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A.J. Higgins

LePage Gets Punchy

LePage on the set of MaineWatch, displaying his disgust for public radio reporters:

Ployes and Poutine

Al Diamon has a unique ability, in his columns, to flip a switch and go from lighthearted joking to biting social commentary and back again.

He performed that maneuver deftly this week.

Instead of nebulous enemies like “one world government” and “Diversity,” [the Tea Partiers] really ought to find somebody specific to blame.

Somebody like … immigrants. The Republican platform demands the restoration of “the process of assimilation of immigrants to preserve the benefits of an advanced[,] educated and prosperous society.” Already, we can see how foreign-speaking devils have damaged our ability to properly punctuate.

In reality, assimilation, which – as any Austrian economist can tell you – isn’t a government function, takes time. Otherwise, all those retired Maine mill workers wouldn’t still be speaking French when they’re at home. Also, subversive restaurants would stop serving ployes and poutine.

I understand the impatience of Tea Partiers still waiting for the Irish (St. Patrick’s Day, stout), the Germans (Christmas trees, lager beer), the Muslims (mathematics, distilled liquor), the Mexicans (Cinco de Mayo, tequila), the Africans (jazz, rock) and the Chinese (mahjong, tea) to quit clinging to their past and embrace America (light beer, Miley Cyrus).

But if immigrants refuse to take the fall for whatever’s wrong, who will? Intellectuals? The communists have already blamed them. Jews? An unpopular choice since the Nazis tried it. Democrats? A tough sell in the general election.


Now, those folks make even mild-mannered me angry.

Further reading: Al's Down East column on the state of political coverage in Maine and A.J. Higgins' excellent analysis of the Republican primary race, referenced in the post.

Not Exactly Impartial

Quote of the day:

"I'm obviously not exactly an impartial source in this because I give a lot more grief to Otten than I think an impartial person would,"
                                                                                                              -Matt Gagnon

Richardson Clean Elections Qualification in Doubt

The situation is a bit muddled, but according to A.J. Higgins' late-breaking report yesterday, the Ethics Commission is questioning a number of Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Richardson's qualifying contributions and is giving him some finite amount of time to take steps to prove their legitimacy.

No other coverage of this that I've seen as yet. If Richardson fails to qualify his campaign is essentially dead in the water. Even the current delay in receiving a clean elections disbursement is likely detrimental to his chances in June.

Not Actually Sam Adams

Some more of my thoughts on the Tea Party, on (socialist) Maine Public Radio.

Tipping says the tea partiers are distracting the public's attention away from real acts of conscience -- such as opposition to proposed insurance rate increases.

"Right now, the Anthem rate hike hearing is happening also today," he says. "That's one that's going to affect thousands of people across the state, they could have their insurance premiums raised by 15 percent. And they're standing up against Anthem, this corporate insurance giant. That's an actual populist event and movement, and because people aren't dressed up like Sam Adams, they're not getting the same kind of attention."

Pete Harring of Maine Refounders acknowledges that there was a person dressed up in colonial attire at the Augusta rally. But he says the man in the three-corner hat was actually supposed to be Jacob Broom, one of the original signers of the Constitution --- not Sam Adams.

Capital Connections

A.J. Higgins has just posted what he says is his first column in three years at the Capitol Connection Facebook page.

Higgins takes a look at the well-funded leadership PACs run by House and Senate leadership candidates, most of whom are running for their own seats as clean elections candidates.

There's also this great tidbit:

"So when are you guys going to start covering the governor’s race?"

The lobbyist asking me the question on the fourth floor of the State House didn’t really want to know. That was probably just his way of suggesting that he would have preferred that I was covering the governor’s race instead of a hearing on the bill he opposed that would prohibit lifetime and annual payment caps on health insurance.

The Higgins Mechanism

MPN statehouse reporter A.J. Higgins is now blogging, sort of. Check out his posts on the new Capitol Connection Facebook page. The post stream is available by RSS here.

There's also an intro video:

I think my title references may be getting a little too obscure.

An Unexpected Compliment

From A.J. Higgins' story on yesterday's Ethics Commission hearing:

Lenardson maintains that Maine Leads is an advocacy group for citizen empowerment to fight for lower taxes. He says he was really trying to model other Democratic-leaning groups such as the Maine People's Alliance which have been successful in Maine.

"My job was, or my mission was, to build capacity," Lenardson said. "It was to be a place where other center-right groups could come together and to work on ideas and advance an agenda, whether it's day-to-day in the Legislature, whether it's working with local mayors in Waterville or Biddeford. It really is just strictly out of envy of how the left has organized."

Four Votes for Obama

On Monday, Maine's members of the electoral college gathered in Augusta to cast their votes for Barack Obama. Maine Public Radio's A.J. Higgins recorded the entire proceedings, which you can listen to here.

AG Aftershocks

Al Diamon has two legislative sources that say the A.J. Higgins story played a "significant role" in preventing Rep. Sean Faircloth from becoming Attorney General.

Faircloth didn't sit back and take it when the story came out, however. He and Sen. Joe Perry (also of Bangor) distributed this letter refuting the charges made in the piece and alleging that his Democratic opponents participated in the attacks.

Now that the race is over, PolitickerME reports that Brautigam is open to being appointed U.S. Attorney.