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,…

The People Have Spoken: Locals Share Their Thoughts On Legal Marijuana

Mainers approved of a legal recreational marijuana initiative last year, but by a slim margin: just over 4,000 votes. Clearly, there wasn't unanimous support for legalization in this state, and even amongst pro-legalization folks, there were some reservations about the language in the bill. So I asked a number of Mainers about their thoughts on the current version of Maine's Marijuana Legalization Act, and the approved moratorium on retail sales along with it. Were people excited?…

IT'S LEGAL: Maine's Guide To The New Marijuana Law

State lawmakers had to jump through numerous political hurdles to get to where we’re at today, a time where recreational marijuana is finally legal in Maine.   After clashing with House Republicans in staunch opposition to legalization, and enduring a recount effort (that was eventually ditched) and a marijuana smear campaign led by Governor Paul LePage, proponents of legal weed won a major, albeit slim, victory. But the battle’s far from over, as recent events…

"Move That Way!" Mainers Share Lessons from the Women's March

Last weekend, the collective strength of the Women’s March resulted in the largest mass protest in U.S. history. While the movement’s massive scale was inspiring — an estimated 5 million people worldwide, and 500,000 in the nation’s capital — it offered important lessons in intersectionality and inclusion of political resistance going forward. As the activist and scholar Keeanga Yamahtta-Taylor wrote in In These Times this week: “The United States has just experienced a corporate hijacking.…

Maybe it's the winter blues, maybe it's Seasonal Affective Disorder

Why is it that newspapers (like the one you’re reading now) insist on dedicating issues to “Winter Survival?”   During the winter months, readers tend to need a little encouragement to brave the cold, stay active and resist the urge to slob out on the couch watching TV during their free time.   We at The Phoenix believe people need Winter Survival Guides to remind us that although it seems like life slows down, and…

Letter to the Editor

Today, as I watch the Women’s Marches, I realize in a very powerful way, I am not alone!   Thank you all who marched! I never imagined people all over the world would respond in such a way for what was happening in the USA. Demonstrating so forcefully for the preservation of peace, human rights, equal opportunity and democracy. I am a proud liberal and now I know there are many others who feel the…
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