Category Archives: National

Obama’s job approval vs. George W. Bush — better but not great

From Alec Tyson, "Obama viewed as more caring than Bush, but no more effective," FactTank (Pew Research), July 16, 2014

Obama’s U.S. job approval are not strong right now. For a good part of his second term, his job approval numbers have been in the mid-forties. However, those numbers are clearly ahead of where George W. Bush was at this same point in Bush’s presidency. As this chart of data from the Pew Research Center […]

Phony facts, a fantasy Constitution and conspiracy mongering

As the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan purportedly said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.” Moynihan experienced people from across the political spectrum who made claims that had no basis in reality. In other words, they believed things that just aren’t so. How do they deal with reality? Some […]

An antisemitic, racist group’s startling presence in Maine

From: "White, Bigoted and Young," Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, New York Times Sunday Review, July 11, 2014

Maine has a history of hate groups. In the 1920s, the KKK, a strong presence in the state, was aimed mostly at Catholics, particularly Franco-Americans. As many were “relative newcomers” from Quebec, this was largely a nativist, anti-immigrant movement. But the 1920s were long ago and Maine now has a reputation for tolerance and support […]

How birth control saves money, and two other health care success stories

prego

Health care is expensive, very expensive. So any news about how costs are being controlled is very good news. Here are three examples: 1. Medicare is costing a lot less than predicted  As Kaiser Health reports, Medicare’s costs are now more than $1000 a person less than what was predicted. Even better, new predictions are […]

LePage’s meetings with extremists make Buckley and Smith spin in their graves

Decades ago William F. Buckley and Margaret Chase Smith drew a bright line between legitimate conservatism and the extremist right. Speaking out against Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisconsin, in 1950 Smith proclaimed, “As a Republican, I say to my colleagues on this side of the aisle that the Republican Party faces a challenge today that is […]

Poliquin pick quickens the pulse of Maine’s far right

What happened last week, in Maine and the nation, shows, to paraphrase Mark Twain, that the reports of the tea party’s death are greatly exaggerated. The national political scene was shaken by the primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia. Cantor’s opponent, David Brat, is a little known college professor who co-authored “An […]

What Planned Parenthood knows about LePage’s positions

BDN photo by Gabor Degre.

At Planned Parenthood’s endorsement event for Mike Michaud, Nicole Clegg noted that there was no way that Gov. Paul LePage could have received the group’s support. While the governor has not spent a lot of time on abortion as an issue, Clegg called LePage an “outspoken opponent of reproductive rights.” Clegg is right. In 2014, LePage […]

In polarized times, who do we politically despise?

Screen Shot 2014-06-12 at 9.12.01 AM

In the song “National Brotherhood Week” Tom Lehrer rhapsodized, “It’s fun to eulogize those we despise.” “All of my folks hate all of your folks. It’s American as apple pie.” A new, extensive Pew study on political polarization shows that reality is getting closer to that poetic license. Polarization is increasing all around. But one finding […]

Two graphs tell the unhappy tale of Maine’s job story

EmployRecMay2014

With the latest jobs report, the U.S. has now, finally, recovered the jobs lost in the last recession. When Obama took office, the economy was in free-fall. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as cited by Politifact: [In] January 2009, when the president was sworn in, the country lost 818,000 jobs. . […]