NEWS OF: 1/31/2006

State of the Union Address

The Democratic response is available online for those who can’t stand to listen to the President’s SOTU.

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Goodbye Freedom, Adios Privacy, Hello Alito

It’s official. The vote was 58-42, the smallest number of Democratic senators to support a justice in modern history - a statistic that truly defines the word “meaningless” at this point… All but one Republican Senator voted for Alito. Both of Maine’s Senators voted to confirm Alito, almost ensuring for themselves future opportunities to tell wonderful stories about how women once had the right to vote, among other rights.

Okay. No point in crying over this one. Every Democrat in the Senate needs to start buying this guy lunch, drinks, whatever it takes to turn him…

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Tom Allen for Senate?

VIEW ALL: Tom Allen

While Maine’s republican senators are busy confirming Alito or admonishing against filibustering, Tom Allen feels that Alito does not speak for Maine. It’s obviously time for Allen to make a run for the Senate.

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Racino Referendum

VIEW ALL: Gambling

Maine’s Passamaquoddy Tribe turned in more than 61,000 petition signatures in an effort to place the question of a Washington County racino before the voters in November. The big question is why involve voters? I know nothing in Maine politics feels legitimate until it’s made the referendum loop, but Bangor’s Hollywood Slots has already set the precedent for gambling in Maine. See BDN

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Goodbye, and Thanks for all the Fish…

Despite a five-year rescue effort, eternity on the federal endangered species list and $20,000,000 the Maine salmon might be facing extinction.

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Skowhegan: Slum & Blight a Tourist Turn-Off

VIEW ALL: Federal Grants

“We have a problem with the sewer overflows… going directly into the Kennebec River. Catch basins on Commercial Street are not connected anywhere; for years it has been seeping into the basements of the buildings.”

Frightening words from Audrey Lovring, manager of MainStreet Skowhegan, a revitalization program for downtown Skowhegan which is about to become officially a slum, the pits, or at the very least, an area of urban blight.
On the bright side, if Skowhegan declares itself a dump, they become eligible for $650,000 in grants to clean up that sewer overflow problem. Some residents, however, fear that it may be hard to overcome the name in the future…See MS

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NEWS OF: 1/30/2006

Why Did the Iraqi Chicken Cross the Road? To Avoid the IED

VIEW ALL: Avian Flu

unfortunately, it still died thanks to avian flu. Like things aren’t bad enough in Iraq already. Rampant violence, political instability, religious factionalization and now officials confirmed today the first case of avian flu in Iraq. See USA Today

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Maine’s Economic Report Card: Wait Till Your Father Gets Home!

VIEW ALL: Economy

For 2005 Maine slipped to a D in “business vitality,” but improved to a C in “development capacity.” Maine was 39th in job growth due to new business and 36th in employment by technology-based industries and in companies that trade their stock publicly. But we were right up there in racinos and slots, I’ll bet. See BDN

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Senator Snowe Decries Filibuster

Saying, “While I have not made any decision yet on an up-or-down vote on the nominee itself, I find it regrettable that there are those who are trying to resurrect a filibuster even as there is clearly nothing in the record that constitutes extraordinary circumstances. This unfortunate effort only serves to further politicize and polarize this process when this should be a time of careful deliberation based on the facts of the nominee’s record and testimony.”

Oh, I’m not even going to bother…

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CyberSlacking

VIEW ALL: Privacy

Workplace monitoring of employee Internet and email usage is up and the methods are becoming a little more sophisticated - giving employers access to your emails, screensnaps of websites you’re visiting, and so on. All of these “big brother” tactics on the job are absolutely legal in the office and on company time. Companies report that they monitor employees to prevent lawsuits and catch cyberslackers. But do companies with policies like these actually end up with better employees and do more business? If you treat your employees like cyberslackers can you complain when they spend all day surfing?

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Curley: Yet Another Republican Maine Woman Candidate?

VIEW ALL: Tom Allen

Republican Rep. Darlene Curley of Scarborough has announced plans to run against incumbent Tom Allen to represent the state’s 1st Congressional district. See the KJ

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Identity Theft Laws Beefed

VIEW ALL: Privacy

You may recall the identity theft laws that went into effect after data broker ChoicePoint announced that tons of user information had been compromised. Maine is seeking to extend that law by requiring all businesses to comply - banks, credit unions, insurance companies, investment advisers, loan brokers, retailers, restaurants, doctors, hospitals, etc. - not just information brokers. Damages would be limited to “actual harm suffered.” Read that as no punitive damages. Business groups are fretting that expanding the law would be a burden for smaller businesses who, apparently, find it too burdensome already to protect your data. See RedOrbit

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NEWS OF: 1/27/2006

Economy Growing at Snail’s Pace

VIEW ALL: Economy

The good news is that the US economy, like the universe, is expanding. The bad news is that it’s growing at its slowest pace in three years - 1.1% in the fourth quarter of 2005. See Financial Times

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Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

VIEW ALL: Disease

Wild deer infected with a mad cow like disease known as CWD can carry the infectious agents in their leg muscles. Humans eating infected meat may contract brain wasting disease, which is just as bad as it sounds.

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