Three cheers for integrity

on Dec. 10, 2014, at 3:19 p.m.
Several weeks ago, I was sitting in a room filled with about 30 conservative activists when a phone rang. The phone belonged to Eric Lusk, the chairman of the Cumberland County Republican Committee, who had been addressing the room. A rather dull hush fell over the former chatter as Eric …
Daphne Izer sits at a table in her Lisbon home in this 2013 file photo recalling the night 20 years ago when her son Jeff, 17, and three passengers were killed when a tractor trailer ran over his car while it was parked in the breakdown lane on the Maine Turnpike. The trucker had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Maine woman whose son died in 1993 tired-trucker crash criticizes Collins for proposed road rule changes

By Scott Thistle on Dec. 10, 2014, at 12:59 p.m.
LEWISTON, Maine – A truck safety activist and founder of Parents Against Tired Truckers is criticizing U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, for provisions Collins wants to add to to federal budget bill that would loosen rest standards for the nation’s truck drivers. Daphne Izer, the mother of a teen who …
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, speaks to reporters on the upcoming budget battle on Capitol Hill in Washington on Dec. 9, 2014. Congressional negotiators raced on Tuesday to wrap up several policy disputes over a $1.1 trillion spending bill as a midnight Thursday deadline to avert a U.S. government shutdown drew closer.

Congress strikes deal for $1.1 trillion spending bill

By David Lawder, Reuters on Dec. 09, 2014, at 8:30 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Congressional negotiators resolved policy disputes to reach a deal for a $1.1 trillion spending bill on Tuesday but still expected to need a stopgap extension to avoid a U.S. government shutdown at midnight on Thursday. House of Representatives Republicans were preparing to pass a short-term funding extension of …

Congress expected to extend Internet tax moratorium thru 2015

By Kevin Drawbaugh, Reuters on Dec. 09, 2014, at 6:55 p.m.
WASHINGTON — Congress is moving this week toward putting off until 2015 any conclusive action on a tangle of Internet tax issues, including online access taxes and online state sales taxes. Though technically separate, the two have become entwined by political maneuvering, with a holding action in the works on …

Senate recount reversal won’t affect elections of secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general

on Dec. 09, 2014, at 5:49 p.m.
In one moment, Republican Cathy Manchester was the state senator for the Falmouth area and in the next, the seat belonged to Democrat Catherine Breen. Tuesday’s meeting of a Senate elections committee was stunning to behold. In case you missed it, a quick count of Election Day ballots in two …

What place did partisanship play in the ballot mystery?

on Dec. 09, 2014, at 4:45 p.m.
Poof, the mystery ballots have dematerialized. Today it was discovered that the 21 mystery ballots for Senate District 25 — where it appeared there were more ballots than voters on the voter roster — did not really exist. What happened was a mistake, not malfeasance. One batch of 21 ballots …
Gov. Paul LePage

LePage opposes Bucksport mill sale, but what can a governor do?

By Darren Fishell on Dec. 09, 2014, at 4:35 p.m.
AUGUSTA | Gov. Paul LePage’s office is looking for a way to prevent Verso Paper from selling its Bucksport mill to the Canadian metal recycling firm American Iron and Metal Co., but it’s unclear what leverage the state’s leader will have in that fight. Nevertheless, Adrienne Bennett, LePage’s press …

UN: US attorney general has legal duty to prosecute Bush-era torture perpetrators

By Stephanie Nebehay, Reuters on Dec. 09, 2014, at 4:14 p.m.
GENEVA — A U.N. human rights expert said a report that the Senate released Tuesday revealed a “clear policy orchestrated at a high level within the Bush administration” and called for prosecution of U.S. officials who ordered crimes, including torture, against detainees. Ben Emmerson, United Nations special rapporteur on human …
Democratic Sen.-elect Catherine Breen of Falmouth speaks with reporters after learning she had won the contested Senate District 25 election on Tuesday in Augusta.

Democrat wins Senate election after investigation reveals ‘phantom ballots’ for GOP opponent did not exist

By Mario Moretto on Dec. 09, 2014, at 3:43 p.m.
AUGUSTA | After mystery swirled around a contested southern Maine Senate district election for weeks, Catherine Breen — who saw Election Day victory slip from her grasp after an initial recount — is headed to the Senate after all. Breen, a Falmouth Democrat, was declared the victor on election …
Dawn Stiles

Former Spurwink official, LePage transition team member starts work as Portland DHHS director

By David Harry on Dec. 09, 2014, at 3:43 p.m.
With a background in government and nonprofits, the city’s new director of health and human services expects her experience will be a critical tool in running the department. “All the work I’ve done gives me insight into how government works and connections and contacts that will be …
U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-California, discusses a newly released Intelligence Committee report on the CIA's anti-terrorism tactics, in a speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate, in this still image taken from video on Capitol Hill in Washington, Dec. 9, 2014. "Enhanced interrogation" techniques used by the CIA on militants detained in secret prisons were ineffective and never produced information which led to the disruption of imminent terrorist plots, the declassified report found.

Torture report highlights deliberate offenses US cannot repeat

By The BDN Editorial Board on Dec. 09, 2014, at 3:13 p.m.
A much anticipated Senate Intelligence Committee report on so-called enhanced interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency, a portion of which was made public Tuesday, paints a picture of a program that spun out of control in the frenzied battle against terrorism. It highlights the need for more oversight …
Lt. Scott Ireland (left) and Detective David Pelletier of the Maine State Police carry Long Island ballot boxes into a hearing on Tuesday at the State House in Augusta.

Investigation into Senate District 25 election reveals 21 votes were tallied twice during recount, likely reversing outcome again

By Mario Moretto on Dec. 09, 2014, at 1:58 p.m.
AUGUSTA | In a dramatic turn of events, an inspection of ballots from Long Island on Tuesday showed that 21 votes for Republican Cathy Manchester appear to have been counted twice during a Nov. 18 recount in Senate District 25. That would be enough to deprive Manchester of the …

Collins, King: CIA engaged in torture

on Dec. 09, 2014, at 12:16 p.m.
Maine’s two senators, both of whom serve on the Senate Intelligence Committee, condemned the Bush-era CIA interrogation practices outlined in a new report made public Tuesday as “torture.” Neither Republican Sen. Susan Collins nor Independent Sen. Angus King served on the committee when the CIA was using the maneuvers in …
Sen. Angus King, I-Maine

Sen. King on new report detailing sexual threats, waterboarding, other CIA interrogation methods: ‘This is not who we are’

By Mark Hosenball, Reuters on Dec. 09, 2014, at 11:57 a.m.
WASHINGTON — The CIA misled the White House and public about its torture of detainees after the Sept. 11 attacks and acted more brutally and pervasively than it acknowledged, a U.S. Senate report said on Tuesday, drawing calls to prosecute American officials. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s five-year review of 6.3 …
The lobby of the CIA headquarters building in McLean, Virginia, is shown in this August 14, 2008 file photo.

US report condemns harsh CIA terrorism interrogations, says they did not work

By Reuters on Dec. 09, 2014, at 11:35 a.m.
WASHINGTON — A program of “enhanced interrogation” used by the CIA on terrorism suspects after the 2001 attacks was far more brutal than the agency admitted and failed to secure information that foiled any threats, a U.S. Senate report said on Tuesday. The report said the CIA misled the public …
Maine Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew

LePage, Mayhew push attorney general on welfare drug-testing rule

By Scott Thistle on Dec. 09, 2014, at 10:57 a.m.
AUGUSTA | Health and Human Services Commissioner Mary Mayhew said Monday she is still waiting on Maine’s top lawyer before moving forward on a law that’s nearly 3 years old. A federal law passed in 1996 prohibits distributing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to individuals who have been convicted …

Long Island mystery ballot investigation begins

on Dec. 09, 2014, at 8:52 a.m.
A committee of the Maine Senate today will take up the case of the District 25 election, and in particular the 21 mystery ballots from the town of Long Island that flipped the race in favor of Republican candidate Cathy Manchester during a recount. Committee chair Sen. Roger Katz, a …
Maine Focus (blog)
ORONO, MAINE -- 07/16/14 -- Medomak Valley students try to keep a ball in the air during a team building exercise as part of the bridge program Wednesday at the Recreation and Fitness Center at UMaine.

Here are ways to help Maine prosper. What do you support?

on Dec. 09, 2014, at 7:01 a.m.
How would you create jobs and a vibrant Maine economy? Here’s your chance to have a say.
U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) waits for a subway car with aides as she returns to her office after a floor speech aimed at the CIA's handling of documents related to the Senate Intelligence Committee, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington in March.

US braces for release of long-delayed report on CIA torture

By Michael A. Memoli, Tribune Washington Bureau on Dec. 08, 2014, at 8:41 p.m.
WASHINGTON — The most extensive review of U.S. intelligence-gathering tactics in generations is set to be made public Tuesday, reigniting a post-9/11 public debate over the use of torture to combat terrorism. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s much-anticipated report comes after a years-long review of CIA practices and subsequent wrangling with …
The State House in Augusta stands lighted against the night sky.

Election workers, recount volunteers and state police officers headed to Augusta for recount investigation

By Christopher Cousins on Dec. 08, 2014, at 3:42 p.m.
More than 30 witnesses will travel to the State House on Tuesday to testify in a special Senate committee’s investigation into the disputed Falmouth-area state Senate election that Democrats argue is still undecided. By day’s end Tuesday, the committee intends to rely on that testimony to compile …
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