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NEWS from March 2010 (updated: 09.30.2010, 13:22)
  • Turnin' up the Heat concert, Saturday, April 3, benefits volunteer weatherization efforts. See our calendar for details. Organized by our recording secretary, Tracy Rescigno.
  • What are they thinking? Frank Rich has an interesting piece in the NYTimes (03/27) about Republican/Tea Party opposition to the recently passed healthcare legislation. He points to the scary stuff like Sarah Palin's Facebook page with rifle crosshairs targeting Democratic opponents, her rallying cry to "Don't Retreat, Instead - RELOAD!," and demonstrators chanting "Take our country back!."

    Rich says it's not about Healthcare (is it ObamaCare or is it RomneyCare?), but about Republican "anxieties about a rapidly changing America. " He says,

    "...Demographics are avatars of a change bigger than any bill contemplated by Obama or Congress. ...By 2012, the next presidential election year, non-Hispanic white births will be in the minority. The Tea Party movement is virtually all white. The Republicans haven’t had a single African-American in the Senate or the House since 2003 and have had only three in total since 1935. ...their anxieties...are well-grounded. "

  • House Passes Healthcare Bill! On Sunday, March 21st, the U. S. House of Representatives voted 219 to 212 to pass the version of the bill approved in the Senate before Christmas. The bill was unanimously opposed by the Republican minority joined by 34 Democrats. Both Maine representatives, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud, voted in favor. The NYTimes has the complete story, including this quote from President Obama:
    "In the end what this day represents is another stone firmly laid in the foundation of the American dream. Tonight, we answered the call of history as so many generations of Americans have before us. When faced with crisis, we did not shrink from our challenges. We overcame them. We did not avoid our responsibilities, we embraced it. We did not fear our future, we shaped it."

    The Washington Post has an online tool to display the bill's affects on individuals with differing incomes, marital status and existing insurance plans.

    Anne Telnaes' cartoon animation reminds us that this is only the start.

  • We now have the latest version of the Maine Moderator's manual as a PDF (668 K) available for download. We will be discussing this at the April meeting (04/13), so please review it beforehand.
  • Chair Hugh Magbie is back in the saddle! He says (3/11):
    I'd like to thank all who were concerned about my health last Tuesday. I spent 6 hours in the emergency room at Tufts Medical Center and they have fixed me up fine. I'm back at home, fully functional, and fired up.

    Thanks to all for your concern.

  • June Primary: We've added a new menu item to keep everyone current.
  • Term Limits: Maine legislators are limited to four consecutive 2-year terms. We have the latest lists for the Maine Senate and Maine House of Representatives.
  • rx symbol Party Progressives oppose Obama healthcare plan. Ohio Democrat Dennis Kucinich charges that the Obama plan is a give-away to the health insurance industry and continues to hold out for a "robust public option." He warns that " companies make money [by] NOT providing healthcare." See the MSNBC video interview here.

    In the accompanying video clip, President Obama responds to those who say this is not the right time for healthcare reform,

    ...when's the right time? If not now, when? If not us, who?...

  • Our last KCDC meeting was Tuesday, March 9 at Stella Maris House, Rockland. The agenda is here. The bad news is that Chair Hugh Magbie was rushed to Boston by car for medical reasons by our Vice-chair, Bob Baker, on the day of the meeting. The good news is that Hugh's complete and speedy recovery is expected.

    In spite of the short notice, Bob ran an excellent meeting ("Well, Hugh had something he wanted to say about this [agenda item], but you know, in spite of his discomfort, he never stopped talking the whole way to Boston, but he didn't talk about this...") Meeting highlights include:

    • Probably a first at a KCDC meeting, a motion to approve the minutes of the last contentious meeting was tabled, due to further contention.
    • Anticipated guest speaker, Pat McGowen, was absent.
    • The State Party Platform revision is close to completion.
    • The Tech committee reported that the video camera works (!), KCDC is on Facebook, and our local database of Knox voters will be ready around primary day in June.
    • The Candidate Search Committee reported that Carol Maines will run for County Commissioner to replace Anne Beebe-Center, and that we have place holders for Senate district 22 and House district 49, while the search for real campaigners goes on. Hannah Pingree is term-limited; the announced Democratic candidate for her seat is from Hancock Co.
    • We adopted Bob Baker's proposal for supporting candidates who are not opting or eligible for clean-election funding.
    • Mike Mayo asked for volunteers for Fund Raising Chair and for assistance at our upcoming major fund raisers: Haskell-Mayo (after the June primary), Thomaston 4th of July, and our Lobster Bake in August.
    • The Maine Moderator's Manual was discussed as a replacement for Robert's Rules in governing our meetings. Reportedly simple and easy to implement, Here is the latest edition as a PDF (668 K download). A motion to adopt will probably be on next month's agenda. (Need HTML format? Here's the older 5th Edition. )
    • Volunteers were sought to find a headquarters for this fall's election, probably for September and October.
    • Kathie Johnsons' thank-you note was read aloud.
    • The upcoming concert, Turn up the Heat, to benefit volunteer weatherization efforts was announced. See our calendar for details.
    • Angel Food Ministries was mentioned as a source of inexpensive and nutritious food for those in need.

  • Senate candidate needed! We still need a candidate to run for state senate from Knox County. We have a place-holder to meet the March 15th filing deadline, but have yet to identify the person who will campaign against incumbent Republican Chris Rector. Contact a KCDC officer if you are that person, or know someone who might be interested.
  • The cost of doing nothing on healthcare: If the current congressional effort on national healthcare fails, " policy analysts and economists of nearly every ideological persuasion agree. The unrelenting rise in medical costs is likely to wreak havoc within the system and beyond it, and pretty much everyone will be affected, directly or indirectly.

    'People think if we do nothing, we will have what we have now,' said Karen Davis, the president of the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit health care research group in New York. 'In fact, what we will have is a substantial deterioration in what we have.'

    Nearly every mainstream analysis calls for medical costs to continue to climb over the next decade, outpacing the growth in the overall economy and certainly increasing faster than the average paycheck..." More in this NYTimes article (2/28)...

  • Several of our friends are having serious health issues: KCDC stalwart, James O'Haverty, of Hope, is upbeat despite a bout of health issues this winter. Elizabeth writes:
    Hello everyone - Thank you all for your kind thoughts and good wishes. James and I have just returned from three days in Portland, where tests revealed that J's heart is healthy, but some of his valves need a little work. We have an appointment on March 9 to consult with Dr. Scott Buchanan, a surgeon of good repute, and we will probably be discussing a triple bypass sometime in March. Meanwhile, James is looking and feeling quite well and cheerful - although I'm sure nervousness pokes it's head around the door from time to time. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers - and I will keep you posted.

  • Rockland's Leroy Peasley has had a tough winter as well. The chair has more here.
  • Can States Pick Up the Health Reform Torch? Sara Rosenbaum, a lawyer writing in the New England Journal of Medicine (Feb 24), says no. She has four points: (1) Fiscal reality: all the states are broke; (2) Practicality: no state can successfully fight the insurance companies; (3) Legal hurdles: the federal "Employee Retirement Income Security Act" (ERISA) exempts from state regulation self-funded employer plans, which represent 50% of the group market in many states; and (4) Treatment reality: health care as a treatment system operates across state boundaries. PDF here.
  • KCDC received a warm thank-you note from Kathie Johnson. At our February meeting, the group unanimously agreed to recognize Kathie, our dedicated volunteer, erstwhile fundraising chair, and bottomless source of energy, with a modest gift. She writes,

    My word -

    There has only been a single time in my life previous to this that I have been so utterly shocked, surprised, stunned, and at a loss for words, and that was when my friends/family threw me a surprise 60th birthday party 7 years ago. (Of course, I had been agitating for one for approximately 30 years, give or take a few months.) But, you have no idea how completely undone I was by your generosity and thoughtfulness, to say nothing of the total appropriateness of the gift. For those of you who don't know, the Johnsons are actually on the Georges River Garden Tour July 11th, so if you haven't made it over for a visit before that, please come and make with all those lies about how fabulous our place looks.

    I do have one question: what makes you all think I did anything particularly special -- I didn't do nothin' without everyone's help and the bottom line was that it was a huge amount of fun in a good cause. I don't think life gets better.

    I apologize for my delinquency at meetings -- it turns out that Tuesday evenings are the only chance I have to do particular teaching for Bay Chamber Concerts and couldn't forego the opportunity this year. Doesn't mean I'm not thinking of you or missing you. My stupid cancer has yet to figure out who the boss is and I did begin chemo last week. We're all hopeful that that will teach it. Please call and/or come visit and thank you again.


    By the way: the gift is a GORGEOUS wrought iron bird bath bearing a plaque that says, "We Honor You, Kathie Johnson, For the Commitment, Dedication, and Generosity you brought to your Hard work on behalf of the Knox County Democrats. In Appreciation. KCDC"

  • rx symbol State-by-state health care reform? With Congress gridlocked, national health care looks to be dead in the water again. Canada's national health started with enactment in a single province; Massachusetts and Hawaii have done their own thing in the U. S. Should Congress keep hands off, and instead be a facilitator for states' efforts? Take a look at Vermont Single Payer, a website with a wealth of information, and a rational take on the issue. Hit this link and use the menu on the left for some interesting articles.

    What about Maine? Here's a December 2002 feasibility study (870k pdf) that suggests it would work.


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