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Politicos like the East-West highway; how about the public?
Peter Vigue, CEO of Maine's big construction company Cianbro, has recently been successful in promoting to the state's politicians his plan for a 220-mile, limited-access, privately owned toll highway bisecting Maine from New Brunswick to Quebec.
| April 18, 2012
Progressives rally against rushed GOP agenda
As the rush to late-April legislative adjournment begins, much is at stake for people who want to help the needy (or are needy), or value a fair tax system, or treasure Maine's unspoiled woods and shores, or want government to be run openly — in short, for many people who these days are often called progressives.
| April 04, 2012
Occupier fined for trespass
Blaine House 9
In a stiff sentence for an act of nonviolent civil disobedience, a judge on March 23 slapped a $400 fine plus $90 in court costs on the first of the "Blaine House 9" to go on trial. Diane Messer, 59, of Liberty, had been convicted of criminal trespass by a Kennebec County Superior Court jury in Augusta.
| March 28, 2012
Angus for real
In an interview, the ex-governor and independent Senate candidate explains his political views as expressed in his Bowdoin blogs
Barring an act of God, utter stupidity, or an unexpected explosion of well-financed excellence from one of the second-stringers who will prevail in Maine's Democratic and Republican United States Senate primaries, Angus S. King Jr. will be the state's next US senator.
| March 21, 2012
Big protests are planned. So is suppression.
Get ready for the protests. Get ready for the warm American spring — and maybe a hot summer and fall.
| March 14, 2012
99% vs. 1% — on the left
A February 29 protest in Augusta against the power of corporate lobbyists exposed the fundamental division on the lefty side of Maine politics.
| March 07, 2012
Maine's donkey party loves the rich and the poor — but can't protect both
In the current legislative fight over Republican Governor Paul LePage's lust to slash Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) programs because of a $221-million shortfall in its budget, Democrats say over and over that they want to protect the poor, sick, and disabled people from whom the governor wants to withdraw state assistance.
| February 15, 2012
Gangs study killed
On February 9 the Legislature's Criminal Justice Committee, which had already informally decided against LD 1707, the bill that would have created severe penalties for people associated with criminal street gangs, killed a substitute proposal for a study to be done on how to define gangs and how to have police share information on them.
| February 15, 2012
Anti-gang bill dumped
State House Switcheroo
After a January 27 public hearing featuring a rare insinuation by one legislator that a fellow lawmaker lied, Criminal Justice Committee members were ready to throw out LD 1707, a bill that piles heavy sentences onto people convicted of involvement with criminal street gangs.
| February 01, 2012
Gang-buster bill gets dissed
Tattoos As A Criminal Act
A controversial legislative proposal developed by a secretive police group would send an individual to prison for up to 40 years if he or she is convicted of asking someone to join a criminal street gang.
| January 25, 2012
Chomsky to Occupy: move to the next stage
Words from the guru
Noam Chomsky has advice for the Occupy movement, whose encampments all over the country are being swept away by police.
| December 23, 2011
Privatized prison medical care is sick
But will cutting costs cure it? Joe Ponte's balancing act
For years complaints that the privatized medical care at the state's prisons was inadequate and abusive have poured into the mail and email boxes of prisoner advocates, the state's Corrections commissioner, and the press.
| December 14, 2011
‘Blaine House Nine’ banned from Capitol Park, State House
Bet you didn't know that the police, without going to court or giving a reason, can order you not to enter public property like the State House — and if you disobey you could spend up to six months in jail.
| December 07, 2011
Augusta occupiers show a political way to spring
‘Occupy the Capitol!’
The recent act of nonviolent civil disobedience by nine middle-aged and older Occupy Augusta supporters — arrested for refusing to leave the governor's mansion grounds — opens a new phase in Maine's Occupy movement.
| November 30, 2011
Senator Collins helps derail prison reform
As a result of the apparent decision by congressional Republicans to oppose almost everything Democrats are for, Maine Senator Susan Collins — who claims to be above partisanship — helped derail Virginia Democratic Senator Jim Webb's bill to establish a bipartisan National Criminal Justice Commission. Maine's Olympia Snowe and three other Republicans joined unanimous Senate Democrats to support it.
| November 09, 2011
Reducing solitary confinement
Exclusive Interview: How Maine’s corrections commissioner dropped supermax numbers by 70 percent . . . and became a national leader in prison reform (if anybody follows)
Installed by conservative Republican Governor Paul LePage last winter, Maine's new corrections commissioner, Joseph Ponte, 64, immediately set about reforming the prison system.
| November 02, 2011
'Bath salts' hysteria grips lawmakers
This is your Legislature on drugs
Like hopeless, strung-out junkies, one legislator after another babbled contradictions.
| October 05, 2011
Many Turnpike Authority enablers still in power
Five years on
Five years ago this week the Portland Phoenix published an exposé of the Maine Turnpike Authority executives' lavish lifestyle.
| August 03, 2011
Democrats celebrate victory in the face of defeat
They cozy up to Republicans and the rich
Senator Dawn Hill, of Cape Neddick, the lead Democrat on the Legislature's Appropriations Committee, which fashioned the recently passed $6-billion state budget, explained to the Phoenix why she voted to reduce income and estate taxes on the rich while also voting for cuts in help to the poor and in teacher and state-worker pensions.
| July 06, 2011
Mentally ill inmates need more help
Prisoner advocates would like the new Corrections commissioner to strengthen his reform of the Maine State Prison by giving more care to the many mentally ill prisoners he is releasing from often-lengthy solitary confinement into the prison's general population.
| June 22, 2011
Top prison officials fired
In a continuing shakeup at the troubled Maine State Prison, new Corrections commissioner Joseph Ponte has fired six top officials including its controversial security chief, Deputy Warden James O'Farrell.
| June 15, 2011
The Current Issue
Table of Contents
Where To Follow Me
| March 24, 2013 at 11:09 AM
Mo Takes His Turn
March 21, 2013 at 12:59 PM
[Q&A] KMFDM's Sascha Konietzko on art, Columbine and having balls
On The Download
| March 18, 2013 at 3:22 PM
See this film series: The Belmont World Film Series @ Studio Cinema in Belmont
Outside The Frame
| March 18, 2013 at 11:00 AM
See this film: This is Spinal Tap [with post-film talk by expert from Acoustical Society of America] @ the Coolidge
March 17, 2013 at 12:00 PM
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