NEWS OF: 9/29/2005

Tom DeLay Indicted without Waiting Around for a Little While

VIEW ALL: Ethics, DeLay

Republicans, anticipating Wednesday’s indictment of House majority leader Tom DeLay had voted last fall to change a House rule requiring leaders to relinquish their posts if hit with criminal charges, only to reverse it in January when it became apparent that it was the thickest piece of bologna ever sliced by the administration. DeLay was admonished by the House last year for three ethics violations, one of them offering political favors. See Freep.

Popularity: 27%

Roberts: I’m King of the World

John G. Roberts Jr. was sworn in today as the nation’s 17th chief justice after the Senate voted by a wide margin to confirm him. Surrounded by a six pack of Supreme Court justices, Roberts vowed to bear “true faith and allegiance” to the Constitution while his wife Jane held the Bible and slit the throat of a small white goat.

His rise from obscurity to the most prominent post in American law has been credited to a server error at Monster.com. At 50, Roberts is the youngest chief justice in 200 years. Asked about his plans for the high court, Roberts responded, “I’m going to Disney World!” See: Monterey Herald

Popularity: 19%

It’s Cheaper to Burn Money

Governor Baldacci signed a bipartisan request from 28 Governors to congressional appropriators in support of $1.276 billion of emergency funding for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program (LIHEAP). See Gov. Baldacci

Popularity: 27%

H.R. 3824: A Blindfolded Chicken Clutching an Assault Rifle

Representative Tom Allen is strongly denouncing H.R. 3824, legislation that would radically change the Endangered Species Act (ESA), calling the bill’s provisions, “a road map to the extinction of some of our nation’s most rare and ecologically significant species.”

The bill, sponsored by California republican Richard Pombo, is littered with provisions designed to cater to large corporate landholders and special interests, while rendering the ESA powerless to defend the animals and the habitats on which they depend.

To put it in terms that republicans can understand, the Bald Eagle was officially declared the National Emblem of the United States by the Second Continental Congress in 1782. Had H.R. 3824 been around back then? The presidential seal would not have been able to find a bald eagle and would have had to settle for something like a blindfolded chicken clutching an assault rifle in one talon and an oil derrick in the other. See Tom Allen

Popularity: 28%

NEWS OF: 9/28/2005

Our Man Flanagan

David Flanagan, former Central Maine Power president during Maine’s famous 1998 ice storm was selected by Sen. Susan Collins, (Chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs) to oversee the Katrina inquest. Flanagan will probably have to spend te winter in Washington, overseeing the day-to-day investigation until spring. See BDN

Popularity: 10%

NEWS OF: 9/27/2005

“I have not arrived at my decision lightly…”

But Senator Snowe supports Judge John G. Roberts, Jr. to be the next Chief Justice of the United States of America, despite a history of questionable judgement.

Robert’s past endorsements include a brief on behalf of the first Bush Administration arguing that “[w]e continue to believe that Roe was wrongly decided and should be overruled.”

Perhaps even more creepy is his position that Congress could constitutionally strip the Supreme Court of the authority to rule on cases regarding school prayer, abortion, and other issues - leaving the decision-making authority over those issues to … um… oh GOOD GOD!

Read the Roberts Opposition Report, renew your passports, brush up on your French, and prepare for the “I Told You So’s”

Popularity: 20%

NEWS OF: 9/26/2005

Cigarette Smokers Start Packin’

VIEW ALL: Smoking

Smokers disgusted with the buck-a-pack hike in smokes are simply going across the border to New Hampshire to purchase cigs - and a bunch of other things: scratchies, sodas, beer, etc.

d’OH! While state officials are seeing a drop of up to 30% in cigarette sales, the victory is offset by the big increase in cigarette sales by border town variety stores in New Hampshire.

“Contraband is an issue we’re concerned about,” said John Archard, the tobacco enforcement coordinator for the attorney general’s office. But that’s all he said. See Portsmouth Herald

Popularity: 17%

Women Get the Vote

VIEW ALL: Women

After 82 years of accepting men only, Augusta’s all-male Franco-American Calumet Club, founded to promote friendship with everyone but women, apparently, has upgraded it’s charter to the 19th century to allow women to join. I once had the good fortune to move into an apartment previously inhabited by a couple of older men… one can only imagine the sights and smells that greeted those Iron Jawed Angels upon entering this old boy’s club. See Boston.com.

Popularity: 17%

NEWS OF: 9/22/2005

Michael Heath: Putting the Shame Back into Sex - Where it Belongs

“The effect of [Question 1] is to make sexual activity outside of marriage legitimate,” according to the Christian Civic League’s Michael Heath. “It used to be in this country that we felt ashamed when we practiced our sexual activities outside of marriage, and this law is about eliminating that shame. I don’t understand how we can separate sexual orientation from the question of sexual morality.”

Heath was referring to Question 1 on the November 8 ballot - the law providing equal protection against discrimination in housing, banking, employment, etc. to Maine’s gay and lesbian citizens.

Heath’s campaign has repeatedly stated that equal rights will lead immediately to gay marriage, when, in fact, the real campaign uses gay marriage as a smoke screen to get to the real heart of a bigger issue - if we don’t regulate the sexual lives of all our citizens, they will go straight to H-E-Double-Toothpicks. The law is not about orientation in Heath’s mind, but morality, and bringing back those great laws that we all enjoyed during the late 1600s.

See Maine Campus: Nov. 8 referendum to settle challenge of Maine legislation

Popularity: 21%

Um, Some Kids Left Behind…

VIEW ALL: Education

According to the state’s education commissioner, 100 Maine schools failed to meet standards set by the No Child Left Behind Act. Overall, 69 percent of Maine Schools met the federal standards. Seven percent failed to meet standards for reading, mathematics or both for the second or third consecutive year. 14 percent made the list for the first time, including Cape Elizabeth, Wells and Poland High Schools. See WMTW.

Popularity: 10%

NEWS OF: 9/21/2005

Operation Keep ME Toasty

The Governor has kicked off “Operation Keep ME Warm” for the winter. OKMEW relies on state, private and volunteer donations of time and money to install weatherization kits in homes that elect to participate. This year volunteers will install energy conservation measures in at least 3,000 homes from October 28th through 31st. The door, window, and pipe insulation and eight compact fluorescent light bulbs that make up the $60 weatherization kit will provide electricity and heating fuel cost savings of as much as $200 this year alone. See the Governor

Popularity: 26%

Get Your Abstinence On the Streets…

That decision to refuse the $161,000 federal grant for the “no-sex education” curriculum may come back to bite ME next time Maine wants the Legislature to increase funding for the Bureau of Health.

State Sen. Debra D. Plowman, the Hampden republican who sheparded that vital piece of legislation allowing electronic moose calls in the state’s moose hunt for a company in her district that manufactured those very moose calls, was outraged that “bureaucrats” are making decisions that should be made by “lawmakers.” Illustrating those very statesmen-like qualities, Plowman has vowed that in the future she’ll urge Republicans and Democrats to deny budget expansions for the bureau of health in the future.

The sex education grant in question is for teaching everything but safe sexual practices, making it about as useful as a crocheted condom. And while lawmakers may feel empowered to be outraged at home, that outrage seems to disappear when it comes time to confront an administration that’s wasting time, taxpayer money, and everyone’s patience pursuing unrealistic and moralistic policies that simply don’t work. See: BDN

Popularity: 26%

NEWS OF: 9/20/2005

Where the Rubber Hits the Road: Does Oral Sex Break Your Virginity Pledge?

Maine has become one of only three states with the Moxie to stand up and refuse the federal funding that comes wrapped in an abstinence-only based sex-education program. Why turn it down? Because federal guidelines do not allow any of the money to be used to teach so-called “safe sex” practices.

Over the past five years the federal government has spent nearly a billion %&# dollars telling teens that they should not have sex until they are married and that condoms won’t keep them from getting pregnant or a variety of horrific diseases that will ruin their lives. This “panic room” approach, applied correctly, will prevent some people from having sex prior to marriage and will ensure that even after marriage they’ll never enjoy it. Nice job!

It’s only fair to ruin the lives of any parents, teachers and administrators who support this. So, picture your 13 year old having oral sex because it’s seen as not “technically” breaking his or her “virginity pledge”. There goes your peace of mind.

After the Promise: the STD consequences of adolescent virginity pledges, by the Journal of Adolescent Health (April 2005) indicates that the STD infection rate for virginity pledgers does not differ from nonpledgers. Possible explanations are that those taking virginity pledges are less likely than others to use condoms when they do have sex. Maybe because they don’t know how.

On a global scale, Stephen Lewis, the UN secretary general’s special envoy for HIV/Aids in Africa, said US cuts in funding for condoms and an emphasis on promoting abstinence had contributed to a shortage of condoms in Uganda, one of the few African countries which has succeeded in reducing its AIDS infection rate. Uganda has had extraordinary success in reducing adult infection rates from 30% in the early 1990s to below 6% last year. Mr Lewis said, “To impose a dogma-driven policy that is fundamentally flawed is doing damage to Africa.”

Popularity: 18%

NEWS OF: 9/19/2005

ID

Intelligent design. It’s not that people don’t want to consider it. It’s that we don’t want to teach it in science class. But it’s creating debate regardless…

Popularity: 26%

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