Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wild Times in Maine post-Obama

MDI Police: Flaming Air Mattress Brings Charge

Things seem to be getting a little out of hand in Maine since the Obamas visited. From the police blotter:
Christopher Smith, 36, allegedly piled a bunch of clothing and bedding onto an air mattress and lighted the pile on fire while in the Compass Harbor Village apartment of an acquaintance, according to Lt. James Pinkham.

Mr. Smith, who might have entered the dwelling through a window, told police that the woman who rents the apartment had invited him over the night before, Lt. Pinkham said. The woman, however, said that she was drunk at the time and didn’t remember doing so.
I hate it when that happens.

This story builds to a dramatic peak:
The owner of a local kayak tour company is in hot water following a bizarre incident July 14. Brescian Lander, 34, of Bar Harbor, the owner of Acadia Park Kayak Tours, paddled to the town pier in a panic just after 9 p.m. that night, threw his kayak up onto the dock, and began hollering, asking if anyone had a boat he could borrow, Lt. James Pinkham said. When he received no response, and after a fruitless search at the restaurant next door, he ran down to the boats docked along the pier and started trying to get one started. Finally, Mr. Lander allegedly was able to start a boat and take off, Lt. Pinkham said.

Several witnesses were startled by Mr. Lander’s behavior and assumed that someone must have gone overboard from a kayak somewhere. They notified Officer Brad O’Neil, who had just gotten down to the town dock on other business. A major search operation was immediately launched, which included a contingent from the Coast Guard’s Southwest Harbor station, a search with night vision goggles, Officer O’Neil riding on a lobster boat with a lobsterman, and the take-off of a helicopter from the Coast Guard’s Boston division. No sign of anyone in the water could be found.

At some point, Lt. Pinkham said, Mr. Lander himself contacted the police. He said that he never reported anyone overboard. He said further that the reason he had to take a boat was because he left some very important business papers out on Bar Island, and that he had to retrieve them. He was worried, Officer O’Neil said, that the incoming tide was going to wash his things away. Mr. Lander was summonsed on a charge of unauthorized use of property.
Well, perhaps not so dramatic:
Two days later, on July 16, Mr. Lander called police to ask for help retrieving two kayaks that had floated out to sea during high tide. No officers were available at the time.

Then the next item, in its entirety:
Two women were reported walking topless downtown on Monday.
And? Who were they? Were they summonsed, or was Lt. Pinkham too busy dealing with Mr. Lander's problems?

Two people were reported passed out on Bridge Street early Monday. The couple was warned for trespassing.
What was the warning? "Go pass out on your own lawn?"

A landlord reported July 13 that one tenant had given her pictures of another tenant’s Facebook page that showed that tenant engaged in illegal drug activity.
I'm trying to imagine how the Chicago Police Department would respond to that call.

A group of Russians was reported breaking things on Maple Avenue on July 16.
And you thought the Cold War was over.

A Lookout Point Road resident reported July 15 that a stranger had knocked at her door and tried to yank off her screen door. The stranger said that she “just wanted to ask some questions,” according to reports.
I'll bet he said it in a Russian accent.

An intoxicated female walking in the Eagle Lake Road Saturday night was given a ride home by Officer Soren Sundberg.
I know the dating scene in Maine is slim pickings, but . . .

A woman reported July 15 that a computer hacker had changed her passwords to a social networking site, and e-mail, cell phone and banking accounts.
Probably those pesky Russians again.

While assisting Bar Harbor police with patrols during the weekend visit by President Barack Obama and his family, Officer Ryan Lawson charged two women with alcohol violations.

Shortly after midnight Sunday, Officer Lawson saw two young women lying on the sidewalk on West Street. In speaking with the women, the officer noted that they both had been drinking.
It's getting so you can't walk down the street on Mount Desert Island without stumbling over people lying about.

People swimming near the Long Pond pump station were ordered by police to get out of the water on Sunday. The area is posted “no swimming.”
There's just no respect for the law any more.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Watch a Right-Wing Lie Spread

Watch this right-wing lie spread and see how long it takes to get to Rush or Glenn or Sarah.

On the Chicago Tribune website I saw a link today with the headline Something Must Be Done About Excessive Teachers Making $100,000.

First of all, it's illiterate. The teachers are excessive? There's an excessive number of teachers? The irony of someone criticizing the educational system with an incoherent sentence that could use some editing from an English teacher . . .  but I digress.

If you follow the link you get to a ChicagoNow blog (facilitated by the Tribune) from a Warner Todd Huston aka Publius (they always think they're writing the New Federalist Papers) with the title For All Teachers' Whining, Almost Half of Chicago Area Teachers Make $100K a Year. And that links back to yet another blog.

Wow. That's an astonishing number. Almost Half of Chicago Area Teachers Make $100K. Clearly teachers are overpaid whiners.

But if you actually read down to the 3rd paragraph, or click through to the original Tribune article, you find out

"only four percent of Illinois teachers make the big bucks".

And if you read the original Tribune story, you find out that only in wealthy towns such as Highland Park and Deerfield and Park Ridge and Hinsdale do almost half the teachers make six figures.

As the Tribune notes, "Six-figure teacher salaries of that magnitude are rare elsewhere in Illinois."

(Let's just ignore the whole question of whether this isn't exactly what the right-wing has been advocating for years - localized decision-making that allows wealthy people being able to choose to hire the best teachers money can buy to teach their children, and not have to spend their money on inner-city kids (until they end up paying for the inner-city kids to rot in prison for life))

So "Almost Half of Chicago Area Teachers Make $100K a Year" is not true. It's a fiction. It's a lie. You can't attribute it to argument or a difference of opinion, it's factually not true. If you actually read the story cited, you know that this blog post has no credibility.

But if you do a Google search for For All Teachers’ Whining, Almost Half of Chicago Area Teachers Make $100K a Year, how many results do you get?

At this point, 110 results. About 110 other sites have simply linked to a ficticious blog post simply because it has a juicy headline. It gets linked, and re-linked, and some radio talk show host sees the headline and rants about overpaid teachers for 5 minutes, the faithful believe it, and it becomes a right-wing factoid, just like Obama dismissed the charges against the New Black Panthers or Obama spends all his time golfing.

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality." I can't wait until somebody tells me that half the teachers in Chicago make $100K. Not that I expect that I'll be able to refute that misapprehension with mere facts, but I'll be able to say "told you so."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Obamas in Maine, and a Really Bad Idea

The Obamas are in Maine, enjoying a weekend in Acadia, which is a great place to be. (I recommend the Jordan Pond House for popovers). And Mainers are understandably excited, but:

Rep. Chellie Pingree, the congresswoman from Maine’s 1st District, said in a statement, “I think the Obamas will really enjoy the quiet woods, beautiful coast, wonderful people and everything else that brings thousands of families here every year.” She also shared with her opinion on Maine’s Coast 93.1 radio Thursday that the Obamas should try two drinks during their stay: Moxie soda and Allen’s coffee flavored brandy.

Moxie, sure, everybody should try it once. Most people hate it - it's kinda like Campari-flavored root beer.

But Allen's Coffee Brandy? Bad idea.

The champagne of Maine, aka "fat ass in a glass", aka "gorilla milk", aka "liquid leg spreader"? "Cited by 59 percent of those seeking substance-abuse treatment" in Maine?

The biggest selling liquor in Maine is the half-gallon bottle of Allen's. The second biggest selling liquor in Maine is the liter bottle of Allen's.

In 2003, a woman from Penobscot dug up the ashes of her boyfriend, then later explained, "I never would have done that if I hadn't been drinking Allen's," according to a report from the time. A year before, a man from Bangor had been discovered asleep in a stranger's bed wearing stolen pink underwear; he explained later that he had consumed a half-gallon of brandy.

We don't want the leader of the free world padding around the White House in his bathrobe sipping sombreros out of an old Dunkin Donuts to-go cup. Better he should have a nice cold Geary's Hampshire Ale if he wants a real, safe taste of Maine.

Latest faux outrage from the Party of No

Stimulus signage has GOP outraged - Chicago Breaking News

First-term Republican Congressman Aaron Schock of Illinois is peeved over the green highway signs that have sprouted across the U.S. touting stimulus dollars at work.

"Propaganda. An unnecessary overhead expense," argued Schock, who, like every House Republican, opposed last year's $787 billion stimulus.

Lately some Republicans have been taking aim at signage for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This month, Schock introduced a bill, the "End the Stimulus Advertisement Act," to prohibit them.

Question for Rep. Schock: how much taxpayers' money are we going to waste doing a politicized investigation of how much taxpayers' money was spent on signs? Signs that cost about 0.07% of the total stimulus spending? Signs that are pretty much the same as the "Your Tax Dollars at Work" signs that get put up for every government project? Signs that are actually creating some work for people out there:

Where do Republicans think the signs come from, asked Eddie Vale, political communications director for the AFL-CIO. "There isn't a magical road sign unicorn that brings them. They're manufactured, that is, building and placing the signs also create jobs."

At Western Remac Inc. in west suburban Woodridge, president Mike Conoscenti said it had made and sold about 100 Recovery Act signs -- and he appreciates the work. "In this day and age, everything is extremely competitive in pricing. Work is down for us across the board, our margins are extremely tight, and we're happy for anything that we can get."

How much money are we going to spend to find out that we didn't spend very much money on these signs? How much money are we going to spend printing and distributing and contemplating the "End the Stimulus Advertisement Act", which will probably go nowhere, and be a bigger waste of time and money than the signs?

For my conservative friends: don't you ever read a story like this and recognize, deep down in your heart, that this constant artificial outrage over trivia is manufactured to keep you riled up?

And are you equally outraged that taxpayers' money was spent putting up signs memorializing the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway?

Reagan Tollway