Taxes are on the minds of many this week as April 15th approaches. They're also on the minds of many conservative governors -- in states such as Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Nebraska -- who have seen their radical tax proposals to further enrich corporations and the wealthy run into major resistance from voters, businesses, and even conservative lawmakers. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who this week withdrew his regressive plan that would have eliminated the state income tax while raising the sales tax, has seen his standing drop sharply in the polls. In the run up to Tax Day, increasing attention is being focused on how tax breaks for the wealthy and corporations increase burdens on the middle class.
Louisiana has the sixth highest rate of teen pregnancy in the country. Increasing educational opportunities is highly correlated with reduction in teen pregnancy rates. Yet, counter intuitively, Delhi Charter School in Delhi, Louisiana had a policy that forced pregnant teenagers out of the classroom. This policy made no sense: educational opportunities provide a path to social mobility and financial support necessary for a young woman to take care of her child. Why would you not want young women to get an education vital to her and her child?
I love the show The West Wing; while chronicling the administration of a fictional, liberal Bartlet in the White House, its snappy dialogue and impassioned speeches (courtesy of Aaron Sorkin) always leave me feeling extra patriotic. Although it's been off the air since 2006, the most striking thing I notice when I re-watch episodes is that certain political topics that were hot-button issues in 1999, during the show's first season, are still relevant 13 years later. | continue reading
I chair the Public Records Exceptions Subcommittee of the Maine Right to Know Advisory Committee, and we met today for the second time this summer. We are charged by the legislature with the task of reviewing every single exception to Maine's Right to Know or Freedom of Access Act in statute over a ten year period. This year we are tasked with examining 91 confidentiality provisions in Maine law that keep information in the hands of various governmental agencies secret from the public.
Beginning this week, health insurance plans (new and renewing) are now required to offer a comprehensive set of women's preventative health services, free of copays or deductibles, thanks to a portion of the Affordable Care Act taking effect. | continue reading
We had our annual staff retreat today, at the beautiful lakeside camp of wonderful and generous supporters. In addition to swimming and snacking and enjoying on each other's company, we took some time to reflect on what we achieved individually and as an organization over the past year. Reflecting back is not something that I generally spend a lot of time on, but as we worked through our lists I was taken by what a good year the ACLU of Maine has had since last summer. | continue reading
I love the Olympics. The strength of the athletes, the pride of country and all the ceremony - I just love it all.
An ad from the Why Marriage Matters Project was played during the opening ceremonies here in Maine, showing up on television sets from Portland to Bangor and beyond. Have you seen it yet? It was pretty powerful and if you haven't had a chance, you can watch it here. | continue reading