NEWS OF: 5/31/2006

Homeland Security: X-Men to Protect San Francisco

A plan to weigh terrorism risks more heavily when doling out homeland security money should have helped the San Francisco Bay Area, local officials figured, especially given the damage already done to the Golden Gate Bridge by Magneto and the other malevolent mutants of X-Men III. Imagine their surprise when the homeland security budget awarded them $5 million less than a year ago.

Popularity: 40%

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NEWS OF: 5/30/2006

Whistleblowers? Shaddap!

VIEW ALL: Crime

Like the bumper sticker that reads, “I wasn’t using my civil liberties anyway” the Supreme Court ruled today (5-4) that the First Amendment does not shield public employees from disciplinary action for job-related speech. The court restricted civil servants’ ability to file lawsuits against agency retaliation over the disclosure of government misconduct. In other words, blow the whistle and you blow it alone.

Popularity: 54%

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Global Warming & Poison Ivy

VIEW ALL: Global Warming

Global warming is going to make poison ivy itchier and more plentiful according to a new study, emboldened by rising levels of carbon dioxide. More than 350,000 Americans alone have experienced poison ivy that’s itchy enough to seek professional help.

Popularity: 50%

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Springvale: The Threat Down

VIEW ALL: Critters

Some residents in Springvale are one edge after several people saw a black bear wandering through town. Watch those jelly donuts and pic-a-nic baskets.

Popularity: 51%

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Maine: Pump ME Up

VIEW ALL: Gasoline

The price of gas is currently below the national average by about a nickel a gallon.

Popularity: 37%

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Bush Paves the Path to Peace through War

NPR’s “Examining the Rhetoric of Wartime Sacrifice” reviews historic appeals to continue fighting sometimes unpopular wars by invoking the sacrifice of the already fallen.

President Bush joined that long list of leaders calling for continued sacrifice. His Memorial Day message included a quote from a letter that Lt. Mark Dooley wrote to his parents before being killed last September: “The best way to pay respect is to value why a sacrifice was made.”

Popularity: 34%

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Olympia Snowe: The Amazing Race

VIEW ALL: Olympia Snowe

Two Democrats who have never held office are preparing to do battle for the Senate seat of Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe.

Civil rights lawyer Eric Mehnert joins organic farmer and writer Jean Hay Bright in a June 13 primary to decide which of them will move on to round two.

Snowe remains undefeated in two Senate races, eight bids for Congress and three runs for the state Legislature. Mehnert and Hay Bright dispute Snowe’s moderation and independence from the Bush administration. See the KJ

Popularity: 33%

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NEWS OF: 5/29/2006

CBS News Crew Killed, Injured by IED

VIEW ALL: Iraq War

kimdozier.jpgTwo more network newsmen have been killed and a third seriously injured. CBS news veteran cameraman Paul Douglas, 48, and soundman James Brolan, 42, were killed while correspondent Kimberly Dozier, 39, was seriously injured by a bomb attack on a U.S. military patrol in Baghdad.

Popularity: 44%

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Frist Rolls the Dice

Many Republicans in congress have broken ranks with the President following the FBI raid of a fellow congressman’s office, William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana. Motivation? A job in a few years. But Bill Frist supports the raid. His sights are set on a White House run and he’s hoping to follow in the same dogmatic footsteps as Bush. Frist, if elected, might actually make the Bush years look good in hindsight.

Popularity: 46%

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NEWS OF: 5/28/2006

Republican Radio-Controlled Congress Pops a Battery

The Republican-controlled Congress has spent the last several years serving as doormat, co-conspirator, bully, and wingman for President Bush, turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to a string of executive abuses of power that make the Clinton “impeachment for a blowjob” years look positively quaint.

Republicans (not all, but many) happily supported anything concocted because it was to their advantage. Until Federal agents decided to raid a Democratic congressman’s office a week ago. Suddenly, the wagons circled and those who carried the little man who can’t pronounce the word “nuclear” on their backs to victory realized that they had lost their usefulness and we’re now equally expendable.

We’ve seen this scenario play out time and again from The Lord of the Rings to Harry Potter to the Fall of Rome. The question remains the same. Did they wait too long? See WashingtonPost.com

Popularity: 47%

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Aim Low: Can Iraq Get It’s Act Together in a Year to Secure One City?

VIEW ALL: Iraq War

The headline from the SF Gate: “U.S. hopes to put Iraq in charge of security by year’s end Military official says America’s main role would be as support, emergency backup” doesn’t mention that we’re talking about one year of lives lost to turn over security of one town: Baghdad. Three paragraphs later officials caution that “We’re not anywhere close to that yet,” referring to reducing American troops.

Popularity: 43%

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Northeast Mothers Against Dumb Drivers

VIEW ALL: Transportation

An insurance company exam has revealed that the Northeast has the dumbest drivers. You might think it’s because our road system evolved largely out of routine cattle paths that meandered in anything but a straight line. Or maybe it’s the tolls, traffic rotaries, pot holes?

No. Just plain old American stupidity.

  1. Approximately one in three drivers said they usually do not stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.
  2. At least one out of five drivers did not know that pedestrians in a crosswalk have the right of way. Actually, pedestrians always have the right of way. Try running one down and you’ll see what I mean.
  3. At least one in five also did not know that roads are most slippery when it first starts to rain after a dry spell.

Maine came in a bit below average with a 32 ranking - tied with North Carolina.

Popularity: 35%

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Haditha: War is Still Hell

VIEW ALL: Iraq War

Early reports of the Haditha killings indicated that Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, had maliciously killed 15 civilians - two families.

The original story was that of a Marine convoy that met a white taxi while on a routine patrol. Marines ordered the taxi to halt and as it did, a bomb under one of the four Marine humvees exploded, killing the driver and wounding two others. The convoy came under fire. Marines killed the five individuals in the taxi after they exited the vehicle and ran. Military report: 15 civilians plus 8 insurgents.

But the civilian deaths: military officials, families and families of the victims, human-rights investigators, and doctors didn’t fit the profile of “insurgents.”

Witnesses told a different story of Marines moving methodically through four homes destroying property and killing 19 men, women and children.

The Marines, when questioned by local Iraqis among others, blamed the event on “collateral damage” or wrote it off as al-Qaeda propaganda.

Until two sets of photos surfaced: a routine set provided by the military which doesn’t show any bodies, and a second set taken by the Marines of Kilo Company, possibly personal or non-official - one of which got emailed to a friend. Those photos tell a different story. See Time.com

Popularity: 33%

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NEWS OF: 5/27/2006

Podcast: The Week That Was May 22, 2006

VIEW ALL: Podcasts

Give your eyes a break with Maine Democrat’s weekly podcast, The Week That Was May 22, 2006 (mp3 format)
Subscribe to the RSS Feed via iTunes: podcast

Popularity: 31%

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