Thursday, February 24, 2011

LePage: Bearded Women Won't Be Noticed in Maine

Now, I've made my fair share of cracks about the women of Maine not exactly being the women of Malibu...but Paul LePage seems to think lifting the restrictions on a harmful chemical won't be a big deal, even if it causes an explosion in female facial hair:

"The only thing that I've heard is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards."

Let's forget for a second the stupidity of this sentence (one scientist called the comments a "callous disregard" for facts and a "shocking ingorance"), does LePage think this is actually funny? Does he can laugh away restrictions on a dangerous chemical to line the pockets of rich industrialists? Maybe he thinks a few more bearded women will goose the finances of the state's waxing industry.

Let's remember the facts: BPA, according to the FDA, may adversely effect "brain, behavior, and prostate gland in fetuses, infants, and young children." Also, in large quantities it can lead to catastrophic incidences of hormone imbalance, like the lady above.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Whoopie Pies? Please...

I have nothing against a whoopie pie, but shouldn't the state dessert have a more tangible connection to state agriculture? Whoopie pies are basically pure junk through and through: that's all well and good, but such a thing shouldn't be enshrined as an emblem of the state, no matter what the powerful whoopie pie lobby tries to say.

Instead, I propose that the official state desert be nothing other than the humble blueberry pie. Delicious, undeniably Maine, and made from a wild product of Maine's natural abundance.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

LePage to Mainers: "Get off your lazy asses" (paraphrase)

The shocking, utterly contemptible boorishness of our Governor is really difficult to fathom. Honestly, how this man came to run our state is well beyond my powers to understand. (yes, I know, three candidate race, split progressive vote, yadda yadda).

Can you imagine the cluelessness of a fathead who would actually say the following:

LePage ended his speech by repeating his pledge to protect the most vulnerable, but he had a message for others.

"Those who can work, we will simply ask them to get a job," he said.

Oh! Of course!!! HOW STUPID OF US!!! The answer to the employment crisis facing this state and this nation is for unemployed people to get off their lazy asses and GET A JOB! Duh. How did I not see it? Oh, Governor LePage, you're such a straight-talking common sense hero for the regular joe. Now folks don't need to worry about the extension of their unemployment benefits or their lack of healthcare, because YOU'VE GIVEN THEM THE SOLUTION! Get a job! Hurrah!

Jesus Christ, who knew we elected this guy as our governor...

LePage Retreats Slightly In Regulation Fight, But Still Determined To Wage War on State

Paul LePage is already walking back some of the more controversial anti-regulatory proposals he laid out earlier this year. The amended package of reforms that will go to the legislature will not include the oh-so-lovely lifting of the ban on harmful chemicals in children's products, along with some of the other less popular proposals. LePage has also temporarily given up his crusade against the vile scourge of vernal pools.

However, what he has submitted to legislatures is still a steaming pile of suck. It includes such beauties as the removal of requirements for Big Box Stores to undergo an economic impact study (oh the horror!), and the dissolution of the Department of Environmental Protection.

Worse yet, LePage has not abandoned his hopes to turn Maine into a festering toxic waste dump...he is simply considering strategically how best to go about destroying things like air emissions standards and land use regulations while avoiding the hard work of jamming things through legislative committees.

As such, LePage has promised to reintroduce the REST of his anti-regulatory crusade as "Governor's Bills" that can proceed directly to the entire legislature.

It really is hilarious that the Governor's opening salvo in his war against Maine is to attack the one thing that almost all Mainers cherish: the state's natural beauty. You'd think he would have gone for--I don't know--tax cuts or something. Or anti-immigration laws. Instead he's asking the people of this state to feel comfortable setting aside their environmental and economic safeguards so that...what, exactly...WalMart and Target won't have their feelings hurt by an impact study? Please. Mainers, stand up for yourselves!

Friday, February 11, 2011

And a quick note to my commenters!

Dear Readers,
It is very gratifying to begin receiving comments. I hope it becomes more common, and I hope to receive constructively negative as well as positive ones. Even a troll or two might be fun. Anyway, thanks so much for reading!

Thoughts before the Weekend

Despite my usual snark/ire, I'm actually sympathetic to the plight of our Governor or any Governor in economic times such as these. It's no secret that at the federal level I favor robust stimulus--even at the risk of dreaded INFLAAAAAAAAAAATION--and public sector spending to promote economic growth. At the State level the issue is considerably more restricted in terms of the ability to deficit spend.

And while I have no faith in Paul LePage to do anything even remotely resembling the right thing, I was rather surprised to see that he proposed no cuts to public education, including flat funding for the University of Maine system. Unfortunately, over the long term I am far less sanguine about the Governor, given his stated agenda of consolidating the state university system with the community colleges.

Of course, there are no tax increases in this budget (I would not support raising the income tax, though I can dream of the day it is more progressive and less onerous to the middle class...), so someone must take it in the pooper...and that someone is the state workforce....particularly through their pension system. Current retirees will lose their cost of living increases in the short term, and find them drastically reduced in future years. Meanwhile, LePage has also proposed raising the retirement age from 62 to 65...something I think is categorically idiotic at the moment. If there are merits to raising the retirement age, let it wait until we are not facing catastrophic unemployment. Allowing more people to find the soft landing of retirement would free up jobs and get more capital into the hands of consumers, it seems to me.

All in all, the devil will be in the details....

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

LePage's DEP Pick May Violate Federal Law

The problem with only picking industry cronies to serve in your administration is that occasionally people might call you on your bullshit. And sometimes, it can violate ethics statutes. This appears to be the case for LePage's industry-riffic pick to head the Department of Environmental Protection, Daryl Brown.

Mr. Brown, you see, owns a company that helps developers get state permits, and has appeared before the DEP numerous times on behalf of developers. Thus, a significant amount of his income comes from sources likely to be polluters. The federal clean water act states that one may not head the DEP if one receives more than 10 percents of ones income from water polluting permit holders.

So is Brown's appointment illegal? I have no idea. Hopefully it is, but I somehow doubt the EPA will rule against him. Still, the issue serves to highlight just how far up the river LePage is willing to sell Maine's environment. There is no corporate crony too business or industry beholden to be a member of his disaster of an administration.