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Subversive summer

An alternative tourist guide to Maine
Prisons, pot festivals, and Orgonon: Here are some different views of summertime Maine — seen through my personal political lens.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  June 18, 2014

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Left-right convergence - really?

Washington Report
“Unstoppable: A Gathering on Left-Right Convergence,” sponsored by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, featured 26 prominent liberal and conservative leaders discussing issues on which they shared positions. One was the minimum wage.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  June 06, 2014

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State of polarization

Legislative session sets the stage for a fall face-off
As the campaign season begins, leading the charge on one side is a rural- and northern-Maine-based Trickle-Down Tea Party governor who sees government’s chief role as helping the rich (which he says indirectly helps working people), while he vetoes every bill in sight directly helping the poor and the struggling middle class, including Medicaid expansion, the issue that most occupied the Legislature this year and last.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 30, 2014

Michael James sent back to prison

Untreatable?
The hearing’s topic was whether James’s “antisocial personality disorder” was enough of a mental disease to keep him from being sent to prison.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 16, 2014

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Locking up the mentally ill

The agony of Michael James
The merger of the prison and mental-health systems continues
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  April 03, 2014

Where are the leaders on climate change?

At the summit
The conference was held in March despite the risk of a snowstorm because its organizers wanted “to reach the Legislature while it’s in session,” co-coordinator Fred Horch said.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  March 20, 2014



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Anatomy of a rip-off, Part II

State gives millions to whoever walks in the door
Imagine if state government gave out millions of dollars a year to fat-cat financiers, big banks,  and speculative ventures without monitoring how the money is spent — basically, giving it to whoever walks in the door as long as they flash a few credentials.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  March 06, 2014

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Anatomy of a taxpayer rip-off

State House Watch
To try to restore several hundred mill jobs to the historic paper-making North Country towns of Millinocket and East Millinocket, Maine’s politicians, in a bipartisan manner, have given away and are planning to give away millions of taxpayer dollars to various corporate interests, including big, out-of-state banks.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 19, 2014

No death penalty for Maine prisoner

Justice Watch
In 2008, within a supposedly high-security prison in the giant federal correctional complex in Florence, Colorado, Gary Watland, a “boarder” from Maine, murdered another inmate, white supremacist Mark Baker.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  February 12, 2014

Head Start funding in flux

Legislative Watch
State funding for Head Start has recently become a political football.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 23, 2014

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The future progressive

Reporter’s notebook: thoughts from the activist frontline
How many times, years, deaths will it take until a far more decent society is created?
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 16, 2014



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Hospital muscle could override LePage veto

Legislative preview: Medicaid expansion, round 2
Coverage for 70,000 Mainers may depend on a handful of legislators.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  January 10, 2014

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Socialism for the well-off; capitalism for the needy

Different laws for rich and poor
“Of course, there’s a different law for the rich and the poor: otherwise, who would go into business?” says a character in novelist Christina Stead’s classic House of All Nations , a cutting portrait of Depression-era capitalism.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 14, 2013

Legislators kept in dark about Mental Health Unit murder

 Prison Watch
The administration of Republican Governor Paul LePage and the office of Democratic Attorney General Janet Mills didn’t reveal to legislators or the public that a murder at the Maine State Prison in Warren last June occurred in its Mental Health Unit in the supposedly super-secure Special Management Unit or “supermax.”
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 14, 2013

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A rare look inside the Maine State Prison’s ‘supermax’

 An almost-clean version of hell
There was a stain of what looked like blood on the floor of the otherwise shiny-clean, empty Mental Health Unit isolation cell. “It’s Kool-Aid,” said my minder, a deputy warden. He smiled. But, as the saying goes, I hadn’t drunk the Kool-Aid.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  November 08, 2013

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A punishing culture

 Criminal Injustice
Why is America so vicious to lawbreakers?
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  October 24, 2013



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Tax breaks to be studied — and cut?

Suggestions Box
Many subsidies are via the Business Equipment Tax Reimbursement program (BETR), which cost the state $47.6 million in fiscal year 2013, which ended in June. BETR reimburses local property taxes to businesses. The top dozen companies cut BETR checks that year were:
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  September 26, 2013

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Student Survival Guide: College 101

15 courses you should take ASAP
For the most part, this is not a list of academic stuff. It’s more important. Your literal survival may depend on the mastery of a point or two on this list.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  September 25, 2013

15 courses you should take ASAP

 College Survival 101
In addition to Introduction to Calculus and American History 101, every young woman and man needs some short, practical courses in how to survive the first experience of independence.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  September 13, 2013

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A major Maine — and national — mystery

 Appalachian Trail disappearance
Geraldine Largay, 66, an experienced hiker on the Appalachian Trail, left the Poplar Ridge Lean-to shelter near Rangeley on Monday, July 22, a beautiful, sunny day.
By: LANCE TAPLEY  |  August 09, 2013
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