View Full Version : Interview with "manfrommaine"

10-22-2007, 04:09 PM
I've decided to interview "Manfrommmaine" this time around. I wanted an opportunity to ask him a few questions without the vultures swirling in and devouring the thread before we had a chance to hear answers to a few good questions. He's always been a controversial member, but then again, many of us are. He's not afraid to jump into threads and make himself unpopular by giving his true beliefs on topics that get us all heated. While I disagree with most of his views, I enjoy the fact that he is feisty and generally sticks to his beliefs in the face of an onslaught of criticism.

Can you give us a little general background about yourself? I assume you are from Maine for starters, have you always lived there?

I am not from Maine. I was born and raised in Illinois... attended and graduated from the U.S Naval Academy... was a surface sailor with a surface warfare designation (most tours were either in Weapons or Engineering billets)... one of my shore assignments was as commanding officer of a naval reserve training center in Maine, and when I got here, I knew that I wanted to retire here - and did. Once retired, I worked for the Maine State legislature as Chief of Staff to the State Senate Assistant Majority Leader, and then I moved on to a regulated public utility...I now work for that company's corporate parent in faciliities management. I will be retiring from this position next month.

There's been a lot said back and forth on the board about your service to your church in your local community, as well as your service to our country with the Navy. Although I've said my share to get on your nerves, I do believe you served and thank you for your service. Can you please expand on this for those that don't know you well from the boards?

Church: I belong to a congregational church (UCC) here in Maine and have been a member since my shore tour here. I have always sung in congregational church choirs since I was very young. I do so now, and my oldest son - who is a high school music teacher in a nearby town - is the choir director. THAT is really a kick! I am doing my second stint on the board of deacons and have previously been a trustee as well and a member-at-large on the church council. My church hosts the local soup kitchen once a month and I work there for that meal. My wife works there most Fridays for the noon meal. I am a fairly accomplished public speaker and have been asked on ten or fifteen occasions over the years to preach and lead worship when the minister is on vacation. I am seriously considering attending Bangor Theological Seminary next fall and making the ministry a "third" career.

Navy: I spent a lot of time at sea, and not a lot of time ashore. Which was great. I really think that conning a destroyer in rough seas is just about the most fun one can have with their clothes on! I learned from the best ship driver ever - Mike Boorda - and I was good at it myself. I made it as far as Commander (O-5) which is equivalent to a Lieutenant Colonel in the other services. My most memorable tour was two years I spent in the middle east serving on detached duty with the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization in Palestine. I reported to the Pentagon for briefings before going there with an Army Major named George Casey, who remains a close friend (he took the picture of me standing atop Cheops that I use as my avatar). My specific assignments in that organization were in Lebanon. I spent about half my time there working in the south as a observation team leader and a crisis mediator, and the other half working at the UN Liaison Office in Beirut when Arafat
had his HQ there. Our office was the conduit for all diplomatic communiques between Arafat and Waldhiem...which, in retrospect, was really quite interesting. The head of our office was a french colonel. So you had a frenchman who spoke english as a second language speaking to a palestinian who spoke english as a second language and they would try to write something - in english - that the would transmit to the secretary General- an austrian who spoke english as a second language. I ended up ghost-editing Arafat's cables frequently!

As implied in my prior question, we all say things at times that we later regret. Recently you made some comments directed towards another member, Red States Rule, which brought you a lot of negative heat from the rest of the board. I believe you said you apologized directly to him, but would you like to address the board and say anything about this topic?

I was completely out of line. Absolutely horrible. I apologized to him and I extend that apology to the board at large. And let me say - not as a justification, but only as an explanation... I have had a running battle with RSR on another board for months and months. He is, without question, the most annoying poster I have ever read.... he is incapable of posting anything original of any substance whatsoever and can only either cut and paste newsbusters articles ad infinitum or one liners attacking "libs" or "dems". Most times I feel like B'rer Rabbit and RSR is the tarbaby. He draws me in, but never really responds to anything I say. That cumulative annoyance spilled out.... in a very very VERY inappropriate way. I am ashamed and chastened. I have sent him my best wishes and I have prayed for his health, and for my own forgiveness.

Do you believe in same sex marriages? How do you feel this issue should be handled going forth?

I believe that the church should stay out of the business of civil contracts, and that the government should stay out of the business of marriage. People should be able to join their lives and fortunes together in a civil contract... and that should be the business of the state. Churches or synagogues or mosques should be able to bind folks together in holy matrimony and use whatever doctrine they chose for guidance.

What about illegal immigration? Statistics show that in the next 20 years or so our country will be inundated enough and barely able to cope with "legal" immigration. How should current illegals in our country be handled, and how should we approach those who enter the country illegally in the future?

I must admit that I am conflicted by this issue and do not have a firm opinion either way. On one hand, I know that illegal immigrants are a drain on social services and that they present a potential security threat. On the other hand, I know that, were all the illegal immigrants to be whisked away tomorrow, that the restaurant industry would be crippled, the construction industry would be crippled, the landscaping industry would be crippled, and no one would be able to afford a head of lettuce, even if they could find one. By and large, illegal immigrants are here because there is work for them in our economy... as I said, I am conflicted. I would certainly prefer that immigrants come into our country legally, but I also would certainly prefer to be able to continue to have access to fresh vegetables.

You have insinuated in the past that anyone who questions the medals that John Kerry received while in Vietnam is also questioning every other person who also received a medal. Don't you think that Kerry's situation is different, and he has brought forth a lot of the questions on his own? He has used his medals while campaigning for office, which would seem to me would open them up to be analyzed. He has used his service in depth while campaigning, as do other politicians, but I believe this opens up what they say for inquiry. A Navy SEAL from Long Island, NY is about to receive the Medal of Honor for what he did in Afghanistan, which was entering a heated zone for better communications to receive backup for his unit. His heroism led to his death. I believe our entire country owes him a debt of gratitude for the bravery he has shown by putting his life on the line for his fellow soldiers. How can you say I am questioning his medal if I question the circumstances of Kerry's medal, when the 2 circumstances are entirely different?

simply... what Kerry has done with his medals.... how he has attempted to exploit them after the fact...has zero bearing on what he did to earn them. There are vets in every american legion hall across the country who were awarded purple hearts for flesh wounds... and there were lots of guys who got three of them and got to come home early... Kerry is not unique in that regard at all. Regarding his two medals for valor: silver star and bronze star....I know from personal experience that the "vetting" that goes on for medals at that level is significant and comprehensive. If you are to suggest that the Navy's process is so flawed that they hand out undeserved medals of that significance, then that is what you are saying.... you can't say that the Navy gives out medals appropriately -except when Kerry is involved. Either the navy's awards board process is flawed or it is not. I can easily and definitively document how two of the stars of SBVT were unadulterated liars... and I can easily and definitively document how his crew felt he was totally deserving of all of his awards....and I can speak from personal experience and say that the ONLY sailors who could ever speak with authority about my service would be the ones in my division or my department or my ship. The guys on the ship down the pier had ZERO knowledge about my character, my performance or my leadership. And let's face it...if Kerry had NOT thrown medals away, if Kerry had NOT given his winter soldier testimony before the congressional committee, if he had NOT been a member of VVAW, if he had NOT gone to Paris, no one would have thought TWICE about even considering attacking him for his medals for heroism... and none of those things has anything at all to do with what he did on those specific occasions that was deemed to be heroic.

You have openly questioned the way this board has been ran a few times. You have inferred that the board is biased, and that members are treated unfairly. In your dealings with me, as far as the way the board has been ran, have you been treated unfairly?

YOU, jimnyc, have never treated me unfairly...not once.

Al Gore has recently won the Nobel Peace Prize. This award is supposed to be awarded "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses". Do you feel he should have received this award, and if so, can you explain how his work fits the qualifications?

I am conflicted about this as well. I happen to believe that human activity is ruining our planet. I happen to believe that it has the potential to significantly alter how and where we live, how diseases spread, how much food is available, and I think that one could easily imagine wars breaking out in attempts to gain access to ever diminishing resources. Did he deserve the Peace Prize like some of the previous recipients? no... certainly not like most.... but if Yasir Arafat can get one, or a banker can get one.... I am not so sure that Gore is all that different. My guess is that if he were not a politician, it wouldn't be as big a deal.

You have openly admitted to being a New England Patriots fan. Don't you feel bad that your team was caught cheating!?

I don't just feel badly that they were CAUGHT cheating, I feel badly that they CHEATED. period. But they didn't have any unfair advantage this past weekend and they MAULED the dolphins...and if the truth be known, I really am first and foremost a lifelong Boston Red Sox fan (my hero as a kid in Illinois, was Ted Williams)... they are my one true spectator sports passion... and the rest of the Boston sports teams are all secondary to them.


How do you feel about the overall setup of this board? If there were some changes that you could make, what would they be?

Nothing of any substance. I guess I would wish I could go back in time and un-say some of the things I have said that have pissed everyone off....but other than that, I think the overall setup is perfectly fine.