Letter to the editor

The Trump administration infrastructure package should tackle the $12B National Park repair backlog. During his confirmation, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said one of his main goals as Secretary is to tackle one of our national parks’ biggest challenges: more than $12 billion in necessary infrastructure repairs. Zinke said he wants national parks to be part of the Trump Administration’s larger infrastructure package. Including our parks in this package is a natural fit, as parks repair needs include crumbling buildings,…

WHAT IS A CRIMINAL? The intersection of racial justice and policing in Portland

Jean Valjean is hungry so he steals a loaf of bread. He cannot work and his family is starving, so he commits this necessary act. But Javert, the local police official, considers it a threat to society and pursues the protagonist of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables for hundreds of pages, convinced he is a criminal who will always return to committing crimes. The reader, on the other hand, roots for Valjean. Rodion Raskolnikov, Dostoevsky's protagonist…

News Briefs: Talking trash, fixing schools, paying panhandlers, and resisting the Supreme Court pick

Petition started to urge city council to renovate schools   Most parents in the area are well aware that the four elementary schools Longfellow, Lyseth, Presumpscot, and Reiche, are in desperate need of an infrastructure upgrade. The Reiche School has seen better days...about 30 years ago. Many have pointed out in local news articles and city council meetings that the schools have been falling into dilapidation; leaky roofs, asbestos, heating problems, and a lack of…

The Shared Spaces of Ernest and Mike

  The photos above represent two people sharing a space. The setting they share is the same but the people are different. When two people physically occupy a shared space in shared time, does it strengthen their commonality? Does the culture and community of Portland foster commonality? Ernest and Mike would say yes. While there are many differences between them, both Ernest and Mike share a love of life and a joy to be living…

"Protecting the environment is not a partisan issue" Why Mainers resist Trump's EPA pick

Scott Pruitt was confirmed twice last week. First as the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The second confirmation was of his suspected ties to oil, gas, and coal companies after thousands of his emails to fossil fuel execs were leaked.   Environmental groups fear the worst, but there are specific steps you can take on an individual, local level to fight back.   Several area non-profits have teamed up to create “protester primers,”…

Letters: If Senator Collins is against government waste, she should vote against the natural gas repeal

Senator Susan Collins could be a deciding vote when the Senate soon takes up a measure to repeal a rule to curb natural gas waste and get taxpayers a fair return. Hopefully, Sen. Collins will see past the politics and vote against repealing the rule.   The Bureau of Land Management manages millions of acres of federal land located mostly in the American West. It is charged by Congress to ensure a fair return to…

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…
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