Optimism on Equal Marriage

This week in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel, I wrote about a sense of optimism around the prospects of passing equal marriage, both here and across the country.

If you're wondering what this kind of growing, accelerating support looks like, here's a good graph from everyone's favorite poll analyst, Nate Silver:

538 equal marriage national support graph

Big Talk: Eli Pariser

This week on Big Talk, hosts Suzanne Murphy and Al Brewer have a discussion with Eli Pariser about his new book The Filter Bubble: what the Internet is hiding from you.

Eli Pariser is an online organizer and disorganizer, the former Executive Director of MoveOn and now the board president.

Shortly after the September 11th terror attacks, Eli created a website calling for a multilateral approach to fighting terrorism. In the following weeks, over half a million people from 192 countries signed on, and Eli rather unexpectedly became an online organizer.

The website merged with MoveOn.org in November of 2001, and Eli - then 20 years old - joined the group to direct its foreign policy campaigns. He led what the New York Times Magazine called the “mainstream arm of the peace movement” - tripling MoveOn’s member base in the process, demonstrating for the first time that large numbers of small donations could be mobilized through online engagement, and developing many of the practices that are now standard in the field of online organizing.

Eli grew up in Lincolnville, Maine. You can watch his TED talk here.

Download this episode here. Subscribe to the podcast here

Big Talk: Young Mainers' Issues

This week on Big Talk, hosts Al Brewer and Steven Emmons speak with Alex Steed. Alex wears many different hats, including serving as Director of Community Engagement for Opportunity Maine and on the steering committee of The League of Young Voters.

The discussion begins with a look at repealing the new legislative law to end same day voter registration, then a look at the military and same Sex Marriage, some of the issues of interest to young voters. Finally they explore the upcoming Portland mayoral election.

Download this episode here. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Portland Mayoral Rundown

16(!) people are now signed up to run for mayor of the city of Portland, a new city-wide elected office created by the Charter Commission and approved by referendum. The vote will be conducted using "instant-runoff" or preferential balloting. As a student of political science, I find it all fascinating.

Over at Down East this week, I take a quick look at each of the 16 candidates.

At first blush, it seems that Democrats Michael Brennan, Nick Mavadones and Jill Duson have an early advantage in a city that leans towards their party. Each has run in city-wide (or larger) elections and all three have strong political histories at the city or state level.

I wouldn't count out Dave Marshall, though. As the only Green on the ballot, he'll have a united block of support and he's a dedicated grassroots campaigner. His colorful posters and stickers are already appearing all over the city.

With this many candidates, however, anything can happen.


Big Talk: Catching Up

I'm way behind on blogging, mostly because of the voting rights People's Veto campaign. If you haven't already, view the video of the launch press conference and sign up to collect signatures at protectmainevotes.com.

My apologies especially for being so late in posting last week's podcast of Big Talk, WMPG's public affairs program.

Last week, Big Talk continued it's month long focus on what's happening in the Maine legislature. Hosts Al Brewer and Suzanne Murphy spoke with Sarah Standiford, Executive  Director of the Maine Women's Lobby and Alec Maybarduk, Political Coordinator for the Maine State Employees Association.

Donload the episode here, subscribe to the podcast here.


Andi at Dirigo Blue notices some differences between Governor LePage's public statements on the recently-passed budget and his own office's press release on the subject.

A North Haven Wedding

From Pingree's office:

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree and Donald Sussman were married in a small private ceremony at the couple’s home in North Haven, Maine Saturday morning. Rev. Dave Macy, the island minister, performed the wedding ceremony with Pingree’s and Sussman’s children looking on.

The couple announced the marriage to friends who had gathered for a barn party on North Haven Saturday night to celebrate Sussman’s 65th birthday.

Pingree met Sussman in 2007 on Vinalhaven Island, Maine and were engaged in 2008.

Big Talk: Maine's Budget

This week on Big Talk hosts Al Brewer and Suzanne Murphy take a look at all the hubbub in politics in Augusta as well as in New York City. First they go over the newly released Maine State budget and what was included and what didn't make the final cut. Then, they take a look at NYC Rep. Anthony Weiner who is embroiled in sexting and inappropriate sexual conduct. Al and Suzanne discuss the political reasons for his resignation.

Download the podcast here. Subscribe here.

Politically-Motivated Voter Suppression

In my column in the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel this morning, I try to figure out why Republicans are so gung-ho to roll back voting rights. The arguments advanced so far are either embarassingly factually flawed or, like GOP Chair Charlie Webster's conspiracy theories, just outrght ludicrous. There is certainly no ideological or philosophical underpinning for the move.

The answer seems to be simple, naked politics.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree spoke about the bill on MSNBC last night, and put the issue in a national context:

It seems to me it's art of a bigger agenda to keep people from voting, to take away our rights as citizens and to undermine the very fundamentals of democracy.

Video after the jump. Read more »

Big Talk: Statehouse Stuff

This week on Big Talk, there was a lot to talk about. Hosts Al Brewer and Suzanne Murphy were joined by myself and Gerald Weinand of Dirigo Blue to discuss legislation that has just passed or is currently under consideration in Augusta.

Things are going very quickly in the Capitol at the moment and laws on everything from voting rights to abortion to the environment to workers' rights are all being voted up or down in the two chambers.

We also spent some time discussing the First District Court's redistricting ruling.

Also last night - it looks like the Appropriations Committee has reached a compromise on the biennial budget, although full details are not yet available. It now faces votes in the House and Senate, with a two thirds majority in each required for passage.

Download the episode here or subscribe to the Big Talk podcast here.

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