Portland Mayor Michael Brennan said recently that Portland would not comply with a directive from Gov. Paul LePage to cut General Assistance to refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants.

Municipal group’s intervention is needed to resolve LePage spat over aid for immigrants

on July 10, 2014, at 10:41 a.m.
It goes without saying that Gov. Paul LePage’s attempt to bar the state’s towns and cities from giving out General Assistance to immigrants without legal status puts some of Maine’s newest residents in a bind. The other significant constituency facing a major predicament because of LePage’s efforts? Maine’s towns and …
Dan Keller, a business and economics major at the University of Southern Maine, joins a protest in Portland opposing deep cuts proposed by President Theo Kalikow in this March 2014 file photo.

The problem with letting university leaders leave and keep their pay

on July 09, 2014, at 2:52 p.m.
Again, a major university leader is leaving. Again, she will put aside a difficult job to serve out the rest of her contract in a less contentious position, while still earning her full salary. And again, many Maine residents are left with the feeling they have the worse end of …
Pope Francis waves during his Sunday Angelus prayer in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican recently.

Now, Pope Francis needs to act on clergy sexual abuse

on July 08, 2014, at 3:20 p.m.
In the 16 months since he assumed the papacy, Pope Francis has projected an image of humility and open arms to the outside world — especially when compared with the image of the Catholic Church projected by his predecessor. It hasn’t taken much for Pope Francis to make waves. Soon …
The Bangor Police Department posted this photo of its stuffed duck -- "the Duck of Justice" -- to its Facebook page July 7, 2014.

The art of the Bangor PD Facebook post

on July 08, 2014, at 1:45 p.m.
A good Facebook post really is an art. For instance: posting a selfie in front of the rising sun, discussing the word “chucking” (to throw with some force), or giving someone a stuffed duck to hold while you snap a picture and then hit “upload.” For the Bangor Police Department, …
The Blaine House. Augusta, Maine.

Stating the obvious: Why a governor shouldn’t meet with anti-government extremists

on July 07, 2014, at 11:16 a.m.
A governor shouldn’t meet eight times in eight months with an anti-government extremist group that has connections to an entity the FBI considers one of the nation’s top domestic terrorist threats. Shouldn’t that be obvious? But Gov. Paul LePage apparently doesn’t understand a simple concept: As the state’s chief executive, …
Charlie Howard

What did Charlie Howard die for?

on July 06, 2014, at 10 a.m.
Thirty years ago the stage was set for Bangor to witness the tragic end of Charlie Howard’s life, a man who was thrown off the State Street bridge because he chose not to live a lie and hide the fact he was gay. He defied an uncomfortable and fearful community, …
A copy of the Bill of Rights on display at the New York Public Library, June 26, 2013.

A declaration of independence

on July 04, 2014, at 11:34 a.m.
Two-hundred thirty-eight years ago, representatives in the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia and adopted their Declaration of Independence. It expressed frustration and anger with the policies of Great Britain and its king. It argued eloquently for the fundamental, universal rights of those who are governed. It emphatically conveyed the determination …
A volunteer stands near abortion protesters in front of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Boston, Massachusetts, June 28, 2014.

Lessons for Planned Parenthood, Portland and protesters in Supreme Court ruling

on July 03, 2014, at 4:18 p.m.
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously struck down a Massachusetts buffer zone law that had prohibited protesters in that state from standing within 35 feet of facilities where abortions are performed. It said the law violated the First Amendment by burdening“substantially more speech than nec­essary to achieve the …
A demonstrator in support of abortion and contraceptive rights (left) shoves his poster in the face of a demonstrator holding a sign reading "I am the Pro-life Generation" after the Hobby Lobby ruling outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington June 30, 2014.

Want someone to blame for Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision? Try Democrats

on July 02, 2014, at 1:20 p.m.
To understand the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial decision Monday to allow some employers to not cover contraceptives they view as akin to abortion, it’s important to look back in time. The question of where government control ends and religious practices start has been the source of contentious debate since this …
This is a sample photo EBT card.

LePage defies feds again in enforcing EBT photo requirement that’s unenforceable

on June 30, 2014, at 7:37 p.m.
Gov. Paul LePage last week stepped up his efforts to keep many immigrants from receiving General Assistance benefits from the towns and cities where they live. This week, the administration has doubled down on another wasted effort under the guise of welfare reform — and again, it’s going against the …
A rally for justice for all victims of sexual assault was held, October 22, 2013, on the square in Maryville, Missouri. Cortney Cooper, right, of Lee's Summit embraced her daughter, Tatum Cooper, 13, during the event.

What you shouldn’t say about sexual violence

on June 30, 2014, at 11:57 a.m.
You may have heard of or read a June 6 Washington Post column by George Will in which he wrote about the “coveted status” of rape victims on college campuses. That’s right. “Academia is learning that its attempts to create victim-free campuses … brings increasing supervision by the regulatory state …
Former state treasurer Bruce Poliquin speaks at a rally at Husson University earlier this month. Poliquin is running for the 2nd District seat in Congress. On the left is Gov. Paul LePage.

There’s an easy way for LePage to help hospitals, universities save money

on June 29, 2014, at 6 a.m.
It’s good news that Gov. Paul LePage may consider restarting a program that makes it more cost effective for nonprofits to borrow for their capital projects. After returning from a trip to China to potentially attract businesses to Maine, perhaps he will see the economic sense in making it slightly …
Gov. Paul LePage discusses his welfare reform proposals Monday, March 25.

Legal or not, LePage’s General Assistance crackdown is a waste of time, resources

on June 27, 2014, at 9:17 a.m.
Regardless of your legal reading of Gov. Paul LePage’s efforts to keep Maine’s towns and cities from doling out General Assistance to undocumented immigrants, what’s clear is that the governor is wasting many people’s time to, apparently, make a political point. In the process, LePage’s move could put some of …
Voting stickers sit on a table in the polling exit area at Bangor Civic Center in this June 2012 file photo.

Bipartisan group led by Snowe sticks to political reforms that keep parties in control

on June 26, 2014, at 12:33 p.m.
Tuesday’s release of a 62-point report on boosting participation in U.S. elections and making Congress work offered an appropriate backdrop to an electoral contest unfolding the same day in Mississippi. The 62-point “Bipartisan Blueprint to Strengthen Our Democracy” came from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform, which spent …
Sen. Susan Collins talks with University of Maine professor Brenda Hall from UMaine's Climate Change Institute during her trip to Antarctica in this January 2006 file photo.

Keeping up with Maine’s changing climate

on June 25, 2014, at 12:46 p.m.
Around Maine, people are taking note of increasing rainfall and encroaching sea levels, and they are working to mitigate the effects of more extreme weather: — Maine’s Sustainability Solutions Initiative at the University of Maine has developed a Maine Futures Community Mapper. The online tool allows people to see the …

Potatoes already reign; WIC can wait

on June 24, 2014, at 1:45 p.m.
For a while this spring, it appeared as if the potato had prevailed. It looked as if members of Congress from potato-producing states — including Maine Sen. Susan Collins — had managed to force the spud into the “food package” of the federal WIC program, which issues vouchers each month …

A first step for raising the speed on Maine’s information superhighway

on June 23, 2014, at 2:39 p.m.
Maine is up for another round of investments in its cyber infrastructure, funded in part by the ConnectME Authority. This year the state agency expects to award up to $1 million in grants to groups and Internet service providers that will expand “last mile” service to unserved areas in the …
Members of the class of 2014 during the 112th commencement ceremony at the University of Maine in Orono in May.

Surviving college: Three ways to help Maine students graduate

on June 20, 2014, at 11:50 a.m.
Educate Maine put the state’s educational performance in perspective in a 2013 report: Of every 100 students entering ninth grade, about 85 will graduate from high school. Of those graduating seniors, 54 will enter a four- or two-year college program. And of those students who enroll in college, only 32 will …
Maine Gov. Paul LePage talks with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on May 7 at Becky's Diner in Portland.

Congratulations, governor: Maine’s economy is still barely growing, despite employment gains

on June 19, 2014, at 2:32 p.m.
On Wednesday, Gov. Paul LePage’s office appeared to take credit for the slight increase in employment in Maine since he took office in 2011. “The New York Times has affirmed the efforts we have made to recover jobs lost during the great recession,” LePage said in a press release. “The …
Robert McGuire, president of the Florida chapter of the Korean War Veterans Association, tells members of his state's congressional delegation about hassles he faces trying to use the Department of Veterans Affairs health system. Members of the U.S. House of Representatives from Florida held a special meeting Thursday, June 12, 2014, to explore problems with VA health care in Washington, D.C.

Congress’ solution to fix VA scandal has little track record of working

on June 18, 2014, at 12:13 p.m.
At least there’s one constituency that can stir the U.S. Congress to act: the nation’s veterans. The U.S. House and Senate last week took swift action to address the secret-waitlist scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs. In a rare feat for today’s Congress on a major issue, the two …
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