Good morning from Augusta, where everything is damp and gross from the fog but not wet enough to ease what has become a serious drought.
You know it’s dry. Walking across your lawn stirs up dust. Maybe — but hopefully not — your well is running dry. I saw a post on Facebook recently from someone wondering if the fire department can fill up their well. Sorry folks, it doesn’t work that way. The only cure is rain and lots of it over the course of weeks. You can take this plumber’s son’s word for it or you can go to the actual experts:
In its daily safety tip, the Maine Emergency Management Agency has provided links to the U.S. Geological Survey’s interactive Water Watch page, which confirms what we already know in language that’s gloriously science-y — we’re in a “severe or extreme hydrologic drought.” The site has current rainfall information layered with historical data that interests a geek like me.
Anyway, there’s no drought for news in Maine politics. Republican U.S. Sen. Susan Collins was in focus here and across the country on Wednesday for taking a stand against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. She was clear about her reasons in a column for The Washington Post, but expanded on those reasons Wednesday afternoon in a telephone interview with the BDN’s Michael Shepherd. Like others, including Trump himself, among Collins’ concerns regarding the next president is who he or she would nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Collins said Hillary Clinton would likely appoint judges with solid academic qualifications — but who would be ideologically too far to the left. She said predicting what Trump would do is more difficult.
“Who knows?” she said. “I just don’t think you can be assured that he would only appoint attorneys on the list that he has floated. … He’s so unpredictable that he might decide that one of his private real estate lawyers would be a good choice for the court.”
Collins also said it’s “a possibility” that Trump could win Maine’s 2nd Congressional District and the electoral vote that goes with it. She attributed that to the fact that Trump is energizing people upset or jobless because of “poorly negotiated trade agreements or who otherwise have been left behind by this unbalanced and uneven recovery.” — Christopher Cousins
Libertarians buying ads in CD2
It’s been only a matter of weeks since the Libertarian Party became official in Maine and promises from Libertarian state officials that the national party was poised for some spending in Maine are coming to fruition.
The national America Deserves Better PAC signed a contract Wednesday with WAGM, a Presque Isle-based television station, along with another with Bangor’s WVII, for advertisements touting the Libertarian presidential ticket of Gary Johnson and Bill Weld.
The more than $20,000 in contracted ads would reach through the end of August. Why? It’s safe to say that interest in the Libertarian Party is surging in Maine. If Johnson could somehow eke out a win in Maine’s 2nd Congressional District and take home that single electoral vote — which is undoubtedly a ridiculously long shot — it’d be huge to the party’s future efforts to tout itself as an alternative choice to Republicans and Democrats. — Christopher Cousins
- Spending in Maine: EMILY’s List, which supports women in politics, is targeting the Maine Senate as part of its Focus 2020 initiative that seeks to put Democratic women in governors’ seats and state legislative chambers between now and 2020. As part of that initiative, EMILY’s List has endorsed five Maine Senate candidates: Shenna Bellows, Cathy Breen, Jean-Marie Caterina, Susan Deschambault and Eloise Vitelli.
- Today’s soundtrack: It deserves its own special item today. I’ve discovered some great music on YouTube in a series of “Live at Daryl’s House” videos that involve Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates fame (Confession: I idolized Daryl so much as a kid that I begged mom to rename me Daryl). There are many great performances with a range of musicians, including this one that mixes a H&O classic with impromptu rhymes from Wyclef Jean. Enjoy. — Christopher Cousins
- How Maine quietly handed off financial oversight of a $23 million program for infants — Erin Rhoda, BDN
- Poliquin’s GE visit marks latest salvo in jobs clash with Cain — Michael Shepherd, BDN
- Maine’s only health insurance co-op sues feds over $23 million — Lindsay Tice, Sun Journal
- Lincoln County, state Democratic leaders protest participate at national convention — Abigail W. Adams, Lincoln County News
- Clinton blast Trump for ‘casual inciting of violence’ — Amanda Becker and James Oliphant, Reuters
- Emails by Clinton aides show state-foundation links — Ben Brody, Bloomberg
- The millions of Americans Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton barely mention: The poor — Binyamin Appelbaum, New York Times.
Democrats are way snobbier than Republicans, Sox and Yankees fans
Whether this is a case of data journalism gone awry, I’ll leave up to you.
The folks at FiveThirtyEight have conducted a survey to understand what the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry can teach us about political polarization. The survey asked whether respondents would be upset if their child married someone from the opposing political party or, in the case of a Sox fan, a Yankee lover. Let’s skip to the interesting part:
- Around 18 percent of Sox and Yankees fans say they wouldn’t like their child marrying a fan of the other team. I suspect this number might drop a bit for Red Sox fans after Friday, when the despised Alex Rodriguez plays his final game for the Yanks.
- 19 percent of Republicans said they would be upset by their child marrying a Democrat.
- 32 percent of Democrats said they wouldn’t like their child marrying a Republican.
And here I am, trying to explain to my 6-year-old that he can’t marry his stuffed kitty. — Christopher Cousins