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Latest Articles

Michael James sent back to prison

The hearing’s topic was whether James’s “antisocial personality disorder” was enough of a mental disease to keep him from being sent to prison.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 16, 2014


Locking up the mentally ill

The agony of Michael James
The merger of the prison and mental-health systems continues
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 03, 2014

Where are the leaders on climate change?

At the summit
The conference was held in March despite the risk of a snowstorm because its organizers wanted “to reach the Legislature while it’s in session,” co-coordinator Fred Horch said.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  March 20, 2014


Anatomy of a rip-off, Part II

State gives millions to whoever walks in the door
Imagine if state government gave out millions of dollars a year to fat-cat financiers, big banks,  and speculative ventures without monitoring how the money is spent — basically, giving it to whoever walks in the door as long as they flash a few credentials.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  March 06, 2014


Anatomy of a taxpayer rip-off

State House Watch
To try to restore several hundred mill jobs to the historic paper-making North Country towns of Millinocket and East Millinocket, Maine’s politicians, in a bipartisan manner, have given away and are planning to give away millions of taxpayer dollars to various corporate interests, including big, out-of-state banks.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 19, 2014

No death penalty for Maine prisoner

Justice Watch
In 2008, within a supposedly high-security prison in the giant federal correctional complex in Florence, Colorado, Gary Watland, a “boarder” from Maine, murdered another inmate, white supremacist Mark Baker.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 12, 2014

Head Start funding in flux

Legislative Watch
State funding for Head Start has recently become a political football.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 23, 2014


The future progressive

Reporter’s notebook: thoughts from the activist frontline
How many times, years, deaths will it take until a far more decent society is created?
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 16, 2014


Hospital muscle could override LePage veto

Legislative preview: Medicaid expansion, round 2
Coverage for 70,000 Mainers may depend on a handful of legislators.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 10, 2014


Socialism for the well-off; capitalism for the needy

Different laws for rich and poor
“Of course, there’s a different law for the rich and the poor: otherwise, who would go into business?” says a character in novelist Christina Stead’s classic House of All Nations , a cutting portrait of Depression-era capitalism.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 14, 2013

Legislators kept in dark about Mental Health Unit murder

 Prison Watch
The administration of Republican Governor Paul LePage and the office of Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills didn’t reveal to legislators or the public that a murder at the Maine State Prison in Warren last June occurred in its Mental Health Unit in the supposedly super-secure Special Management Unit or “supermax.”
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 14, 2013


A rare look inside the Maine State Prison’s ‘supermax’

 An almost-clean version of hell
There was a stain of what looked like blood on the floor of the otherwise shiny-clean, empty Mental Health Unit isolation cell. “It’s Kool-Aid,” said my minder, a deputy warden. He smiled. But, as the saying goes, I hadn’t drunk the Kool-Aid.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 08, 2013


A punishing culture

 Criminal Injustice
Why is America so vicious to lawbreakers?
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  October 24, 2013


Tax breaks to be studied — and cut?

Suggestions Box
Many subsidies are via the Business Equipment Tax Reimbursement program (BETR), which cost the state $47.6 million in fiscal year 2013, which ended in June. BETR reimburses local property taxes to businesses. The top dozen companies cut BETR checks that year were:
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  September 26, 2013


Student Survival Guide: College 101

15 courses you should take ASAP
For the most part, this is not a list of academic stuff. It’s more important. Your literal survival may depend on the mastery of a point or two on this list.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  September 25, 2013

15 courses you should take ASAP

 College Survival 101
In addition to Introduction to Calculus and American History 101, every young woman and man needs some short, practical courses in how to survive the first experience of independence.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  September 13, 2013


A major Maine — and national — mystery

 Appalachian Trail disappearance
Geraldine Largay, 66, an experienced hiker on the Appalachian Trail, left the Poplar Ridge Lean-to shelter near Rangeley on Monday, July 22, a beautiful, sunny day.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  August 09, 2013


Shut up and take your arsenic

 Bald Mountain mining: take your sulfuric acid, too
Tests at the site found arsenic levels in the rock up to 29,000 parts per million, mind-bogglingly high. Solids, of course, are not the same as liquids, but that’s 2.9 million times the level the federal Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for drinking water (10 parts per billion).
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  July 25, 2013


A well-armed GOP?

Base Appeal  
If you want to see how much the Republican Party is imprisoned by its conservative base and estranged from an America and Maine possessing a mixture of political views, look at the accompanying picture.  
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  July 10, 2013

A legislative decision: 86 Mainers to die by Election Day 2014

Death Sentences  
How many people will die because on June 19 Maine's Legislature refused to accept federal Obamacare funds to extend Medicaid health insurance to as many as 70,000 low-income working people?  
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  June 26, 2013
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