Friday, May 28, 2010
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Monday, May 24, 2010
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Standing corrected or at least clarified on the Maine casino issue. #mepolitics #megov #wetheMEpeople #casinos
I sent out a tweet, silly me, calling out the gubernatorial candidates in Maine on not taking any leadership position on the casino issue. Should Maine have more casinos? If so where should they be located? If not, why not?
Only the Democrats seem to have spent any serious political capital on this issue. The GOP seems to be testing the wind -- with statements like if the local community supports it they will support it. So should Maine law be changed to legalize casinos, if they are approved by local referendum? Is that the gist. I think we will hear or see a clear statement on this issue soon from Peter Mills as well. Just a hunch.
One GOP candidate during an online chat with the Kenebec Journal wrote they wouldn't want their children working in a casino but if a company wanted to invest in Maine and bring that business here that might be OK.
So what's it going to be? As a candidate and a voter would you vote to support new casinos in Maine, either in Oxford per the Black Bear plan or in Lewiston per the Stavros Mendros plan? Rosa Scarcelli and Steve Rowe, to their credit, pointed out they don't support casinos as a economic development but I think there's a lot of line-walking going on still -- leery that large local support, if it exists, could cost them a major voting bloc in Maine i.e. Lewiston-Auburn and Androscoggin.
Scarcelli is the clearest so far against this. Not surprising given her campaign team and Dennis Bailey's involvment.
Also supporting a casino here could cost them other voting blocks that have said we don't go in for gambling as an economic development tool i.e. Cumberland and York counties and possible Penobscot, which already has a casino.
What's it going to be guys. Voters want leadership on this issue -- not I'll support it if you do. That's a kind of lame cop out. In my humble opinion.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Our good friend Anna had a party today and her mom and dad had two ponies come over. What a fun time and the cake was delicious too.
Here's a short video from the festivities. What a day, t-ball, bike riding, pony parties.... and no rain, so far. That's a pretty good Saturday in any kids book.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Our German friends have also paid a toll in Afghanistan. Sad day in Maine. Condolences to all. roughly .. Wir begrussen un ehre der
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Russ Dillingham and I have completed Day One of our Gaspse trip. Today is day two and we head to the town of Murdochville, which is inland but the site of a large wind farm. We are told in Quebec they are called parks, versus farms. We had great day in Carleton Sur Mer and met some very friendly people.
Here's a general map of the places we hope to get to in a short few days.
Here's a map.
View Gaspe, Quebec in a larger map
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
I love this release from Sen. Snowe's office this a.m. I remember interviewing the late U.S. Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., once and he talked fondly about Snowe's focus on health care issues, especially prescription drugs and such. Wellstone praised Snowe for being a truly bi-partisan Senator and for being in it for the people. I think it's interesting how the Senators from these two states I love are teaming up and seeing past the current politics of GOP vs. Democrats as a team sport to do something important to help the working-man and the working class.I know not everybody will agree with everything either of these two lawmakers may do or say but this is a hard one to be against.
Here's the full release.
Snowe, Franken Advocate For Homeowners In Wall Street Reform Bill
File Bipartisan Amendment To Assist Americans In Danger Of Losing Their Homes
WASHINGTON, DC –U.S. Sens. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) were joined by 7 of their colleagues in filing a bipartisan amendment to the Wall Street Reform bill being considered by the Senate. The proposal would create an Office of the Homeowner Advocate, funded from existing sources, whose focus would be on assisting homeowners who believe their mortgage servicer is breaking the rules. Currently, these families have nowhere to turn when wrongly denied from the program, or encounter difficulties in navigating the already stressful system of avoiding foreclosure.
“For far too many Mainers and Americans, these turbulent economic times, in which we have witnessed record high unemployment rates, are confounded by the housing market crisis and certain mortgage servicers who are, frankly, taking advantage of our nation’s families,” said Senator Snowe. “By creating an Office of the Homeowner Advocate, these Americans will receive the vital assistance they require when they are faced with the daunting foreclosure system.”
“Too many Minnesotans have lost their jobs through no fault of their own, and are now in danger of losing their homes,” said Sen. Franken. “When they feel they’re being treated unfairly, they need to know there’s someone who has their back. My proposal creates an office dedicated to these families. They’re doing their best with an incredibly stressful situation in a tough economy that they didn’t create, and we ought to do what we can to help them.”
Snowe and Franken’s proposal received the support of the Treasury Department, which placed it on its Top 10 list of amendments that improve the Wall Street Reform bill.< http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/05/05/good-guys> Original co-sponsors of the amendment are Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Russ Feingold (D-Wisc.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Jeff Merkley (D-Or.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).
The Office of the Homeowner Advocate would be modeled after the successful Office of the Taxpayer Advocate at the Internal Revenue Service. It aims to help resolve problems with the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) developed by the U.S Treasury Department to help homeowners struggling to keep their homes. It would be funded from money that is available for the costs of administering the HAMP program, but is not otherwise committed.
The Office of the Homeowner Advocate would have three primary functions: To assist homeowners, housing counselors, and housing lawyers in resolving problems with the HAMP program; to identify areas where homeowners are having problems in dealing with the HAMP program; and, to identify possible administrative and legislative changes to HAMP.
In addition to gaining assistance in navigating the system, while a person is appealing a case through the Office of the Homeowner Advocate, homes may not go to foreclosure sale until the process is finished or 60 days have passed.
The Office of the Homeowner Advocate would:
- Have an independent director, appointed by the Secretary of Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. This director would have a background as an advocate for homeowners and have experience dealing with mortgage servicers. The director cannot have worked for a servicer or for the Treasury Department within the past four years.
- Make the Director available to testify in front of the Senate Banking Committee and House Committee on Financial Services at least four times a year, or at any time at the request of the Chairs of either committee, and will issue a formal report to Congress once a year.
- Have staff designated by the Director to have the authority, on a case-by-case basis, to implement servicer remedies, subject to the approval of the Assistant Secretary for Financial Stability. This will help to ensure that the staff of the Office of the Homeowner Advocate actually have the ability to make servicers follow the rules.
The Franken-Snowe amendment is supported by Americans for Financial Reform, Center for Responsible Lending, National Consumer Law Center, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, Consumers Union, Consumer Federation of America, and National Council of La Raza.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
Budgets are tight and both councils say they may not have the $10,000 each for fireworks. Both cities are also already proposing property tax increases to make up for losses in state revenue sharing cut by the legislature this year. Here's the full report by Scott Taylor in today's Sun Journal. Peter (towns and cities) was robbed to pay Paul (the state) and now Peter can't have any fireworks on the Fourth. What's up with that?
There's also the point that had the cities taken the advice of the governor's office and looked harder to consolidate more services they would have more efficient operations by and savings on management and other overhead costs -- so they wouldn't be in this pinch in the first place.
A citizens' commission on this task worked long and hard and offered savings but both previous councils decided to ignore them.
We can put a poll out on this later today. E-mail question suggestions, if you have them, or comments.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
From the Sen. Snowe's release today on a Senate Finance Committee hearing examining the administration's proposed $90 billion tax on the financial industry:
“We can continue to talk about ‘jobs, jobs, jobs’ and say that we are taking steps to ensure our small businesses have access to credit and the resources they need to get back to work, but when the national unemployment rate has remained static at 9.7 percent for the past three months, I have to wonder what is really being done to break down the barriers to capital for our smaller firms and entrepreneurs,” said Senator Snowe while questioning Treasury Secretary Geithner. “So, I will ask you Mr. Secretary, where are the jobs? How are we addressing the problem of credit on Main Street?”
Androscoggin Land Trust opens Chief Worumbo Androscoggin River Race to online registration. #adnroscoggin #rivers #maine
Monday, May 3, 2010
BDN scoop on aid being fired in Otten campaign over plagerism issue. #mepolitics Also an SJ editorial is now out there on this.
Here's the BDN story. Here's the Sun Journal editorial on this latest -- ooopsie. Also big congrats to Pine Tree Politics, which has broken two big gubernatorial campaign sttories in two weeks. That's quite a track record, featuring the woes of both a Democrat and Republican, so fair and balanced to boot. But I'm not sure I'm ready to sound the death knell for political reporting in Maine by other than bloggers.
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Poll has closed. SJ Survey results of 555 online readers on Farmington march here. #mepolitics #farmington
The results of this poll are kind of interesting. Keep in mind this is non-scientific but voters could vote only once from any IP address. The bottom line is most believed the effect of a topless march on gender equity were neutral or less.
A large number of online voters also suggested it's best for all of us, men and women, to try and keep our shirts on in public places.