Thanksgiving has arrived. Time to disagree over politics, sporting events, and who should get to finish the gravy. (Mom swore there was more, but . . . ) Also on the docket: fighting over the good bread for making sandwiches with the leftovers, and trying to remember who's next in the pick-the-carcass rotation.
But here, for your holiday harmony, are some things we can all agree on: our first-ever turkeys issue, calling out Maine people and institutions who committed acts most fowl.
GOVERNOR PAUL LEPAGE
After a legislative session punctuated by bitterness, recriminations, and conservatism, LePage lost what he and others — including members of his own party — considered a referendum on his governorship. Big time: the Democrats are back in control of both chambers of the State House. As is typical of the donkey party's Maine chapter, the platform was devoid of substance, except one big plank: "We're not that guy." Disappointingly, that was enough, making the election results a major repudiation of LePage's Tea Party-inspired, Romney-esque policies.
There's a side dish, too, which is his bullying approach to pretty much everyone. He's been a particularly shrill crybaby about Democrats in Washington DC, including misogynistic attacks on US Representative Chellie Pingree. Let's call this side dish LePage's STUFFING, though it's high on filler and low on sage.
And the gov isn't finished contributing to our Thanksgiving feast; he brings a beverage to the table, too. With his ludicrous claims that the US Department of Health and Human Services is preventing him from "serving Maine's neediest people" (by blocking his attempts to cut health-care funding for the poor), LePage also makes himself SOMMELIER OF WHINE.
JUSTICE THOMAS WARREN
The Superior Court judge must have had too much tryptophan before issuing an October 15 ruling preventing the release of identifying information about people accused of being johns in the Kennebunk Zumba case. He was attempting to balance two elements of the law. First is the longstanding practice of releasing the names of people charged with crimes by police. This honors the open-government principle that the public needs to know who is being arrested, by whom, and why — not to shame the accused, but as a check on government's fearsome power to deny individuals their freedom. The second element Warren was trying to consider was the fact that some of the accused may also be victims of the crime of privacy-violation (if they were recorded doing whatever it is they may have done). State law prevents officials from releasing identifying information about privacy-invasion victims, arguing that more publicity worsens the matter. Fair enough, but Warren's split-the-baby ruling, allowing the release of names but not addresses or ages, was both a theoretical and practical disaster. Not only did it suggest that a drug pusher beaten up during a deal gone bad should be prosecuted secretly (because the pusher was, after all, a crime victim as well as an alleged perpetrator), but almost as soon as the first installment of what has become known as The List was released, at least one man contacted the news media to defend his reputation publicly — simply because his name was the same as an accused john. Warren had the sense to recognize his failed ruling and reversed it a day later, but not before significant chaos had struck the media, law-enforcement, legal, and domestic-harmony communities statewide.