Category Archives: Columns

Newspaper columns, Bangor Daily News

‘The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.’ Welcome to the 2016 election.

No two times or elections are identical. But American pasts loom large as the 2016 presidential election takes shape. On the Democratic side, the contrast between Progressives and Populists is on full display. The Republican side is combining the flavor of Dixiecrats and George Wallace with opposition to the policies of the most accomplished Democratic […]

How a British philosopher explained Clinton vs. Sanders in 1953

Forget the polls and pundits for awhile. If you’re following the Democratic nomination, you’re better off getting insight from a 20th-century British philosopher, Isaiah Berlin, who wrote that you can classify thinkers into two groups. One knows lots of little things and another knows one big thing. Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ voting records are […]

LePage’s racist remarks make it harder to solve Maine’s most pressing problem

When Gov. Paul LePage made comments last week that caused a national uproar, he was sincerely addressing Maine’s grave problems with heroin addiction and deaths. But sincerity is not enough. When combined with defensiveness, it’s counterproductive. The governor has a tendency to portray himself as the only one who cares and has the right answers. […]

There are no magic wands in American politics

As those who celebrate Christmas take down their decorations, some wonder how much longer the children in their lives will believe in Santa Claus. While we all eventually put aside childhood’s mythological figures, a political version may persist for how government works — the magic wand theory of American politics, the idea that some politicians […]

Why the Republican establishment is freaking out

After four months of Donald Trump leading Republican primary polls, 20 Republican leaders gathered over dinner last week to talk about an astonishing option for their national convention. According to The Washington Post, “several longtime Republican power brokers argued that if the controversial billionaire storms through the primaries, the party’s establishment must lay the groundwork […]

How a solution to climate change could put money in Mainers’ pockets

Imagine the leaders at the Paris climate change conference ready to dig into a Maine lobster dinner, at tables arrayed with melted butter, crackers for the claws, and bowls for the discards. That repast wouldn’t just be delicious and a public relations coup for our state’s fisheries, but also a concrete sign of what’s at […]

What happened in Lewiston was more than a game

To win a game by 1-0 is more than close. To get there at the finish, the players, coaches and crowd must have felt the tension all the way through, even as the young men kicked and passed and aimed and blocked. For the Lewiston High School boys, taking the Maine state soccer championship was […]

A Holocaust heroine who saved 2,500 kids: ‘I did so little’

For the steps she took in the face of Nazi hate and power, she’s been called the “female Schindler.” Most likely you’ve never heard of her, but this weekend you’ll have a remarkable opportunity to learn more. As a young woman, Irena Sendler took real risks to help and save Jews after the Nazis invaded […]

Bipartisanship breaks out over Clean Elections

As the leaves turn and our first snowflakes appear, Maine can pick a rare option at the voting booth. We can embrace a bipartisan effort that furthers the fundamental democratic ideal of having voters’ voices heard, with people in office who will listen to Mainers rather than powerful interests. Voting for Question 1 is a […]