This Thing Is On — Inside the Portland Maine Comedy Festival

A great comedy set is an extremely subjective experience. They come in so many different themes and styles that it’s impossible for one to be universally loved. Someone in the audience is bound to get offended, and typically, comics don’t care. On the contrary, it fuels many of them. George Orwell’s words, “every joke is a tiny revolution,” ring true today in a time where comedy sheds the remaining vestiges of our puritan past and…

Negotiation or ultimatum? Government shutdown over after Republicans force a conservative budget

Readers have likely already heard of last week’s political pandemonium: Gov. Paul LePage and 60 House Republicans forced a government shutdown after blocking a $7.1 billion budget compromise. It’s also likely that readers were directly affected by this, as the shutdown left at least 9,000 state workers without a job, and slowed or halted critical services to vulnerable Mainers. According to the liberal Maine Center for Economic Policy, this shutdown cost about $2.5 million dollars…

Conflict By Design — How a Power Struggle Between Mayor and City Manager Was the Plan All Along

Imagine, if you will, City Hall as a large playpen. Now place into it three children. One we shall call Jon; a second named Council (what odd names these parents are giving their children these days!); and a third named Ethan. Now, imagine some hypothetical parents toss in two beach balls — one to Jon and another to Council. Seeing that he has no ball to play with, Ethan wants to use Jon’s. But Jon…

What are you paying for? New app visualizes Portland's $340 million budget

Have you ever wondered what exactly your tax dollars are paying for? Thanks to a new web app, developed by local activist web developers Rob Korobkin, Mike Lacourse and Joey Brunelle, you can find out through an intimate look at Portland’s revenues and expenses Dubbed OpenMaine, the app allows users to plug in their annual property tax and receive a visually appealing x-ray of Portland’s 340 million dollar budget, where they can see what every cent…

'The City Can Do Better': Marpheen Chann's vision for a Portland that's truly for everyone

Last week, the local activist and Maine law graduate Marpheen Chann announced his grassroots effort to run for Portland's City Council, representing District 5 (Deering Center, North Deering, Riverton), a seat currently occupied by David Brenerman. He's running against Kim Cook, who runs a government relations firm, and Craig Dorais, a patent attorney. As a first generation Asian-American and member of the LGBTQ community with real-world experience, Chann says he's uniquely poised to tackle some to the…

Letter to the editor: Maine needs solar jobs

Last year, I got a new job. It wasn't just new for me, it was growing-the-economy new, and it was in solar.   I wasn't alone — across the country, 1 in 50 new jobs last year was in the solar industry. That's more growth than natural gas, oil and coal, combined.   But right now, Maine is lagging behind the nation and our New England neighbors in solar jobs.  How do we get more…

Letter to the editor: As Senate Considers ACA Repeal, Planned Parenthood Celebrates Pride Month

We don't typically publish letters from organizational bodies, but this week we're making an exception. As Pride month winds to a close, the upcoming Senate vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act in favor of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell's American Health Care Act would strip health insurance from 23 million vulnerable Americans (according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office), as well as de-fund vital health organizations like Planned Parenthood. Maine GOP Senator Susan Collins…

Portland's 2017 Summer Guide

Summer in Maine reminds us how good it is to be alive.   Our state is peppered with beautiful lakes, miles of epic coastline, and gorgeous mountain trails that when witnessed, makes us appreciate our paltry existence. Here, seemingly sheltered from the world and its myriad problems, many of us are lucky to breathe fresh air, drink clean water, and exist a short ways away from natural marvels. As cliche as our state motto is,…

How Fake Is This? — Three Theories on Holly Seeliger's 'Zoon Politikon'

Last week, the Portland Press Herald published a piece by Greg Kesich calling attention to the YouTube channel “Zoon Politikon” hosted since October by Portland’s Holly Seeliger, a Green Party affiliate and member of the Portland School Board. “Zoon Politikon,” a show through which Seeliger, working alone, releases content near daily, covers a broad range of political headlines and sentiments, much of it from what might be understood to be a liberal-left perspective. But Kesich…

News Briefs: No deportation for Ali, Portland gets official safe spaces, gripes over Bayside, and climate change threatens lobster

Judge posts $9,000 bail for permanent resident threatened with deportation After sitting in a New Hampshire jail for weeks, uncertain whether he’d be deported back to famine-stricken Somalia, Portland resident Abdi Ali received the first bit of good news after a court appearance on June 1: he may get to go home to his wife in Portland, Maine. Judge Mario Sturla said in a bail hearing in Boston that Ali would be released after a…
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