The Portland Phoenix

Politics & Other Mistakes: Of advocates, sandwiches, and the BFI

Oddities from the inbox:

Advocating for advocates. The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently decided “advocacy journalists” would not be allowed at its daily COVID-19 briefings. I suppose I qualify for advocacy, even though I never attend those boring events. Nevertheless, I’m apparently required to work up a little outrage over this affront to the Constitution’s First Amendment, under which I ought to be able to take part just like any other reporter.

On the other hand, rather than actually attending, I’d prefer having a colonoscopy.

Before I could take further umbrage, the center reversed itself and let the advocates back in. It was all just a mistake, they said, aimed at the conservative Maine Policy Institute, a right-wing think tank with a “news” site called the Maine Wire, and the Maine People’s Alliance, a left-wing activist organization that releases its propaganda on the Maine Beacon. Both services are designed to promote their respective parent organizations’ points of view.

Let’s be clear here. It’s not the business of government to decide who is or isn’t a journalist. But it is the business of readers. The alliance and the institute are political animals, intent on pushing their agendas. Their “news” services are actually nothing more than what more honest outfits would call public relations departments.

That said, they (and me) should still be allowed to show up for the center’s dog-and-pony shows. If advocates, ordinary citizens, or orangutans want to ask questions, they should be able to do so. Let news consumers decide who’s credible enough to merit their attention.

And that’s all I’ve got to advocate.

Hunter, spare that candidate. John Glowa of South China has declared his candidacy for governor. His platform: Government sucks.

Glowa, 67, is a Democrat, which means he’d have to face incumbent Gov. Janet Mills in a primary, assuming he qualifies for the ballot. He has no money, no name recognition, and a platform designed to appeal to a fringe segment of the electorate. He’s also run twice for the state Legislature, losing both times in the Democratic primary.

“Maine’s system of government is rigged to favor the government and those with political clout,” Glowa wrote in a news release. Without change, he said, the voters get “politically motivated window dressing and will live from budget to budget never solving the myriad of problems, many of which the government has created.”

The government problem Glowa most wants to correct is the one that allows hunting and trapping. He’d like to see both activities banned.

Glowa has occasionally attracted attention by being the only Democrat to oppose public-land bond issues because hunting and trapping are permitted in some of those properties.

In a letter to the Bangor Daily News, Glowa compared himself to former Gov. Percival Baxter, who donated the land for Baxter State Park, because, well, because he’s an environmentalist – apparently forgetting Baxter also did some hunting.

A random quote from a 2018 op-ed by Glowa: “(The state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife) is indeed a ‘captured’ agency controlled by and for those who advocate killing Maine’s wildlife.”

Don’t piss off Max Linn. According to news reports, Linn, a former independent U.S. Senate candidate and frequent subject of ridicule, is being accused of pointing a gun at an ex-political assistant in a dispute over cryptocurrency. 

Further explanation seems futile. It doesn’t get weirder than that.

Oh wait, it does. State Sen. Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli of Arrowsic has proposed making the lobster roll Maine’s official state sandwich. As any thinking person knows, the lobster roll is the official state rip-off-the-tourists sales item. At $20 a pop or more, it now constitutes half of Maine’s gross domestic product.

The real state sandwich is the Italian, invented in Maine and still made correctly only here.

FYI on the BFI. The iconic 30-foot-tall statue of an Indian that stands alongside Route 1 in Freeport was recently sold. News coverage uniformly referred to it as the “Big Indian.”

That’s incorrect. Locals have long referenced the sculpture by giving it the same middle initial as former New York Yankee Bucky Dent.

And that “F” doesn’t stand for Freeport.

Curse my name by emailing

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