even today, I sometimes skip meals for that reason. I've been homeless before. I know poverty.

So for Barack Obama to speak of the politics of hope, while charging me $23 for the privilege of hearing him speak about how I need a better deal in the world... that pisses me off. Other candidates do not do this. At least, none I know of.

I will have no issue voting for Barack Obama if he wins the nomination. He's a good guy, has good ideas, and he'll be exponentially better than any candidate the Republicans have to offer. But I'm hard pressed to think of why I'd vote for a guy in the primary who I have to pay for the opportunity to have him influence me.

Senator Obama, please come see us in Kennebec County. We'll find you space to speak. But for the love of everything holy... do it for free.

The anniversary of 9/11

On this sad day, Hunter from DailyKos nails it:

The anniversary of September 11th is a strange and unambiguously American day. By all logic it should be a day dedicated to the victims of those terrible attacks: whether it started out that way or not I can hardly remember, but it quickly shifted into a day being about not the unchanging past, but the glancing present. It was not about the people who lost their lives, but about why we should do the thing as a result of it, where the thing was invade Iraq, or occupy Iraq, or stay in Iraq, or strip habeas rights, or stay longer in Iraq, or conduct domestic espionage against Americans in violation of the law, or re-elect the President, or stay yet longer in Iraq, or torture our enemies, or support the troops by staying still longer in Iraq.


Today Sean Hannity is having a Freedom Concert at a New Jersey amusement park, which has opened on a fall weekday especially for the occasion. The concert will support the troops. I originally thought it was crass -- no, creepy -- to be having a 9/11 memorial at a place with a water park and ferris wheel. But what do I know? We have gone this far, and to great fanfare -- why not make the whole day an amusement ride? It was a horrific terrorist attack that ingrained itself into the national psyche as much as Pearl Harbor: funnel cakes, anyone?

I'd encourage you to go read the whole thing.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day Picnic a smashing success!

(Cross-posted at Turn Maine Blue)

To those who were there... you know how much fun it was! Over 80 people showed up to attend the gathering with Tom Allen as our main speaker, including five of the six candidates for his House seat (all but Jill Duson). Thanks to the Winthrop Democrats for putting together such a great event!

The peace activists, too, were out in force. They asked Tom some hard questions about Iraq, and he was very gracious in his response. It was good to see Tom in the "no-spin zone".

Maine Impeach also made an appearance, and it's always good to see them, especially JB. To those who know JB, well, you know why it's always fun to see her. She's a hoot.

All five of the attending candidates and Tom Allen have pledged $100 and joined the Host Committee for the Kennebec County Annual Dinner- the Democrats' Family Reunion (Jill, I'll be stalking you soon!). We have also had a couple other commitments, one of which is Sean Faircloth, the House Whip (or whatever they call him these days). We hope to expand the Host Committee to all our electeds in Kennebec as well.

If you would like to attend the Family Reunion, it is on October 26th at the Augusta Elks Lodge, so mark your calendars. You can order a ticket through our ActBlue page. We also have another ActBlue page for our Host Committee.

Thanks to all those who made our event such a smashing success.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A-ha! It all becomes clear!

Hat tip to mainefem, at Turn Maine Blue.

Why would the Christian Civic League attack us? Aside from the obvious?

They're broke.

Apparently the power of prayer hasn't been enough to raise funds, so they have to try mudslinging instead.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Christian Civic League: domestic terrorists?

(cross-posted at Turn Maine Blue)

An interesting tale to relate:

Today I was grabbing some breakfast at Java Joe's, and there was some discussion involving a store in downtown Augusta called Arch Enemys (yes, it's misspelled, don't ask me why). For those of you who don't know, they have- or at least used to have- live models in their store windows, wearing outfits sold in the store. The discussion, of course, turned to our other former store with live models, which used to be right across the street- the lingerie store, Spellbound.

The person I spoke with related a tale of the hell the owner went through to keep that store open as long as she did. She, too, faced off against the Christian Civic League- and lost. I, admittedly, didn't know the depths to which they went, including to call a 15 year old girl a "slut" for being related to the owner and associated with the store.

The CCL began protesting outside the storefront of Spellbound shortly before its closure. Their online postings, designed to incite the rabble as they were when they declared Rita and I Pagans (duh!), were much more successful against Spellbound than us. The owner endured harassing phone calls, death threats, and what sounds like videotaping of her patrons before she finally gave in and closed her doors- a mere four months after the Kennebec Journal lauded her business as "bringing a piece of New York to Maine".

We in this country are fighting a "war on terror". How you can fight a noun still eludes me, but okay. Next it will be the war on Twinkies. The excuses of "9/11", "fighting them there so we don't fight them here", and "terrorism" fall on my deaf ears.

On September 11th, 2001, planes flew into buildings and killed thousands. They scared people away from flying. Airline companies went bankrupt, some being bailed out by the Fed (and this time, with good reason). People walked the streets, looked at Arabs with headgear and beards, and assumed they too must be terrorists!

The Christian Civic League promotes the kind of terrorism that scares me most- the kind that walks into our small towns and frightens us. I have long held the belief that the scariest terrorist act would be to butcher a small town of 100 to the last man- small death toll, but no one would feel safe anymore.

When we allow the Christian Civic League to shutter the doors of local businesses practicing their legal right to free speech, we fail the citizens of our state, and we fail as Democrats. This is the true war on terror- fighting off groups such as these who promote hatred among the citizenry, and turn neighbor against neighbor.

Never again should we allow this group to close a business. I don't care if you thought the Spellbound displays were too risque- tough. They were practicing their right to free speech. The Christian Civic League, meanwhile, declared their victory over the "liberal establishment". We must not let these acts continue.

The County Committee is their current target. We will not be cowed. We will not surrender. And, Democrats, you must not surrender. The true "war on terror" is fought right in our own towns, against groups like this who promote wrong-headed ideology and attempt to make everyone else bend knee to it. We must not permit domestic terrorism to continue to rear its ugly head.

And if you think I'm being overly zealous, review the definition for "terrorism":

"the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion"

And of "terror":

1 : "a state of intense fear"

And tell me that the owner of this store wasn't terrified.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I am a Democratic Democrat

(originally posted on Turn Maine Blue, I decided to bring it here as well. The "yesterdays" and such are a bit off because the meeting was on Sunday, but I decided to keep the diary as is. Enjoy!)

Always amusing to hear from the Christian Civic League. Michael Hein was in attendance at the Democratic State Committee meeting yesterday, to pick up some fresh photographs for the Record, their online publication. They did an article on the subject.

Due to our party's belief in inclusiveness and democracy, we did not call the meeting into executive session as we were permitted to do in order to exclude him. Instead, people were merely annoyed by the volume of flashes from his camera.

And the best picture he got of Rita Moran, his primary target (I am merely secondary, it seems) was the side of her head. All those flashes and that's all he managed, heh.

What got my attention, though, is that he picked up our press release, and cited sections of it in the article he wrote. There was one small change, however: he took all references to the adjective "Democratic", and replaced them with the noun, "Democrat".

Now, one can ask, why would someone do something that silly?

As any Democrat knows, we are members of the "Democratic Party". We are not members of the "Democrat Party". The reason for the party's name has lost some of its old power over time, as the country became what it is today.

Originally, when the party was formed in Jefferson's day, it was known as the "Democratic Republicans". You can see the meaning behind this- members of the party wanted a republic governed by the people, and not in name only. If you were a Democratic Republican, it was because you aligned yourself with popular government.

Compare this to the other party of the day- the Federalists. They were the party of the aristocrat- strong federal government, to hell with "states' rights" (then not a code word for racial discrimination). This party consisted of the rich- bankers, lawyers, landowners... not the sort that wants the rabble in charge.

Small-D democrats versus aristocrats. The will of the people versus the will of the rich and powerful. Thus the beginning of the name.

So, what happens when the "ic" is removed? Depends on why you're doing it. Some blame it on changes in the language throughout the years. Others blame it on not knowing why the party is named what it is in the first place. But there is a much more simple reason why this has come to exist, and that is that the Republicans like to use it as a slur against us.

The first time this began to emerge was under Herbert Hoover's administration. At this point, the small-D democratic principles of belief that had caused the party's naming were no longer in the forefront. People forgot what a "democrat" was, they'd lived under democratic government for so long. The reason in Hoover's day that they used it? They felt that Democrats did not represent democracy, but instead a form of voter control. They weren't entirely wrong, Tammany Hall certainly ruled New York for over a hundred years.

Bush tries to brush it off as an "oops". But Rush Limbaugh has been quoted similarly... he believes the party does not promote democracy, but socialism (or, as "socialism" is code for now, "communism"). Many Democrats are indeed somewhat socialist in their beliefs, because they feel the safety net in our country exists to protect those who cannot protect themselves. Who wanted this? The people, after the Great Depression. That is why our social programs exist today- they were, and continue to be, the will of the people.

Democrats, as Eric Mehnert said just yesterday at the Special Meeting, are the party of the people. Michael Hein must have missed that part of the speeches. Remember that the next time someone calls you a member of the Democrat Party.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Regarding the ad up top

We do not believe we'd be worse off with Tom Allen in the Senate. I'm trying to determine why Google thinks we would be. If they can't get it figured out with me, I will pull the ad, but rest assured that we do not hold that position.

How often is there consensus?

More often than the parties would have you realize. My question for our readers is, how do we get the Republicans to actually address issues that are important to our nation? Heck, sometimes, I could even ask some Democrats that. Check out these poll results:


Nearly all Democrats (97%) and 70% of Republicans agree that America’s standing has suffered in recent years. In addition to a strong military, Democrats (91%) and Republicans (78%) agree that the United States also needs to improve diplomatic relations by doing more to help improve health, education and opportunities in the poorest countries around the world. Both Democrats (81%) and Republicans alike (70%) agree that reducing poverty, treating preventable diseases and improving education in poor countries around the world will help make the world safer and the United States more secure.

Democrats and Republicans agree that America has a moral obligation as a compassionate nation to help the world’s poorest people through foreign assistance. More than nine in ten Democrats (93%) and 84% of Republicans agree that when millions of children around the world are dying from preventable diseases and hunger, we have a moral obligation to do what we can to help. Similarly, Democrats (90%) and Republicans (85%) agree that it is in keeping with the country’s values and our history of compassion to lead an effort to solve some of the most serious problems facing the world’s poorest people.

When it comes to addressing these issues, Democrats (86%) and Republicans (67%) agree that it is important for Presidential candidates to discuss their plans for addressing global hunger and poverty issues in this campaign. Additionally, eight in ten Democrats (81%) and Republicans (80%) agree that the next President should keep the commitments made by President Bush to prevent and fight the spread of AIDS in Africa.

Look at these figures. Even making the assumption that we have a third of the country as registered Democrats, a third Republicans, and a third Independent... these poll numbers for the D's and R's alone actually make for a majority in most cases. 90%. 80%. These are big numbers. And the Republicans even half agree on Democratic principles:


There is bipartisan support for Presidential candidates who support measures to improve disease prevention, reduce hunger and improve education. The majority of both Republicans (62%) and Democrats (77%) would be more likely to support a candidate who supports saving 15,000 lives a day by fighting the world’s most devastating diseases including HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. Similarly, the majority of both Republicans (60%) and Democrats (76%) would also be more likely to support a candidate who supports reducing by half the number of people in the world who suffer from hunger and live in extreme poverty, which would mean 300 million less hungry people each year. Additionally, 54% of Republicans and 75% of Democrats would be more likely to support a candidate who supports providing greater access to primary education for 77 million children who are not in school with a special emphasis on girls.

The majority of Republicans (52%) and Democrats (80%) also supports new approaches to how the United States provides foreign assistance, such as increasing micro-credit to help people start small businesses, and doing more to eliminate corruption to make sure the economies of developing nations thrive and that help goes to the people most in need. In short, members affiliated with both parties (73% Democrats / 62% Republicans) would be more likely to support a candidate who supports increased investments in foreign assistance programs and working with other countries to strengthen national security.

60% of Republicans care about poverty. Think about that. Now my question is, how can we get them to act on their belief?

Friday, August 3, 2007

Consensus Versus Compromise

Have the Democrats fallen into yet another Red spin-trap? We know that The Newt's legacy is a divided nation reflected in a divided Congress (and that very word means coming together, not the divided house we now see). We elect people to represent us in Congress because we trust that they'll represent our values and pass legislation which reflects those beliefs, and not to spout good sound bites for C-Span.

Chairing our county Democratic committee means I get asked frequently about my presidential preference.

I feel that we went wrong in 2004 by putting our political pundit hats on, and voting for the candidate we felt was most "electable", rather than the one we like best. In other words, we voted with our heads, not our hearts.

I deal a lot with legislative candidates these days (and if you live in the 11 cities and towns of Maine Senate District 21 we are seriously looking for a good candidate, so reach out if you're interested). What I tell them is this: your #1 job is to inspire, to give people hope that things can be better and that you're committed to work with the voters to make that happen. Hope is the key, folks. If you convince the voter you and they can solve the problems we all see in government, you'll get their support.

Looking over the current field of presidential candidates, I can honestly say they seem to be talking at each other rather than lighting that fire, that belief and hope, in the hearts of the American people.

That may be why I like what I've been reading about Ted Strickland (D) Ohio. E.J. Dionne's original story in the Winchester Sun was republished in the Washington Post, and it's worth reading if you want a breath of political fresh air.

What might Democratic presidential candidates learn from Ohio? As a matter of style, Strickland suggests they understand that "people are desperately wanting to believe that political leaders understand them and that they are trying to deal with their day-to-day lives."Memo to overly cautious candidates: Strickland also thinks that "the display of genuine emotion is important."

Substantively, Strickland says the economy matters most, although he has been a strong opponent of the Iraq War from the beginning.

He sees health care and education as central - they were the key issues in his recent budget. These questions "ought to give Democrats a leg up," but only if they can "talk about these things in a way that gets people to believe you will do something about them."

There's the rub for Democrats in 2008. Voters want government to work but aren't sure that it can. They want government to solve problems but worry that it won't. This creates a strategic paradox: Democrats need to discredit Bush's government without discrediting government altogether.

Read the entire story; here's a link to the story in the Winchester Sun.

It's great to hear an elected Democrat who hasn't written off the Republicans, who works to build consensus without compromising his own beliefs. See folks, it be done, and I do wish I'd see more of it.

Anybody got any Strickland bumper stickers?

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Morning Surprise from the KJ

While the blogosphere has been well aware of the smear campaign launched by the so-called Maine Christian Civic League against both the chair and the vice-chair of the Kennebec County Dems, it hasn't yet hit the newspapers...until today.

Imagine my surprise when I checked the Kennebec Journal's Letters to the Editor and found this one:

Kennebec County Democratic party chairwoman Rita Moran is one heck of a woman. As a Maine pagan myself, I've been acquainted with her for years now and have always found her to be incredibly warm, intelligent and devoted to the service of others. The Maine Democratic Party is very lucky, and smart, to have placed her in a leadership role.

Michael Heath and the Christian Civic League do not share my opinion. Lately, Heath and his organization seem to be involved in a smear campaign against Moran and the Maine pagan community. Pagans have been featured more and more often on their hate-mongering Web site. It's more of the same vitriol and blatant misrepresentation that the League is so famous for spouting against the gay and lesbian community.

I was raised Baptist. I've read the Bible several times. I'm not sure Michael Heath has. He is one of the least Christ-like people I've ever had the good fortune not to meet face to face. From what I remember, Christ suffered so that others might live. He seems to live to make others suffer.

L D (didn't want to use name without permission)

I honestly can't say whether I'm happy about this, or not. I guess I have felt that, if my "outing" were limited to the lefty blogs both the Kennebec Dems and our bookstore would be safer.

As blog readers know, my concern has always been that being "outed" would have a negative affect on the Kennebec Dems (why don't those people smarten up and get rid of that Pagan woman!?!?), or on the business that puts food on our table, Apple Valley Books in Winthrop.

Sure, every once in a while customers come in to say "Oh hey, are you really the same Rita Moran we've been reading about?" as though I were some sort of celebrity instead of just a hard-working business person who stepped up to run the county organization when a new hand was needed. But lefty blogs are read by folks whose support I could count on (and thanks to all who donated through our county committee's Act Blue site to the very sweet tune of over $800 so far). The local paper is not.

So here we go again, folks. Wish me luck! Better yet, send help.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Will History Be Kind...I Sure Hope Not

Little Georgie has figured out he's the kid nobody likes. His father's fame and money can't fix this disaster, and Little Georgie's feeling down in the dumps. Here's what the Peter Baker had to say in a recent Washington Post:

At the nadir of his presidency, George W. Bush is looking for answers. One at a time or in small groups, he summons leading authors, historians, philosophers and theologians to the White House to join him in the search.

Over sodas and sparkling water, he asks his questions: What is the nature of good and evil in the post-Sept. 11 world? What lessons does history have for a president facing the turmoil I'm facing? How will history judge what we've done? Why does the rest of the world seem to hate America? Or is it just me they hate?

When will he figure all this out? Does he really need philosophers and theologians to tell him he's wrong and needs to make it right? Exactly how much are we all paying for these consultants anyway?

He's been so insulated from real folks for so long, limited to watching Fox News and allowed no contact with protesters (who are kept far away). Only strong supporters get invited to his speaking engagements. Hey Dick [Cheney, that is], what the heck did you think would happen to your boy?

Now we read that Little Georgie is feelin' bad, his best hope being that history will prove him right years after he's as dead as the uncountable Iraq casualties.

Explain to me why we should feel sorry for him. Tell me why his stress level is more important than that of a soldier wearing body armor in the heat of an Iraq summer day, a soldier who can't go out on patrol knowing that he'll come back with all his body parts intact.

Georgie's feeling bad? Don't ask us to feel sorry for the guy, ask him how he intends to fix what he started. Does he have what it takes to accept this responsibility, or will it just be more cold drinks in the Oval Office?

Call me cold and callous, but I'm glad he's finally worried about what people think about him. I'm delighted that he feels like the mistake he is. Now let's see how he intends to make things right.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Learn To Take "NO!" For An Answer!

The Maine Heritage Policy Center is preparing to revise the so-called Taxpayers' Bill of Rights, their usual Republican wedge issue in recent elections. Bill of Rights, indeed. It's an overly-complex, one-size-fits-all set of rules imposed on our towns that will reduce local services without any guarantee of actually reducing local taxes.

As before, this attempt to substitute state fiat for for local control will be financed from away, and will originate from an organization which claims to be

a 501 (c)3 non-profit, non-partisan, independent public policy think-tank

Let's see how true that claim is.

Their home page invites us to have lunch with Jeb Bush. OK, wanna know how to have your picture taken with Jeb? Follow the handy link and start putting your pennies together, 'cause it's $100 for the photo op. Guess I'll have to find something else to cover our dart board with.

Wanna actually get to talk to Jeb? No problem, you can have coffee with the guy for only a thousand bucks. Who are they kidding? Access to the guy who's not running for pres, and we gotta pay a grand? This guy is really raising the bucks to reduce the local control Mainers hold so dear.

So, more on the nonpartisan nature of this group:

President Bill Becker was the finance director with the Republican Cianchette for Governor campaign and a fundraiser at the Republican National Senatorial Committee.

The Center's vice president and economist, J Scott Moody, is also associated with the national Heritage Foundation. This is a prime conservative group which, when it's not telling us how dangerous liberals are, is relieving us of our misconceptions about Gitmo Bay:

Misconception #1: The U.S. must either put Guantanamo Bay detainees on trial or release them.

Misconception #2: The Guantanamo Bay detainees received inadequate due process when they were designated enemy combatants.

Misconception #3: The Guantanamo Bay detainees are entitled to habeas corpus relief.

While U.S. troops are deployed in the field in Afghanistan and Iraq, Congress should focus its efforts on strengthening their ability to succeed. Congress should not hamper our troops' efforts with shortsighted legislation extending unprecedented rights to foreign terrorists and other enemy combatants. Rewarding or releasing captured Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters is not any way for legislators on the home front to support U.S. troops fighting abroad.

And this is the guy directing the economic policies being foisted on the Maine voters....again!

Tarren R. Bragdon is in charge of health care initiatives. He's a Republican, formerly in the Maine legislature, and was special assistant to the President of the Maine Senate, Republican Senator Richard Bennett.

Jason Fortin, their director of communications, served in the same capacity for the Republican House Caucus.

Oh, and in case you missed it, the Jeb Bush event sponsored by the supposedly non-partisan Maine Heritage Policy Center is listed as an upcoming Maine GOP event...check it out!

So this bunch of Republicans in disguise is going to tell us how Maine Democratic governor, and Democrat-controlled legislature is spending too much money. We don't really need those libraries; there's only book anyone ought to be reading, and you can get a free copy in any motel room. We don't need good schools; let's teach our kids at home. Feeding the hungry, taking care of the sick....we don't need that either. Oh I remember hearing that somewhere that those were actually good things?

Bill Becker and the rest of you at the so-called nonpartisan Maine Heritage Policy Center, here's my message to you: be honest about who you really are and about your clearly partisan agenda, and learn to take "no" for an answer.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Is Homophobia Really a Christian Value?

If you take a gander at Michael Heath's blog entry, you'll find links to some interesting homophobic websites.

MassResistance appears to be run by folks who will never forgive Republican Mitt Romney for somehow destroying all marriages in Massachusetts by allowing gays to wed.

Imagine those dykes thinking they should be treated like real people!

Of course there were objections and lots of protesters. I wonder if the Dignity people remember why they got married in the first place. Quick, get my walker, I think I see my wife coming! Or is that my girlfriend? Quick, get my glasses too!

Give it up, folks, you lost in Massachusetts, and you'll lose elsewhere as well. Find another wedge issue, as long as it isn't Harry Potter.

If you're looking for something a bit more, well, contemporary, try Americans for Truth (or what passes for truth in the homophobic would-be Christian community at any rate). Here you snowbirds will find a link to extensive sex cruising locations in Florida, including the toilet in the Fort Lauderdale Home Depot. Do they use orange condoms? Hand tools? Will we ever go into the Augusta HD without wondering what's happening in their bathrooms? Forget it, folks, stick to Aubuchon's!

So I guess we should thank Michael Heath and the would-be Christian Civic League for this travel guide and other useful information. Have fun exploring these sites, then let me know if you can figure out why Michael Heath and company are offering a links to a list of gay cruising locations on their website. We can be thankful they didn't post any vacation pictures.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Kids Aren't Alright

I found this reading a DailyKos diary today, part of the Energize America series. Watch the whole thing. Get pissed off. And then act.

At the rate we're going, we really will trash this planet by the time our kids are grandparents. What are you doing, in your daily life, to address the climate crisis? Here's just a sampling of ideas:

  • Put more insulation in your roof.
  • Run the air conditioning less, and the fan more.
  • Install Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs (and don't go on about mercury, the power to run that incandescent bulb puts more mercury in the ground than is in the CFL. And you can recycle the CFL).
  • Shut off lights when leaving a room.
  • Put your TV and DVD player on a power strip. Turn off the strip when you aren't using the TV.
  • Turn down your thermostat 1 or 2 degrees in the winter. Or be brave like me and run it at 62.
There are a lot of small things that you can do every day to reduce carbon emissions. It is not someone else's job to do. It is the job of all of us. So act. And if you need help acting, then ask for advice. There are a lot of Democrats who know energy, and we even have who I'd consider an energy expert on this blog (Gary, don't be so modest).

Get involved. Not tomorrow. Today.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thank You, Susan!

After months (years?) of pretending to understand how her constituents feel about the Iraq War, Susan Collins (seen here telling us how well Homeland Security handled things in New Orleans) has finally taken a public stand supporting the patriarchy of King George rather than the Mainers who elected her.

This is, of course, the best possible news for Democrats. I'd loved to have been at Tom Allen's campaign headquarters yesterday when Collins' statement was announced. I heard it on Maine Public Radio (where else?), on my way into Augusta to mail some "begging letters" for a fundraising efforts, and cheered.

Sitting on the fence, talking the moderate line and voting the party line, is something both of Maine's Senators have become experts at. Collins' admission that she intends to vote to continue this bloody war is a clear departure from her usual MO, and I hope it will be just one more thing that will bury her under a landslide of Tom Allen votes next year.

Old Hallowell Days this Saturday!

Just a reminder that the County Committee will be marching in the parade on Saturday. We're also going to have a booth there- be sure to check them both out! We expect to have some 1st District House candidates joining us, including Adam Cote, and Ethan Strimling.

If you'd like to join the parade, please e-mail me at quelgash (at) hotmail (dot) com.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Blog Wars...the movie

Just got a chance to see the Sundance Channel movie Blog Wars. OK, so I'm six months behind my TIVO...chalk it up to having to get to too many meetings!

Anyway, I loved the Lamont stuff, even knowing that he ended up losing the general election. As a county committee chair, I was encouraged by how the bloggers worked together to support a candidate they believed in.

Too many "political insiders" think bloggers just talk a good game, but don't actually do anything beyond doing a bit of research, and writing controversial blog postings. Not so! It's time bloggers took their rightful place in the political arena, and got the respect they deserve from the "mainstream" political parties.

How to do that? It's easy...just do what we saw the national-level bloggers do on Blog Wars: show up at meetings, make phone calls, and help out doing what else is needed. The reality is that political groups are all pretty small ponds, and becoming indispensable is the key to getting the biggest lily pad.

The world is run by those who show up. If you truly believe our political parties need to change direction, grab hold of the steering wheel.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Perjury, What Perjury?

Yesterday, despite the overwhelming opposition of the American people (3 to 1 against, according to recent polls), George Bush decided that Scooter Libby will not serve a day of jail time.

Does this president care what the people (including the Republican base) believe is right and just? Clearly not. His actions, from signing statements to warrantless wiretapping, prove he believes he's above the law. And now he's proved he puts his hired staff above the law as well.

Commuting Libby's sentence is a violation of the Justice Department's policies, as well as a slap in the face of the American people on this week in which we celebrate the founding of this nation in justice and freedom. I'm preaching to the choir. You've already called your Senators and Congressmen to tell them you're not happy with this. You've already gotten dozens of e-mails from others who share your core values. Why am I telling you this?

Here's why: as others have said before me, all politics is local politics, and I need your help to keep Kennebec County blue. Between now and the 2008 election we will need your time and your money if we are to run an effective campaign, both on the federal and on the state, county, an local levels (and believe me, it all matters).

If you are outraged, as I am, and want to join in our efforts, go to our website, and follow the links to donate or volunteer.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Insanity is...

...when Paris Hilton spends more time in jail than Scooter Libby.

Can we impeach Bush yet? Please?

If you weren't pissed now, you should be. Investigate. Impeach. Imprison.

And remember that Kennebec County Democrats were the first in Maine to demand impeachment in 2006. We got it in the state platform. We want them gone. While following the advice in the previous post, also think of independence from Republican rule.

I always ask, and I'll ask again: if you believe that what we do is right, if you believe we fight the good fight, then join us. And if you can't join us, then donate to us so we can carry out the work that is so vital.

Happy Independence Day, all. Surely Scooter will be enjoying it. Won't you?

Make an Independence Day Promise

July 4th serves as a reminder that our nation was founded by dissenters. Most of the earliest settlers were folks who risked their lives to come to a land where they didn't have to follow the dictates of King George's government. And when that government tried to control their lives, they dissented again, fought for freedom, and won it with their blood.

This Independence Day I urge you to declare your independence from the current "King George", and also from your own fear that nothing you do will make things better.

Complaining is easier than rolling up your sleeves and getting to work...but we've reached a time when even voting is just not enough. It's time to do more, to work even harder to be sure that 2008 is not a repeat of the 2004 presidential election....close, but not a win.

What can you do? Promise yourself you'll be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Decide to be part of what's happening, not just a spectator. Sign up for our county committee e-mail list and we'll tell you what volunteer opportunities are available. Just visit the Kennebec County Democrats website and follow the links to join, to volunteer, or to make a donation. If you live in our Maine county, you're already one of us. If you don't, we'd love to have you join those from all over the country who have contributed to our work through Act Blue.

Have a great 4th...we'll have a presence at the Augusta Independence Day parade, and in Winslow we'll have a group in the parade and a vendor booth as well.

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thanks for your support

OK, we now know that the reward for leading the successful effort to defeat an anti-choice candidate (special election in House District 83) is a smear attack from the Christian Civic League.

Ugh...enough said, except to offer my sincere thanks to the hundreds of people who have contacted me, from all over the world, with messages of support, both verbal and financial!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

FCC Hearings Thursday

As posted by Turn Maine Blue, Common Cause, and the League of Young Voters. More info here:

This is your opportunity to tell the FCC what you feel about how well (or, rather, how poorly) you feel your media reports on local events. It's important that we establish a presence at these hearings. So please, sign up for a training, or just head to Portland and testify on Thursday.

Tell the FCC: No more consolidation!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Events...and More Events

The Kennebec Journal has published it's wonderful Summer Guide, which lists many local events. To make it easier for our elected Democrats, and the folks who will be running for office next year, I compile a Google calendar and put the link on our website's Events page. Of course it needs updating, as things develop, but I've found our

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Data Entry....Anybody wanna try it?

OK, OK, so it's not exactly my idea of fun, but good data is certainly the key to winning elections.

Our prize for collecting absentee ballot information from all 29 towns in Kennebec County is that we get to enter that data.

Most Mainers enjoy the fellowship of voting at the polls on Election day, talking politics with their neighbors, and giving folks gathering signatures for petitions a hard time. In recent years, however, more and more of our citizens are voting early...easy to do here. In the last presidential election, for example, many of our towns had upwards of a quarter of their votes cast before Election Day.

Some of this information is in electronic form, so not difficult to deal with at all. Most of our towns, however, are small, and have kept their absentee information on paper log sheets, written out in longhand by busy, tired town clerks.

Is that Clark or Clare? Are there really no Democrats in that town who voted absentee?

In time, with lots of help, it all gets deciphered and entered. Like all tasks, may hands make light work.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Upcoming Events

So are things quiet now that we've won the special election?

Not on your life!

We're deep into planning for this summer's special events, including July 4th parades in Augusta and Winslow (the biggest in the state), a booth adjacent to the parade area in Winslow, and Old Hallowell Day (July 21st....parade and booth). We've contacted the campaign offices of all the presidential candidates, resulting in promises of stuff for our booths. Next will be ordering bumper stickers...always fun picking those out!

There's a real difference of opinion about having a presence at fairs and parades. Some activists believe it's crucial, both for fundraising and for increasing our pool of volunteers. Others feel it's a waste of time. I guess I think that, if you pick your events carefully, they're worth doing. Sitting at a booth and talking politics, especially now when more and more of us are proud Democrats, is a great way to spend a few hours.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Done....and Won!

Scheduling a victory party before an election always seems somewhere between foolhardy and tempting the gods to teach us a lesson.

There we were on Election Day evening in the same historic Manchester Grange building where the caucus began the campaign. The group was smaller, and certainly more weary, as we waited for results when the polls closed at 8.

These are small towns, remember, still using the traditional hand-counted ballots. No electronic voting machines or hanging chads for us here in House District 83 (Manchester, Belgrade, Vienna (that's Vie-enna, please!), Fayette, and Mount Vernon.

First in was Fayette: 184 for Democrat Deane Jones, 152 for Republican Penny Morrell. Looking close, but not too bad.

Next, a call from our poll watcher in Belgrade, Penny's home town: 346 for Deane, 432 for Penny. The balance had shifted, but the Belgrade results were actually better than we had expected.

Then, a wait, followed by a call from Vienna's polling place: 110 for Deane and 56 for Penny. Cheers from the assembled volunteers.....two to one will do that to you.

The votes were added up and called out, then added up again. You guessed it: a dead heat at 640 votes apiece.

Voices were a bit quieter, but if there was a tie with Belgrade's results already in, things were looking good. At least that's what we kept reminding ourselves during the endless wait for the two last towns' vote counts.

It seemed to take forever, testing our faith and sending some of the more exhausted volunteers home to bed. Finally a cell phone ring tone, and the numbers from Manchester: 485 for Deane, 257 for Penny. Cheers erupted. It looked like a secure win. After all, the only missing town was Mount Vernon, Deane's home and the town he had served for years as selectman. Still, town officials running for higher office don't always get a landslide; there's always the guy unhappy about last year's school budget.

But the wait, this time, was not long. Mount Vernon did support its head selectman: Deane 344, Penny 283. Soon certified by the Secretary of State's office, the results were final, and Deane was going to the state legislature.

Much cheering, back slapping, and even a bit of hugging. All those thousands of phone calls, all those miles of travel from door to door, had paid off. Mainers decided, again, that candidates who speak out in favor of equal rights for all, for a woman's right to choose, deserved their support.

You can read more about Deane's first day in the legislature in our local daily, the Kennebec Journal

Monday, June 11, 2007

Special Election

We're down the wire on the special election in House District 83. A House campaign is usually spread out over six or eight months...longer if the candidate works hard at building local connections in multiple small towns in the district before he or she actually declares candidacy.

Special elections last weeks instead of months, and are even more intense and stressful than regulare elections. Since they are usually elections with low voter turnout, there is an even greater need to be sure every supporter casts a ballot.

We've got a good candidate, Deane Jones, and a good team. Let's hope tomorrow night's victory party is just that. In a race where the biggest difference in the candidates is on the issue of a woman's right to choose (with the Democrat being pro-choice and the Republican an employee of Maine Right to Life), I was surprised that the many good pro-choice organizations didn't take a greater part in helping our candidate, but that's water under the bridge at this point. Yes, Equality Maine was there on the phones with us, and several other organizations helped out as well, but I guess I had hoped for a greater outpouring of concern. more day, and we'll be able to celebrate.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Is it early, or is it just me?

So it's really only 2007? Coulda fooled me.

We've got presidential candidates debating on TV, congressional candidates lining up in the Maine 1st District, and the media frenzy of a major election year. All that's missing is voter (and volunteer) enthusiasm.

Take an informal bumper sticker poll yourself, and you'll see what I mean. Or better yet, ask your friends if they think the absolute, ultimate, greatest presidential candidate has come over their radar yet.