While the world was still digesting the feast of classified diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks last year, the terrorist Web site quietly posted a trove of top secret documents involving some of Maine’s most powerful and influential people.
The Bollard carefully weighed the pros and cons of publishing this incendiary material. On one hand, we knew these documents could embarrass the state’s political and cultural elites. On the other hand, we have a responsibility to give our readers the truth. Plus, we didn’t have any other good cover story ideas for this issue.
So here they are. In some cases, The Bollard redacted the names of individuals due to concern that revealing their identity could compromise their safety or employment. In other cases, after our Sharpie went dry, the names appear as they did in the original document.
— Chris Busby
A cable from a top Chinese official to gubernatorial loser Eliot Cutler reveals details of a controversial business proposal…
Nov. 10, Year of the Tiger
Dear Mr. Cutler,
On behalf of the People’s Republic of China, I express our condolences on the occasion of your non-victory in the election of Nov. 2. Of course, we consider such civic exercises a waste of time. You should look on the bright side. Our people also live under the rule of leaders most of them did not choose, and China is kicking your country’s butt.
Anyway, in response to your recent inquiry, yes, we would be glad to finance your purchase of the state of Maine. Our central bank already owns a large portion of America’s national debt, so adding a state would be small change. And we’re especially fond of Maine. Our people have become quite familiar with the Maine way of life over the years, since most of the items in the L.L. Bean catalogue are now manufactured here.
As we discussed, you will make the down payment of $100 million for all the publicly owned real estate in Maine, and will be, for legal and political considerations, the state’s official “owner.” China will provide the rest of the financing, and in return for this investment, all lobsters landed in Maine will be shipped to China at no cost. You have also agreed to provide butter and bibs.
Our lawyers agree with your opinion that America’s purchase of Alaska from the Russians in 1867 established legal precedent for this transaction. However, we disagree with the name you suggested for this new province. The People’s Republic of Cutler sounds too stuffy. We prefer Mainechuria.
Lastly, our computer hackers have discovered the identity of the persons behind that pesky Cutler Files site. It’s Dennis Bailey and [redacted] editor Chris [redacted]. Shall we start the water dripping?
The transcript of a phone message left for Portland City Manager Joe Gray indicates that the city’s push to move a lobster bait business away from a waterfront building soon to be occupied by the prestigious law firm Pierce Atwood was not prompted by a minor zoning oversight. It really was about class conflict…
Hey, Joe. This is Tony. Listen, you don’t know me, but I work for the bait business down the Fish Pier. We hear you’re lettin’ a buncha fancy-pants lawyers move into that big brick building next to where we stack the bait crates and run the ’fridge trailers 24/7.
Pardon my French, but what the frig, Joe?
We don’t want a buncha slick-haired suits wanderin’ around the work site, stinkin’ the place up with Old Spice — forget the commercials, real fishermen don’t use that toilet water. You get used to the seagulls screamin’, but nobody wants to hear Hardy, Wolf and Downing yammerin’ on their cell phones all day. Besides, the other fishermen’ll laugh at us if they see us hangin’ around with them guys.
So look, I know you probably gotta let ’em move in or they’ll whine and threaten to move to South Portland or somewheres. You’re probably givin’ ’em a big fat tax break too, ain’t ya? We don’t care. Just make up some excuse to get us away from them people. Say somebody in the planning department screwed up so the city’s gotta move the bait operation a few hundred yards, off where we won’t have to put up with Joe Bornstein and his buddies.
Oh, and one more thing: don’t tell nobody about this, OK? It’ll look bad in the paper. And we don’t wanna hurt them lawyers’ feelings or nothin’. We just think they stink.
A scrap of paper found on the bar of Local 188 reveals the creative process local rock musician Spencer Albee undertook to name his latest band…
Spencer & The Facebook Lynch Mob
My Tiny Penis
Butt Sweat & Tears
Phantom Buffalo Wings
We Copied Brenda’s Video
Smoking = Style
Plessy Versus FergusonSpace Versus Speed
An e-mail from a Portland Press Herald copy editor to editor and publisher Richard Connor shows how newsroom decisions have been affected by last year’s controversial decision to show Muslims peacefully gathering on the front page of the Sept. 11 edition…
Subject: Forgive and forget?
Date: December 6, 2010 9:45:26 PM EST
To: Richard Connor <email@example.com>
In accordance with our new editorial policy, I’m checking in with you before tomorrow’s paper goes to press. There’s a news brief in the local section about an event celebrating Portland’s sister city relationship with Shinagawa, Japan. Trouble is, tomorrow is Pearl Harbor Day. Too soon? Please advise.
A Shakespearean sonnet by S. Donald Sussman to Congresswoman Chellie Pingree helps explain why this hedge fund mogul wants to marry someone who’s vowed to raise his taxes and further regulate his business. It also indicates that the announcement of their engagement last fall may have been timed to blunt questions about the ethics of her trips aboard his private jet…
My heart you cannot regulate, my dear
Though try your liberal mind most surely will.
No tax upon my passion do I fear
From Barack, Barney, Nancy or the Hill.
Rochelle, you know it only makes me blush
When you demand my assets be laid bare.
Their charges of hypocrisy won’t crush
The ardor of this bushy billionaire.
My Wall Street buddies financed your campaigns.
Republicans then went hysterical.
But trips aboard a boyfriend’s private plane
Are more than likely less than ethical.
And so I hope you will today agree
To our engagement retroactively.
The cover letter of Lauren LePage’s application for the job of assistant to the governor’s chief of staff…
Dec. 20, 2010
To whom it may concern,
Hi, Dad. It’s me, Lauren. I still don’t know why I have to write this stupid letter and give you my resume. You know my education and work history (you hired me to run a register at Marden’s) and you already said I could have the job, but I guess if your lawyers say it’s gotta look official, well, whatevs.
Okay, so my name is Lauren LePage, I’m 22, and I’m applying for the job of assistant to your chief of staff. I have the skills and experience necessary for this position. For example, I am skilled at making coffee, filing stuff, and ignoring e-mails and phone calls from reporters.
I graduated last summer from Florida State with a degree in biology, but I agree with you that God made the world in six days and being gay is a lifestyle choice and a sin.
I really want this job because I could use the $41,000 salary and bennies and, like I just said, you already told me I could have it.
I look forward to further discussing this position with you in person at dinner tonight.
Another internal e-mail between editors of the Portland Press Herald…
Subject: Recipe for disaster
Date: January 3, 2011 5:11:40 PM EST
To: Richard Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Looks like we’re in another ethical pickle. Meredith Goad’s column for next month has a recipe for Tex Mex Chicken Enchiladas. Unfortunately, its publication would coincide with the 175th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo — which, you’ll recall, ended badly for our boys. Run it or kill it?
Portland’s Public Art Committee has already selected a work to replace the controversial Tracing the Fore installation on Fore Street. WikiLeaks posted this sketch of the winning proposal by a local Massachusetts artist…
A disturbing communication from the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office to deputies on patrol…
Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office
Attention All Units:
Be on the lookout for vehicles bearing the bumper sticker TAKE ME TO PARKVIEW. The Department has reason to believe this sticker is more than a macabre expression of support by fans of the Adventist hospital in Brunswick. Further investigation indicates these motorists may be FLESH-EATING ZOMBIES who want to go to Parkview for one reason only: BRAINS.
After a vehicle is pulled over, approach the occupants with EXTREME CAUTION. Despite being dead, some zombies are remarkably quick. If you are BITTEN or SCRATCHED by a suspect, DO NOT GO TO PARKVIEW for medical treatment, even if you are feeling strong urges to do so. Report instead to Munjoy Hill for KICKBALL practice.
Also be advised that due to complaints from the Maine Civil Liberties Union, motorists are not to be singled out for traffic stops based solely upon the APPEARANCE of being a zombie. METAPHYSICAL PROFILING is a violation of departmental policies.
Yet another Press Herald e-mail exchange…
Subject: BIG CUTLER SCOOP
Date: January 4, 2011 7:35:05 AM EST
To: Richard Connor <email@example.com>
Big news! One of our reporters has uncovered a plot by Eliot Cutler to actually buy the state of Maine and — get this — do so with the financial backing of the Chinese government! Should we hold the front-page story about our latest advertising promotion and run this big scoop instead?
From: Richard Connor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: BIG CUTLER SCOOP
Date: January 4, 2011 7:37:12 AM EST
No. Kill the Cutler story.