5,405 Maine households are being harmed

All thanks to the bigots of Maine:

The number of homes with same-sex couples has grown nearly 60 percent over the past decade in Maine, according to census data released as same-sex marriage advocates gather petitions that could lead to the state’s second statewide referendum on gay marriage.

Data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau show that the number of same-sex households grew 59 percent from 3,394 in 2000 to 5,405 in 2010 in Maine.

This is both good and bad news. It’s bad for the obvious reason that it means there are so many households being discriminated against – not to mention all the people who would be more likely to live together could they get married in Maine. But it’s good news because it means more and more gay couples are feeling comfortable enough to declare their status. This is all despite the efforts of Christians to shame people for who they are.

The Rev. Bob Emrich, chairman of the Christian Civic League of Maine, which opposes gay marriage, said the percentage growth in same-sex households may sound impressive, but he said the overall numbers are small. He doesn’t think the new census numbers are relevant to the debate.

Oh. I forgot that it’s okay to discriminate so long as it’s only against a small number of people. Good argument, Emrich.


Pictures to come

This isn’t my video, but I was here all day today.

Yeah, Maine is okay.

Maine: Most peaceful state

In a recent ranking by the Institute for Economics and Peace – an organization that inanely thinks a nearly all-flash website is a good idea – has placed Maine as the number one most peaceful state:

The United States Peace Index defines “peace” as the “absence of violence.”

To determine the rankings, the index looked at factors including homicide rates, violent crimes, percentage of the population in jail, number of police officers and availability of small arms.

The Index also estimates the “total cost of violence” for each state which reflects the cost of correctional and policing services, judicial system and medical costs associated with violent crime and homicide, and lost productivity and wages. In Maine, that total cost per person is $656; in Louisiana it is $2,458.

Not surprisingly, 5 out of 6 New England states rank in the top 10, with the 6th (Connecticut) coming in at number 15. For the full list, and to avoid that terrible flash crap, check out this .pdf.

Top 10 most peaceful states:

1. Maine
2. New Hampshire
3. Vermont
4. Minnesota
5. North Dakota
6. Utah
7. Massachusetts
8. Rhode Island
9. Iowa
10. Washington

Top 10 least peaceful states:

1, Louisiana
2. Tennessee
3. Nevada
4. Florida
5. Alabama
6. Texas
7. Arkansas
8. Oklahoma
8. South Carolina
10. Maryland

Maine bill to legalize it

You know what “it” is:

A bill unveiled Wednesday would legalize the personal use and private and commercial cultivation of marijuana and tax consumer purchases at 7 percent. Democratic Rep. Diane Russell of Portland, who is sponsoring the bill, said it’s time to stop turning otherwise law-abiding citizens who use marijuana into criminals…

Russell’s bill would allow Mainers 21 and older to possess up to 1 pound of marijuana and legally smoke or ingest it in nonpublic places, including private residences. People could grow pot within 75 square feet of space for personal consumption and within 2,000 square feet of space for commercial cultivation.

I say do it. Telling people they can’t do something only makes them want to do it more. Besides, the war on drugs is a dismal failure. Time to move on.

I get mail, too

I have to admit I was pretty disappointed when PZ got a cease and desist notice from Christopher Maloney and I didn’t. I mean, what am I, not good enough? Haven’t I been offensive enough? I know I don’t have PZ’s following, but I thought I had made a perfectly valiant effort to be as disrespectful as possible in my fight against the anti-science nature of naturopathy. Yet still, Maloney struck me a blow, an insult, a real dig to my ego. No notice. No letter. Woe was me.

But all that has changed. You see, Maloney has decided that the trickle of posts I make only in response to him nowadays needs challenging. (Click to enlarge.)

(The bottom two lines read: “…cherry-pick evidence, often lie and misrepresent facts. Recently a local naturopathic “doctor” Christopher Maloney…” You wrote this response in reply to Dr. Maloney’s editorial on October 29, 2009 which…”)

There is also a cover page (which would not scan for the life of me). Titled “NOTICE TO CEASE HARASSMENT & NO TRESPASS NOTICE”, it continues:

Pursuant to 17-A M.R.S.A. 506-A(1), you are hereby being served with notice to immediately cease and desist from engaging in any course of conduct with the intent to harass, torment or threaten Dr. Christopher Maloney, N.D., 4 Drew St., Augusta, Maine, whether on or off of premises, in person, or via electronic means. Violation of this Notice is a Class E crime under the laws of the State of Maine, pursuant to 17-A M.R.S.A. 506-A(1).

In conjunction with the foregoing Notice to Cease Harassment, you are also hereby prohibited from coming within 100 feet of the above-described premises for any reason. Violation of this No Trespass Notice may result in your arrest and/or civil and criminal trespass charges being filed against you pursuant to 17-A M.R.S.A. 402(1)(D)-(E).

Where to start, where to start.

How about my publication, Without Apology? Never billed as a newspaper (I would never produce such a vile thing), it is a publication I put out from 2009-2010 over the course of roughly 6 months. Contrary to the lies implied by Maloney, the idea for the publication was hatched long before I had even heard of naturopathy. And even when I had heard of that quackery, the first 3 editions were about politics, social concerns, local issues, and science. It wasn’t until the forth edition that I even mentioned Maloney, and even then it was only in two articles. There was also an article about objective morality and another about poker. (A fifth edition came out that said nothing of the quack; a sixth edition featuring Ashley F. Miller will be out soon.) The paper was not made for him.

Next take a look at the fourth paragraph in the first image. Maloney says I add the keywords “Christopher Maloney” to all of my blog posts daily. To prove the point, March 25, 2011 is cited as an instance where I did this three times. Goodness. How wrong can one sentence be? First, it isn’t even possible to add the same keywords more than once to a single post. Get with the times, you old fogies. Second, I don’t even post about Maloney on a daily basis. Go ahead, do a quick search. The last time I posted about him was February 20th (and gee, wouldya look at that, it was a response to something he said; crazy that). Third, I didn’t make any post about him on March 25. Not March 25, 2011, not March 25, 2010, not March 25, 2009. So why mention that date in particular? Look near the top of the page. It was the date that Maeghan Maloney (once she was done creating the ugliest header in history) wrote the letter. Totally professional, huh?

Oh, and how about those “impeccable credentials”? It looks like some more bullshit to me:

Not that I doubt that a naturopath could come out of Harvard—the university has produced its share of creationists—but as a Harvard University alum, I had to see if Christopher Maloney was also one. I found one, but the one listed, who lives in Hawaii, earned an MBA and a MPA (public administration, probably from the Kennedy School) in 2006. None with a Diploma in Continuing Health Studies, whatever that is, is listed. I suspect Maloney took a couple of extension course in the Harvard Extension School (a night school opened to any and all who have the money) and possibly one which awards some kind of diploma. But it’s a stretch to claim as his lawyer/wife does that he has a “…pre-medical degree from Harvard.” Harvard issues no such animal.

And I thought the alt-med crowd was above reproach.

The most laughable part of the whole letter (aside from the @live.com email address) is the accusation that I make these posts in order to boost my search engine results. Trust me, Maloney is not the big draw on FTSOS. In fact, a ctrl+f look at all the search terms that have landed people here over the past year yields 16 results for the word “Maloney”. In contrast, searches that use the word “Hubble” number around 27,000.

Wondering about the CC at the bottom of the page? That would be my father, the good man. Apparently Maloney thought it would be okay to investigate my family, the sneaky little creeper pants. I think his point was to tattle on me, as if I haven’t kept my mother, my brother, my cousins, my aunt, my uncle, my grandmother, and, yes, my father, all in the loop about his shenanigans this whole time. Given Maloney’s endlessly immature actions, I guess it isn’t surprising that he would think an adult might be afraid of basic communication with his parents.

I really don’t see the point in all this. I have been crystal clear: If Christopher Maloney stops effectively begging me to post about him by virtue of his continued chirps, then I will stop. Threatening me, especially after whining about everyone on the Internet (rightly) calling him censorious, isn’t going to help anything. I’m not one to be intimidated, especially on such flimsy, pathetic, and unprofessional grounds.

P.s., Christopher Maloney is a quack.

Exploiting children

I remember working my high school job at a grocery store. As I recall, I could only work 4 hours and until 9 p.m. on school nights when I started. I soon turned 18 and was able to work longer and later. And that I did. I soon took on the role of supervisor, something that unfortunately translated to working until close – 11 p.m. I remember just how rough it was getting up in the morning for school. I had to be there by 7:15 a.m., so I was up by 6:50 a.m. at the latest. That is, if I even went to school. In my Senior year I skipped like crazy; in just one quarter I missed 11 days. My grades didn’t suffer (as I recall, I had a 94 average that particular quarter), but I was also fortunate in going to a school that granted Junior/Senior privileges. Depending on the week, I either had 2 or 3 days in which I could go home and sleep from about 11 to 1.

But that isn’t the case for everyone. First, not every school has the system mine did. Second, many students are going to struggle to do moderately well, much less achieve privileges (if their school even has them). Allowing kids to work that awful schedule I dumbly undertook in high school is an obvious mistake that will negatively impact education. Well, it’s obvious unless you’re a member of the Maine GOP:

Rep. Burns, who did not respond to an interview request Tuesday, apparently thinks Maine’s kids are not only underworked, but also overpaid.

And how would Burns correct this, ahem, problem?

Well, he’d remove any limit whatsoever on the number of hours kids over 16 can work on a school day — the current limit is four on most days and eight on the last school day of the week.

He’d raise from three to four the maximum hours kids under 16 can work on a school day.

And finally — listen up, kids — he’d whack the pay for any high school student under the age of 20 from Maine’s $7.50-per-hour minimum wage to a “training wage” of $5.25-per-hour for the first 180 days on the job.

This has to be the worst idea I have heard from Republicans since we invaded Iraq. Kids don’t need to be working late nights while trying to juggle school and their social lives. It sucked for me under relatively fortunate circumstances; it will suck just as much, if not more, for everyone else.

Co-sponsor of the bill Rep. Bickford had this to say:

“I would support removing the cap for daily and weekly hours, but I would also support amending it to six hours when school is in session, so the student could get home from school — say 3:00 — and could work from 4:00-9:00. They’d still have plenty of time for homework,” Bickford added. “Most of these kids are generally up well past 10:00. They could work a 3:00-9:00 shift.”

So let’s just keep them up later. Hell, I used to stay up until 12:30 a.m. quite often. How about we let kids work until midnight? Or, hell, let’s allow them to do overnights. They can go to work at 11:00 p.m., work an 8 hour shift, get to school at 7 the next morning, sleep from about 2:30-10:30 p.m., then head back to work. It’ll be a real resume builder.

Aside from being an education-second bill, the whole point of this legislation is to cheapen up labor for Maine’s tourist industry. Anyone who has ever been to the Maine coast in the summer knows that teenagers get hired all over the place – and for less than 180 days. Burns and Bickford want to allow businesses to pay teenagers less money for the same work that those over 20 are doing. It’s horseshit. It’s unfair, without a good or reasonable basis, and it will have negative ramifications on the educations of working teens.

But hey, how about some science?

Citing no fewer than eight published studies, [Maine Women’s Lobby direction Laura] Harper said the data consistently show that holding down a job while in high school is actually a good thing for most kids — up to a point:

One study, appearing in the “American Educational Research Journal,” found that kids who work between one and 15 hours per week are actually more likely to complete high school. Pass the 15-hour mark, however, and the dropout rate starts to rise.

Ditto for another study in “Sociology of Education” that found “intensive work involvement” of more than 20 hours a week leads to higher numbers of kids giving up on school.

Then there’s the “Journal of Educational Research” study that found a direct correlation between hours worked and academic performance — the more the hours go up, the more grades and standardized test scores go down.

Meanwhile, as Harper noted in a recent letter to the committee, “no evidence presented suggests that there is an unskilled labor shortage in this state.”

LePage pulls a Porky’s

Remember that scene from the movie Porky’s in the boy’s locker room? There’s the one kid who hates Jews, just hates them. So after gym or practice, he starts calling the one Jew in the group a “kite”. Naturally, the high flying kid made of light material attached to a string says, “It’s kike, not kite. You aren’t even smart enough to be a good bigot.” It’s the one funny line in an otherwise ugly scene of ignorance.

So that brings me to Maine governor Paul LePage (R):

In his comments last week, LePage said he has yet to see enough science to support a ban on BPA, a common additive to plastics that some research suggests may interfere with hormone levels and could cause long-term problems. LePage said until scientists can prove BPA is harmful, the state should not rush to restrict its use.

“Quite frankly, the science that I’m looking at says there is no [problem],” LePage said. “There hasn’t been any science that identifies that there is a problem.”

LePage then added: “The only thing that I’ve heard is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards.”

This is such a huge facepalm. I mean, wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Not only is LePage overtly ignoring the huge mass of evidence on the dangers of BPA, but he’s also making moronic claims about estrogen and what it does. The guy doesn’t know a damn thing about science. We should never listen to this guy on these sort of issues (or, really, any other issue). He’s as ignorant about science as the character in Porky’s was about Jews; a bigot to science, if you will.

So let’s summarize what we know about LePage so far: he believes the NAACP is a special interest but anti-abortion groups aren’t, he thinks it’s okay to teach creationism in schools, he wants to tell Obama to “go to hell”, he and his wife purchased a home in Florida so they could save money on tuition for their kids and then they lied about it, he thinks BPA is just a fine chemical, and he believes estrogen grows male traits.