Vote Eliot Cutler

Eliot Cutler is the most reasonable choice for Maine governor. He’s the one who has a commanding grasp of all the issues, the one with the most reasonable plans, and the one who isn’t going to mess everything up (that honor would be LePage’s). Libby Mitchell would be a fine choice as well, but Cutler has her beat in a number of issues, especially where it comes to being independent of a political system.

New poll on race for Maine governor

A new poll is out on the race for Maine governor.

The Maine Poll, conducted for MaineToday Media by Critical Insights, had 30 percent of likely voters supporting Mitchell, compared to LePage at 29 percent. This represents a significant change in a race where LePage has consistently led polls by 12 or more percentage points. In Critical Insights’ last poll, released Sept. 19, LePage had 38 percent voter support and Mitchell had 25 percent.

The 405 registered voters, all of whom said they were likely to vote in November, were surveyed on Monday. The poll has a margin of error of 4.9 percent at the 95 percent confidence level. That means that if the poll were repeated 100 times, in 95 cases the results would be within 4 percentage points of those reported.

Perhaps voters are starting to realize that – aside from his horrible ideas of teaching creationism and giving away college degrees to high school students – Maine probably doesn’t want the Rage of LePage at the helm.

This isn’t California or Florida. Maine prefers rational candidates.

Science has nothing to do with conservation or technology

At least that’s according to another Teabagger at AsMaineGoes who was responding to my posts about Libby Mitchell being great for education.

Notice the circular and vacuous arguments. He gratuitously pronounces the falsehoods that “LePage and the Republican party is [sic] hostile towards science” and that LePage has “precisely suggested” “to just give away degrees”, misrepresents “science” and its purpose to be “areas of conservation and new technology (especially for clean energy)”, and claims that “LePage and Republicans aren’t hostile towards science because they disagree with Libby Mitchell” but because “they’re hostile towards science”.

I think this is a case of a blindly angry Teabagger (apologies for the redundancy) hearing the word “conservation” and making a lot of assumptions from ignorance. Take, for example, this part of his post.

Not only does this a) have nothing whatsoever to do with “science”, b) misrepresent science as ideological environmentalism…

He goes on, but (b) is the important point. He heard “conservation” and assumed evil, anti-business environmentalism. I was actually referring to a wide array of concerns all Mainers share regardless of their party or ideological affiliation. For example, like every other state to my knowledge, Maine has a wide range of hunting restrictions that are important to maintaining the health of whatever the given population is. An insane conservative with insane ideology might object on immature libertarian grounds that this is mere “ideological environmentalism”, but it remains a fact that in order to be sure hunting is a worthwhile endeavor in Maine, we need to deploy the tools of science.

Take the common place event of someone killing two deer when a limit of one has been imposed (or however many constitutes more than the given limit). There’s no way to know something illegal has happened after the fact by looking into someone’s freezer filled with cut-up meat – unless we have the right people with the right background in science. Qualified biologists need to compare DNA sequences in order to determine if there are two individuals in a given freezer (or whatever the location may be).

Or take the issue of microsatellites and Atlantic cod. Research was conducted that was important in determining the spatial and temporal population structure over a range of several banks (or, if you’re anal retentive, two banks and one shoal). This matters because it isn’t in anyone’s interest to manage any stock in a way that doesn’t reflect the way genetic information is being passed around.

Call me crazy, but I think this is pretty important conservation – no matter the reason one wants to maintain a given animal population. But maybe I should avoid buzzwords like “conservation” so I don’t get the conservatives twitching. (On second thought, nah.)

But let’s go back to that first paragraph I quoted.

…and claims that “LePage and Republicans aren’t hostile towards science because they disagree with Libby Mitchell” but because “they’re hostile towards science”.

I want to give this guy credit for pointing out a typo on my part (where I said “is” instead of “are” – I originally had written the sentence with just LePage), but then he goes and displays some rather sloppy reading comprehension. I didn’t say anyone is hostile towards science because they’re hostile towards science. I actually said this:

They just disagree with Libby Mitchell because they’re hostile towards science.

I’m not even making a claim as to why LePage or the Republicans are hostile towards science. I’m claiming – rightly – that they are hostile and as a result they disagree with Mitchell.

This isn’t that hard.

‘AsMaineGoes’ user gets it wrong

From time to time I find that someone links to FTSOS from some right-wing, teabagging, anti-common sense site called I usually just ignore it because there isn’t really any substance being added; the user will just link back here because he* can safely assume that everyone will agree that whatever I’ve said is disagreeable. But now someone has made a thread based on my post about Libby Mitchell being great for education, and while he basically just does the standard practice of quoting me with the assumption that all his right-wing friends are on board with what he thinks, he did have to make a thread title.

Disagree wtih (sic) Libby? You’re ‘Hostile Towards Science’

Why, Michael, you say, do you really believe people are hostile towards science for disagreeing with Libby Mitchell? No. Here’s what I actually said (and even what this guy actually quoted):

Whereas LePage and the Republican party are hostile towards science, Mitchell recognizes its crucial importance to the future of the state.

It isn’t that hard to get. LePage and Republicans aren’t hostile towards science because they disagree with Libby Mitchell. That would be ridiculous. They just disagree with Libby Mitchell because they’re hostile towards science.

*I normally use “he” in my writing when I could use either gender (or both – “he or she”) because I’m not usually looking to make a point about gender equality, at least not in a way that constitutes a literary distraction for most people. But I think in this case of using “he” for users at AsMaineGoes, I have pretty high odds of using the correct pronoun.

Libby Mitchell would be great for education

In deep contrast to creationist Paul LePage, Libby Mitchell would be excellent for education in Maine.

Mitchell said Maine schools need to emphasize science curriculum more.

“(We) need to make sure they get it and know that there’s a future for them,” she said. “Maine has a school of math and science, which has been very successful, but all of our curriculum needs to focus on that.”

Whereas LePage and the Republican party are hostile towards science, Mitchell recognizes its crucial importance to the future of the state. She knows that in areas of conservation and new technology (especially for clean energy) it’s going to take a lot of quality education. Maine, just like every single place in the entire world, needs a strong core of people who have highly specialized scientific knowledge.

Mitchell also knows that the answer isn’t to just give away degrees – which is precisely what LePage has suggested we do. It’s obvious to anyone remotely intelligent that the biggest obstacle to students gaining the knowledge they need to get high quality jobs is money: people can’t afford to go to college. Mitchell, seeing this overwhelmingly obvious fact, has a solution.

Maine has far too few citizens with a college degree: only 37% of Maine citizens aged 25 to 64 hold a college degree compared with the New England average of 47%. Creating a public/private partnership for a matching grant program to guarantee tuition for the first year at the university system, community colleges, or Maine Maritime Academy will expand access to higher education and degree completion. This will also help lifelong learners by giving people looking to make job transitions help in getting the education and re-training they need.

Rather than make it easier for people to gain degrees, Mitchell is going to make it easier for people to gain knowledge. If you’re a Maine citizen and you don’t want your degree to mean less and less because absolutely everyone can get one for virtually nothing, vote Libby Mitchell.

Fair is fair

Since I posted about Paul LePage poking fun at Libby Mitchell’s vitality despite his own lack of fitness, I feel obligated to post his recent apology.

“If Elizabeth is offended by it, my deepest apologies, because it was certainly never meant to offend her,” LePage said on air. “She’s worked very hard and she’s had a good career and I just think that the issues should be brought up. My differences with Elizabeth Mitchell is on the policies.”

LePage questions health of Mitchell

In a recent campaign event, creationist Paul LePage took a jab at the well-being and vitality of Democratic candidate Libby Mitchell. (That link may or may not be broken at any given time. Try here.)

And though LePage said in an interview on the train that he wants his campaign to stick just to the issues, he wasn’t shy about throwing the crowd a little red meat during the stop in Bath.

“Libby (Mitchell) had her 70th birthday a few weeks ago and I’m concerned about her,” the 61-year-old said with a chuckle. “We should send her home.”

Really? Really?

Here is a picture of Paul LePage.

This guy wants to take jabs at the health of others? He’s got to be kidding.

One of the few things I liked about Dubya was the fact that he was a workout fiend. When his doctors told him he should cut back on his runs because of his knees, he took up biking instead. I had a high respect for Bush’s concern for his personal health.

But LePage clearly does not have that concern. At 61 he ought to be doing everything he can to make the final leg of his life as happy and productive as he can. It’s people with attitude’s like his that make the American health care system one of the most inefficient in the world.

Compare, for a moment, Paul LePage to both Michelle Obama and Mike Huckabee. The former is making significant efforts to reduce childhood obesity by promoting better eating and more exercise. The effectiveness of her message is helped quite a bit by the fact that she is in great shape. Who thinks a fat Michelle Obama could get her message across? It would be like Laura Bush trying to get kids to read more while being illiterate (and subsequently unconcerned). Then there’s Mike Huckabee. When he took office, he was obese. Once his doctors told him he would be dying shortly if he didn’t act right away, he shed over 100lbs pretty quickly. It surely wasn’t easy, but his life mattered more to him than his taste buds. Now he has written a book, participates in marathons, and frequently discusses health issues. He’s a better person for what he did for himself (and his family), and his message is effective because he made an honest effort that yielded honest results.

Next time Paul LePage wants to bad mouth the vitality of someone else, he ought to take a look in the mirror.

Kevin Scott responds

I’ve received direct responses from three candidates for governor for Maine regarding my question about their position on teaching creationist garbage. Eliot Cutler and Shawn Moody do not want it taught. Now Kevin Scott weighs in.

Hello Michael, creationism as science is not acceptable for teaching in public schools for a number of reasons – certainly not as an element of the curriculum. K-12 should teach tolerance and world cultural views but a “religious” doctrine of any kind is not acceptable in our K-12 public school system.

I firmly believe religious and moral values are derived from family, not public school. In my view schools are for academic pursuits and the home & church is for social value development.

We need to elect a Governor who will work to make society, jobs, policies, etc… that will empower families and add value to individual efforts to raise and grow a family.

He posted this post on his Facebook page as well as in a private inbox message to me. Another good answer.

I’ve also received an indirect response from that poverty-loving, equality-hating, ignorant bigot Paul LePage: he deleted my question and prevented me from asking it again on his page. Fortunately, I have a blog with nearly 150,000 hits. That isn’t me bragging, like LePage. It’s me pointing out that I might be able to encourage some of my readers to head over to LePage’s Facebook page and ask him to clarify his position. He has recently said he supports teaching creationism, but he never said why. The answer is presumably that either 1) hates science or 2) is ignorant. But he needs to give the answer. So go ask him.

I’ve also reiterated the question to Libby Mitchell. She’s a smart lady so I can just about guarantee that she rejects the teaching of creationism, but it wouldn’t hurt to try and prompt a response from her as well.

Shawn Moody responds

I’ve been asking the candidates for Maine governor their positions on the teaching of creationism in public schools. Paul LePage, Republican, deleted the question, presumably out of understandable embarrassment for his previously stated support for teaching children that people and dinosaurs walked the Earth together. Eliot Cutler expressed his support for evolution, calling it fundamental to the understanding of the world. Now Shawn Moody has responded.

I don’t believe teaching creationism in public schools is appropriate. In the history of the World, many military conflicts centered around religious intolerance. Our Freedom of Religion is one founding principle that makes America the greatest nation in the world. I do believe in the separation of Church and State.
There is a time and a place…….. Thanks Shawn

Sort of a hodgepodge of points, but that’s pretty standard for most politicians answering this sort of question. But good. I’m still waiting on Libby Mitchell and Kevin Scott to respond, but it seems as though the only anti-science candidate so far is Paul LePage.

Eliot Cutler responds

I’ve asked the three main candidates* to either state or clarify their positions on the teaching of creationism in public schools. Paul LePage acted like a spoiled little brat and deleted my question from his Facebook page. Libby Mitchell has yet to respond. Eliot Cutler, on the other hand, has responded. First, here is how I worded my question.

Mr. Cutler, I recently left a message on Libby Mitchell’s and Paul LePage’s respective Facebook pages asking them to either state or clarify their position on teaching creationism. Mitchell wants to be known as the “education governor”, so I presume she will favor teaching the basis of biology – evolution. (But I await… a response.) LePage, on the other hand, has had my question deleted and kicked me from his Facebook page. I presume he views his support for creationism as a liability.

What is your position? Thanks.

And once I write up a letter to the editor explain Paul LePage’s actions and inane, anti-science position, I hope his ignorance does become a liability. But first, here is Cutler’s response.

Hi Michael,

I support the teaching of evolution in elementary and secondary schools. Evolution is fundamental to every student’s comprehensive understanding of the world they live in and their ability to reason critically from evidence.

I have no objection to referencing creationism as an alternative view, but I do not believe it should be taught as part of the curriculum in public schools.

As a matter of principle, I do not believe that religion should make rules for government or that government should make rules for religion.


It took me a second to digest this response. At first glance, being okay with references to creationism sounds sketchy, but then I thought back to my first biology course at university. Intelligent design and creationism were referenced before much got started. The professor basically covered his ground so that students wouldn’t be bringing silly challenges to him. He certainly welcomed a whole range of questions (and fielded them incredibly well, as he’s likely one of the smartest people I know), but he wasn’t there to undo 20 years of religious indoctrination. In that light, Cutler’s response works for me.

*Update: I’ve also asked Shawn Moody and Kevin Scott for their positions. They aren’t as high in the polling as the others, but they certainly aren’t off the radar.