Friday, January 28, 2011

LePage and Michigan Chamber Skirt Campaign Finance Laws

MPBN had a great piece on last night about something I alerted readers to earlier this year: the Michigan Chamber of Commerce's bizarre contribution to LePage, who has no connection to Michigan whatsoever.

Their verdict is basically what I expected. That the strange unexplained donation is basically part of an elaborate ruse of kickbacks and quid-pro-quos designed to get around corporate limits on campaign donations.

Rich Robinson, a Michigan campaign finance watchdog, explained how it works, in a nutshell.

"In Michigan, corporations can't contribute to a plain vanilla political action comittee, and so it seemed to me that that was a way for the corporate money to be redistributed to a place like the Maine RGA Pac, to the Florida RGA PAC, and for it to be replaced by contributions from individuals here," Robinson says. "It's a very complex kind of situation. An awful lot of money was sloshing around and the real why's and wherefore's do remain somewhat of a mystery, if there's anything more to this than a simple currency exchange.

I'm glad to see that my instinct about this--something stinks!--was correct. I don't expect there to be any consequences, and I'm guessing it's the kind of political chicanery that is not limited to any one candidate or party. Still, remember all this when LePage talks about not being beholden to special interests.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Real Mainers Lash Out At LePage War on Environment

This is actually heartening to see. A public meeting in Belfast to discuss the regulatory environment apparently turned into an outpouring of anger directed at Paul LePage's very public desire to slash and burn Maine' environmental protection laws.

Many of those in attendance made the point that LePage's "pro-business" stance is actually a direct threat to Maine's #1 drawing point: its pristine natural environment and the tourism that it brings:

“Please don’t gut what we’ve got,” said Diane Allmayer-Beck of Belfast. “We have the most beautiful state in the union. Don’t ruin it.”


“The unofficial slogan of Maine is if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said Marina Delune, a Belfast city councilor. “As a native Mainer, I would urge you to be very careful about gutting any regulations that are protecting our state. … Our livelihood depends on the beauty of our state.”

It will be interesting to see what kind of reaction LePage's proposals get outside of the Chamber crowd. Most Mainers, especially those in the populous and popular coastal areas, understand that one of the few things separating Maine from the Appalachian poverty of western New York, rural Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia, etc. is the commerce driven by environmental tourism. You know, that whole Vacationland thing? And it's not just a money issue either. Mainers are proud of their states beauty, and rightfully so. Sorry, but we don't want Slurm industrial byproducts dumped into Casco Bay. I very much hope that the very predictable backlash will give Governor LePage pause.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

LePage Wants To Make it More Difficult to Get Medicaid

The thing about attacking social programs is that it is can, in some cases, be easy to get away with: the poorest tend not to vote in as great a proportion as the middle class and wealthy. Tweaks in social programs can net impressive sounding savings, and the human cost is all too easy to ignore.

So when Governor LePage proposes something like extending the waiting period for qualifying for state medicaid from 45 days to 90 days, it is, perhaps, easy to consider that the savings of such an extension ($3 million in the next fiscal year...whoopee) are worth a mere month and half of waiting for the poor or disabled.

However, one should consider that crucial, uncovered medical expenses for a disabled person for just an extra 45 days could potentially run into the thousands or tens of thousands. More likely, those forced to wait longer for medicaid will simply go longer without medical care, endangering their lives and well being.

Why does it take the state 90 days to make a determination about medicaid eligibility? The truth is, it doesn't. The state laws stipulate that it must not. This is simply a way to squeeze a few more bucks out of our state's poorest, while the Governor goes on making promising every concession he can to the wealthiest.

It's interesting--don't you think--that Governor "Cut the Red Tape" LePage wants to hasten the decision making for industrial permits and the approval process for complex and potentially environmentally damaging projects (in the name of efficiency!) while doubling the amount of time needed to provide healthcare for the poor and disabled.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No Surprise on LePage's DOC pick

After Atrios, here is a Maine edition of simple answers to stupid questions.

Q: Why did LePage pick Private Prison Warden Joseph Ponte to head the Department of Corrections?

A: [Private Prison company and Ponte's employer] CCA...contributed $25,000 to LePage's election campaign.

This has been another edition of simple answers to stupid quetsions.

LePage's War on the Environment

Well, it didn't take long to realize that our worst nightmares vis a vis the Maine environment really are about to come true. I think this lede from the Kennebec Journal about sums it up:

Gov. Paul LePage has proposed zoning 10 million acres of northern Maine for development, repealing laws that require manufacturers to take back recyclable goods for disposal and reversing a ban on the use of a chemical linked to cancer in children's products.

Holy Cow! Have you ever seen so much and such diverse SUCK crammed into a single sentence?Kudos to KJ reporter Beth Quimby. My late and wonderful high school Journalism teacher Ms. Lane would have definitely dispensed a gold star for that one. I mean, cripes...10 MILLION acres, repealing recycling laws, reversing a chemical ban, and children's cancer all right there in the lede.

And, of course, as always with LePage it just gets worse! LePage also wants to:

* Making Maine's environmental laws conform to less stringent federal standards;

* Requiring a cost-benefit analysis for all rulemakings;

* Relaxing air emissions removal standards, especially for smaller projects;

I especially love that second one. Picture this kind of analysis: "Well, this toxic byproduct causes mind-controlling brain slugs to grow on the skulls of the elderly, but a ban on dumping it into Auburn Lake will cost businesses $100,000 a year! RULE CHANGE DENIED!!1!one!"

And relaxing our regulations to fit federal guidelines? Anyone else see the irony here? A loony tea party conservative, a guy who represents the spittle flinging nitwits who hate the federal government with every fiber of their being, who worship at the altar of "state sovereignty," wants Maine to abandon its particularly specialized environmental protections and follow bare minimum "one size fits all" federal rules? Uh...right, but god help us all if the Federal Government wants to establish healthcare standards. That's commie pinko triple Nazi-Socialism.

Folks, you might be asking yourself where these proposals come from. Like, did Governor Illiterate LeTripleChin think of these things himself? It doesn't seem likely does it...hmmm...let's see:

LePage's proposals are based on a series of "red tape workshops" the administration is holding with chambers of commerce to identify government rules that may dampen the state's business climate.

Aha! Those pesky chamber folks again. Look, I know I'm starting to get a little Glen Becky paranoid sounding about the evil horrors of your state or local chamber of commerce...and it's not that such organizations are bad. They aren't. But they are, most definitely, SPECIAL INTEREST groups who have things beside the best interests of their fellow man at heart. The Governor's hypocrisy on this front is maddening.

Anyway, that's some quality red tape cutting, Paul. I hope you'll also be there to cut the red ribbon at the new children's cancer wing your red tape cutting will one day require.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Off Topic: Maine Chinese Food

Dear Franklin County, Maine:

Your chinese food sucks.

K Thx,

Stench of Death Hangs Over LePage Environmental Meetings

Why do I hear the Emperor's Theme in my head when I read when I read innocent news items like this? :

Representatives of an array of resource-oriented businesses and activities are meeting today with Gov. Paul LePage and his senior staff at a Roundtable on Maine People and the Environment.

Maybe it's because LePage says creepy things like this:

LePage said liberals who have wanted to “close the woods off” and advocate the preservation of wild lands have attended public hearings and gotten restrictive measures passed. Now, the governor said, it’s time to have business people show up and be heard. He encouraged association members to attend upcoming public hearings before the Legislature...

Oh those evil liberals and their tree hugging. Bede's prediction? LePage will do his best to ruin Maine's greatest asset: its pristine wilderness.

David Farmer on LePage's provincialism

David Farmer has a very intriguing and well thought out guest column in today's Bangor Daily News. In it, Farmer suggests that LePage's actions and words toward the NAACP betray the governor's narrow view of the world, and his inability to see beyond his own circle of experience and influence. As Farmer puts it:

Gov. Paul LePage is no racist. At least not in any classical sense of the word.

Instead, his conduct suggests a lack of awareness or concern with the larger world outside the small circle of mostly older white men he has surrounded himself with. He appears to see little value in understanding perspectives different than his own.

I would say this viewpoint meshes more or less with my own. LePage is a man of limited cultural experience, limited political viewpoints, a limited worldview, and incredibly narrow and provincial idea of how society should work. For LePage, a black advocacy group represents the "other": a somehow threatening and misguided "other." The experience of all Mainers should be as his experience, and anyone whose experience varies must be doing it wrong.

I can think of no other explanation for why a rational human being would not only tell a civil rights organization to kiss his butt, but who would then make up lies that sound like the projections of right-wing fantasyland: where all minorities are out to shake down whites for free stuff, and all blacks are receiving preferential treatment that is worthy of resentment.

Just go to and read what they have to say about Obama's accomplishments. He only got into Columbia and Harvard because of affirmative action, etc. A white person with his credentials would have gone nowhere, etc. He's had everything handed to him, blah blah blah. We heard the exact same canard about Sonya Sotomayor. In both cases, as with LePage's embarrassing conduct toward the NAACP, we see the smug self satisfaction of indivduals incapable of understanding the varieties of cultural and racial experience in this country, who see any way but their own as somehow unworthy of credit or praise, and who see any intimation that racial inequality might exist in this country as playing the "race card" (whatever the hell that even means).

Of course, Maine is 99.9999999 percent white, so LePage's provincialism may find an eagerly assenting audience. But he sure as hell makes Maine look bad to the rest of the nation.

LePage Taps Special Interest Lobbyist for HHS Post

Here's all you need to know about Paul LePage's nominee to head the Department of Health and Human Services: she's the head of a lobbying association representing the interests of hospitals.

Is this a big deal? Potentially yes, potentially no. I'm going to give Mary Mayhew the benefit of the doubt. But it is certainly worth pointing out that there can be direct conflicts of interest between the financial interests of hospitals and an affordable, effective, and functioning social services network.

Mayhew, who has no experience at all with social services administration, is already on record as favoring cuts in the state assistance programs, guised, of course, in the language of getting people "off welfare."

She spoke of a need to change the mission of the department.

"Welfare was never meant to be a lifestyle," she said. "Yet that is exactly what it has become for too many families who are trapped in a failing system."

Again, I'll give Mayhew the benefit of the doubt, but my "shill radar" is already beginning to wail. Is this really the time to cut back on social, at a time of ruinous unemployment and declining wages? Unfortunately, my guess is that we have a DHHS headwho will greedily go along with LePage's mission to hack Maine's social safety net to pieces in the name of "low taxes" and a "good business environment."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

LePage Environmental Wrecking Ball Set To Start Swinging

Governor CUT THE RED TAPE NO MATTER THE COST LePage--a developer's best friend--is set to put in action his grand strategy to destroy Maine's environmental protection laws in the name of "business."

First on his list, the vernal pools that provide habitat for a large number of amphibians, which in turn provide food for both mammals and birds, including blue heron.

The rollback of protection for vernal pools was a topic at a Red Tape Audit seminar hosted by--you guessed it--the Androscoggin Chamber of Commerce, and attended by business leaders and developers.

LePage did not mince words about whom he wants to bring down with his "cut the red tape" crusade.

Afterward, LePage identified several state agencies that had been the focal point of frustration, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Labor.

LePage has vowed to change not only the regulatory environment, but what he says is an "adversarial" attitude some agencies have toward businesses.

Ok, so let's see here: destroy environmental protections. Check. Dismantle the social safety net. Check. Abolish protections for working people. Right-O.

When LePage decries "special interests," how does he keep from bursting out laughing? This is a guy who appointed a developer to head the Department of Environmental Protection!

Now, I don't want to come off as some NIMBY anti-development luddite here. I think development is good. But the notion that if "business leader" and "developers" support something then it is, ipso facto, a good thing is pure nonsense. Maine is one of America's great natural treasures: will it still be after four years of LePage's wrecking ball?

Confirmed: LePage a Lying Sack of Crap

Only weeks into his tenure, we now know for a fact that Paul LePage is a crude, classless, lying, semi-illiterate troglodyte (how's that for toning down the rhetoric!?!). Today the NAACP confirmed that LePage invented facts out of thin air when justifying his snub and subsequent telloff of the NAACP.

The Press Herald has a rundown of the facts. According to NAACP spokesperson Rachel Talbot Ross, LePage made no objections to the invitation, but cited a previous commitment, and made no counterproposal to "meet all prisoners" that the NAACP deemed unacceptable, as he claimed. Moreover, the event itself was not segregated in any way or meant only for black prisoners, a claim which Ross finds "baffling."

So are we clear here? The exchange which LePage used as a preamble to telling one of the oldest civil rights organizations in the country to kiss his butt NEVER HAPPENED. Governor Triplechin merely invented it out of thin air. Moreover, the event was not in any way like he described it.

Do you know what this shows to me? Racism. Not the "I hate dem negroes!" style racism, but the kind of beneath the surface racism that, sadly, is rather prevalent in our state and in the white conservative world in general. LePage clearly has some preconceived notions about what the NAACP is, resents that there are organizations that promote the well being and protect the rights of people of color, and sees any attempt to do so as somehow wrong. Because, obviously, everyone should look out for him or herself in this pull yourself up by your bootstraps kind of world. It's a form of white resentment, a way of feeling superior to blacks in an age of legal equality. I give the governor credit for working through his own difficult period in life and rising to success, but he should never forget that he ONLY GOT WHERE HE IS TODAY because of the FAVORITISM of a powerful Maine family. When our Governor, who was almost completely illiterate in English, was rejected from Husson college, the Snowe family intervened on his behalf. That's the kind of favoritism most minorities, indeed most people, cannot count on. So when LePage complains about civil rights organizations I really can do nothing but laugh.

Governor, when will you apologize to the NAACP not only for your crass insult, but for denigrating the entire organization as racist? We're all waiting. And I'm sure we'll keep on waiting. Afterall, LePage's spokesporson Dan DeMerritt completely dismissed the issue, complaining that the NAACP was choosing to "nitpick about an invitation that occurred or did not occur six months ago." No, actually, Dan, they are upset about a complete fabrication and a gross and unfathomable insult by your pig faced boss. Get your facts straight.

We have elected clowns.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another weird lie: LePage's black son isn't actually his son

So, remember how Paul LePage insisted he couldn't be racist because some of his best friends are black he has a black son? Well, apparently that is not actually true. Like most of what comes out of Governor Triplechin's fat face, this claim, oddly, dose not stand up to scrutiny.

According to the Portland Press Herald, the man he is referring to--Devon Raymond, Jr.--is not LePage's adopted son, nor does he have any legal relationship to the family whatsoever, nor is he even a US citizen. Mr. Raymond was introduced to LePage through his father, who caddied for LePage on a golfing trip. Shortly thereafter, the then 17 year old moved to Waterville and began living with the LePages. He then briefly attended Husson before transferring to and graudating from Grambling State. He briefly played golf on the pro tour.

So what exactly happened? Did some Golf Caddy in Jamaica offer LePage his son? Why? Does he have a student visa? Is he a permanent resident? Was this some secret plan to get a golf ringer on the Waterville High School golf team? ? I kid, but this is a bizarre stroy, and one more whopping lie from our fat idiot of a governor.

LePage Hires Unqualified Daughter

How much more evidence do we need that LePage is a total fraud and an embarrassment to Maine? Now, I'm not naive enough to think that nepotism will ever be expunged from politics, but this is pretty shameless and bald faced.

Now I know what some of you hoity toity New Yorkers are thinking: "A $41,000 administrative job? That's nothing!." Well, keep in mind that this is Maine, where the median salary for a HOUSEHOLD is $46,000. Hiring a 22 year old to an entry level job for that salary--as much as many tenure track professors in the UMaine system earn--is a pretty sweet plum indeed.

So what about LePage's promise to hire only the best and brightest? Not sure...he has yet to comment on this story. He's too busy telling black people to kiss his fat ass.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Is the Governor a fat headed liar? (re: Black Prisoners Only)

One of the odd things that Governor Triplechin said in yesterday's clusterfuck of an interview was a tale about the NAACP inviting him to see prisoners, but insisting he only meet the black ones. I quoteth:

“They invited me to go to the state prison to meet black prisoners and I told them I would go, but that I would meet all prisoners, and that wasn’t acceptable to them. So tough luck.”

Except, of course, this is a total lie. The NAACP invitation made no mention of the race of the prisoners, indeed, they claim, such an event would be impossible. Furthermore, LePage declined the invitation--he was the only candidate to do so--because of a scheduling conflict.

This is not the first time LePage has blatantly lied. The man is simply dishonest. He's a crude, thoughtless lout...a bully, a name caller, and, frankly, a moron. This man is not fit to be governor of a Little Caesar's, let alone a state.


Our classless governor blockhead has just humiliated himself and the entire state of his first full week on the job!! Good job, Paul. This time, the man famous for telling the President of the United States to Go To Hell has charmed the world by telling the entire NAACP to kiss his fat ass (parahprase).

You people are a "special interest group," so therefore celebrating Martin Luther King day counts as indebting oneself to the Special Interests. (I'm not sure what the Chamber of Commerce would be to LePage or how he would justify his bootlicking subservience to them...apparently they are a saintly organization that represents the best interests of everyone in the entire state, or something...but I digress).

Our governor defended his racial cred by pointing out that he has a Jamaican son. Of course, this is just a more sophisticated version of the "some of my best friends are black!" plaint that identifies one as a racist as surely as tattooing a swastita over a confederate flag on your chest.

Sadly, however, we can't be surprised. This classless moron was elected with a whopping thirty something percent of the vote by an electorate that already had ample evidence of the fact that he was, indeed, a fat headed schmuck. Oh least it will make for an entertaining four years!

Monday, January 3, 2011

LePage hates (i.e. is too stupid for?) poetry and classical music.

Our barely literate, booksmarts hating Governor elect has set his sights set on bringing down classical music and poetry...two guaranteed ways to really STICK IT to elites and their high falutin arty farty bullcrap.
Mr. Too Dumb For Husson apparently thinks such things are "dry" and "boring."

"We're trying to make it a little more interesting to the Maine people who are attending, especially the people who are going to view it on television, so that it's not completely dry," said Brent Littlefield, LePage's senior political adviser and inaugural director, during a briefing with reporters on Thursday.

"You'll see a slight variation from what you've seen in the past. For instance, we're not going to have poems being read; and when you see singing, it's not going to be chorale-style, dry singing," he said.

Sweet! What kind of humorless boob likes poetry or classical music, anyway? I think the inauguration should be held in the stockroom of Mardens and feature ghost stories and a real down-home Maine bean supper and hootenany.