The Maine Governor does not like Art (or Unions, or History).

While not nearly as interesting as the Wisconsin situation, my state is also suffering from the whims of a newly elected Republican/Tea Party governor, Paul LePage.

He recently ordered the removal of a mural that depicts some of the history of Maine workers from the Department of Labor office.
http://www.pressherald.com/news/lobby-mural-must-go_2011-03-24.html

IMAGE(http://media.timesleader.com/images/Mural1.3.jpg)
IMAGE(http://media.timesleader.com/images/Mural200.jpg)

His reasoning is that it's "not in keeping with the department's pro-business goals and some business owners complained." His office also released a fax as evidence of the complaints they've received about it.

In this mural I observed a figure which closely resembles the former commissioner of labor," the person wrote. "In studying the mural I also observed that this mural is nothing but propaganda to further the agenda of the Union movement. I felt for a moment that I was in communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses."

It's signed, "A Secret Admirer." To my knowledge no other record of complaints have been released, and neither the Chamber of Commerce, the Department of Labor, nor the building the mural was in have received any complaints about it.

The latest is that while its final destination is being decided (many potential sites haven't offered to take it due to concerns that doing so would give the appearance of approval of its being removed in the first place) it was removed and put into storage. Except no one is allowed to know where it is being stored. The administration has decided to keep it's location secret "for its protection" until a new home is found for it.
http://www.kjonline.com/news/mural-protected-in-undisclosed-place_2011-03-28.html

Gov. LePage's previous well-thought-out moves include telling the NAACP to kiss his butt for questioning why he wouldn't attend their Martin Luther King Jr. event (which is did end up attending) and claiming that he'd tell Pres. Obama to "go to hell," when it comes to federal regulations.

Other current classy move by LePage: They're looking to rename their conference rooms, too.

Un-f*cking-believable.

Our tax dollars at work!

IMAGE(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/c/c1/Rivera_detroit_industry_north.jpg)
He thinks that's bad? He should come to Detroit. Pro union, pro open healthcare, and GASP pro Mexican mural.


"I'm trying to send a message to everyone in the state that the state of Maine looks at employees and employers equally, neutrally and on balance," he said. "The mural sends a message that we're one-sided, and I don't want to send that message."

So teachers will enjoy major reductions in taxes and regulations along with larger public corporations? Bully.

KingGorilla wrote:
So teachers will enjoy major reductions in taxes and regulations along with larger public corporations? Bully.

Don't be facetious... Everyone knows that the teachers are sucking at the chowder filled nipples of the tax payers already! In fact I saw one driving a 2000 Ford Windstar SEL yesterday! She's living high on the hog I say!

KingGorilla wrote:
He thinks that's bad? He should come to Detroit. Pro union, pro open healthcare, and GASP pro Mexican mural.
That mural looks more pro-Morlock, haha. Am I the only one who sees hard-working people living in a subterranean world two levels beneath the surface?

As to the topic on hand, I am not even sure what to say in response to this. It's just so... Petty and childish. The guy is worried about sending an "anti-business" message, but seems to have no qualms about sending an "anti-union" one. I guess I'm just glad I don't live in Maine.


Everyone knows that the teachers are sucking at the chowder filled nipples of the tax payers already!

Sweet, sweet conformation.

Oreo_Speedwagon wrote:
As to the topic on hand, I am not even sure what to say in response to this. It's just so... Petty and childish.

That sums up LePage pretty well.


Everyone knows that the teachers are sucking at the chowder filled nipples of the tax payers already!

Hey! If you had chowder filled nipples... and you were starving, would you eat yourself?

Seriously, though, who is distributing weed laced with mescaline to the newly-elected governors?

In this mural I observed a figure which closely resembles the former commissioner of labor," the person wrote. "In studying the mural I also observed that this mural is nothing but propaganda to further the agenda of the Union movement. I felt for a moment that I was in communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses."

Thankfully, the response of quickly and irrationally removing anything that might catch the ire of the ruler of the day has quieted this poor, poor (probably invented) person's fears that we're living in communist North Korea.

Oh, this is lovely.

Maine now wants to weaken child labor laws.

Basically, a company can work a kid 16 or 17 as many hours per day as they'd like, even if he has school that day/in the morning. Kids under 16 are given more hours. And the kicker? If you're under 20, they're allowed to pay you $5.25/hour, below the $7.50 minimum wage.

$5.25/hour? That's ridiculous.

muttonchop wrote:
$5.25/hour? That's ridiculous.

I say it's about damn time those lazy kids start working!

That coal don't mine itself, kids.

Maybe I should just change the title to "The Maine Governor does not like Maine"

Sweet Jesus.

I was just talking with co-workers today about the Maine thing, and one thing I said was more or less "And it's not as if the mural doesn't depict important labor things other than unions. I mean, should we just forget about child labor and sweatshops, too?"

I guess I was prescient today. WTF.

I worry the governor is hitting the coffee-flavored brandy a bit hard. Wonder if the state stores will lower price on that? That'd be a tell-tale sign.

Oreo_Speedwagon wrote:
Oh, this is lovely.

Maine now wants to weaken child labor laws.

Basically, a company can work a kid 16 or 17 as many hours per day as they'd like, even if he has school that day/in the morning. Kids under 16 are given more hours. And the kicker? If you're under 20, they're allowed to pay you $5.25/hour, below the $7.50 minimum wage.

Still, it will open job opportunities for fat blokes stripped to the waist, banging the drum at the head of the ship

IMAGE(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_rTCf7kvE8Oo/Rw2s36VnY7I/AAAAAAAAA9U/NTwFOpgvPNk/s320/galley_slave_ch.jpg)

Kraint wrote:

Everyone knows that the teachers are sucking at the chowder filled nipples of the tax payers already!

Hey! If you had chowder filled nipples... and you were starving, would you eat yourself?

Seriously, though, who is distributing weed laced with mescaline to the newly-elected governors?

IMAGE(http://www.angelfire.com/funky/animatedgifs/tylers_animated_gifs/harry_caray.gif)

An Update

A federal judge decided that removing the mural counts as "government speech" and that LePage had the authority of have it removed. He has yet to rule on whether LePage has to tell the public where it's being "protected."
Also of note: Since the mural was mostly paid for with federal money, its removal violated federal rules on how that money could be used. So now Maine has to repay 63% of the fair market cost of the mural since it's no longer displaying it. The mural cost $60,000 in the first place, and 63% of that came from the state’s account in the federal unemployment trust fund. Republicans across the state have come up with $2,445 to go towards the repayment.

muttonchop wrote:
$5.25/hour? That's ridiculous.

I'm actually ok with a separate minimum wage for minors (under 18, not 20 like his plan.)

The other child labor changes he'd like to make are pretty boneheaded though.

Thanks for staying home on election day, liberals.

Yonder wrote:
muttonchop wrote:
$5.25/hour? That's ridiculous.

I'm actually ok with a separate minimum wage for minors (under 18, not 20 like his plan.)

The other child labor changes he'd like to make are pretty boneheaded though.

Even if the minor does the same job and produces the same results as a person who is 21?

Dirt wrote:
Thanks for staying home on election day, liberals.

Actually, the reason LePage is currently in the Blaine House is that the liberal vote was split between two candidates: Libby Mitchell and Eliot Cutler. Between them, they had 55.61% of the vote (65.1% turnout). LePage only had 38.33% of the votes, and won by only 10,425 votes.

Phoenix Rev wrote:
Yonder wrote:
muttonchop wrote:
$5.25/hour? That's ridiculous.

I'm actually ok with a separate minimum wage for minors (under 18, not 20 like his plan.)

The other child labor changes he'd like to make are pretty boneheaded though.

Even if the minor does the same job and produces the same results as a person who is 21?

Well the idea of a Minimum Wage is supposed to be in order to guarantee a wage that you can live off of, which wouldn't necessarily happen in the free market. Since that's not an issue for minors (I suppose emancipated minors would be an exception, they'd have to have a process to be upped to adults) I don't feel strongly about maintaining the minimum wage for them.

I have heard theories that the fact that minimum wages apply to children as well distorts the workforce. That's a lot of money for a high schooler, so it provides a very large incentive for them to get jobs, which provides more competition for those lower rung jobs that the really poor people need. The idea is that if those jobs paid less for high schoolers, than less of them would want to work, which would leave more jobs for adults in need.

Of course the obvious downside to this is that the high school workers left in the job pool are now much more tantalizing for the employers since they are cheaper, so that has a nice chance to backfire. I don't have a problem with people trying that as an experiment to see what happens. (since, like I said before I don't have a huge problem with reducing mininimum wage for minors).

What I'd like to see someone try is having minors only get 70% of their paycheck. The remaining 30% goes to the State scholarship fund. Any high schooler that worked for at least 6 months can apply for some of those funds if they pass the academic requirements and are going to college. That seems like a nifty idea that would keep minors at the same cost for businesses as adults, and shrink the short-term benefit of minors working to help correct the (perceived) imbalance there.

Yonder wrote:
Well the idea of a Minimum Wage is supposed to be in order to guarantee a wage that you can live off of, which wouldn't necessarily happen in the free market. Since that's not an issue for minors (I suppose emancipated minors would be an exception, they'd have to have a process to be upped to adults) I don't feel strongly about maintaining the minimum wage for them.

I understand that position, but I still have a significant problem with the fact that if two people started two identical jobs job at the same time at the same company and both end up producing the same amount of output, the one who is 21 gets a higher rate of pay than the one who is 17.

Who does that benefit other than the employer?

Phoenix Rev wrote:
Yonder wrote:
Well the idea of a Minimum Wage is supposed to be in order to guarantee a wage that you can live off of, which wouldn't necessarily happen in the free market. Since that's not an issue for minors (I suppose emancipated minors would be an exception, they'd have to have a process to be upped to adults) I don't feel strongly about maintaining the minimum wage for them.

I understand that position, but I still have a significant problem with the fact that if two people started two identical jobs job at the same time at the same company and both end up producing the same amount of output, the one who is 21 gets a higher rate of pay than the one who is 17.

Who does that benefit other than the employer?

Like I said, it theoretically benefits the 21 year olds in general, since fewer 17 year olds will apply for the position, leaving more positions for the adults.

And like I also said it has the downside that the remaining 17 year olds are now more valuable, which means that it will be harder to compete with the teenagers that do apply.

Whether this would be a net benefit to adults or not remains to be seen.

One issue with that, Yonder, is that for families with high-schoolers who need to bring in cash to help buy food and the like, decreasing the wage would really screw them. It seems like you're picturing all high-schoolers as having a middle-class environment, where they don't really *need* the money to help the family.

I'd argue the minimum wage is there to help the poor, not to give more money to kids who get a job because they like going out on the weekends.

Besides, if 17 year olds are cheaper than 21-year-olds, the obvious answer for those jobs is to hire more 17-year-olds. Even if they aren't available all the time, you can just cut the hours of the more expensive workers so they're maybe part-time instead of full. Seems like the idea needs some tweaking...

Robear wrote:
One issue with that, Yonder, is that for families with high-schoolers who need to bring in cash to help buy food and the like, decreasing the wage would really screw them. It seems like you're picturing all high-schoolers as having a middle-class environment, where they don't really *need* the money to help the family.

Right, but if those families are poor because one of the adults can't get a job due to the glut of high schoolers at the bottom rung of the ladder (recently the case for my Fiance's mother) then this change could help them regardless of the fact that the high schoolers are making less.

I'd argue the minimum wage is there to help the poor, not to give more money to kids who get a job because they like going out on the weekends.

Right, which is the exact reason people argue for changing it, so that the minimum wage remains to help poor adults, without giving more money to kids who get a job because they like going out on the weekends.

Besides, if 17 year olds are cheaper than 21-year-olds, the obvious answer for those jobs is to hire more 17-year-olds. Even if they aren't available all the time, you can just cut the hours of the more expensive workers so they're maybe part-time instead of full.

True. This idea relies on the shrinking supply of teenage workers having a greater effect than their growing demand. We won't know whether that actually happens or not until someone tries it. We also won't know whether it's a benefit if it does work until we try it.

Seems like the idea needs some tweaking...

Probably true, but trying it is the best way to get an idea for tweaks that could make it better. Although I am a fan of the tweak that I suggested.


Right, but if those families are poor because one of the adults can't get a job due to the glut of high schoolers at the bottom rung of the ladder (recently the case for my Fiance's mother) then this change could help them regardless of the fact that the high schoolers are making less.

Meanwhile, the high-schooler now has a job *and* school, and the adult still has no job, and the family has less money than if the adult was working at minimum wage. Maybe we could lower the minimum wage to get kids to work, and take the difference as a tax on 16-20 year old special minimum wage workers', paid by businesses, to go into an unemployment worker education fund. If the adult was able to train up to a job in 6 months or so, I could see this working.

But I'm not sure I agree with something that will aid business, but not in a way that increases adult employment, and that potentially *decreases* family income for the poorest families. Seems like we could do better than cutting the overhead of companies like McDonalds and Wal-Mart, which arguably don't really need that side effect.