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NEWS!  from Jan/Feb 2012 (updated: 03.05.2012, 12:36)  Previous month's news


  • Municipal Caucus Locations and times may be different from what you're used to. Please check the list to be sure. Appleton folks: a notice will be posted in the town office. Caucuses are Sunday, February 26th.
  • POTUS in Portland on March 30th. The fund-raiser reception with President Obama is at the Portland Marriott Sable Oaks. The pdf invitation is here or sign up on-line here.

    Email Ken Wexler to explore transportion/car pooling opportunities.


  • Upset! Chris Johnson won the District 20 Senate seat in the special election held Feb 14. District 20 represents Lincoln Co. (except Dresden), Windsor (Kennebec Co.) and the Knox Co. towns of Friendship and Washington. Our success was due to Chris's hard work and well-organized campaign (with a lot of support in Friendship by our own Carolyn Foster), but you have to ask: in a traditionally strong Republican district, are Republicans staggering under the weight of LePage?
  • elephantAnalysis: The Party of No. Tom Friedman, writing in the NYTimes (02/11) says:
    WATCHING the Republican Party struggling to agree on a presidential candidate, one wonders whether the G.O.P. shouldn’t just sit this election out — just give 2012 a pass...

    ...The party has let itself become the captive of conflicting ideological bases: anti-abortion advocates, anti-immigration activists, social conservatives worried about the sanctity of marriage, libertarians who want to shrink government, and anti-tax advocates who want to drown government in a bathtub.

    Sorry, but you can’t address the great challenges America faces today with that incoherent mix of hardened positions...

    more...
  • Our February meeting was Tuesday, Feb 14, at Stella Maris House in Rockland. The agenda is here. Meeting highlights:
    • Marc Malon (MDC rep) conducted a 1-hour training for caucus conveners. Convener packets will be picked up in Augusta by Knox Co. reps and delivered to conveners.
    • 4-county meeting is in the works. Our executive committee will meet with their counterparts in Lincoln, Waldo and Sagadohoc Counties to explore potential coordination in areas of purchasing and so forth.
    • The chair and/or Mike will be meeting with MSEIU to improve the union endorsement process.
    • Candidate search committee reports one potential candidate for the Rockland house seat and one possible for the Appleton, Hope, Lincolnville seat.
    • A bulk stamp purchase was approved.
    • A funding level was approved for the Candidate Support Committee to underwrite local events with 3 or more candidates.
    • Our reps on the state platform committee briefed on the current status.

  • Don't call it "Right to Work". As more Republican state legislatures attempt union suppression, it's important to understand what it's all about. Kate Cuddy's OpEd in the Bangor Daily last month (01/24) provides some clarification, including:

    Proponents...claim that right-to-work laws will enable a more business-friendly environment and lead to economic growth, but there is no indication that right-to-work laws actually accomplish these goals.

    Both the highest and lowest unemployment rates are in right-to-work states, so these laws have no clear impact on economic growth that leads to job creation. However, right-to-work laws correlate strongly with decreased wages and lower median incomes. In other words, right-to-work laws do not help people get jobs, and they tend to reduce employee income.


  • Who are the donors? An outside group, "The National Organization for Marriage" (NOM), spent $1.9 million to defeat Maine's same-sex marriage law in 2009. The 1st District Court of Appeals ruled in January that the group must comply with Maine's campaign disclosure law; the issue is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. More at the Portland Press Herald (02/01)...
  • Caucus Update (2/01). conveners: stop checking your mailboxes. Convener packets will not be mailed from Augusta after all; Chairman Bruce will pick up convener materials and arrange for direct distribution/pickup with conveners. Questions to Bruce at: brucehodsdon@gmail.com.
  • Qualifying Contributions for Maine Clean Elections funding may be made on-line at the Maine Ethics Commission's website. The rules are (exerpted from the website):

    In order to qualify for public funds under the Maine Clean Election Act, a candidate must demonstrate a threshold amount of community support by collecting a minimum number of checks or money orders of $5 or more made payable to the Maine Clean Election Fund. For legislative candidates, the contributions must be made by registered voters in the candidate's district...

    Candidates must collect a minimum of:

    60 qualifying contributions for House candidates.

    175 qualifying contributions for Senate candidates.

    The qualifying contributions must be collected during the period January 1 - April 20...

    When you go to the contributions page, you enter your address and name as it appears on your town's voter rolls. The site displays the candidates for whom you are allowed to contribute, by personal Visa or Mastercard (business credit cards are not allowed).
  • Municipal Caucuses are Sunday, Feb 26.
    • Our County Chair, Bruce Hodsdon, will be calling past conveners and lining up new ones as needed, starting Jan 22.
    • Information packets will be mailed to conveners during the two-weeks following Jan 22.
    • convener training will be February 14, 6:00 - 6:45 p.m. at Stella Maris House in Rockland, just before our regular monthly meeting at 7:00 p.m.
    • We will be running an ad in the Free Press to announce venues and times.
    • Mike Mayo (354-8781) is "Looking for someone to HEAD UP a group to make signs to post in each town about the caucus. Any volunteers?"

  • Morning After discussion groups: Wednesday, January 25.

    Organizing for America has put together four local venues to share impressions of the President's State of the Union Address and Governor LePage's State of the State. Restaurant locations will offer the option of ordering breakfast. Bring your ideas and come enjoy being together. We had a blast the last time we did this.

    Town Venue Hosts
    Camden: Camden Deli, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Amy Fischer, Lisa Cote
    Rockland: Atlantic Bakery, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Eileen Wilkinson, Joan Smith
    Thomaston: Thomaston Cafe, 9:00-11:00 a.m. Diana Beach
    South Thomaston: Home of Colleen Richmon, 10:00-noon
    (18 Drury Lane, river side of Rt. 131 north of Harbor Rd. Vet.)
    Colleen Richmon and Selina Martin

    Tuesday, January 24, the President's State of the Union address will be at 9:00 p.m., preceded by Governor LePage's State of the State at 7:00 p.m.

    To RSVP and get directions: Diana Beach, dlbeach497@earthlink.net, 354-7205 or go to barackobama.com and select the red button at the lower right of the main page to find an event.


  • cannonThe Old Negotiator threatens schools to force his budget cuts on DHHS.

    On Thursday (1/19) the guv said:

    Right now, in order to continue the way we are, I will close schools May 1 and use that money, because that’s where we are...
    (more at the Press Herald)

    But he's been thinking about shutting down schools and state government for a while.
    In Fort Kent on December 27th, he said:

    Only two Band Aids lef'. One of them is schools...the other one is...send everybody home from April to June...

    Dirigo Blue has the video.

    The BDN has a followup (01/21)


  • Taxes are lower than you think, according to this NYTimes (01/20) report. It says, in part:

    ...a large majority of American households - about two out of three - pays less than 15 percent of income to the federal government, through either income taxes or payroll taxes.

    This disconnect between what we pay and what we think we pay is nothing less than one of the country's biggest economic problems.

    Many Americans see themselves as struggling under the weight of a heavy tax burden (partly for the understandable reason that wage growth has been so weak). Yet taxes in the United States are quite low today, compared with past years or those in other countries. Most important, American taxes are not sufficient to pay for the programs that many people want, like Medicare, Social Security, road construction and education subsidies... (more here)


  • 4th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Food Drive. This year's Food Drive will run through February 29th. It supports the Friendship-Cushing Food Pantry housed in the Old Cushing Library on Town House Road and the Thomaston Interfaith Fellowship Food Pantry, Watts Hall, Main Street, Thomaston.

    Drop off unopened food items with an expiration date no older than six months at the Cushing or Thomaston Public Library, Thomaston St. John's Episcopal Church, Cushing Town Office, or the Cushing home of Diane and Barry Smith.

    "The need is always there," reports Cushing pantry volunteer Rich Moody. "Food donations have slowed down since the holidays, and all donations of food or money are deeply appreciated," said Jim Smith, manager of the Thomaston Interfaith Fellowship Food Pantry.

    One in four children in Maine is food insecure. Maine is 13th in the nation for food insecurity, and 43 percent of Maine’s people who are food insecure have income too high to qualify for food stamps. Your generosity is enormously appreciated by those served by the pantry as well as the sponsoring organizations: the Cushing and Thomaston Public Libraries and Historical Societies, General Henry Knox Museum, Organizing for America and the Thomaston Monday Morning Meeting. Help the pantry make it through the winter. FMI, or to schedule a food pickup, please call Diane Smith, 354-8748.


  • elephant pictureIntramurals: Are they doing our work for us? Gail Collins expresses her disappointment that the R's won't winnow their primary field in this chuckle (NYTimes 01/12). She points to this "third party" political ad by Gingrich's super PAC "Winning our Future." Watch the skillfully produced video and ask yourself how much it cost to make and where the money came from. And this is just the primary. If you get to the end (where they really do show Romney speaking French), you're taken to the contributions page with these disclaimers (Italics ours):

    Winning Our Future is an independent expenditure-only committee registered with the Federal Election Commission...

    There are no limits on contributions that may be given to Winning Our Future by an individual, corporation, union, or trade association; however, Winning Our Future does not accept contributions from federal government contractors, national banks, foreign nationals without permanent residency status, or foreign corporations. Contributions to Winning Our Future do not count against the biennial limit that applies to an individual’s aggregate contributions to federal candidates, PACs, and political parties.

    Federal law requires us to use our best efforts to collect and report the name, mailing address, occupation and name of employer of individuals whose contributions exceed $200 in a calendar year.


  • Our January meeting was Tuesday, January 10th, at Stella Maris House in Rockland. The meeting agenda is here. Meeting highlights (a lot happening on Wednesday, Jan 11!):
    • John Hinck, a challenger to Olympia Snow in this year's election, spoke briefly. His remarks touched on Congressional efforts to turn back the Citizens United decision that opened the floodgates to 3d party political advertising.
    • KCDC members from Washington and Friendship will caucus Wednesday night (6:30 p.m., Jan 11th) in Wiscasset at the 901 Call Center (Lincoln County Communications Center meeting room next to the courthouse) to choose a candidate for the District 20 Senate seat vacated by David Trahan. The special election for the seat will held February 14th. Christopher Johnson of Somerville is seeking the Democratic nomination.
    • Our biennial Democratic municipal caucuses will be held Sunday, February 26th to elect delegates to the state convention (June 1 - 2, Augusta), local town committee officers, representatives to the county committee, and nominate a candidate for the November presidential election. Conveners should be in touch with their town clerks to schedule meeting space.
    • Mike Duffy spoke about the CLYNK deposit redemption program and distributed collection bags.
    • We agreed to:
      • place an ad in the Free Press announcing our municipal caucuses.
      • request booth space at the Common Ground Fair (in September).
      • endorse an Executive Committee meeting with their counterparts at the Lincoln and Waldo county committees.
      • approved a modest expenditure to send three people to a 4-week fund-raising course at SAD 40. It is taught by Pen Williamson whose work has included fundraising for Colby, Outward Bound and Life-Flight of Maine. Call Bruce to take advantage of this (372-6535) and lead or be part of KCDC's fundraising committee.
    • Bonnie Post distributed nominating petitions for Ed Mazurek's District 22 Senate campaign. If you can help, please call Bonnie (594-9263).
    • Other announcements:
      • Diane Smith announced the MLK Food Drive at the Thomaston and Cushing Libraries, to be held through February.
      • Martin Luther King documentary film to be aired Wednesday (Jan 11) at the Thomaston Library (6:30 to 8:00 p.m.).
      • Zoe Armstrong will speak about her two years in Armenia with a slide show on Wednesday (Jan 11) at the Rockland library (6:30 p.m.) Zoe was an enthusiastic volunteer for us during the 2010 campaign.
      • The award winning documentary film, Mother: Caring for 7 billion, about the world's population growth, will be screened at the UU Church in Rockland at 7:00 p.m., Tuesday, Jan 17th, and at the Belfast Library at 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, Jan 18th. See the trailer at http://www.motherthefilm.com.

  • We have updated our copy of the ByLaws here.
 

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