Other Voices


Our unnecessary Mideast wars

By Andrew J. Bacevich, The Washington Post on Oct. 04, 2014, at 3:54 p.m.
As America’s efforts to “degrade and ultimately destroy” Islamic State militants extend into Syria, Iraq War III has seamlessly morphed into Greater Middle East Battlefield XIV. That is, Syria has become at least the 14th country in the Islamic world that U.S. forces have invaded or occupied or bombed, and …
A man with a walking stick passes protest messages written in a parking lot before the announcement of the name of the officer involved in the shooting of Michael Brown on Friday in Ferguson, Missouri.

Change hard to handle for Ferguson police

By Megan McArdle, Bloomberg News on Aug. 17, 2014, at 12:14 p.m.
To say the least, the police in Ferguson, Missouri, seem to be in way over their heads. On Wednesday, two reporters, from the Huffington Post and the Washington Post, were arrested in Ferguson. (St. Louis County law enforcement members who were brought in to assist will be relieved of duty …
President Barack Obama announces that Secretary of HUD Shaun Donovan (C) will be his choice as the new Director of OMB, and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (L) will be his choice as the new Secretary of HUD, in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington May 23, 2014.

HUD at a crossroads

By George Danby on June 02, 2014, at 8:48 a.m.
Shaun Donovan is the second-longest-serving secretary of housing and urban development in the department’s 48-year history, and, by general consensus, he is one of the better ones. A hard worker and genuine public policy expert, Mr. Donovan not only kept the sprawling department out of any major scandals on his …
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting with paralympic delegations in Sochi on Thursday.

How to stop Putin

By Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post on March 16, 2014, at 9:27 a.m.
The president of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council challenges critics of President Barack Obama’s Ukraine policy by saying, “What are you going to do, send the 101st Airborne into Crimea?” Not exactly subtle. And rather silly, considering that no one has proposed such a thing. The alternative to passivity …
A mill in East Millinocket.

It’s legislators’ right, duty to approve East Millinocket mill’s ability to sell power to grid

By Duane Lugdon on March 16, 2014, at 9:23 a.m.
Maine lawmakers should approve LD 1792, which would allow East Millinocket’s Great Northern Paper to collaborate with Canada’s Brookfield Renewable Energy to sell power a few times a year to the regional energy grid. Since 2002, Brookfield has owned the hydroelectric power plants on the nearby Penobscot River, a publicly …

The Wisconsin story under Gov. Scott Walker: A lesson for Maine?

By Doug Thomas on March 16, 2014, at 9:19 a.m.
Recently, during the Wisconsin State of the State address, Gov. Scott Walker announced a nearly $1 billion revenue surplus. That’s quite an accomplishment considering the governor was faced with a $3.6 billion budget deficit when he took office just a few years ago. Walker and the Wisconsin Legislature have replaced …
U.S. Rep. and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud speaks about his plan to build Maine’s economy during a campaign event at Portland’s Rosemont Market recently.

Michaud’s free sophomore year a creative plan that prioritizes on-time graduation, lower student debt

By William C. Hiss on March 16, 2014, at 9:17 a.m.
Everyone knows the key data points by now: Maine has historically had high rates of high school graduation, but a college-going rate that is average at best. About two-thirds of Maine high school students start college, but only about half of them graduate. Maine’s on-time graduation rate, which means completing …
Charles Koch, left, and David Koch, pictured in 1970.

Shedding light on the dark money labyrinth

on Jan. 13, 2014, at 2:03 p.m.
The caricature of a fat cat in political campaigns is that of an individual who hands out donations to candidates in expectation of favorable treatment. But judging by the latest evidence from the 2012 election cycle, the reality is far different. “Dark money” now more often flows from a web …
U.S. President Barack Obama gathers on stage with (L-R) former U.S. President Bill Clinton, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and New Hampshire Governor John Lynch at an election campaign rally in Concord, New Hampshire, November 4, 2012.

Stand strong. Trim military pension increases

on Jan. 08, 2014, at 2:37 p.m.
President Barack Obama’s signature on a hard-won House-Senate budget deal was barely dry before members of Congress from both parties began falling all over themselves to undo one of its provisions. We refer to the 1 percentage-point reduction in military pension annual cost-of-living increases, which provides $6 billion in savings …
Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz al-Saud (R) listens as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement to the press at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh January 5, 2014.

If Kerry can’t get this peace deal in the Middle East, he should accept defeat

on Jan. 07, 2014, at 2:13 p.m.
After 10 visits to Israel and the Palestinian territories and scores of meetings with their leaders, Secretary of State John F. Kerry has made no visible progress toward a comprehensive peace deal — a long-shot cause that he has single-mindedly pursued even as more violent and urgent crises in Syria, …
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio clears the sidewalk of snow in front of his Brooklyn home in New York on Jan. 3, 2014.

Is de Blasio really New York’s equalizer?

on Jan. 06, 2014, at 3:36 p.m.
Political reality has a way of undoing populist campaign promises. But to the delight of many a Democratic activist, New York’s new mayor, Bill de Blasio, roared into office on New Year’s Day, declaring that this time will be different. In his inaugural address, de Blasio did not trim his …
U.S. President Barack Obama greets peopel outside of the Island Snow shaved ice stand in Kailua Beach, Hawaii, on Dec. 31, 2013.

2013 was Obama’s ‘worst’? Not so fast

on Jan. 03, 2014, at 10:53 a.m.
If one word has defined the summaries we’ve seen of 2013, it might be “worst.” The insight that last year was the most dismal of Barack Obama’s presidency is so well-established that it might be etched onto the Lincoln Memorial. Following a re-election victory, he lost a major push on …
Passengers watch a television screen broadcasting news on Edward Snowden, a contractor at the National Security Agency (NSA) of the U.S., on a train in Hong Kong June 14, 2013.

Presuming too much

on Dec. 24, 2013, at 10:37 a.m.
The bulk collection of phone “metadata” by the National Security Agency — records of who’s calling whom, when and for how long — is a potentially powerful tool that could, if abused, reveal sensitive facts about nearly every American’s life. The practice, disclosed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, demands …
Railroad tank cars are unloaded on a loop track at a refinery in Delaware City, Delaware. July 28, 2013. The refinery receives 110,000 barrels of crude oil a day, which is about 150 cars, or two trainloads.

A crude policy

on Dec. 23, 2013, at 8:12 a.m.
The United States again is one of the world’s great energy powers. Recently, the U.S. Energy Information Administration projected that American crude oil output will peak at nearly 10 million barrels per day by mid-decade, up from 6.5 million last year. Last month, the International Energy Agency figured that the …
Syrian Director Omar Abu Ssada (L) and Syrian refugee women acknowledge the audience after their play "The Syria Trojan Women" in Amman, Jordan, last week.

A day of horror in Syria

on Dec. 22, 2013, at 5:42 a.m.
From the beginning of the Syria crisis almost three years ago, the Obama administration has found reasons to remain aloof. Every option for U.S. involvement — arming moderate rebels, enforcing a no-fly zone, carving out humanitarian corridors — entailed risks. But every imperfect option for action must be weighed against …
Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley speaks to the delegates at the 2012 Democratic National Convention at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, Tuesday, September 4, 2012.

Sordid barely describes it: Cleanup in Baltimore jail

on Dec. 20, 2013, at 6:43 a.m.
Sordid barely describes recent happenings at the Baltimore City Detention Center, where a joint federal-state investigation revealed a virtual takeover of the facility by violent inmate gang members and corrupt correctional officers. Guards smuggled in drugs, as well as cellphones and debit cards. Female officers frequently had sex with inmates; …
A sign is taped to the front window of a business in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown, Connecticut December 15, 2013. Locals have been striving to return to normal even as yesterday marked the one year anniversary of the shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 20 children and six adults were killed by gunman Adam Lanza.

Being left alone is par for course for families of Newtown

on Dec. 19, 2013, at 6:51 a.m.
For Saturday’s one-year anniversary of the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the victims’ families and friends asked to be left alone. Their town was similarly inclined. First Selectman Pat Llodra of Newtown, Conn., asked that residents be spared a media spectacle in favor …
Mexican congressmen applaud after the Mexico Congress approves the biggest oil sector shake-up in the lower house in Mexico City December 12, 2013.

Mexico dismantles state oil monopoly, government sets functional example for U.S.

on Dec. 17, 2013, at 10:49 a.m.
While Congress was congratulating itself on reaching a minimalist budget deal, Mexico demonstrated how a more functional democracy can tackle a nation’s biggest problems. The ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and the opposition National Action Party, or PAN, joined last week to pass a constitutional amendment dismantling the state’s …

Protection for needles in the haystack: Striking a balance on cellphone records

on Dec. 16, 2013, at 1:01 p.m.
As long as your mobile phone is on, your wireless carrier tracks your location. It’s relatively easy for law enforcement to obtain and sort through phone companies’ geolocation records. A Gannett investigation published last week examined 125 law enforcement agencies in 33 states and found that a quarter have conducted …
A man watches television footage of Cuban President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama talking during the national memorial service for the late former South African President Nelson Mandela at the First National Bank Stadium, also known as Soccer City, in Havana Dec.10, 2013.

Cubans worthy of respect

on Dec. 15, 2013, at 1:37 p.m.
President Barack Obama’s homage to Nelson Mandela on Tuesday was moving and heartfelt. He celebrated a “great liberator” who demonstrated the power of words, ideals and actions to change history. But the president added an awkward footnote to his tribute in Soweto by stopping to shake hands with Raul Castro, …
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