Good morning, Daily Brief readers.
Augusta continues to do its best impression of a ghost town, and now the halls of Congress are following suit. Summer vacation for the nation’s lawmakers takes the form of the August recess, with the 50 delegations returning to their home districts for some good, old-fashioned constituent work and, maybe, some rest.
But U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin, R-2nd District, probably wasn’t expecting the welcoming committee from the Maine Democratic Party.
To mark Polquin’s return, Democratic activists and the party’s executive director, Jeremy Kennedy, are headed to the congressman’s Bangor office at noon today to deliver a “report card,” grading his first seven months in office.
Call me cynical, but I suspect the posse won’t be giving Poliquin any passing grades. I also suspect Poliquin won’t be inclined to do much soul-searching as a result of the Democrats’ assessment. — Mario Moretto.
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ICYMI: Maine senators on vote to defund Planned Parenthood
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, voted to advance the bill to defund Planned Parenthood. U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, voted against it. The bill failed to get the 60 votes needed to advance in the Senate.
Collins, who ostensibly supports Planned Parenthood’s mission, has taken some flak for her vote in favor of the bill. But Maine’s senior senator said her vote was about “getting on” the bill so that she could amend it.
The amendment she authored with U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, would make the Department of Justice investigate whether Planned Parenthood has done anything illegal involving fetal tissue, which is used in medical research.
Planned Parenthood has come under attack with the online posting of hidden-camera videos produced by an anti-abortion group, Center for Medical Progress. The group has said the videos show Planned Parenthood officials negotiating prices for fetal tissue from abortions it performs. Planned Parenthood has denied any wrongdoing and has said it does not profit from fetal tissue donation. — Mario Moretto, BDN (w/ assist from Reuters).
- Charleston facility to switch from youth to adult prison — Christopher Cousins, BDN.
- 5 things to watch as a Democratic primary unfolds in Maine’s 2nd District — Mario Moretto, BDN.
- Poliquin wants to look GOP presidential candidates ‘in the eyes’ before endorsing — Mal Leary, MPBN.
- Obama’s plan to slow climate change earns mixed reviews in Maine — Christopher Cousins, BDN.
- Senate blocks measure to defund Planned Parenthood — Susan Cornwell and Alex Wilts, Reuters.
Nerds get together to nerdify Pluto and its largest moon, Charon
This has nothing to do with politics, but regular readers will probably have noticed my occasional geeky references here in the Daily Brief, whether it’s Battlestar Galactica or Game of Thrones or whatever else.
So when I saw yesterday that geographic features on Pluto’s moon Charon were quite likely going to sport names like “Nostromo Chasma” and “Gallifrey Macula,” I got really excited. Like, unnecessarily excited.
According to Mashable, the New Horizons flyby of Pluto and its moons got us not only the amazing photos we’ve seen of everyone’s favorite not-quite-a planet, but also provided a more detailed glimpse of Plutonian geography than we’ve ever seen before. And wouldn’t you know it, craters need names.
So NASA asked for submissions from the public, and bless the public’s nerdy little hearts, because they replied in force with names from Doctor Who, Star Trek, Star Wars, Aliens, Lord of the Rings and more.
Perhaps one day we’ll visit the TARDIS or Serenity chasmas on Charon. Or take a pit stop at the Balrog Macula on Pluto itself. I love that the Organa Crater, above, needed clarification. It’s named for Princess Leia, not her adopted father, Bail Organa, who founded the Rebel Alliance. Duh. — Mario Moretto, BDN.