Author, journalist and frequent Maine Politics contributor Colin Woodard has recieved a great deal of national attention for his new book, American Nations, in which he examines what he believes are 11 distinct cultural regions within North America.
Woodard recently did a daytime call-in program on MPBN, now available online, in which he discussed not just his general thesis, but the place of Maine within our nation's cultural landscape.
I was on as a guest on WMPG's Big Talk this week, hosted by Al Brewer, along with journalist and author Colin Woodard, who discussed his recent work investigating the DeCoster Bill.
We also dicussed the policy (terrible) and process (almost as terrible) of he health care insurance industry deregulation bill, as well as the push to repeal same-day voter registration, which will be debated in the coming week.
Colin had some great insights, as did Portland Representative Ben Chipman, who called in to the program to discuss the voting rights bill.
My recent Portland Phoenix story "LePage's Secret Puppeteers" -- on how Maine Governor Paul LePage outsourced the creation of his regulatory reform package to lobbyists for outside corporations -- has been picked up by Mother Jones, which has been doing a lot of hard-hitting reporting on the national Tea Party movement.
The piece has also made its way into the Lewiston Sun Journal, the Kennebec Journal, and the Portland Press Herald, though the latter paper swiped the article's findings without noting where they came from. Read more »
My column in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel today is about the LePage administration breaking its promises of transparency, particularly regarding the influence of out-of-state corporations and their lobbyists on proposed environmental rollbacks. It relies heavily on some great investigative journalism done by Colin Woodard and Susan Sharon.
Since I wrote the column, the LePage administration has announced that Carlisle McLean will be joining their team as Senior Policy Advisor. McLean also worked at the law and lobbying firm Preti Flaherty, where, according to current and past reporting from MPBN, she lobbied for the Toy Industry Association against the ban on the toxic chemical bisphenol A. McLean is not listed as having represented the organization in the state lobbying database.
LePage staffers Dan Demeritt and Dan Billings both emailed me today to push back on some of the examples of apparent dishonesty by the administration. Read more »
Colin Woodard is continuing his investigation into Maine campaign finance contributions and has today posted a list of PACs with exceptionally Orwellian names.
Sound Science for Maine PAC was not, as it sounds, a group advocating for science-based policy solutions. Rather, it was the shell through which two out-of-state chemical companies -- Albermarle Corporation and Chemtura Corporation -- funnelled $20,000 to various candidates, PACs and other entities associated with both parties. Makes one curious what business they may have before lawmakers next year.
I wonder if these companies have a stake in BPA or some of the other chemicals that could be banned under Maine's Kid Safe Products Act.
Colin Woodard has the rundown.
The quote of the day, from author and journalist Colin Woodard:
"LePage, the darling of the state's Tea Party crowd, has shown himself to be a petulant child whose mouth is usually running well ahead of his brain and with the political instincts of a small time street thug."
Colin Woodard's Down East piece on the moderates losing control of the Maine GOP.