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Maine: Cianbro chairman Pete Vigue indicted in connection with cannon blast that hurt referee

Image result for Man shot with cannonballOne of Maine’s most prominent businessmen has been indicted on criminal charges in connection with the firing of a small cannon that injured a referee at a Maine Maritime Academy football game in September.

Peter Vigue, 72, has been charged with Class B aggravated assault, Class C reckless conduct with a firearm, both felonies, and Class E discharging a firearm on school property, a misdemeanor, according to the indictment a Hancock County grand jury handed down Thursday.
Vigue, the former CEO of Cianbro Corp. and chairman of the Pittsfield-based construction company’s board of directors, could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of the aggravated assault charge.
Founded in 1949 by the Cianchette Brothers, Cianbro is one of the United States’ largest employee-owned construction companies.
Vigue began working for Cianbro as a laborer in 1970, gradually working his way up through the ranks until he was named CEO of Pittsfield-based company in 2000. He held the position until 2018, when he stepped down and was replaced by his son. Vigue remains chairman of Cianbro’s board of directors, a post he has held since 2008.
Vigue, who lives in Pittsfield, did not return a phone call Thursday evening, and could not be reached for comment. It could not be determined whether he will be represented by an attorney in the pending criminal matter.
Image result for Maine + Peter vigue cannon firing cartoonA Maine Maritime alumnus, Vigue fired a small cannon during a football game at the academy in Castine on Sept. 21, authorities said. The blast from outside an end zone fence after the home team scored a touchdown discharged material that struck a referee in the face, News Center Maine (WCSH/WLBZ) reported.
In a video that captured the incident, the referee can be seen walking along the back of the end zone when he is engulfed by a small cloud of smoke. The referee collapsed as several onlookers and referees rush to his aide. The referee was transported to a local hospital with injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
The severity of his injuries are unknown.
The cannon had been loaded with black powder and a substance that had been made into a wad, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office said at the time.
It was tradition for a cannon to be fired after MMA scored a touchdown. but the firing of cannons and other similar devices was banned by the academy’s president following the accident.

Five ‘hot mic’ moments that got leaders in trouble

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown

It’s a golden rule of politics: always assume the microphone is on.

But as many world leaders can testify, it’s a rule that’s often forgotten.

‘Hot mic’ moments have heaped embarrassment on politicians across the globe, from America to Australia.

Just this week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was caught appearing to mock US President Donald Trump at a Nato meeting.

Unguarded comments like these have been a source of humiliation, sometimes with huge political fallout.

They have also shone a light into the murky corridors of international diplomacy – for better or worse. Here are five of the most memorable.

1. Ronald Reagan: ‘We begin bombing in five minutes’ (1984)

Ronald Reagan
Image captionUS President Ronald Reagan was often known to crack jokes during sound checks

At the height of the Cold War, US President Ronald Reagan turned up the diplomatic heat with a riff on Soviet Russia.

During a soundcheck before his weekly radio address, Mr Reagan joked with sound engineers who were recording him for NPR radio.

“My fellow Americans,” the president said. “I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

The tongue-in-cheek remarks were not broadcast live, but a recording was later leaked to the public.

As a result, Soviet forces were temporarily put on high alert in the Far East, and the comments drew condemnation from the USSR.

2. Jacques Chirac doesn’t like British or Finnish food (2005)

Jacques Chirac
Image captionMr Chirac accused Britain of having the “worst food”, second only to Finland

French President Jacques Chirac caused a stir with culinary comments he allegedly made during a trip to Russia.

According to French newspaper Libération, the veteran politician was speaking to his Russian and German counterparts during an event marking the 750th anniversary of Kaliningrad – Russia’s enclave in northern Europe.

Thinking he was off-microphone, Mr Chirac allegedly said of the UK: “You can’t trust people who cook as badly as that. After Finland, it’s the country with the worst food.”

“The only thing the British have ever done for European agriculture is mad cow disease,” he added.

While they didn’t make it to broadcast, the comments were never denied by Mr Chirac’s media team.

It came at a time of cool relations between Britain and France, as the two countries clashed over farming subsidies and France’s decision to abstain from involvement in the Iraq War.

3. ‘Yo Blair!’ (2006)

George W Bush and Tony BlairImage copyrightPRESS ASSOCIATION
Image captionGeorge W Bush’s unguarded comments to Tony Blair were mocked by political opponents

During a G8 Summit in St Petersburg, a private conversation – later known as “Yo, Blair” – was picked up by a microphone close to US President George W Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

During the exchange, Mr Bush appeared to greet his UK counterpart, saying “Yo, Blair, how are you doing?” He went on to thank him for the gift of a sweater, and made derogatory remarks about Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Referring to Syria’s support of Hezbollah in its conflict with Israel, Mr Bush said he he hoped the UN would “get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this…” followed by an expletive.

“Get Kofi [Annan] on the phone with [Bashar] Assad and make something happen,” he added.

Mr Bush’s use of the phrase “Yo Blair” was mocked by political opponents of both leaders. But its veracity has been questioned, with some journalists suggesting that he said “Yeah, Blair”.

The recording nonetheless highlighted the leaders’ close, and often controversial, relationship at the time.

4. Gordon Brown’s ‘bigoted woman’ (2010)

Media captionBrown: “I apologise if I’ve said anything that has been hurtful”

While speaking with members of the public in Rochdale, northern England, Britain’s then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown was confronted by a woman who queried levels of immigration.

After their exchange, Mr Brown entered his car with a Sky News microphone still pinned to his clothing.

Not realising the microphone was still on, he told an aide that the conversation “was a disaster – they should never have put me with that woman”.

Asked what she had said, he replied: “Ugh, everything! She’s just a sort of bigoted woman that said she used to be Labour. I mean it’s just ridiculous.”

Mr Brown later visited the woman – Gillian Duffy – to apologise, and repeated his apology during an interview on BBC Radio 2.

5. ‘I can’t stand him any more’

Media captionJournalist Dan Israel, who broke the story: ”They weren’t supposed to hear it, there was a mistake”

A chat between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President Barack Obama was overheard by journalists at a G20 meeting in France.

Shortly before a press conference, reporters were handed translation boxes but were told not to plug their headphones in until the leaders’ backroom conversation had finished.

Several people ignored the instructions and heard Mr Sarkozy talking to Mr Obama about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“I can’t stand him any more, he’s a liar,” Mr Sarkozy said.

“You may be sick of him, but me, I have to deal with him every day,” replied Mr Obama.

For several days there was media silence in France about the exchange, but Dan Israel of the French news website Arret sur Images later broke the story.

The exchange highlighted Israel’s strained relationship with both France and the US at the time.

Maine Comedy: Conservative group takes aim at Congressman Jared Golden for backing impeachment inquiry

The Club for Growth wants to see a Republican defeat the first-term 2nd District Democratic congressman next year.

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As public impeachment hearings get underway in Washington, Maine’s junior congressman is under fire from a conservative political action committee targeting a handful of Democrats it sees as vulnerable on the issue.

The fiscally conservative Club for Growth released a digital advertising campaign this week calling the hearings “a distraction from the real issues facing everyday Americans” and urging Mainers to phone 2nd District U.S. Rep. Jared Golden to tell him to stop efforts to impeach President Donald Trump.

Golden, who defeated an incumbent Republican last year, has repeatedly said he is focused on the issues that matter most to Mainers, especially jobs and health care.

“While the investigation continues,” Golden said in a prepared statement, “I will remain committed to the work the people of my state sent me to Congress to do.”

The Club for Growth has endorsed one of Golden’s three Republican challengers, Eric Brakey of Auburn, and poured money into his campaign.

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Eric Brakey, Maine State Senate Candidate, Defends Swimsuit Dancing (2006) https://www.huffpost.com/entry/eric-brakey-maine_n_3714807

Eric Brakey

@SenatorBrakey

As the public witch hunt begins today, here is the question I will be seeking an answer for:

Why is it not in the national interest to investigate Joe Biden’s corruption in Ukraine?

It lists Golden’s turf as “a top Republican and conservative pick-up opportunity” in next year’s congressional elections because Trump won the district by 10% in 2016.

The Club for Growth cited Golden this week as one of five freshmen lawmakers it hopes to unseat. It named four others earlier.

In the group’s advertisement, it calls the hearings a “sham impeachment” that is evidence that “socialists have driven the Democratic Party over the cliff.”

The House impeachment inquiry got underway after a September a whistleblower report raised the issue of Trump seeking to force the Ukrainian president to announce an investigation into a Democratic opponent’s son.

Golden initially steered clear of the issue, but endorsed rules for the inquiry recently after seeing initial evidence that he said was worth investigating.

The other freshmen lawmakers targeted by the group, all Democrats, are Sean Casten and Lauren Underwood of Illinois, Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Ben McAdams of Utah, Abigal Spanberger of Virginia, Xochitl Torres of New Mexico and California’s Katie Porter and Harley Rouda.

Brakey, a former state senator and last year’s unsuccessful GOP candidate for U.S. Senate, faces two challengers in a June primary: Adrienne Bennett of Bangor, who served as press secretary for Gov. Paul LePage, and Dale Crafts of Lisbon, a former legislator.

White House aide Mira Ricardel removed after row with First Lady (and Slovenian immigrant) Melania Trump 

Composite image of Mira Ricardel and Melania TrumpMira Ricardel (left) and Melania Trump, [the “Wicked Witch of the West Wing!] (right)

White House Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel has left her post, following a high-profile row with US First Lady Melania Trump.

A White House spokeswoman said Mrs Ricardel “departs the White House to transition to a new role within the administration”. She did not elaborate.

Mrs Trump this week said that Mrs Ricardel “no longer deserves the honour of serving in this White House”.

The two reportedly feuded during a tour of Africa in October.

The removal of Mrs Ricardel comes amid reports in US media that President Donald Trump is considering a shake-up in the White House West Wing.

Mr Trump may be preparing to remove White House Chief of Staff John Kelly or Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the reports say.

What about the row with Melania Trump?

The announcement of the transfer of Mrs Ricardel was made in a statement by White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Wednesday.

The spokeswoman added that Mrs Ricardel “will continue to support the president”.

According to US media reports earlier this week, Mrs Trump and Mrs Ricardel quarrelled over seating arrangements on her plane.

During her trip there, Mrs Trump told ABC in a rare interview that there were people in the White House who she does not trust.

She said she gave the president “my honest advice and honest opinions and then he does what he wants to do”.

The Wall Street Journal had earlier reported that Mrs Trump’s team believed Mrs Ricardel was behind some of the “negative stories” about Mrs Trump and her staff.

The newspaper also reported that she repeatedly clashed with US Secretary of Defense James Mattis over “staffing decisions and policy differences”.

Mrs Ricardel was hired away from the Department of Commerce by National Security Advisor John Bolton, and has decades of experience working in the US government.

She had earlier worked in the defence department under former President George W Bush as well as under Republican Senator Bob Dole when he served as the Senate Majority Leader.

Well, I guess your president has decided that YOU are gonna pay for the wall. Not Mexico.

H03x sanders

During Thursday’s White House press briefing—the first in three weeks—Huckabee Sanders was also asked about Trump’s threat to shut down the federal government if Congress doesn’t pay for an expanded wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Cecilia Vega: “Sarah, on this threat of the government shutdown if Congress doesn’t secure funding for this wall, how is that not a concession from this White House that Mexico isn’t actually going to pay for this wall and American taxpayers will?”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “Again, this is something the President is committed to. He’s committed to protecting American lives. And doing that through the border wall is something that’s important. It’s a priority, and we’re moving forward with it. Noah—”

Cecilia Vega: “But he’s not saying that Mexico is going to pay for it now.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “He hasn’t said they’re not either.”