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Al Diamon

Political Adeptness

Al Diamon on Chellie Pingree:

"The fact that she wasn't smart enough to avoid the appearance of not only conflict of interest but more importantly of being a flaming hypocrite is a real strong indication that she's not as politically adept as we all thought she was."


I always thought Colgan was just reading entrails.

Columnist Was A Repeat Offender

As Al Diamon noted in a post last week, Portland Press Herald columnist Leigh Donaldson recently parted ways with the paper due to his commission of plagiarism.

Despite Donaldson's claim that "this has never happened before. I’m usually very careful about attributing," Anneli Rufus, the author at AlterNet from whom Donaldson copied, says his intellectual dishonesty is part of a pattern.

In a follow-up piece at AlterNet, Rufus gives proof that Donaldson also plagiarized two other columns and says that "they’re not the only ones."

It's difficult to tell how many of Donaldson's columns are plagiarized as he seems to have slightly reworded each unattributed, stolen passage, making detection through an internet search more difficult. Donaldson finally got caught, according to Rufus, after he claimed to have interviewed a Florida detective who he never actually spoke to. The detective then contacted Rufus, who had actually conducted the interview, and the jig was up.

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.

Diamon's Anthem

Riffing on McGowan's new campaign song, Al Diamon has written a campaign anthem for all the gubernatorial candidates:

I’m a RINO-right-winger and a retro-progressive.
My tea parties are green, and I’m pacifist-aggressive.
I’ll increase welfare, I’ll cut the dole.
I’ll reduce taxes, using rigmarole.
You’ll get free health care, unless you’re really sick.
Good jobs for every Harry, Tom, Jane and Dick.
Catch all the fish, and let them all go.
Catch all the flack, and never let it show.
Open-carry your semi-automatic, create a big national park.
I won’t get autocratic or stand by that last remark.
I’ll save the water, I’ll clean the air.
I’ll make those topless women put on their underwear.
And when my term is finished, you’ll discover you’ve still got
Overpriced booze and a sales tax on pot.

Al the Augur

Al Diamon has made his predictions for this year's gubernatorial race:

I think it’ll come down to Abbott and Rowe in November, with the Republican taking the Blaine House by a narrow margin, thanks to Cutler and Williams siphoning votes from the Democrat.

Diamon was spot on in 2006, but that wasn't exactly a hard race to forecast.

Clean and Virtuous

Al Diamon gave the site a mention in his column this week, in which he notes the unique clean elections conflict facing gubernatorial candidate and Senate President Libby Mitchell.

Mitchell dispatched her husband to address the state ethics commission. According to an account in the Bangor Daily News, Jim Mitchell warned commissioners that with seven gubernatorial hopefuls seeking "clean" cash, "You may have no money for the general election."

This could place Mitchell (him, not her) in the conflicted position of begging the ethics commission to find extra cash – either by asking the Legislature to send over a few bagfuls or by allowing publicly financed candidates to raise some money privately – at the same time that Mitchell (her, not him) is busy in her role as a senator cutting funding for starving street urchins in order to cover the state’s massive fiscal shortfall.

A Trenchant Observation

Al Diamon on the confluence of Maine's political parties, TABOR and tax reform:

For some reason, spending limits and tax reform mix like Diet Coke and Mentos, like Kevin Youkilis and Manny Ramirez, like Catholic bishops and same-sex marriage. Republicans hate tax reform because it doesn’t reduce taxes. Democrats hate spending limits because they reduce spending. Green Independents hate both of them because, well, they’re Greens, so they don’t need reasons.

Diamon Gets Biblical

In his column this week, Al Diamon examines some of the arguments made by same-sex marriage opponents in Maine and finds a common thread:

They’re basing their convictions on the Bible.

At least, the parts they agree with.

They’re comfortable quoting the chapters where God comes down hard on incest, adultery and homosexuality, but less likely to mention the verses where He gives a pass to polygamy, wife-beating and the summary execution of people who marry outside their tribes.

Diamon also references Neil Rolde's testimony on the history of marriage in Maine, which I posted here.

Down East: Including Immigrants

DownEast.com is in the process of relaunching. Last week's column (and future posts) will soon be available here, but for now you can read it right here.

In the post, I argued that towns in Maine should be given the right to choose to allow non-citizen immigrant residents to vote in local elections. I did not, however, respond to Al Diamon's concern that allowing these people a democratic voice in their communities will soon lead to John Travolta taking over our state.

That strange argument, as well as the fact that my Canadian partner joked about how she should be celebrating "Loyalists' Day" today have slightly shaken my convictions, but I still think I'm right about this one, even as many others disagree.