Friday, August 20, 2010

Run for the Fallen Set for Sunday in Ogunquit

On Sunday Aug. 22nd, the 3rd annual “Run for the Fallen Maine” will take place. The starting ceremony will be at Veterans Park in Ogunquit Center at 7:45 a.m. The Ceremony will consist of a reading of the names of all 65 men and women that have lost their lives in this country’s war on terror since 9-11-2001. The ceremony will also have a reading of a poem written by one of the family members, the singing of our National Anthem, the 125th Marine Corps Honor Guard and other fitting tributes to our Fallen Heroes. All 65 were either born and brought up in our State or had strong family ties to our State. The run will start at 8 a.m. The run consists of a 65 km run along a route predominantly on Route 1 from Ogunquit Center to Monument Square in Portland. Each kilometer will be marked with a picture and a short bio of each of our Fallen Heroes. We expect to arrive in Monument Square with all the runners at about 2:30 p.m. Runners only run as many miles as they want to. We have 2 trolleys from Ogunquit Trolley Co. that travel with us and act as a moving locker room/aid stations. All 65 kilometers (aprox. 40 miles) will be covered by the runners. Some have registered to run all 65 km’s and some as few as the single 1 for their fallen hero. We are still working on a squadron of F-15 jets to perform a flyover at some point during the event.
This event is non-political and non-commercial. This is an all volunteer event with all funding and contributions coming from within our Maine Community by both businesses and individuals. Our goal is to raise awareness and help our neighbors remember the sacrifices of these brave individuals and their families. We recognize that these families are still suffering and want to show them that we as their Maine community care deeply about their sacrifices and honor the memories of our Fallen Heroes. We have created a personalized book, to be handed out, with photos and memories submitted by family members to help us all know them better as sons, daughters, fathers, brothers and friends and not just soldiers
The event will culminate with a celebration of the lives of these 64 men and 1 woman at a Lobster Bake at Ft. Williams. Over 250 family and friends of our heroes are registered to participate. We believe that this is one of the only events left in the country that honors our Fallen heroes of the war on terrorism both individually and collectively. All are invited to participate in some way, run, volunteer, stand at the markers as we run by or simply come to Monument Square for the finish. For more information about registration and logistics please visit
Photo caption: The 3rd Annual Run for the Fallen Maine is Sunday, Aug. 22, beginning in Ogunquit ( image)

High Waters

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor

Many people might assume the book “Role Models” would be film maker John Waters’ attempt to enter high culture. But, those who are familiar with Waters’ celluloid schlock and guffaw antics know better. Ironically, Waters’ trademark cinema of “bad taste” has been elevated to high culture in many circles.
Waters begins his iconography with meeting the inimitable Johnny Mathis. There are many parallels that Waters draws between himself and Mathis, and many stark differences. While Mathis is only rumored to be a homosexual, Waters has been out for decades. They seem to have an appreciation for art, music, and literature. However, Waters admits he’d be embarrassed to have Mathis look at the books on his bookshelf, or the subject matter of the paintings and photographs he hangs on his walls, and feels his liking of Provincetown might be seen as distasteful to the more discrete Mathis, but then again, maybe not. The contrasts of these two men bring a sense of irony to their meeting for this book.
Tennessee Williams is another off-center icon that Waters has followed. In contrast to Mathis, Waters knows that Williams would be more at home with his sensibilities for the profane and the obscure, but perhaps Waters’ most shocking connection is with former Manson family member Leslie Van Houten.
Waters once had a morbid fanfare for the court trials of the Manson family, and had attended some of the trials. He eventually wrote a letter to Van Houten, and as time came along they became friends. Waters’ moves into the murky territories of innocence and guilt, childhood naiveté and morality with criminal justice. Neither Waters, nor the latter day Van Houten are forgiving or condoning of the murders, nor is there much slack given for her participation. But, Waters pointedly mentions Nazi war criminals had served less time than she, and the brainwashing and fearful environment didn’t seem too different from the Manson commune. To say the least he gets readers thinking in directions we are reluctant to go.
This book seems to have all of the ingredients that Waters tends to combine. Stereotypical people who beautifully fit their stereotypes, filth, wealth, poverty, and people who break every stereotype for their demographic. An example of an anti-stereotype, Waters tells the story of a lesbian burlesque dancer who collected welfare, used drugs and was a registered Republican. Waters loves contradiction just as much as he does simplicity, and it all fits together so well in his work.
As we learn the origin of his pencil mustache, his ill-fitted clothing, his LSD consumption, and his love of oddities and campy kitsch, Baltimore and Hollywood are both three ring circuses and John Waters is the ringmaster, and makes no apologies. As far as his movies go, “Pink Flamingos” is only suitable for the most daring movie goers with its many perverse juxtapositions of humanity while “Serial Mom,” “Hairspray,” “Cecil B. Demented,” and “Pecker” are gems that any filmgoer with an eye for the offbeat would happily devour.
With “Role Models,” John Waters acts as equal parts sociologist, tabloid writer, and peeping Tom without a strain or awkward leap. Like his many films, “Role Models” is a guilty pleasure worthy of a million cringes. Highly Recommended!
Photo caption: The cover of John Waters’ “Role Models” ( image)

Maine to Receive $1 Million to Crack Down on Health Insurance Premium Hikes

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Aug. 16 announced the award of $1 million to Maine to help crack down on health insurance premium increases. Maine will use this Affordable Care Act funding to help improve the oversight of proposed health insurance premium increases, take action against insurers seeking unreasonable rate hikes, and ensure Mainers receive value for their premium dollars.
“The Affordable Care Act puts in place critical market reforms to improve quality and reduce the cost of health care for employers and individuals. Increased competition, lower insurance overhead, and better risk pooling in health insurance Exchanges in 2014 are expected to reduce premiums in the individual market by anywhere from 14-20 percent according to the Congressional Budget Office,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Between now and then, we will continue to work with States to ensure consumers are receiving value for their premium dollars and to avoid the kind of double digit premium increases seen recently. The State proposals approved today demonstrate the need and desire for new resources and tools to help them protect against unjustifiable premium increases.”
The Affordable Care Act provides States with $250 million in Health Insurance Premium Review Grants over five years to help create a more level playing field by improving how states review proposed health insurance premium increases and holding insurance companies accountable for unjustified premium increases. Applications for the first round of Health Insurance Premium Review Grants were made available on June 7.
The grants build on the Obama Administration’s work with States to implement the Affordable Care Act. Earlier this year, Secretary Sebelius called on certain insurance companies to justify large premium increases and encouraged State and local officials to obtain stronger health insurance premium review authorities under State laws. This increased scrutiny by the Administration and by several States has led to the withdrawal or reduction of several proposed health insurance premium increases that in some cases turned out to be based on faulty assumptions and data.
This grant will be used for the purposes detailed in the approved application. The following is a general summary of how Maine intends to use its funding:
Expand the Scope of the Review Process: Currently, Maine has prior approval review authority for all individual and small group market products. Carriers may elect to meet a three-year average medical loss ratio guarantee (meaning they will spend a certain percentage of premium dollars on medical care rather than overhead or profits) and avoid prior approval in the small group. Maine will expand its current practice of health insurance premium review by collecting and analyzing small group market data from carriers electing the loss ratio to inform the Department if additional statutory authority is needed.
Improve the Review Process: At present, Maine’s informational filings lack sufficient detail to determine full compliance with the law. The State plans to collect additional information on small group rates. Additionally, Maine will collect historical and projected cost and utilization trend data to establish benchmarks.
Increase Transparency and Accessibility: Maine posts extensive rate filing information on its website, and encourages consumer participation in the rate filing process by hosting field hearings in addition to formal hearings. Maine will encourage increased participation of consumer advocacy groups in rate hearings and will compile submitted rate filing information into a consumer-friendly format for posting on its website.
Develop and Upgrade Technology: Maine will upgrade its systems to improve efficiency and aid in the health insurance premium review process. The State will also establish a data center to compile and publish fee schedule information.