Maine: not just for Maineiacs
Last week, the state of Maine gained the dubious distinction of being the first
in the nation to repeal its law protecting gay men and lesbians from
discrimination in housing, employment, and credit. This moronic first was
accomplished after a single-issue referendum was held in an off-year election,
at a time when a severe ice storm had paralyzed much of the state for days.
After their upset victory, the reactionary forces responsible for the repeal
congratulated themselves, telling reporters that they hadn't even tried to be
"clever" in their efforts to strike down the law. Paul Volle, executive
director of Maine's Christian Coalition and a driving force behind the
campaign, was especially pleased after covering the state with flyers that
read, "Do you want to send your children or grandchildren to day cares,
pre-schools, and schools that are forced to hire homosexuals?"
Hey, Paul, you're right. There is nothing clever about that ploy. It is merely
despicable on two counts. First, civil rights protections don't "force" anyone
to hire people. They merely ensure that one's sexual orientation cannot be used
as a reason to deny a person employment, credit, or housing. More disgusting is
the implication that pedophilia is somehow related to sexual orientation when
numerous studies have proven otherwise.
By ignoring these facts, the organized forces of fear and ignorance were able
to slip this referendum issue past the people of Maine. As the question on the
pamphlets reveals, the opponents of the civil rights law have every intention
of discriminating against superior behaviorists.
Meanwhile, back in the Biggest Little, there are bills in both the House and
Senate to establish voter initiative here. (It was Maine's voter initiative
that allowed a well-organized minority to get the repeal vote on the ballot.)
But while chances of passage are questionable, the legislation being proposed
in Rhode Island does have at least one noteworthy safeguard -- it would not
allow a referendum question dealing with civil rights issues to be put on the
Brock means business
Into the muck and mire of local Cranstonian politics wades state Representative
(and Casa Diablo favorite) Brock Bierman, who officially announced his
candidacy for mayor of the Big Hair city last Monday.
Brock's campaign slogan is "Brock Means Business," and he's not talking about
business as usual. Indeed, it was refreshing to note that at his announcement
and subsequent rally later that evening, there was not a huge crowd of city
workers to swell the numbers, just a bunch of ordinary citizens and supporters.
Like the longtime powers-that-be in Cranston, Bierman is a Republican,
but he is not part of the machine apparatus, as evidenced by the dearth of city
workers as well as the cursory treatment his candidacy has received from the
city party structure. Those skids already have been greased for good ole boy
Ray Votto, and Brock wisely has told the city committee that he is not
interested in their endorsement and would not accept it if proffered.
Let's hope the people of Cranston give the Brockmeister a good look-see. We
like him and think he's got plenty of the "right stuff" and a healthy streak of
independence to boot.
No one in the world is more insecure and hyper-sensitive than television
executives and reporters. Nor are these people more reluctant to buck their
bosses when forced to make a choice between their principles and some empty
suit's supposed flash of genius.
The most recent TV troops to march into the tank in the face of rampant
commercialism were the folks at CBS, who paraded onto the nightly airing of the
Winter Olympics all kitted out in official Nike sportswear, the famed swoosh
swishing right into camera range.
Now, ordinarily, this type of unpaid advertising simply would be written off
as stupidity on the part of the executives who authorized it, but we're not
talking about a local cable-access television show here. We're talking about
CBS Sports, where even usually reliable correspondents, such as Bill Geist,
were played for fools by the kings of Asian sweatshops.
Naturally, CBS Sports execs tried to dodge the criticism that followed the new
outfits, but it took the head of CBS News, Andrew Heyward, to finally put his
foot down. Rumor has it that CBS Sports execs were reluctant to drop the Nike
outfits out of fear that the company would reduce its sponsorship of the
network's Olympic coverage. And this speculation was further fueled by the
dilemma of one Roberta Baskin, a CBS News reporter.
According to the NY Times, Baskin did an investigative piece on Nike
for 48 Hours but claims in a letter to Heyward that a follow-up segment
was spiked because CBS was worried about retribution from Tiger Woods's sugar
Not that this was a unique instance. Herbert noted that the San Francisco
Examiner killed a column last year that criticized Nike because the paper
allegedly feared that Phil Knight's goon squad would withdraw sponsorship of
the Examiner's "Bay to Breakers" race.
Girls just wanna have fun
Phillipe and Jorge just happened to hear from a friend who recently encountered
a 20-year-old female White House intern during his extensive travels. The
estimable young lady reports that White House aides have made it quite clear to
the interns that talking to the media is verboten during President Billary's
time of personal torment, as is keeping any sort of journal or diary.
Your superior correspondents also consulted with our own 20-year-old intern in
search of her views on the tawdry Oral Office scandal. But rather than being
appalled by the president's alleged sexual favors from a woman almost the same
age as his daughter, our intern was disgusted by the possibility that Clinton
lied to the public about his so-called zipper problem. (As Dennis Miller put it
recently, "A 21-year-old ought to want to blow the President of the
Finally, the Urinal got it backwards when they interviewed Captain Blowhard's
daughter, Kara Sundlun, and another Rhode Island youth who had worked as a
White House intern. In the article, Kara and the young man were quoted as
saying that, in their day-to-day chores, they'd never come into such close
contact with the president as Lewinsky.
But this is precisely the point. The fact that Lewinsky did indeed have access
usually granted only to Al Gore and Asian campaign contributors (not to mention
the shine Vernon Jordan evidently took to her career) speaks volumes.
A tip of the beret and sombrero to P&J's old buddy at the State House,
Scott MacKay of the Urinal, for getting an enormous rise out of temporarily
"exonerated" former governor Ed "Gerber Baby" DiPrete, who has been accused of
racketeering and extortion.
A January 31 story by Scottso got the Gerb's knickers in such a huge twist
that Fast Eddie wrote a response that was published in the Other Paper's
editorial pages on February 13. In it, the Gerbster accused MacKay of
distortions, outright fabrications, and revisions of history, which DiPrete
said he could not let "lie unchallenged."
Well, Gerb, all of Scott's observations looked right on target to us. And when
it comes to lying unchallenged, we thought that was what happened when Judge
Cresto dismissed your case.
The form of welfare reform
Now that we've got a budget surplus in Vo Dilun, don't you think it might be
time to give a little cost-of-living adjustment to the 36,000 children in this
state who are living in poverty and on AFDC? Governor Bigfoot's budget proposal
(like all of his budget proposalsso far and Governor Sundlun's before that)
offers no relief for our most vulnerable, nor does it include any money for the
550 disabled children who were cut off from Supplemental Social Security last
Your superior correspondents are among those who believe that the true values
of a nation, or a state for that matter, are reflected in the way its poorest
citizens are treated. At this point, the average AFDC payment is about half the
federal poverty level. Is this welfare "reform"?