Category archives for: Polly Ticks

Health Secretary Resigns To Allow Her To Work Full Time On The Website

Kathleen SebeliusWASHINGTON — U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning after overseeing the botched rollout of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, a White House official said on Thursday. Her departure removes one lightning rod for critics as Obama and nervous Democrats try to retain control of the U.S. Senate in November midterm elections, but Republicans continue to see problems with the Affordable Care Act as a winning issue. “If the Obama people thought this was going to calm the waters, I think they misread it. I think it’s just going to embolden Republicans,” said David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University. The Oct. 1 launch of new Obamacare health insurance marketplaces, which was plagued by computer problems that stymied access for millions of people, has been condemned by Republicans as a step toward socialized medicine. Obama has chosen Sylvia Mathews Burwell, his budget director, to replace Sebelius, the White House said. Well-known inside Washington, where her appointment was praised by the likes of Republican Senator John McCain, Burwell will have to manage the program through its next major challenges in the height of elections season. (read more at the Bangor Daily News)

Legislature Considering Tying Employers To Trees And Poking Them With Sticks Whenever They Need Money

Senator Troy JacksonAUGUSTA, Maine — A bill designed to keep call centers in Maine from exporting jobs overseas is working its way through the Legislature amid concerns from opponents who say the bill would do the opposite. LD 1710, An Act to Retain Call Centers in Maine, would require the Department of Labor to keep track of call centers that have relocated from Maine to a foreign country. Employers on that list would be ineligible for state grants, loans or tax benefits for a period of five years. It would require employers who have received state aid for the call centers and moved employees overseas to repay a portion of the benefits. It also authorizes a fine of $10,000 be assessed for call center owners who don’t notify the state of a relocation within four months and requires that all call center work contracted by state agencies be done within the state. Senate Majority Leader Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, who sponsored the bill, said his intent is to keep Maine jobs in Maine while protecting taxpayer investments in economic development. ”I don’t understand the opposition to this bill,” said Jackson on Tuesday. “This is about protecting taxpayer dollars. I think this makes sure we’re using companies that want to stay in Maine for a number of years.” (read more at the Bangor Daily News)

William Shakespeare Says Refusing To Pledge Allegiance Is Much Ado About Nothing, Wants To Return To Tales Told By Taxpayers, Full Of Sound And Fury, Signifying Nothing

Hampden City CouncilHAMPDEN, Maine — For the first time since the Pledge of Allegiance was added to the start of Town Council meetings, two members who have been abstaining stood up and recited it, alongside their five counterparts. Councilors Thomas Brann and William Shakespeare decided to sit out the pledge because they felt, in part, that the manner in which it was adopted was in violation of council procedures. Brann also told media outlets that he objected to Mayor Carol Duprey’s having dedicated the pledge to those serving in harm’s way, which he took to mean only those serving in combat situations. Shakespeare more recently said in a Bangor Daily News OpEd piece that he and Brann — both of whom are veterans — also objected to the people who introduced the concept, namely Duprey and her husband, Rep. Brian Duprey. The flap over the pledge is among several issues that have divided the council in recent months. The local issue went national last month, when video clips of the two men sitting during the pledge began circulating on YouTube, FaceBook and other social media platforms. Besides angry emails and phone calls, the two were the subject of nearly 50 comments — all but about 10 of them vilifying Shakespeare and Brann — sent to the council through the town website’s feedback mechanism.

Scarborough Taxpayers Outraged They Have To Pay For The Stupid Shit They Voted For Last Year

Committee meeting. Maine news from the Rumford MeteorSCARBOROUGH — Town Manager Tom Hall’s fiscal 2015 budget proposal would fund 13 new jobs and raise the property tax rate nearly 7 percent. Hall introduced the $84.4 million preliminary budget to the Town Council in a special meeting Wednesday night. The total includes budget needs from the town, the School Department and Cumberland County, and represents an 8.3% increase over this year. Notable costs include the addition of four firefighters, three police dispatchers for the town’s partnership with Old Orchard Beach, and a school resource officer for Wentworth Intermediate School. Hall said the positions are part of restoration and investment plans for the town that have been ignored in recent years. “I don’t expect (all 13 positions) to survive, but it deserves a conversation,” he said. “I think it might be helpful just to appreciate why these additions are being asked for,” he later added. The budget calls for a property tax increase of 6.7 percent, to $15.76 per $1,000 of assessed value, from the current rate of $14.77. According to Hall, for residents with a median home value of $300,000, the 99-cent increase would result in about $300 more in property taxes annually. (read more at The Forecaster)

Selectman Can Totally Tell Man With Arms Crossed Ain’t Buying It

Edgecomb Selectman meetingIn reviewing Edgecomb’s town audits for 2012/2013, Town Auditor Fred Brewer discovered a calculation error. There were a few expenses that were left out of the commitment, which is the amount the town requires in taxes yearly from its residents and businesses. Budget Committee Chairman Northrup Fowler said that as a result, the tax rate was lower than it should have been. “The town didn’t collect enough money to cover expenditures,” he said at the Edgecomb Selectmen meeting March 10. “It was a calculation error.” To cover the expenditures, money was taken from the town’s surplus account, leaving those funds in need of restoring. Now selectmen have to figure out how to get that money back into the surplus fund. Fowler said that the town has been working slowly to build up the surplus, which he describes as “a cushion to carry the town through rainy days.” The town needs to come up with a projected budget to decide what to spend, he said. (keep reading at Wiscasset Newspaper)

Gubernatorial Candidate To Outline Which Corner Of The Sky The Pie Is Located In On His Planet

Mike MichaudU.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, is expected to announce his economic platform Wednesday at a news conference in Portland. Michaud’s first major policy statement, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the Rosemont Market and Bakery on Commercial Street, comes early in the race, when campaigns are typically still organizing. “The plan is the beginning of a conversation with voters about how to move Maine forward. It is not the end-all, be-all,” said Lizzy Reinholt, a campaign spokeswoman. After the news conference, Michaud will hold a series of events throughout the state with business leaders and community members. Future policy statements will focus on “good government,” health care and anti-poverty measures, Reinholt said. Michaud, who is serving his fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives, is running against Republican Gov. Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler. (read more at Portland Press Herald)

Standish Town Councilor Says Watchdog Group Pushing Attendance At Meetings Is Just A Tool Of Big Folding Chair Industry Lobbyists

Committee meeting. Maine news from the Rumford MeteorSTANDISH – With its calls for greater transparency in local government, the Standish Watchdog Group, a highly organized group of residents, is driving up attendance at Town Council meetings and, in the process, offending at least one Standish councilor. The new, nonprofit organization, which launched its website on Jan. 15, has five board members, about two-dozen volunteers, a donor network, a phone line, an emergency text messaging service, three attorneys on call, and places weekly ads in the local Shopper’s Guide, according to Dan Kasprzyk, the group’s unofficial spokesman and a driving force behind the effort. The group is not alleging that Standish officials have failed to meet the notification standards required by state law or the town charter, said Kasprzyk, an IT consultant who also is a member of the School Administrative District 6 Board of Directors. Instead, the group contends that the town is doing a bare minimum of mandated notifications (including advertising) – just enough to ensure compliance with rules and statutes, but not enough to ensure robust public awareness or participation. (read more at Lakes Region Weekly)

Pasty White Man Sporting Dreadlocks And Wool Socks And Sandals Pauses During Peroration To Ask City Councilors To Remind Him What He’s Protesting Again

Committee meeting. Maine news from the Rumford MeteorPORTLAND — An effort to place Congress Square Plaza and other publicly owned properties under new protections against being sold inched forward Monday night. In a widely expected and largely procedural move, the City Council voted unanimously to hold a Feb. 24 public hearing on an ordinance sought by petitioners seeking to block the sale of most of Congress Square Plaza to private hotel developers. The hearing is the next step before the council votes on whether to adopt the ordinance change outright, or put the measure to a citywide vote. The council is expected to put the fate of the ordinance in the hands of the voters on Election Day, June 10. Petition gatherers from the citizens groups Friends of Congress Square Park and Protect Portland Parks turned in more than 4,250 signatures to the city clerk’s office asking for the ordinance change, a number nearly three times the 1,500 names necessary to force the proposal’s outright adoption or a citywide vote. The petition drive, however, remains under the cloud of a legal challenge. The city only turned over petition papers after being ordered to do so by a Cumberland County Superior Court judge, and is now appealing that decision to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. In its appeal, which was filed last month, the city reiterated its arguments that the citizens petition process is reserved for legislative changes, but that affecting the disposition of city property improperly crosses the line into being an administrative or fiscal action. (read more at The Forecaster)

Obama Says It’s Not His Fault The Boston Phoenix Roommate Ad Didn’t Mention The Guy Was His Uncle

Onyango ObamaWASHINGTON — The White House said Thursday that President Barack Obama briefly lived with an uncle who faced deportation from the United States, correcting its previous statements that the president had never met Onyango Obama. The 69-year-old, Kenyan-born half-brother of Obama’s estranged father was granted permission this week to stay in the U.S. after ignoring a deportation order two decades ago. The uncle is also known as Omar Obama. White House spokesman Jay Carney said that when the case first arose, officials looked for records of a meeting but never directly asked the president. (read more at Kennebec Journal)

Fresh From His Iran Triumph, Obama Turns His Attention To Brokering An Equally Useful Ceasefire Between Luxembourg And Burkina Faso

Barack J. Edgar Hussein Milhaus Capone XYZ Rebozo Tweed Spiro Curley Fall Mobilier ObamaPresident Barack Obama’s statement Saturday night on the interim nuclear deal reached with Iran, as provided by the White House: Good evening. Today, the United States — together with our close allies and partners — took an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program. Since I took office, I’ve made clear my determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As I’ve said many times, my strong preference is to resolve this issue peacefully, and we’ve extended the hand of diplomacy. Yet for many years, Iran has been unwilling to meet its obligations to the international community. So my administration worked with Congress, the United Nations Security Council and countries around the world to impose unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian government. (keep reading at the Portland Press Herald)

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