Free Speech in the Trump Era: A Means or An End?

The fiery, cacophonous clown car of a Trump presidency cleared its first-month checkpoint this week, dominating news cycles, asserting broad executive power and blanketing America’s most vulnerable people in a fog of confusion, disruption, and fear. But listen closely and you can hear another sound, an odd yet persistent rumbling, of a bemused electorate grappling with the pulpy, fibrous concept of free speech. I’m being glib — how do you find humor in this nightmare…

Is Portland a progressive city? According to city council votes, not so much

Although Portland has a garnered a reputation for being a liberal enclave, one local initiative found that that’s not always the case.   After analyzing 19 key roll call votes from Portland’s 2016 City Council session, the group Progressive Portland found “wide ideological splits and few consistent progressives.” Last week they published a scorecard that objectively looks on how Portland’s city councilors voted on progressive issues last year. It found that the average city councilor…

10 Art and Resistance Resources Since the Election

If you think we’re writing a lot about anti-Trump resistance in these pages lately, you’re correct. That’s because anti-Trump resistance is driving the culture more than anything else right now, and political activism — the sustained, organized kind — is more deeply embedded in American daily life than any other time in generational memory. An estimated 5.2 million people participated in Women’s Marches on January 20 last month. A recent Washington Post poll reported that…

USM President Won’t Cancel Controversial Event That Has Students On Edge

USM President Won’t Cancel Controversial Event That Has Students On Edge   The conservative group the "Young Americans For Freedom" have planned a controversial event at the University of Southern Maine. The student group received permission from University officials to host Rep. Lawrence Lockman, a controversial state legislator who's made anti-gay, anti-abortion, and pro-rape (yes, you read that correctly) statements repeatedly in the past. He's been invited to give a speech and lead a discussion…

Collins Keeps Moderate Image as Billionaire DeVos Appointed to Secretary of Education

Collins Keeps Moderate Image as Billionaire DeVos Appointed to Secretary of Education On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed billionaire Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. The private- and charter-school advocate snuck in with a 50-50 vote after two GOP Senators —Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski — voted not to confirm. A tie-breaking vote went to Vice President Mike Pence. Donald Trump’s nomination of DeVos received unprecedented opposition from U.S. constituents. While some in Maine applauded…

A Love Letter to Cuba: Or Why Americans Should Go

I met my wife Brenda one day after I moved to Costa Rica. I was running away from Finland. I wanted a fresh start and my recent trip to Cuba had sparked an interest in Latin culture. The year was 2001 and I was in my early twenties. Brenda was a frequent business traveler before meeting me, traveling thru mostly Central and South America. The next 15+ years we have lived and traveled to almost…

Mainers Abroad: Why Everyone Should Travel To India

Mark Twain once described India as the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, and a place everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.   The two guitarists from the local Americana band the Ghosts of Johnson City, Amos Libby and Douglas Porter, would agree. They recently returned to Portland after a trip to the exotic subcontinent and shared highlights from their spiritual (and musical) adventure…

Pop Idols, Language Barriers, and Smashing Stereotypes: Why this young Muslim's fascinated with South Korea

For most of her life, Mary Kadhim, a 16-year-old Iraqi-born student at Deering High School, held a deep fascination with South Korean culture.   It started when Kadhim first tuned into “Boys Over Flowers,” a short-lived but hugely successful dramedy television series that follows a spunky schoolgirl trying to balance romance and education at a South Korean academy.   “At first I thought it was weird,” said Kadhim. “But then I started really liking it,…

Portland Food Council Celebrates Launch, Offers Plan for Sustainable Food Systems

The Portland Food Council celebrated its official launch this week, giving a presentation which included a blueprint for a dynamic local food system that involves urban agriculture and sustainability practices. The reception marked an evolution of the Council since its original inception in 2012 as the Mayor's Initiative for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System, which launched by then-Mayor Michael Brennan out of ideas from a community food forum, which included Jonah Fertig of MOFGA,…
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