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Happiness in magazines

I donít expect to find breaking news in Down East magazine. I expect Down Eastís glossy pages to be filled with witty essays by Elizabeth Peavey, advertising for ridiculously priced houses, and articles aimed at old ladies combating boredom by developing serious drinking problems. So you can imagine my surprise when the July issue of the self-proclaimed "Magazine of Maine" featured a genuine scoop in an article headlined "The Outsider."

Gerry Boyle (author of a bunch of excellent mysteries) interviewed Roxanne Quimby, co-founder of Burtís Bees personal-care products and heretofore one of the chief proponents of turning the northern Maine woods into a national park. To that end, Quimby has purchased over 40,000 acres of forestland, displacing snowmobile trails and hunting camps in her quest to preserve the wilderness for future generations of rich folks. Sheíd also told friends she was interested in running for governor in 2006 as a Green.

But Quimby seems to have abandoned both her park and political plans, mostly because snowmobilers, hunters, loggers, and other indigenous species werenít nice to her.

"Certainly my efforts toward [the national park] have been rebuked and rebuffed," Quimby told Boyle, saying sheíd received threatening emails. "And anyone else who makes that suggestion or proposal has been met with equal disdain, so what am I supposed to do? Sit there and knock my head against the wall for that cause? I donít think so. I didnít really like being the pincushion. I didnít like being the evil dragon lady, you know?"

Quimby said she may donate the land she bought to Baxter State Park (other reports have her swapping it with a logging contractor for more desirable acreage that would then be added to the park). As for any future purchases, she says theyíll likely be on the Schoodic Peninsula next to Acadia National Park.

Quimby, a part-time resident of Winter Harbor, doesnít discuss her gubernatorial ambitions in the article, but does mention her multi-million-dollar home in Palm Beach, Florida, a wealthy enclave not generally regarded as a prime site for launching a campaign for governor of Maine.


Poor Republican US Senator Olympia Snowe. The GOP moderate just canít seem to get right with the right.

First it was arch-conservative state Representative Brian Duprey of Hampden, sponsor of the infamous bill to prevent pregnant women from aborting gay fetuses and widely regarded as the least effective member of the least competent Legislature in recent history. In February, Duprey warned Snowe heíd run against her in the GOP primary next year if she didnít start acting more like a reactionary.

Snowe was somehow able to maintain a straight face. Maybe she pulls her hair back so tightly, she canít do anything but maintain a straight face.

In any case, the senator has attracted another challenger from the Republican right wing, one with somewhat more credibility than Duprey (keeping in mind that Michael Jackson and the North Korean Information Ministry have more credibility than Duprey). Bob Stone has told Republican insiders heís launching a campaign against Snowe.

This isnít the first time the retired banker from Lewiston has overestimated his political appeal. In 2002, Stone was an unsuccessful legislative candidate. In 2003, he was the guy behind the failed effort to defeat property-tax reform measures proposed by the Maine Municipal Association and the Baldacci administration. In 2004, he declared himself a candidate for Congress in the 2nd District, only to withdraw a couple of weeks later, after no one noticed.

Like Duprey, heís probably the wrong candidate for the right.


A University of Maine School of Law professor has a cameo role in a new book attempting to smear the reputation of US Senator Hillary Clinton. The Truth About Hillary, by Ed Klein, claims the likely 2008 Democratic presidential candidate was influenced by a "culture of lesbianism" while a student at Wellesley College. As proof, Klein offers an incident at Clintonís 25th class reunion during which the former first lady is said to have fondled Nancy Wandererís buzz-cut hair.

Wanderer, who now teaches at the law school in Portland, told the New York Post, "Yes, I am a lesbian, but I wasnít at Wellesley or for 20 years afterward. There was no lesbian culture there at the time. I couldnít have told you one person who was lesbian. If there was, it was underground.

"And if the hair [episode] is being portrayed as a sexual thing, it wasnít that at all. I have a very short haircut, and we were all talking about it [at the reunion]. Probably everyone at the table touched it."

The newspaper describes Kleinís book as a "hatchet job," noting he never spoke to Wanderer or another of Clintonís alleged lesbian pals, who turned out to be happily married to a man.

Iím out of gossip. Send more by emailing ishmaelia@gwi.net

The Politics and Other Mistakes archive.

Issue Date: June 24 - 30, 2005
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