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An alternative tourist guide to Maine
Prisons, pot festivals, and Orgonon: Here are some different views of summertime Maine — seen through my personal political lens.
| June 18, 2014
Left-right convergence - really?
“Unstoppable: A Gathering on Left-Right Convergence,” sponsored by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, featured 26 prominent liberal and conservative leaders discussing issues on which they shared positions. One was the minimum wage.
| June 06, 2014
State of polarization
Legislative session sets the stage for a fall face-off
As the campaign season begins, leading the charge on one side is a rural- and northern-Maine-based Trickle-Down Tea Party governor who sees government’s chief role as helping the rich (which he says indirectly helps working people), while he vetoes every bill in sight directly helping the poor and the struggling middle class, including Medicaid expansion, the issue that most occupied the Legislature this year and last.
| April 30, 2014
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.
| April 16, 2014
Locking up the mentally ill
The agony of Michael James
The merger of the prison and mental-health systems continues
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| February 19, 2014
No death penalty for Maine prisoner
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.
| February 12, 2014
Head Start funding in flux
State funding for Head Start has recently become a political football.
| 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?
| 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.
| 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.
| November 14, 2013
Legislators kept in dark about Mental Health Unit murder
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.”
| 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.
| November 08, 2013
A punishing culture
Why is America so vicious to lawbreakers?
| October 24, 2013
Tax breaks to be studied — and cut?
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:
| 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.
| 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.
| 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.
| August 09, 2013
Film + TV
Food + Drink
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