Monthly Archives: April 2011

Bill Nemitz: Ringmaster over his head under Big Top

“Governor Announces Staff Changes,” proclaimed the headline over the news release from what’s left of Gov. Paul LePage’s communications office.

It should have read, “Welcome to The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Wednesday’s sudden departures of commissioners Darryl Brown from the Department of Environmental Protection and Philip Congdon from the Department of Economic and Community Development confirm what many have long feared since Team LePage rode into Augusta promising to transform Maine state government into something . . . well, different.

They’ve done it: After just under four months, the executive branch is now officially a three-ring circus.

In one ring we have Brown, who was forced to step down after Attorney General William Schneider informed him that those pesky environmentalists were right all along: Conflict-of-interest laws prohibit Brown, who owns a development consulting firm, from presiding over the DEP.

For weeks, Brown insisted that he was not in violation of identical federal and state statutes — which made him ineligible to serve if 10 percent or more of his income in the last two years came from applicants for and holders of federal clean water permits.

He was, as he conceded Wednesday, “obviously” wrong.

Still, that didn’t stop Brown from taking a parting swipe at the Maine statute, which, like the federal law, is intended to create a little space between the regulators and the regulated. He called it “silliness.”

That’s not respect for the law, folks. That’s clown talk.

Click for the rest of the column by Bill Nemitz in the Portland Press Herald.

Coffeehouse observation No. 303 – The smell of victory

I love the smell of coffee in the morning. … It smells like … victory!

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World Acadian Congress in Maine garners support of French consul general | Bangor Daily News

World Acadian Congress in Maine garners support of French consul general | Bangor Daily News

Coffeehouse observation No. 302 – Cigarettes to make breath minty fresh … or mints to make breath ashtray unfresh

A woman is sitting outside the coffeehouse and she just pulled a cigarette from an Altoid’s tin. Sort of like mints to make your breath smell like an ashtray rather than minty fresh.

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Coffeehouse observation No. 301 – Sweet, sweet … sweet … coffee

I just watched a guy put about six sugars in his coffee. Why bother with the coffee? … What an amateur!

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Coffeehouse observation No. 300 – Some things are better left unknown

A woman on the coffeehouse patio has a “tramp stamp” that reads “Houdini.” I don’t even want to know the backstory on that!

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Maine’s Acadia National Park celebrates park week | Bangor Daily News

Maine’s Acadia National Park celebrates park week | Bangor Daily News

Here comes the sun: Cost, rebates making solar an option in Maine | Bangor Daily News

Here comes the sun: Cost, rebates making solar an option in Maine | Bangor Daily News

UMFK gets money for biomass energy research; fliers my bring back county airport

UMFK gets $345,000 grant to study future of biomass production in St. John Valley | Bangor Daily News

Fliers hope to lift old county airport back to life | Bangor Daily News

I’m back … at least for now

I haven’t written here lately because of a bit of good fortune.

A friend contacted me a few weeks ago that the editor of a magazine for which he is the part-time art director was in need of a writer for a project – a 2,000-word story on Spaceport America and Virgin Galactic. Both have great websites with tons of info so check them out.

The story is supposed to appear in the May edition of the magazine and I’ll be sure to include a link when it is published.

And then last week, another friend tipped me off to another job, one that might be ongoing for the time being. That’s great, especially since I haven’t worked in two years. I certainly use the work.

I was staying away from freelancing mostly because of the added work. Not only do you have to be the journalist, but the salesperson and the bookkeeper and you don’t have benefits and on and on. But I am very grateful for both gigs and I am looking forward to find more freelance work.

I won’t write too much about the first job until the story is published. And the second job is more of a behind-the-scenes writing gig and I won’t be able to claim it for a clip. But that’s OK; they are paying me nicely.

So, I’m back again. … At least, until my next freelance writing gig.

Oh, and please feel free to contact me if you are in need of website content or other writing, editing and blogging. I am sure we can work out a reasonable agreement.

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Coffeehouse observation No.299 – I drink coffee and it must be genetic

Can’t get enough coffee? It might be in your genes | Time.com

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Fate of the Union: Maine State Archives this week launchs four-year commemoration of Maine’s important role in the Civil War

Joshua Chamberlain

Joshua Chamberlain

Fate of the Union: Maine State Archives this week launches four-year commemoration of Maine’s important role in the Civil War

Coffeehouse observation No. 298 – So few people, so much annoyance

Is it bad that .00000001 percent of the world’s people annoy me 98 percent of the time? … I might be off a couple of zeroes in that first percentage.

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Coffeehouse observation No.297 – Coffee and Girl Scout cookies!

I’m drinking coffee and eating Girl Scout cookies. Yeah! That’s right!

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US Labor Dept. tells LePage: Display mural or refund money | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

US Labor Dept. tells LePage: Display mural or refund money | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Coffeehouse observation No.296 – Today’s guest commentary

[Sometimes the best stuff that happens in a coffeehouse happens to my friends in coffeehouses when I’m not around. Here’s something a former colleague and Facebook connection posted to my wall and it seemed appropriate here as a guest commentary. – KM]

“I thought of you today. My daughter took me to a cafe in SF and while we were sitting there, this young woman answers her cellphone and then proceeds to have a too-loud conversation with her mother in which she complained bitterly about her father while debating whether to see him or not, then discussed ad nauseum her psychiatric condition and which of the recommended medications she should take. I just kept thinking, ‘Anyone who thinks this is a conversation that should be done in public is clearly disturbed.’”

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Governor: Mural was removed at a bad time | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram

Governor: Mural was removed at a bad time | The Portland Press Herald / Maine Sunday Telegram.

Lawmaker says constituents asked for process to remove Maine governor | Bangor Daily News

Lawmaker says constituents asked for process to remove Maine governor | Bangor Daily News

Maine Senate Republicans criticize LePage’s comments, actions in upcoming OpEd | Bangor Daily News

AUGUSTA, Maine — A handful of Maine Senate Republicans are publicly criticizing Gov. Paul LePage for his frequent controversial comments and actions.

An OpEd column written and signed by at least eight Maine GOP senators, which will be published Monday in some Maine newspapers, indicates growing displeasure with LePage’s conduct.

“We feel compelled to express our discomfort and dismay with the tone and spirit of some of the remarks coming from him,” states the piece, which was provided to the Bangor Daily News. “Were this an isolated incident and not a pattern, we would bite our collective tongues, because we are all human. But, unfortunately, such is not the case. We feel we must speak out.”

The Republican senators further criticize LePage for demeaning others who disagree with him and diverting attention from real issues.

Click here for the rest of the story by Eric Russell in the Bangor Daily News.

Coffeehouse observation No. 295 – Caressing those keys like a jackhammer

I read somewhere not too long ago that the average life expectancy for a laptop is about three years. After all, lap tops are portable … and drop-able. The guy sitting at a nearby table is caressing the keyboard on his laptop like a jackhammer, slamming down each key in staccato fashion. I think he is affecting the curve and bringing down the life expectancy average.

By the way, I don’t get the feeling that he is angry – at the laptop or in general – but merely mindlessly abusive to the laptop.

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