Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Delayed and a little late besides

Sorry for the long space between posts. Between the campaign and life, blogging took something of a back seat.

Saturday was supposed to have been our wedding day.

The new laws passed by the legislature went into effect early last week. Saturday, September the 19 would have been the first Saturday after that, and that's when we had planned our ceremony. Nothing fancy, a potluck celebration, outdoors on the water. Wedding party will all wear matching Hawaiian shirts of my own design. Shorts and sandals were to be the order of the day. Fun, friends, food, love, community. We spent Saturday with friends and doing a lot of driving, and we felt loved and supported, but with a bit of a pallor over it all. We should be on our honeymoon. Instead, I have a house party to speak at tonight, and Laura is canvassing downtown businesses for support.

We will have our minister friend Leela and our State Senator Dennis Damon officiate at our ceremony when it happens, but for now we don't know when that might be. It might be somewhere around the end of November, or it might be in a decade or more. We don't know. It depends on what the voters in Maine decide on November 3.

Here is a wicked cool video put out by the Protect Maine Equality people encouraging people to come to Maine for a "volunteer vacation." Here's the link with all the details and how to get information. People can come here, be put up by local folks, and volunteer on the campaign. I know we've got four or five places here in Hancock County (think Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, etc.) that are ready to house people.

And you know what? If you come to Maine because you saw this here, I'll cook a meal for you. For real. With lobster even, if you want.

The world is watching Maine. When history writes this chapter, what will your role have been? Observer? Supporter? Participant?

Come be a part of history.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

State Senator Dennis Damon is my favorite straight guy -- EVER!

And that's the truth.

Take a look at these two videos from that same house party. Watch them both.

Now go donate and volunteer and write letters to the editor and all that stuff! We need you!

CLICK HERE to go to the No On 1 site. Or you can write a check out and send it to:

Protect Maine Equality
P.O. Box 8780
Portland, ME 04104-8780

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

my pitch

You know that I have been working hard (on a volunteer basis) on the campaign for No On 1/Protect Maine Equality. If you don't know that, then you haven't been paying attention. Laura and I want to get married. I am in charge of coordinating house party/fund raiser events in Hancock County. I do a couple of these parties each week on average, and every one is different. I am not a trained speaker, nor am I a professional fundraiser or motivational anything. I just happen to feel very passionately about this issue, and I am told that it comes through when I speak.

A friend thought my pitch was pretty good, so he made a couple of videos of it. It comes in two parts. Take a look:

Now that you have been inspired to help the cause, please visit the people at No On 1/Protect Maine Equality and DONATE AND VOLUNTEER! We've got less than 50 days to get this done.

What have you done to help today?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Too important not to pass along

Copied this from Middle Aged Woman over at Unmitigated.

It's worth watching.


Because just re-posting cool shit on the web isn't going to get this done.

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's time to Cowboy up.

OK, Mr. President, you have done the right thing for a good long while now. You have reached across the aisle, you have included everyone in all discussions to do with health care reform, even the corporate interests.

And what has been accomplished? Not much. Nothing, actually. Nada. Zip. Zero. Big goose egg.

So it's time.

Time to get pissed.

Time to take action.

You did the right thing. You gave everyone the time and opportunity to do the right thing, to contribute, to discuss, to help, to participate.

And you know what they did? They screwed it up. They buckled to the corporate lobbyists, the scare tactics and the lies. They listened to the hired thugs who broke up town hall meetings.

When most people in America want something done and we want it done now, these few loud buffoons start spewing hateful crap that is so full of lies and distortions as to be laughable if it weren't so utterly terrifying. They distracted our focus. They distracted the focus of Congressmen and Congresswomen like butterflies distract kittens.

Well, now is the time for you to show some real leadership.

Now is the time for you to get fed up and say Enough is Enough, kids. We tried it your way and got nowhere. Now this is what we're going to do and this is how we're going to do it.

We're going to sit down and use plan XYZ to make sure that every man, woman and child in this, the greatest country in the world, has access to health care. We are not going to think about the price tag right now, because you didn't think about the cost when you signed up for these wars we're in. That can wait. Americans are dying now. People should be able to go to the doctor without having to worry if they can pay the rent or buy groceries that week, too. People should not have to look up home remedies online and try to treat themselves because they cannot afford to go get professional care. This is AMERICA. WE. ARE. BETTER. THAN. THIS.

And Congress? You're gonna step into line. Nancy Pelosi? You are gonna whip those blue dog Democrats into line or I'll suggest to the people and to Congress the name of someone who will. Harry Reid? Suck it up, grow a set of balls, or borrow Nancy's if you must, but quit worrying about your re-election and lead your fucking party in the Senate. Chances are your home state would be more inclined to vote for a guy who found something to fight for and did just that, consequences be damned as opposed to some schmoe who changes his opinion with each new Reuters poll.

This country needs universal health coverage. I don't care if that means socialized medicine. I don't care what you call it, so long as it gets done. We need everyone to be able to go to the doctor and get treated. We need for everyone to be able to go to the doctor for preventative care. We need for doctors to earn a decent wage but not be buried with student loans, so how about we forgive those loans after a doc has served in the field for 10 or 15 years? Sound fair? I like it. Also, let's put some restrictions on medical malpractice litigation. That shit's out of control. Do something so doctors won't have to pay half their salaries for insurance. And if a doctor has too many complaints of one kind or another logged against him or her? Investigate and punish. Have a panel of doctors and lawyers do the investigating TOGETHER, and make a recommendation to a licensing board that will hand down any sanctions and have that proceeding be PUBLIC. After all, this is public money going to be paying for all this.

Take the burden of health insurance off the business owners. They're stretched enough. Take over the insurance companies and make them in charge of providing services instead of denying services. Ditch those zillion-dollar CEOs and run the things like the non-profits they should be.

I am not alone when I say that I believe that making a profit by providing life-saving medical care is IMMORAL. Take the money out of it for everyone but the actual providers. Pay doctors and nurses what they are worth, and bureaucrats what they're worth.

It is time, Mr. President!

You did all the right things, and you gave everyone the opportunity to be stand-up guys and they blew it. Now it is time to lead them - by the necktie if necessary - into the place where America deserves to be. We believed in you. We believed in your ability to lead and inspire. Now it's time for you to do it.

Cowboy up, sir!

I couldn't say it better myself...

Oh, and I stole this directly from Dusty over at It's my Right to be Left of the Center. Thanks.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I'm not a stalker, really!

A funny thing happened tonight on my way out of my regular Friday night meeting. Standing outside afterwards, talking with Richard, I finally headed to my truck. Then a little SUV-ish looking thing went by with a license plate I recognized.

From 15 years ago.

No shit.

QUOTE U was the plate.

Wow, thought me. I bet there's only one of those.

And so I took off after the car, in what could only be described as "lukewarm pursuit," meaning we never went really fast, but I did get cut off once or twice by tourists who lacked proper understanding of the importance of my quest.

Now, as I am tearing (at 35 miles per hour) up Route 3, headed in the opposite direction of my home, it occurs to me that the person I think the plate belongs to may have long since moved to a cheap trailer in a retirement community in Florida by now, and the plate may belong to some young whipper-snapper reporter who has never heard of me or my former editor.

As we passed all the bigger hotels and headed in the direction of "off-island" I resolved to stop my pursuit at Salisbury Cove, if not sooner. But lo! before that, the car turned left on a road generally reserved for local traffic. Few tourists find the singular thrill we do in driving a thing called the Crooked Road. The car between us turned as well. OK, whatever. I'll follow.

On and on we drove in the dark. At one point, the middle car in the line tapped her brakes and I backed off a couple inches then saw that my brights were on. Shit. Dimming them, I muttered apologies under my breath. Shit. I hate when people do that to me. Shit shit shit.

Aha! Brakes and blinkers ahead. Oh hell. Both cars turn. I follow into the subdivision. I've never been out this way in the daylight. I may never find my way out again at night. Again the two cars brake and turn, and again I follow. By now I am sure they are both on their cell phones to report the crazy person in the big Ford truck stalking them through the rural/suburban neighborhood.

Finally, they both turn into a driveway, with a mailbox at the end that had the last name I remembered from all those years ago.

Well, shit. Nothing to do now but drive on in after them.

I eased my truck into the dirt drive and put it in park as the woman in the middle car got out of her car and looked askance in my direction.

I rolled down both windows of the truck, turned on the dome light and said (I am not kidding) "I'm not a stalker, honest, but is that Terri X?" and I pointed to the other vehicle, the one with the plate I recognized.

After several back-and-forths of "what?" "Is that Terry X?" We finally established that I might be crazy, she might be deaf, and finally Terri said "Yes?"

"I'm Dawn Fortune" I shouted over my truck's engine.

Oh, for god's sake! Dawn! She came over to the truck to get a look. Yep, I was me and she was her.

"How on earth did you know it was me?"

The plate, I told her. I figured she was still the only one to have it. She smiled that I remembered.

It was late, and she needed to get in the house, but we exchanged numbers and promised to get in touch. She was in town to help out - her son's wife had just had surgery and there was a little baby that needed taking care of, so she's doing the grandma thing and looking very pleased, for certain.

Many, many years ago, I worked at a small daily paper in Central Maine. One of the editors was a woman named Terri. I liked her a lot, and she seemed to tolerate me pretty well. I was as green as green could be, and she was very patient as I learned by trial and error how to survive in the daily news business.

She had a weekly column in which she told stories. Often she told stories of families working hard, up against tough circumstances, trying to beat the odds. She told humorous stories of her battles with squirrels in the bird feeder, and stories about old-time remedies like using beer in a tun can to kill slugs in the garden or hanging Ivory soap on stakes to keep the deer out of the string beans. She told the quirky stuff and the funny stuff and the stories that made me laugh and sometimes cry.

She was one of my first column-writing mentors, though she never knew it. She modeled how it was done, and how it was OK to violate the rules of grammar for artistic effect.

She's since retired, I believe, but has kept the vanity plate. I hope to learn the story behind it sometime in the next few days. I hope we get the chance to get together for coffee or tea or maybe lunch so we can catch up.

But for now, we both have the story of how I chased her and her daughter-in-law home from downtown Bar Harbor, only to announce "I'm not a stalker, honest!" in the driveway. I came home and knew there was a post in that. If she's still writing, I bet there's a column in it somewhere, too.