Gubernatorial Candidates Remember Ted Kennedy

Senator Ted Kennedy will be remembered today at a funeral service in Boston.  The late senator will be later laid to rest in Arlington cemetery next to his brothers he eulogized over 40 years ago.   Several 2010 candidates for governor have provided their thoughts on Senator Kennedy’s passing and legacy. Continue reading

Levi Johnston tell-all on the Today Show

Levi Johnston says that he would not vote for Sarah Palin if she ran for President or Vice-President. Johnston says he wouldn’t vote for someone who “quit on Alaska” and “couldn’t handle the stress” of the job. Politically what does this amount to? A big pile of jack squat!

Attention Maine Bloggers

I’m getting on the boat to Rockland from North Haven in a few hours. It’s damp and cold; I’m not looking forward to that ride.

I’ve tried to search out as many Maine political and education blogs as possible. I can’t imagine I’ve got links to everyone. So if you’re out there and I don’t have you listed let me know. I hate to miss reading or sharing links with anyone.

Green Party in Maine is Mighty!

Maybe independence is in our blood up here. Politically, Mainers have always been fond those willing to break party lines. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe have managed to get reelected time and time again. That is in spite of the fact Maine is part of one of the strongest liberal regions in the nations. We have a soft spot for independents and third parties too. Angus King, an independent, held the Blaine House for two terms. During his tenure, King was one of only two governors not affiliated with a national party. The other was the surprising Jesse Ventura. In the last election a majority of voters (39%) were “independent or something else“.

The Maine Green Party draws from those strong numbers. The Maine Green Independent Party began 25 years ago with 18 members. Today their numbers have reached 32,000. In the 2006 gubernatorial election, Green Candidate Pat LaMarche grabbed 10% of the vote. The doesn’t seem like much, but when you consider she was in a 5 way race, those are damn good numbers for a third party candidate. The Greens hold 18 elected positions, all on the local and county level. Maine also held the distinction of having the highest elected Green from 2002-2006 in Maine State House member John Eder. I lived in town during those years. When election season rolled around you could see Eder’s bold green campaign signs in a vast number of windows. Versions so faded they are almost white still lurk in many windows.

Downeast Magazine has run a nice article on the Maine Greens history and future hopes. Whether you support the Green platform or not, the article is still a must read for those interested in independent and third party politics. Say what you will, but the Maine Greens are well on their way to proving third parties can succeed.

from Downeast Magazine:

Twenty-five years ago, when the Maine Green Party was founded as the first Green political organization in the country, its often-chaotic meetings earned it a reputation as “a prime example of creative dysfunction,” as one exasperated participant said at the time. Ben Chipman, of Portland, laughs out loud at the anecdote. In recent years he has worked on or managed the campaigns of sixteen Green Party candidates and won ten of them. Portland’s Green Independent Party (as it’s now known) currently has three members on the city council, two on the school committee, and two more on the Portland Water District Board. The first Green elected to state-level office in the United States was John Eder, who served two terms in the Maine Legislature from a Portland district…Read More.

Green Party in Maine is Mighty!

Maybe independence is in our blood up here. Politically, Mainers have always been fond those willing to break party lines. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe have managed to get reelected time and time again. That is in spite of the fact Maine is part of one of the strongest liberal regions in the nations. We have a soft spot for independents and third parties too. Angus King, an independent, held the Blaine House for two terms. During his tenure, King was one of only two governors not affiliated with a national party. The other was the surprising Jesse Ventura. In the last election a majority of voters (39%) were “independent or something else“.

The Maine Green Party draws from those strong numbers. The Maine Green Independent Party began 25 years ago with 18 members. Today their numbers have reached 32,000. In the 2006 gubernatorial election, Green Candidate Pat LaMarche grabbed 10% of the vote. The doesn’t seem like much, but when you consider she was in a 5 way race, those are damn good numbers for a third party candidate. The Greens hold 18 elected positions, all on the local and county level. Maine also held the distinction of having the highest elected Green from 2002-2006 in Maine State House member John Eder. I lived in town during those years. When election season rolled around you could see Eder’s bold green campaign signs in a vast number of windows. Versions so faded they are almost white still lurk in many windows.

Downeast Magazine has run a nice article on the Maine Greens history and future hopes. Whether you support the Green platform or not, the article is still a must read for those interested in independent and third party politics. Say what you will, but the Maine Greens are well on their way to proving third parties can succeed.

from Downeast Magazine:

Twenty-five years ago, when the Maine Green Party was founded as the first Green political organization in the country, its often-chaotic meetings earned it a reputation as “a prime example of creative dysfunction,” as one exasperated participant said at the time. Ben Chipman, of Portland, laughs out loud at the anecdote. In recent years he has worked on or managed the campaigns of sixteen Green Party candidates and won ten of them. Portland’s Green Independent Party (as it’s now known) currently has three members on the city council, two on the school committee, and two more on the Portland Water District Board. The first Green elected to state-level office in the United States was John Eder, who served two terms in the Maine Legislature from a Portland district…Read More.

Green Party in Maine is Mighty!

Maybe independence is in our blood up here. Politically, Mainers have always been fond those willing to break party lines. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe have managed to get reelected time and time again. That is in spite of the fact Maine is part of one of the strongest liberal regions in the nations. We have a soft spot for independents and third parties too. Angus King, an independent, held the Blaine House for two terms. During his tenure, King was one of only two governors not affiliated with a national party. The other was the surprising Jesse Ventura. In the last election a majority of voters (39%) were “independent or something else“.

The Maine Green Party draws from those strong numbers. The Maine Green Independent Party began 25 years ago with 18 members. Today their numbers have reached 32,000. In the 2006 gubernatorial election, Green Candidate Pat LaMarche grabbed 10% of the vote. The doesn’t seem like much, but when you consider she was in a 5 way race, those are damn good numbers for a third party candidate. The Greens hold 18 elected positions, all on the local and county level. Maine also held the distinction of having the highest elected Green from 2002-2006 in Maine State House member John Eder. I lived in town during those years. When election season rolled around you could see Eder’s bold green campaign signs in a vast number of windows. Versions so faded they are almost white still lurk in many windows.

Downeast Magazine has run a nice article on the Maine Greens history and future hopes. Whether you support the Green platform or not, the article is still a must read for those interested in independent and third party politics. Say what you will, but the Maine Greens are well on their way to proving third parties can succeed.

from Downeast Magazine:

Twenty-five years ago, when the Maine Green Party was founded as the first Green political organization in the country, its often-chaotic meetings earned it a reputation as “a prime example of creative dysfunction,” as one exasperated participant said at the time. Ben Chipman, of Portland, laughs out loud at the anecdote. In recent years he has worked on or managed the campaigns of sixteen Green Party candidates and won ten of them. Portland’s Green Independent Party (as it’s now known) currently has three members on the city council, two on the school committee, and two more on the Portland Water District Board. The first Green elected to state-level office in the United States was John Eder, who served two terms in the Maine Legislature from a Portland district…Read More.

Another Obama Lincoln Connection

Before Barack Obama was even elected comparisons were drawn between Obama and Abraham Lincoln. Both were junior senators from Illinois. Both were seen as uniters. Obama used the Lincoln Bible during his inauguration. Lincoln and Obama are both known as gifted orators. Did you know they both had a penchant for off color jokes?

Mr. Obama’s humor has gotten him into hot water in the past. Shortly after Obama was elected he made a remark on Nancy Reagan’s use of astrology while in the White House. At a Chicago conference Obama mentioned that he had spoken with all the living past presidents. Then Mr. Obama said, “I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about doing any seances.” Not wise Barry.

Then came the Tonight Show fiasco. If we learned anything from W it’s that you can’t speak in public like you do with your sports buddies.

Lincoln however was much worse. While Obama’s humor is for the barroom at best, Lincoln’s is too blue for even the whorehouse. Fred Kaplan, whose excellent book I happen to be reading, documents Lincoln’s locker room talk. Lincoln was known for his profanity and obscenity almost as well as for his eloquence and persuasiveness. Here are a few examples of Lincoln’s dirty mind

from Daily KOS:

Here’s an example of a couple of verses from the poem as recalled by John Romaine:

“Reuben & Charles have married 2 girls / But Billy has married a boy . . . Billy and natty agree very well / Mamma is pleased with the match. / The Egg is laid but won’t hatch.” And Billy, another Grigsby son, is told by the woman who has rejected his marriage proposal, “you Cursed ball head / My Suitor you never Can be / besides your low Croch proclaims you a botch / and that never Can anser for me.”

Henry Whitney recalled how Lincoln once went after a witness who thought himself a great ladies man:

“…[Lincoln said,] ‘there is Busey–he pretends to be a great heart smasher–does wonderful things with the girls–but I’ll venture that he never entered his flesh but once and that is when he fell down & stuck his finger in his–‘; right out in open Court.”

Once a farmer asked Lincoln why he didn’t put his stories in a book. Lincoln replied,

“Such a book would stink like a thousand privies.'” Whitney commented, “I can’t think he gloated over filth however. I think that…he had great ideality and also a view of grossness which displaced the ideality.”

Thankfully for Lincoln, such vulgarities were not completely frowned upon in his time. Politics was downright rude and slanderous. Oh how things have changed! Still, Mr. Obama had better keep his words in check. One slip can alienate a whole voting block. Don’t believe me? I just have one word for you. Hymietown.

Is Three A Magic Number for Politicians?

If you follow politics even peripherally you’d know that there has been a lot of political infighting. “Blue Dog” democrats bicker over budget details with more liberal colleagues. Republicans have turned their big tent into a pillow fort. The social liberals/fiscal conservatives in each party are being pushed aside. On of the Republican prophets of a coming change has been Meghan McCain.

from The Moderate Voice

People in our country have much more important issues to deal with on a daily basis. But the experience did reinforce what I learned on the campaign trail in some major ways.

I’ll summarize them in three points:

1. Most of our nation wants our nation to succeed.
2. Most people are ready to move on to the future, not live in the past.
3. Most of the old school Republicans are scared shitless of that future…

..I feel too many Republicans want to cling to past successes. There are those who think we can win the White House and Congress back by being “more” conservative. Worse, there are those who think we can win by changing nothing at all about what our party has become. They just want to wait for the other side to be perceived as worse than us. I think we’re seeing a war brewing in the Republican party, but it is not between us and Democrats. It is not between us and liberals. It is between the future and the past. I believe most people are ready to move on to that future…

…Simply embracing technology isn’t going to fix our problem either. Republicans using Twitter and Facebook isn’t going to miraculously make people think we’re cool again. Breaking free from obsolete positions and providing real solutions that don’t divide our nation further will. That’s why some in our party are scared. They sense the world around them is changing and they are unable to take the risk to jump free of what’s keeping our party down…

…I am concerned about the environment. I love to wear black. I think government is best when it stays out of people’s lives and business as much as possible. I love punk rock. I believe in a strong national defense. I have a tattoo. I believe government should always be efficient and accountable. I have lots of gay friends. And yes, I am a Republican.

What can come of all this infighting? Are we moving toward having one large viable third party? The Repubs are boarding on a “civil war”, mostly over social issues. Dems are in a similar situation, except over fiscal issues. Will the social liberal/fiscal conservatives in each party break tradition and join each other?

While I don’t think this is likely, it makes for some interesting speculation. What would a three party US look like? What would that do to the political structure of this country? Political financing? What would this alternate history look like?

Opinions?

Mayors as School Board Dictators?

Clay at Change.org had an interesting post a few days ago on EdSec Dunc’s support of Mayoral control of school boards.

from Change.org

EdSec Arne Duncan this week came out fighting for mayoral control of large urban school districts, and against local school boards. I’m interested to hear your views on this, pro and con. Me? I see it as opening the door to more school closures without input from – and often against the will of – local school communities; more charters; more non-unionized teachers; and less democratic input into urban education. Maybe some of you can enlighten me about the advantages of mayoral control.

The post spawned some good debate on the issue. Though some were completely against the issue (only one person was completely for complete mayoral control) most were for at least some form of mayoral involvement on the school board.

My thoughts?

I think we spend a lot of time vilifying school boards. They, like unions, can be full of people more interested in ideology and petty politics.

The advantage to having complete mayoral control would be that it would do away with the politics it takes to get something done. Reform can certainly get bogged down in petty bickering between board members with their own agendas.

On the other hand, I am concerned about two things. One, what if the mayor is in a busy city. Is spreading them thinner a good idea, especially when children are involved? Second, I don’t like the idea of the school board being consolidated into one person. Like I said, having one person make decisions speeds up the process, but then you only have one voice.

I like the idea of the mayor having a seat on the school board. That seems to make the most sense to me. I’m not sold on what sort of power they would have. Would they be just another vote, would they still have the ultimate say, with board members advising them, or could it function somewhat like our own legislative system with the mayor serving as “president”?

I’d like to address one comment.

from Change.org

Oy. I really don’t like the idea of the mayor being in control. Like others have said, I’m troubled by the idea of having one person in charge — and not even someone who has an education background, potentially. I like the idea of a representative group of people making decisions for a community. The accountability issue can be addressed in so many other creative, reasonable ways. It sounds like what Kenneth Wong is saying is that he wants the ease of being able to blame one person rather than look at the real causes of problems in a system. [emphasis mine]

On the idea of blaming one person: I think we need to be able to find those teachers who need assistance, get them mentoring or training to improve, and remove those who truly can’t improve or wont or are just bad teachers(I know that’s a relative term to most, but I don’t want to get into that what debate.)

We need to also make sure that we are addressing the causes of the problems in the system in a number of approaches (rather than saying merit pay will fix everything etc) If we aren’t doing both at the same time we will quickly find our reforms amounting to little or no gains.

Can We Walk in the Middle of the Road? – Is there a place for moderate bloggers?

The Moderate Voice, as you may have gathered, is one of my favorite reads. If you don’t check it out daily you had better start! Today they published a thought provoking piece on the place of moderate bloggers in a left-right blogosphere. I’m just gonna go ahead and repost the whole thing then give you my reply.

from The Moderate Voice

Obama: Making Things Hard on Moderate Bloggers

Posted By NED LIPS On March 2, 2009 @ 10:13 am

There are some who believe that the very concept of “moderate blogger” is some sort of oxymoron, or that anyone who would categorize themselves in that manner must just be morons. Bloggers are supposed to be hard core ideologues. How can a fence walking moderate blog survive? What do we stand for? Well we find the correct answers amidst the rhetoric and we take a “good for the country” stand.

For the hard right wing conservative bloggers, Obama is gold. Lots of spending and tax increases, or at least the ability to make those claims.

For the left wing liberal socialist bloggers, Obama is tricky, but there are plenty of compromises being made to the hard left agenda for these folks to write for hours. Tax cuts, delays in raising taxes on the wealthy, taking longer to get out of Iraq, adding troops to Afghanistan, etc.

Bloggers do not make any money doing this, no matter how wonderful we may be. So to sit down and write, we have to find a passionate reaction to the message or actions of those claiming power.

As I look at Obama from the view of a moderate, I see a leader of the people who understands the importance of US business. He is being hard core and making both change their ways. From the standpoint of a historically Republican leaning moderate, he seems pretty balanced. I find it makes sense to wait and see how this all works itself out.

Sure the Stimulus Package was huge and only three Republicans voted for it. Here is what I think happened. Continue reading