Category Archives: Columns

Newspaper columns, Bangor Daily News

Ebola anxiety can’t be cured by cutting government

Ebola is a horrific disease that’s become a target of overreaction by frightened people who, like most, do a poor job in judging what’s a real risk. But it’s also an example of how inadequate health programs are dangerous. Even before Ebola came to our shores, government mattered. The lack of any credible public health […]

The 2nd District race, from farce to actual issues

Let’s start with the farce. The race for the 2nd Congressional District has included an ad that’s so over the top you might think it’s a parody. As commentator Michael Cuzzi described it, “The piece employs images of armed, black-clad terrorists marching in formation to make the absurd claim that [Democrat Emily] Cain supports greater […]

Goodbye summer. Hello college and paying for it.

Late August is always a busy, bittersweet time. Summer is ending and school is starting. Two months from now, costumed children will come knocking, shouting “Trick or treat.” Two months ago, high schools sent another crop of young people off to jobs, the military, technical school and college. For the first time in 25 years, my […]

For healthier hospitals and Maine, LePage should have listened

Readers of a certain age likely remember a television ad about an investment company that supposedly was so good that, when people heard its name, they quieted down and leaned in to try to hear its advice. Following the hush on airplanes and in restaurants, the ad’s tag line was delivered: “When E.F. Hutton talks, […]

Phony facts, a fantasy Constitution and conspiracy mongering

As the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan purportedly said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts.” Moynihan experienced people from across the political spectrum who made claims that had no basis in reality. In other words, they believed things that just aren’t so. How do they deal with reality? Some […]

Fiddling with figures doesn’t add jobs to Maine’s economy

In an odd convergence, 2012 presidential election polls and Gov. Paul LePage’s view of Social Security, “welfare” and the Maine economy now have something in common. Some of Mitt Romney’s supporters in 2012 embarked on an effort to establish that President Obama wasn’t really ahead. In the most outlandish example, one supporter set up unskewedpolls.com, […]

LePage’s meetings with extremists make Buckley and Smith spin in their graves

Decades ago William F. Buckley and Margaret Chase Smith drew a bright line between legitimate conservatism and the extremist right. Speaking out against Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisconsin, in 1950 Smith proclaimed, “As a Republican, I say to my colleagues on this side of the aisle that the Republican Party faces a challenge today that is […]

Gary Alexander brings trouble with a capital “T”

When “Professor” Harold Hill stepped off the train in a small Midwest town, he diagnosed debilitating problems. In the musical “The Music Man,” Hill said he saw danger lurking, exhorting townspeople, “Ladies and gentlemen, either you are closing your eyes to a situation you do not wish to acknowledge, or you are not aware of […]