The Coastal Packet

The longtime national journal, Progressive Review, has moved its headquarters from Washington DC to Freeport, Maine, where its editor, Sam Smith, has long ties. This is a local edition dealing with Maine news and progressive politics.


Thursday Aug 13


Science Now - Researchers examining ocean sediments have concluded that current climate conditions resemble those that led to peak Atlantic hurricane activity about 1000 years ago. So if you live anywhere from the Caribbean to the coast of Maine, prepare for the possibility of stronger and more frequent storms.

As the researchers report in Nature, they found strong evidence that Atlantic hurricane activity peaked about 1000 years ago, producing up to 15 hurricanes a year on average--a level matched in recent times only over the past decade and a half. At the time, according to estimates constructed from other geologic data, Atlantic water temperatures were relatively warm, "though not as warm as today." . . .

Of particular interest, the sediments reveal a close link between warmer water and the number of hurricanes during the past 150 years or so. Dropping temperatures produced seven or eight hurricanes a year, while a rising thermometer, such as in the earlier part of this decade, pushed the total to 15. . .


On Top - In an editorial published in The Times Record, Michael S. Heath, head of the Christian Civic League of Maine, a group backing a "
people's veto" to repeal gay marriage in the state, links Maine's lack of sunshine to the legalization of gay marriage in the spring. Heath says the “moral climate in Maine has caused the sun to hide its face in shame.”

"In May, our elected officials overturned a law of nature, and in its place paid honor to evil and unnatural practices. Our leaders allowed a cloud of error to hide the light of reason, and then the rain began. How fitting that this eclipse of human reason is mirrored by the disappearance of the sun!"

As the global economic meltdown began last fall, Heath also blamed gay men and lesbians for that calamity.

In a September 25th blog post titled The Nation Will Right Itself If It Fixes Sex, he says that the financial crisis is a symptom of America's sinful sexual culture, including the acceptance of gay unions.

"Our crisis is a symptom, not the cause," says Heath. "I am not saying I know whether this financial crisis is God's judgment or not. It is not for me to know that definitively.”

But Heath does go on to list policy changes that would make God "crack a smile," including: End abortion rights and defund non-profit groups supporting it, amend state constitutions to ban gay marriage and eliminate domestic partnerships and civil unions for gay and lesbian couples, and end discrimination against private religious schools and homeschools.


Ellen Goodman, State Journal - Register - I am back at my post. Feet planted on the porch railing. Back braced against the familiar contours of the Adirondack chair. On the bird feeder before me, squabbling goldfinches vie for the same perches as if there were not plenty of open seats at their sunflower seed banquet. A bold hummingbird stops chasing his larger avian foes to see if I am worth his time and then moves on. The house is quiet this morning. A summer of rain has given way, at last, to sun. A summer of family has given way to solitude. The superheroes who must be obeyed and mini-doctors in need of an adult patient have packed up their imaginations and left us to the landscape. The cacophony of grandchildren is replaced by the low hum of a neighbor's lobster boat in the cove. . .

WMTW - Amid recent violence involving lobstermen, increased competition and dropping prices, many Maine lobster fishermen are seeking options to get more money for their catch. Brent Nappi, a lobsterman from Falmouth, has formed his own small-scale co-op, selling directly to shareholders, saying the Linda Kate Lobster Co-Op remains an experiment. . . Shareholders in the co-op pay money up front, allowing them fresh, right-off-the-boat-that-day lobster for about $4 a pound. Plus, they are entitled to a front-row seat. . . Nappi needs to build a base of people to whom to sell his product directly. . . . Nappi has just finished building a 1,000-pound tank at his house, which enables him to keep more of his own catch and sell that much more directly to the public.

Talking Points Memo -
A new coalition called Americans for Stable Quality Care--which includes the American Medical Association, PhRMA, as well as more predictable groups like SEIU and FamiliesUSA--will launch their first pro-reform ad later today as part of an August recess campaign that's expected to cost $12 million. According to Politico, the ad--which is scheduled to run for two weeks and cost about $6 million on its own--will air in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota and Virginia, home to a number of key congressional centrists, whose support for reform will be vital to its success.

Maine Public Broadcasting
- A new study shows family health care premiums in Maine have grown more than four and a half times faster than income over the past decade. That's according to Families USA, which released the study today. The group said that insurance premiums in Maine rose 101 percent during the period, while Mainers' income went up by only 22 percent. Families USA Executive Director Ron Pollack says the average yearly health insurance premium for Maine families skyrocketed from $6,915 back in 2000 to $13,927 in 2009.

Chris Cousins, Brunswick Times Record - The Legislature's Transportation Committee adjourned for the summer Tuesday after deciding that finding a way to maintain Maine roads will have to wait. With little hope that any tax increase would survive votes in the full Legislature, committee members opted to forward no recommendations rather than settling on a split vote. “We have failed,” said Sen. Dennis Damon, D-Trenton, the Senate chairman of the committee. “But we live to fight another day.”

Jewish Tribune - The state of Maine is home to about 11,000 Jews, almost 8,300 of whom reside in Portland. Two years ago a demographic study found Portland and its environs to have the highest intermarriage rate in the United States. According to the study, which was funded in part by an intermarried couple (the chairman and former CEO of L.L. Bean, Leon Gorman and his Jewish wife Lisa), 61 per cent of couples in Jewish households are intermarried. . . The figures place Portland ahead of both Seattle and San Francisco, which previously had shared the highest measured intermarriage rate. . . The national intermarriage rate was 48 per cent in the 2000-2001. . . Jews have been living in Maine since the 1800s: There were fully functioning Jewish communities in Bangor in the 1840s, and in Portland in the 1880s. Somewhat improbably, at least to outsiders, those and other Jewish enclaves around the state have endured and thrived. During the last 100 years, the Jewish population of Maine has ranged from 5,000 to more than 10,000.


- Some former Hannaford workers gathered in Bangor Wednesday to speak out against what they say are anti-union practices within the grocery store chain. The workers were also joined by members of the Maine People's Alliance and the group, Food and Medicine. They say they want to put an end to what they call Hannaford's misinformation and intimidation campaign against the Employee Free Choice Act. The legislation, which is pending in Congress, would make it easier for employees to form unions. The folks with the Maine People's Alliance say they've heard dozens of stories about Hannaford employees being harassed at work. Here's what Kate Brennan had to say: "Workers being called into mandatory meetings. There being anti-union signs in the break rooms. Actually managers meeting with workers and telling them they shouldn't support the Employee Free Choice Act, a piece of legislation." A spokesperson for Hannaford says the company believes that open and direct conversation between employees and managers is the best way to resolve issues.

WGME - More than a dozen neighbors of the Mars Hill wind farm in northern Maine are suing the owner, town and companies that built it. The civil suit was filed in Aroostook County Superior Court in Caribou. Plaintiffs say they're bothered by noise from the turning blades at First Wind's 28-turbine wind farm and claim their property has lost value. The neighbors also say they weren't fully notified about the construction process.

Bangor Daily News - A Midcoast man faces charges after he allegedly cut 22 lobster traps in two separate areas from a 14' aluminum boat. Police say Heath Yeaton, 31, of Cushing was alone at the time of the alleged trap cutting incident on Tuesday afternoon. . . Trap molesting, by statute is a civil violation, but if proven carries a mandatory 3-year loss of lobster and crab fishing license and the ability to assist any lobster license holder as a crew member.


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