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Understanding the Colby College protests

Occupy philanthropy!
As the first anniversary of Occupy approached, many journalists wrote its obituary, and some called it a failure.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  September 26, 2012


Whistle-blower asks to come home

Exiles’ Return
In 2011 reform-minded Commissioner Joseph Ponte of the Maine Department of Corrections set up a formal process — apparently, rare in the United States — for prisoners transferred to out-of-state prison systems to apply to come home.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  September 26, 2012


15 reasons the East-West Highway will never be built (plus a political bonus!)

Analysis: Nails in the coffin
This past spring, out of the blue, Republican Governor Paul LePage and the GOP-controlled Maine Legislature funded a $300,000 study by the Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) of the feasibility of a corporate-owned, toll superhighway across the middle of the state.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  September 06, 2012


Solitary confinement: bad for chimps, okay for humans?

Primate Rights  
Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins is a key cosponsor of legislation that, among other provisions, would outlaw psychologically damaging solitary confinement for more than 500 chimpanzees caged for research in federally supported laboratories.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  August 22, 2012


Banking scandal taints Colby board chairman

Bankster Watch  
Colby College's public problems in recent years have mostly involved lowly students engaged in fighting, drinking, and sex abuse. But now the college has been hit by a big scandal at the very top.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  July 11, 2012


Maine a model for solitary-confinement reform

Setting Examples
In the first-ever congressional hearing June 19 on the widespread use of solitary confinement in America's prisons, Senator Richard Durbin spoke favorably of the Maine prison system's substantial reduction of inmate isolation as he pressed the federal prisons chief to re-examine that agency's use of it.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  July 03, 2012

Democrats wring their hands

State Convention Watch
Interviewed separately at the Democratic State Convention, Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud gave identical responses to the question of what would it take for the Democrats to triumph in November.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  June 06, 2012


Lawmakers mostly stand up against environmental assault

‘Holding the line’
Republican state Senator Thomas Saviello, at one point widely considered a foe of Maine's environment, may have just saved it. At the least, he was a leader in saving a good part of it.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  May 23, 2012


‘30,000 drones’ over America and other stories

"You are now being watched by 30,000 drones," Second District congressional primary candidate Blaine Richardson dramatically told the 3000 people assembled at the Republican State Convention in Augusta on May 5.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  May 09, 2012


What’s driving the East-West Highway?

Taxpayer dollars, secrecy, and private interests
Eminent domain! The government's ability to seize land for a public purpose strikes terror into the hearts of many landowners.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  May 02, 2012


GOP legislators stick with ALEC

After Trayvon
Faced with a campaign asking him and seven other Republican legislators to quit the controversial conservative lobbyist-legislator coalition ALEC — the American Legislative Exchange Council — House assistant majority leader Andre Cushing, of Hampden, says: "If they can give me a reason why this is harmful to the state, I'll consider it."
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 25, 2012


Mainstream progressives get Occupied

The 99 Percent Spring begins
"We are the 99 percent!" reverberates in the basement of the Portland Public Library on a Saturday morning. Ninety radicals — well, maybe damn strong liberals — are plotting to take over the government — well, in any case, to harass the one percent.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 18, 2012


Politicos like the East-West highway; how about the public?

Pothole Patrol
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.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 18, 2012

Progressives rally against rushed GOP agenda

Legislative threats
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.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  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.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  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.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  March 21, 2012


Silencing Occupy

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.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  March 14, 2012

99% vs. 1% — on the left

Occupy Watch
A February 29 protest in Augusta against the power of corporate lobbyists exposed the fundamental division on the lefty side of Maine politics.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  March 07, 2012


Maine's donkey party loves the rich and the poor — but can't protect both

Two-faced Democrats
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.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 15, 2012

Gangs study killed

Lawmaker Apology
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.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  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.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 01, 2012

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