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Whistleblower returns; Maine a prison-reform model
On Valentine's Day, prisoner Deane Brown, who sounded an alarm that drew international attention to the savagery of solitary confinement and other abuses in the Maine State Prison's "supermax" unit, was returned to the Warren prison after an exile of more than six years.
| March 20, 2013
Baldacci: watch your left flank
If John Baldacci runs for governor in 2014, he will encounter trouble on his left.
| March 13, 2013
Rare: Guard is charged
Although prisoners and their advocates say rough treatment by guards of inmates — amounting to criminal assault — is not uncommon, Maine State Prison guard Captain David Cutler, 54, of Appleton, is apparently the only officer at the prison since 2005 to be charged with assaulting an inmate — and only the second in at least 20 years.
| March 07, 2013
Ponte’s prison reforms ramp up
Two Years Later
Several weeks after firing Maine State Prison warden Patricia Barnhart and two years after taking over the Department of Corrections, Commissioner Joseph Ponte appears determined to continue — and ramp up — his forceful program of reform.
| February 06, 2013
Why the prison warden got fired
Corrections commissioner Joseph Ponte told the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee on January 16 that, because of state personnel law, he couldn't publicly say — until severance negotiations are finished — why he had fired, six days earlier, Maine State Prison warden Patricia Barnhart. She has said she can't say why, either.
| January 23, 2013
Occupy takes the lead to energize lawmakers
"If they keep grinding the common man into the ground, they'll be nothing left of us," said Bob Guethlen, from the wilds of Tomhegan Township on Moosehead Lake.
| January 16, 2013
Brown, ailing, to return soon
Prisoner Deane Brown should be back in Maine within two to three weeks, the Maine Department of Corrections notified his attorney on January 4.
| January 09, 2013
A shot at progressive reform
But will the Dems seize the day?
With their sizeable majorities, the Democrats' reconquest of the Maine House and Senate could lead to a rebirth of progressive politics in the state — to reforms in health care, taxes, social services, and other issues.
| December 31, 2012
Prison whistleblower to return to Maine
Maine corrections commissioner Joseph Ponte has notified Deane Brown, the inmate whistleblower who in 2005 was the original source for the Phoenix 's lengthy series on prison abuse, that he will be allowed to return to Maine.
| December 26, 2012
Woodward: ‘Transparency’ best in ‘Colbygate’ scandal
College replies: ‘Nothing more’ to say
Referring mischievously to "Colbygate," legendary Washington Post investigative reporter Bob Woodward told Colby College officials at a November 11 speech at the liberal-arts institution to adopt "transparency" in handling the Bob Diamond scandal. In the 1970s, Woodward and Carl Bernstein broke the Watergate story that brought down President Richard Nixon.
| November 14, 2012
Servants of the rich
That’s our future — unless we change direction
Jeff Faux's new book, The Servant Economy , doesn't exactly bubble with Hope — that politically abused and worn-out word.
| November 07, 2012
Colby students join Diamond protests
‘What Would Lovejoy Do?’
Protests aimed at ousting disgraced banker Bob Diamond as chairman of Colby College's board of trustees have expanded beyond Occupy Augusta activists to include a sizeable contingent of students at the Waterville liberal-arts college.
| October 24, 2012
Understanding the Colby College protests
As the first anniversary of Occupy approached, many journalists wrote its obituary, and some called it a failure.
| September 26, 2012
Whistle-blower asks to come home
In 2011 reform-minded Commissioner Joseph Ponte of the Maine Department of Corrections set up a formal process — apparently, rare in the United States — for prisoners transferred to out-of-state prison systems to apply to come home.
| September 26, 2012
15 reasons the East-West Highway will never be built (plus a political bonus!)
Analysis: Nails in the coffin
This past spring, out of the blue, Republican Governor Paul LePage and the GOP-controlled Maine Legislature funded a $300,000 study by the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) of the feasibility of a corporate-owned, toll superhighway across the middle of the state.
| September 06, 2012
Solitary confinement: bad for chimps, okay for humans?
Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins is a key cosponsor of legislation that, among other provisions, would outlaw psychologically damaging solitary confinement for more than 500 chimpanzees caged for research in federally supported laboratories.
| August 22, 2012
Banking scandal taints Colby board chairman
Colby College's public problems in recent years have mostly involved lowly students engaged in fighting, drinking, and sex abuse. But now the college has been hit by a big scandal at the very top.
| July 11, 2012
Maine a model for solitary-confinement reform
In the first-ever congressional hearing June 19 on the widespread use of solitary confinement in America's prisons, Senator Richard Durbin spoke favorably of the Maine prison system's substantial reduction of inmate isolation as he pressed the federal prisons chief to re-examine that agency's use of it.
| July 03, 2012
Democrats wring their hands
State Convention Watch
Interviewed separately at the Democratic State Convention, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud gave identical responses to the question of what would it take for the Democrats to triumph in November.
| June 06, 2012
Lawmakers mostly stand up against environmental assault
‘Holding the line’
Republican state Senator Thomas Saviello, at one point widely considered a foe of Maine's environment, may have just saved it. At the least, he was a leader in saving a good part of it.
| May 23, 2012
The Current Issue
Table of Contents
Where To Follow Me
| March 24, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Mo Takes His Turn
March 21, 2013 at 12:59 PM
[Q&A] KMFDM's Sascha Konietzko on art, Columbine and having balls
On The Download
| March 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM
See this film series: The Belmont World Film Series @ Studio Cinema in Belmont
Outside The Frame
| March 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM
See this film: This is Spinal Tap [with post-film talk by expert from Acoustical Society of America] @ the Coolidge
March 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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