Wednesday, June 24, 2009

America Can't Wait For Health Care: Day One

USAIR flew about 25 Maine delegates, plus some regular passengers, to D.C. in fine style, on time, early even.

Upon landing we trooped through the beautiful Metro system to the Fairfax Embassy Row, where SEIU has billeted us. We appear to be a group various in age, from upper 60s to barely 20. After a month in Maine's June gloom, all of us fairly drank in the abundant sunshine and warmth pouring down on our heads. I realized I not only left my sunglasses in my car, I had forgotten about the existence of sunglasses.

Elaine from Scarborough, Shawna from I don't-know-where, and I are about to head out for a bite, then to the organizing meeting at the Omni.

I've already seen someone carrying a red Employee Free Choice Sign in the Metro.

Riding the subway today, I wondered whether Washington, D.C., with Obama in the White House, might, rather than the shady, wheeler-dealer, corruption capital, soon morph into the most exciting city in the world. Please forgive the gushing. It could that I am reeling from the sudden sunshine. Or maybe I'm still heartened from the West Wing episodes Stan and I watched last night.

Update, 9:50 p.m. -- Turns out Maine People's Alliance and the Small Business Coalition have also sent contingents, making a total from Maine of around 50, including organizers.

We're just back from the agenda setting lobbyist meetings at the Omni and a moderate rally at Freedom Square, right across from the National Theater, with a stunning view of the Capitol Building.

What I learned at the lobby meetings is that I am a crank. Sure I have a tale of woe and intrigue and I want easily available health care for all, but also I want some explanation why we, as constituents who have interrupted our lives to come to Washington and beg for our Senators' help, fail to get the same attention as the insurance companies.

A tall attractive young mother from Brunswick named Tamsin talked me down by reminding me that Snowe is the only Republican--let me repeat that, the only Republican--who did not sign the pact to uniformly reject the Public Option. (In case the whole Public Option thing is a mystery, here's a great diary on 'kos about it.)

Tomorrow, another rally then lobbying meetings with Snowe's and Collins' people, maybe a couple hours for some sightseeing--lugging frakking luggage may be a problem--then home to Maine on a 9 p.m.-ish flight. More later.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Obama Cracks Wise; John Hodgman Outlines America's Culture War

Ah, the literacy and humor of our President makes me proud.

In the keynote speech at last night's Radio and Television Correspondents' Association Dinner last night, the famously understated and nerdy John Hodgman described the rift in our country as one between the Geeks and the Jocks. He calls on President Obama to bridge the gap.

God, I love C-SPAN. Does that make me a geek or a nerd?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Trekking in the Rain

My intrepid sister, friends and hundreds like them set out this morning on their bicycles from Bethel, Maine. They will take three days to ride to Belfast to raise money for the American Lung Association. It's pouring and looks to keep it up all day.

The crush of the last day of school keeps me from singing my little sister's praises properly. Suffice to say she's a hero of mine. She has raised the right money and ridden this trip for at least half of the Trek's 25 years. Me? Twice.

Anyway, Team DeLorme has posted a widget to follow the trip with slides and maps, so I'm putting it up here:

Trek Across Maine 2009

Widget powered by Spot Adventures: GPS Geotagging

Who are you following?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Yet Another Reason to Stay Up Past My Bedtime: Fail Blog

fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

Commercial Fishing Documentary/Jeremiad Opens to Mark World Oceans Day, June 8

From the Guardian, we learn that the documentary film "End of the Line", a film designed to explain the prediction that commercial fishing will end by 2048, has opened around the world to mark World Oceans Day, tomorrow. I wish the film could premiere in Gloucester, Rockland, or Port Clyde for that matter.

Here in Maine, unfortunately, we have no easy access outside a trip to Massachusetts. Those of you scattered around the country will have better luck.

Hope you didn't pack tuna for your lunch this morning.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Some Cold Hard Sad Truth

Just in case you might be feeling some irrational exuberance, here's a Nick Turse article to help you feel the earth's core pulling at us. His waltz through America's current despondence may keep any warm fuzzies at bay for a while.

Read this if you think our country's problems are temporary and can be solved. If they seem interminable and beyond our ken, keep moving, nothing to see here.

My real reason for posting Turse's work is that I want our local papers to do a better job at telling the truth. I expect them to risk controversy and write frankly about our local economy and our neighbors' response to these troubled times.

Writing about the decimated school budgets is one thing; writing about the effects of a nosediving economy on children in marginal schools is another; and telling the real story about what we spend on health care as compared with the dreaded education-tied property tax, a tax that has dropped an average of 22 percent in Maine since 1991, is yet another.

Property taxes are not the issue, folks. I am talking to you Sherwood.