I'm in the midst of couple of weeks' worth of lectures, public events and teaching, and you can catch me in Toronto (for Word on the Street, Seeding Utopias and Resisting Dystopias and 6 Degrees); Newry, ME (Maine Library Association) and Portland, ME (in conversation with James Patrick Kelly).
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[Author Catherynne Valente (previously) posted this outstanding rant to her Facebook page; I asked her permission to repost it here so it would have somewhere to live outside of the zuckerverse and she graciously gave her permission -Cory]
I live in Portland, Maine. We have recently had an influx of African asylum seekers and the city has been scrambling to find shelter and support for them.
Cue NextDoor, that wretched hive of scum and villainy. Every day someone would post some new hateful jingoistic nonsense about how horrible these people are and that they need to get out of 'Merica and leave it to the 'Mericans.
I try not to get involved on NextDoor because I live in a small community and I have to see these people at the ferry dock. But I got mad. And I got involved. And it got long.
So I decided to share it with you. Please feel free to share it with others who might need to hear it.
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The Great State of Maine, having jettisoned its far-right lunatic "government" and replaced it with a responsive, progressive, evidence-based one, is now set to pass the nation's most stringent ISP privacy law, going further than both New York and California.
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Ady Barkan's Be a Hero campaign is taking pledges of cash to go to the Democratic challenger for Maine Senator Susan Collins if she breaks her word and votes to confirm Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
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After the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, students at MDI High School in Bar Harbor, Maine were scheduled to have a routine lock-down drill, in which students practice how to behave if their school is the site of a similar mass shooting; these drills teach children to sacrifice themselves by distracting the shooter before they are murdered in order to give other students a few more seconds during which the police might arrive and kill the shooter.
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New Maine News [via Cat Valente] is that rare thing online: a local Onion-style satirical news site that is good. It's great! I feel almost like I live there.
From the front page alone:
• Over 80% of Maine Fathers’ Affection Is Directed at Their Wood Piles
• Heroic Man Saved Dying Pit Party by Cranking Some AC/DC
• This Innovative Chef Took the Traditional Maine Baked Bean Supper and Made it Cost $85
• Expert Panel Concludes Maine Didn’t Used to Be Like This.
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Augusta — Experts presented their conclusion to a years-long study of how Maine is now, compared to how it once was, and the results are alarming.
“Weren’t like this back in the ’70s,” lead researched Brian Richards said in a prepared statement.
“Didn’t used to be like this at all. Terrible now. Don’t even hardly recognize it,” Richards said. Richards grew up in Thomaston, but has since moved north.
“Time was, if you had a few beers and a cop pulled you over, he’d just follow you to make sure you got home alright,” he said.
After more than 40 years on the job, 10th generation lobsterman Alex Todd of Chebeague Island, Maine recently pulled in a crustacean even he had never seen: a translucent lobster.
He's quoted in the Guardian as saying, “I was definitely surprised," and "It was like it was clear but with white under the clearness and a blue tint, but you couldn’t see organs or anything under the shell, it wasn’t to that level.”
The Maine Coast Fishermen's Association shared a little info about the lobster's unusual pearly look, on their Facebook page:
A normal lobster gets its color by mixing yellow, blue, and red protein pigments. Through different genetic mutations you can get a blue, yellow, or red (uncooked) lobster. You can also get strange mixtures of those colors as well.
This lobster probably has a genetic condition called Leucism which isn't a total loss of pigment (which would make it an albino) but instead a partial loss. This is why you can still see some hints of blue on the shell and color on the eyes.
Todd threw the lobster back into the ocean because it is an egg-bearing female. Such lobsters are protected under strict conservation laws. Read the rest
A very bad man in Maine is charged with a very weird murder. Prosecutors say Bruce Akers used a machete to try and decapitate a neighbor (is "nearly decapitating" worse? because that's what happened), then buried the victim's remains together with the partially decomposed carcasses of deer he killed previously.
Yep. Read the rest
Maine's Tea Party Governor Paul LePage (R) has doubled down on his lie that Stephen King left Maine to avoid paying income tax; King is a proud taxpayer who views "taxes as a way of paying back the state that has given us so much." Read the rest
Jeremy writes, "I'm helping to build the first makerspace in Portland (Maine), The Open Bench Project.
We launched an Indiegogo campaign on April 3rd and have raised about a quarter of our goal so far (not bad for a little town in Maine?)."
They're seeking $27.5K to pay for the first six months' lease on a space. Read the rest
Remember Colleen Lachowicz, the Democratic candidate for the Maine senate whose GOP opponent attacked her for playing World of Warcraft?
Here's Robert Long on the Bangor Daily News:
Gamers from around the world soon rushed to her defense, making more than $6,300 in contributions via the website ActBlue to two political actions committees that supported her campaign. Those donations prompted the Maine Republican Party to file a complaint against Lachowicz with the Maine Ethics Commission.
The commission determined Nov. 1 that Lachowicz, a Maine Clean Election Act candidate, did not coordinate with the PACs for the fundraising and voted 5-0 not to proceed with an investigation.
As of Tuesday, outside groups had spent more than $184,000 on the contest, according to Maine Ethics Commission figures. That’s the fifth highest amount of outside spending for a 2012 Maine Senate race, according to the commission’s data. Of that total, more than $81,000 was spent to oppose Martin.
‘World of Warcraft’ candidate vanquishes opponent in Waterville
(via Kotaku) Read the rest
I love firemen! I love brotherhoods! I love gay marriage! This ad has everything! Read the rest
A Maine legislator has introduced a bill to make it legal for people with one arm to own and carry a switchblade (because you need two hands to operate a regular clasp knife). I actually quite like this idea, but think it's too narrow, I'd have worded it more like "lawful for people who, due to infirmity, disability or amputation find it difficult to operate a clasp-knife..." so people with arthritis, one-side paralysis, etc, could have and use that most useful of tools: a knife.
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The Lewiston Sun-Journal reports that Rep. Sheryl Briggs has introduced LD 126, entitled "An Act to Allow a Person With One Arm to Possess Certain Kinds of Prohibited Knives." The bill would provide that Maine's "dangerous knives" law, which restricts switchblades, would not apply to the "possession or transportation of a knife . . . by an individual who has only one arm." This exception would allow single-armed Americans (male or female, of course, but probably male) the same access to folding knives that is enjoyed by the fully limbed.
According to the report, Briggs was asked to propose the legislation by a one-armed lawyer in her district, who pointed out that current law "utterly fails to accommodate" people who cannot use two hands to open a folding knife and who, I guess, have a need for that kind of knife rather than a regular one with a sheath or something for safety reasons. He also pointed out that a similar exception is already part of federal law.